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Elon Musk's lawyers told a federal judge Monday the Tesla CEO should not be held in contempt of court for tweets the Securities and Exchange Commission says violated a settlement agreement.

Details: The SEC asked last month for Musk to be held in contempt for publishing "inaccurate" information on Twitter about Tesla. The complaint relates to a February 19 tweet by Musk that Tesla would build 500,000 cars in 2019. He posted another tweet soon after clarifying that claim, saying Tesla would build at an annual rate of 500,000 cars by the end of 2019 but it would only build 400,000 cars this year.

What they're saying: In a response filing, Musk's lawyers said the SEC was trying to "trample on Musk's First Amendment rights" in an "unconstitutional power grab" that "smacks of retaliation and censorship" for saying in a "60 Minutes" interview he had no respect for the regulator. In a sworn declaration, Musk added he had "dramatically decreased" the amount he had tweeted about Tesla to ensure he complied with the settlement.

Go deeper: The Elon Musk vs. SEC battle has flared up again

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Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
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Coronavirus surge is sinking consumer confidence

Data: Hamilton Place Strategies, CivicScience; Chart: Axios Visuals

The rise in coronavirus cases in certain parts of the U.S. is stunting confidence across the country, a crop of new reports show.

Driving the news: After stalling during the previous two-week period, overall economic sentiment declined for the first time in two months, according to the Economic Sentiment Index, a biweekly survey from data firm CivicScience and Hamilton Place Strategies (HPS).

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: Obama: Trump is "jealous of COVID's media coverage."
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  3. Business: Coronavirus testing is a windfall. Winter threat spurs new surge of startup activity.
  4. Media: Pandemic causes TV providers to lose the most subscribers ever.
  5. World: Putin mandates face masks.

The GOP's monstrous math problem

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Republicans, win or lose next week, face a big — and growing — math problem.

The state of play: They're relying almost exclusively on a shrinking demographic (white men), living in shrinking areas (small, rural towns), creating a reliance on people with shrinking incomes (white workers without college degrees) to survive.