EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström. Photo: Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images

EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström told reporters Wednesday that the EU has "not received any assurances" that the Trump administration won't implement auto tariffs, but said she is under the assumption that there will not be any new tariffs from either side — a commitment President Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker agreed to in July.

The big picture: Malmström, who met with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in Washington, D.C., today, said she believes auto tariffs would be harmful to both the U.S. and European economies, but added that the EU has a draft list of retaliatory tariffs that it's prepared to process if necessary. As Axios' Jonathan Swan reported, Trump views the threat of auto tariffs as his best leverage over negotiating partners. He has privately told aides that the threat of auto tariffs helped him get a better trade deal with Canada, and that the same could apply to the EU.

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Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

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Senate Democrats block vote on McConnell's targeted COVID relief bill

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

Senate Democrats on Wednesday blocked a vote on Republicans' $500 billion targeted COVID-19 relief bill, a far less comprehensive package than the $1.8 trillion+ deal currently being negotiated between the Trump administration and House Democrats.

Why it matters: There's little appetite in the Senate for a stimulus bill with a price tag as large as what President Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have been calling for. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) "skinny" proposal was mostly seen as a political maneuver, as it had little chance of making it out of the Senate.

The hazy line between politics and influence campaigns

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The recent firestorm over the New York Post’s publication of stories relying on data from a hard drive allegedly belonging to Hunter Biden shows the increasingly hazy line between domestic political “dirty tricks” and a foreign-sponsored disinformation operation.

Why it matters: This haziness could give determined actors cover to conduct influence operations aimed at undermining U.S. democracy through channels that just look like old-fashioned hard-nosed politics.