Ben Geman Mar 7
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Energy Secretary: scope of steel tariffs an "ongoing conversation"

Rick Perry
Rick Perry speaks at the Energy Policy Summit in 2017. Photo: Drew Angerer / Getty Images

HOUSTON — Energy Secretary Rick Perry signaled Wednesday that White House deliberations about the shape of looming steel tariffs are ongoing.

“I think this is an ongoing conversation, a debate if you will, an internal discussion."
— Rick Perry to reporters at CERAWeek

Why it matters: Perry was asked to respond to oil-and-gas concerns that trade penalties will raise pipeline costs and could prompt other countries to retaliate with measures that hurt U.S. energy exports. He cautioned that was not speaking for President Trump, but said, “I don’t think the president has made a decision with great specificity.”

Yes, but: Perry also emphasized that Trump wants to bolster U.S. manufacturing. "He does know that there are countries out there who are in fact impacting the market by their engagement of subsidies and what some would refer to as unfair trade practices,” Perry said at the big CERAWeek conference. “I think strategically deploying tariffs and messaging and regulations is the key here,” he added.

The intrigue: The comments come as oil-and-gas industry groups are urging the White House to provide exemptions to the tariffs for specialty steel products they cannot source domestically. Eight oil-and-gas trade groups released a letter to Trump earlier Wednesday warning that tariffs could cause delays or cancellation of pipeline projects.

Groups including the Association of Oil Pipe Lines and the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America write: “While we discourage you from imposing steel tariffs, we urge you at least to allow exemptions when steel products needed for energy production, processing, refining, transportation, and distribution are not sufficiently available in domestic markets."

Jonathan Swan 9 hours ago
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A stunning leak rattles Trump and his aides

President Trump discussed his call with Russian President Vladimir Putin during an Oval Office meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Photo: Kevin Dietsch, Pool / Getty Images

One of the most startling leaks — and stunning revelations — of this whole administration has left President Trump and his senior staff furious and rattled. The Washington Post reports in its lead story: "Trump did not follow specific warnings from his national security advisers [yesterday] when he congratulated ... Putin on his reelection — including a section in his briefing materials in all-capital letters stating 'DO NOT CONGRATULATE.'"

Why it matters: The speed and sensitivity of the leak prompted immediate finger-pointing within the administration, as aides reeled from a leak that could only have come from a small group of people, each of whom is trusted with sensitive national secrets.

Mike Allen 9 hours ago
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Scoop: Zuckerberg finally plans to speak

Mark Zuckerberg in 2016. Photo: Lluis Gene / AFP / Getty Images

Axios is told that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg plans to speak out in the next 24 hours on the data-harvesting revelations that have hammered his stock price, inflamed lawmakers in D.C. and Europe, and trapped his social network in a crisis of trust.

Quote"It’s a big deal, and he knows it."
— A source close to Zuckerberg

What's been happening: We're told that Zuckerberg was initially more focused on how to fix the problems than on what to say. But that left a vacuum that provoked merciless coverage, increased lawmakers' suspicions, and even left some employees demoralized.