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Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

State attorneys general discussed privacy concerns with large platforms during a meeting on Tuesday with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, according to accounts of the closed-door session.

What to watch: Whether state attorneys general or the Justice Department step up investigations into the privacy practices of Silicon Valley or the market dominance of major online platforms.

What we're hearing:

  • "The principle conversation revolved around privacy and antitrust," California Attorney General Xavier Becerra told reporters, indicating later the topics were connected. He said that previous antitrust cases — including Standard Oil and Microsoft — were discussed but also said that he didn't think issues with large tech companies could be addressed by looking at size alone.
  • After the meeting, the Justice Department said that many officials "shared the view that it is essential for federal and state law enforcement authorities to work together to ensure that these challenges are addressed responsibly and effectively."
  • Allegations of anti-conservative bias, which partially prompted the meeting, didn't dominate it. A person familiar with the meeting and associated with one of the Democratic AG's offices in attendance said Sessions had brought them up three times, but that the state officials in the room focused on privacy.

The meeting was attended by Sessions as well as other top officials from the Department of Justice, including antitrust chief Makan Delrahim.

  • An unexpected attendee was the acting head of the department's Civil Rights division, John Gore, who was not listed as planning to join by a DOJ official on Monday night but appeared on the agency's post-meeting readout.
  • A Justice spokesperson did not reply when asked why Gore had attended.

What's next: Becerra said he expected the discussion to continue among state attorneys general, potentially with federal support.

Go deeper

10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves to be removed after fires

A firefighter looks up at a giant sequoia tree after fire burned through the Sequoia National Forest near California Hot Springs, California, on Sept. 23. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

"Upwards of" 10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves have been "weakened by drought, disease, age, and/or fire" and must be removed in the wake of California's wildfires, the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks announced.

Why it matters: The damage to these trees, considered "national treasures," and work to remove them means a nearby key highway must remain closed to visitors as they have "the potential to strike people, cars, other structures, or create barriers to emergency response services," per a statement from the national parks.

Obama stumps for McAuliffe, urges Virginians not "to go back to the chaos"

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama framed a Nov. 2 gubernatorial race as a bellwether for the Democratic Party and the country, telling a crowd at a campaign event for Terry McAuliffe on Saturday that "I believe you, right here in Virginia, are going to show the rest of the country and the world that we're not going to indulge in our worst instincts."

Why it matters: With just over a week to go before Election Day in the Commonwealth, McAuliffe is bringing out the big guns. The 44th president appeared on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University to urge supporters to get to the polls.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Axios AM Deep Dive: America’s murder surge

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images

Homicides rose at the fastest rate in at least six decades last year. This Axios AM Deep Dive, led by Future correspondent Bryan Walsh, looks at the state of gun crime.

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