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Secretary Mnuchin. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Wednesday that it's "absolutely right that the attorney general is looking into" Amazon because it "has destroyed the retail industry across the U.S."

The big picture: Amazon, along with Facebook and Google, appears to be the subject of a Justice Department probe into the market power of online platforms. Mnuchin, an administration official, is weighing in and suggesting that Amazon is stifling competition before the antitrust investigation has really even started.

Yes, but: Administration officials are not supposed to influence the Department of Justice's investigations, notes Axios' David McCabe.

  • The backdrop: As we've reported, President Trump has gone after Amazon in tweets and private conversations. And Amazon has already come under fire in the European Union, where officials are investigating whether its piles of data on what people are searching and buying give the company a leg up over other sellers on its platform.
  • The other side: Amazon says its sales amount to only 4% of all U.S. retail and points to the fact that 90% of all shopping is still done in physical stores.

Worth noting: Many of the big chains that have struggled or gone belly up during Amazon's rise were heading downhill long before the e-commerce giant started gaining market share. "And as a former longtime Sears director, Mnuchin should be intimately familiar with how some big chains caused their own downfall," Fortune Magazine's Phil Wahba writes.

Go deeper: The antitrust vise tightens on tech

Go deeper

35 mins ago - Technology

Facebook Oversight Board overturns 4 of its 5 first cases

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Facebook's independent Oversight Board published its first set of decisions Thursday, overturning 4 of the 5 cases it chose to review out of 20,000 cases submitted.

Why it matters: The decision to go against Facebook's conclusions in 4 out of 5 instances gives legitimacy to the Board, which is funded via a $130 million grant from Facebook.

New York AG: State severely undercounted COVID nursing home deaths

Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

Data from New York's public health department undercounted COVID-19-related deaths in nursing homes by as much as 50%, according to a report released Thursday by state Attorney General Letitia James.

The big picture: Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration did not include nursing home patients who died after being transferred to the hospital in its tally of over 8,500 nursing home deaths, according to the report. Data provided to the attorney general's office from 62 nursing homes "shows a significantly higher number of resident COVID-19 deaths can be identified than is reflected" in the official count.

Trading platforms curb trading on high-flying Reddit stocks

Major trading platforms including Robinhood, TDAmeritrade and Interactive Brokers are restricting — or cutting off entirely — trading on high-flying stocks like GameStop and AMC Entertainment.

Why it matters: It limits access to the traders that have contributed to the wild Reddit-driven activity of the past few days — a phenomenon that has gripped Wall Street and the country.

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