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Elon Musk was in "blatant violation" of a settlement agreement and his defense against being held in contempt "borders on the ridiculous," the Securities and Exchange Commission said in a court filing Monday.

Details: The SEC alleges Musk violated the terms after tweeting on February 19 that Tesla would build 500,000 cars in 2019. He quickly clarified in another tweet the company would build at an annual rate of 500,000 cars by the year's end but it would only build 400,000 cars in 2019. His attorney told a federal last week Musk's tweet was "immaterial." Lawyers for the SEC found it "stunning to learn" Musk had not sought pre-approval for his tweets about Tesla in the months since the court-ordered pre-approval policy went into effect.

Go deeper: Pro Rata Podcast: Elon Musk's surprise settlement

What they're saying: “Musk’s contention — that the potential size of a car company’s production for the year could not reasonably be material — borders on the ridiculous,” lawyers for SEC wrote. “His interpretation is inconsistent with the plain terms of this court’s order and renders its pre-approval requirement meaningless."

What's next: U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan, sitting in Manhattan, will decide if Musk should be held in contempt of court and whether he should be punished.

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20 Republican former U.S. attorneys endorse Biden, call Trump "a threat to the rule of law"

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Twenty Republican former U.S. Attorneys on Tuesday endorsed Joe Biden while saying that "President Trump's leadership is a threat to rule of law" in the U.S., the Washington Post reports.

What they're saying: In the letter, the former prosecutors criticize Trump's use of the Department of Justice, saying the president expects the DOJ to "to serve his personal and political interests."

  • "He has politicized the Justice Department, dictating its priorities along political lines and breaking down the barrier that prior administrations had maintained between political and prosecutorial decision-making," the letter says.
Updated 31 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: Axios-Ipsos poll: Federal response has only gotten worse — The swing states where the pandemic is raging.
  2. Health: The coronavirus is starting to crush some hospitals — 13 states set single-day case records last week.
  3. Business: Winter coronavirus threat spurs new surge of startup activity.
  4. Media: Pandemic causes cable and satellite TV providers to lose the most subscribers ever.
  5. States: Nearly two dozen Minnesota COVID cases traced to 3 Trump campaign events.
  6. World: Unrest in Italy as restrictions grow across Europe.

Ted Cruz defends GOP's expected return to prioritizing national debt

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told "Axios on HBO" on Monday that he wishes reining in the national debt was a higher priority for President Trump.

Why it matters: Trump pledged during the 2016 campaign to reduce the national debt and eliminate it entirely within eight years, though he also deemed himself "the king of debt" and said there were some priorities that required spending. In the fiscal year that ended in September, the deficit reached a record $3.1 trillion.