Feb 8, 2020 - Politics & Policy

DOJ has dropped antitrust probe into four major automakers

Drivers in Los Angeles in September 2019. Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images

The Justice Department has dropped its antitrust inquiry into four major automakers — Ford, VW, Honda and BMW — that struck a deal with California to boost emissions standards in defiance of White House plans to relax existing rules, the New York Times reported Friday and Axios later confirmed.

The big picture, via Axios' Amy Harder: This is a victory for California in a war against the Trump administration on multiple legal and policy fronts. Another one we're watching is how the administration's lawsuit against California's cornerstone climate policy shakes out.

Details: California and the auto companies' efforts to tighten carbon emissions standards could improve with the DOJ's decision to drop its probe, the Times reports. BMW and Ford confirmed to Axios that the DOJ had dropped its antitrust inquiry.

  • The DOJ opened an investigation into the automakers to discern whether they violated antitrust laws by working together to reach a deal with California on emissions standards.

Where it stands: The Trump administration is moving to substantially weaken Obama-era carbon emissions and mileage rules for model years 2021-2026.

  • The administration had initially proposed freezing the standards.
  • The final rule will reportedly include some increases, but less than the Obama-era standards and what California had envisioned in its preliminary deal with the four automakers.

What to watch, via the Times: "The closure may mark something of a détente in the political battle between the White House and California."

Go deeper: Justice Dept. probes carmakers in California emissions deal

Go deeper

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

Brazil on Monday recorded for the first time more deaths from the novel coronavirus in a single day than the United States, Reuters notes. Brazil reported 807 deaths from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, compared to 620 in the U.S. for the same period.

By the numbers: Almost 5.5 million people have tested positive for the virus as of Monday, and more than 2.2 million have recovered. The U.S. has reported the most cases in the world (over 1.6 million from 14.6 million tests). The U.K. is reporting over 36,900 deaths from the coronavirus — the most fatalities outside the U.S.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8:30 p.m. ET: 5,490,954 — Total deaths: 345,962 — Total recoveries — 2,228,915Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8:30 p.m. ET: 1,662,250 — Total deaths: 98,218 — Total recoveries: 379,157 — Total tested: 14,604,942Map.
  3. World: Italy reports lowest number of new cases since February — Ireland reports no new coronavirus deaths on Monday for the first time since March 21 — WHO suspends trial of hydroxychloroquine over safety concerns.
  4. 2020: Trump threatens to move Republican convention from North Carolina — Joe Biden makes first public appearance in two months.
  5. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks over Memorial Day.
  6. Economy: New York stock exchange to reopen its floor on Tuesday — White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Charities refocus their efforts to fill gaps left by government.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Updated 57 mins ago - Politics & Policy

In photos: Authorities issue warning as Americans venture out for Memorial Day weekend

Ocean City in New Jersey on May 25. Photo: Donald Kravitz/Getty Images

Authorities urged Americans to maintain social distancing and wear masks to protect against the spread of the novel coronavirus amid reports of packed beaches and bars during the Memorial Day weekend.

Details: Law enforcement stepped up beach patrols, and there were crowded scenes in several places, notably at Lake of the Ozarks bars in Missouri and at Daytona Beach and on the Gulf Coast in Florida, per AP. Police dispersed crowds in some places, ABC notes. But many Americans did take precautions against COVID-19 as they ventured outside for the long weekend, some three months after the pandemic began in the U.S.