(Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

The private equity industry received a fright on Thursday, with both President Trump and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin saying that the White House remains open to changing one of the industry's key drivers of investment returns: The deductibility of corporate interest.

What's the issue? Private equity firms usually finance their acquisitions via bank loans all of which are put onto the books of the purchased company. The company currently gets to deduct 100% of the interest on those loans. This rule also applies much more broadly, such as a small business getting to deduct the interest on a loan taken out to purchase new equipment.

Policy: The White House did not at all address this issue in its tax reform proposals, leading the private equity industry to believe the 100% deductibility would remain intact.

Then came this exchange via The Economist, suggesting that the matter remains unsettled:

Will you keep interest deduction in the corporate tax? Will corporate interest payments…Trump: Do you want to answer?Mnuchin: We're contemplating it. We're contemplating it.Contemplating getting rid of it?Mnuchin: No, we're contemplating keeping it. That's our preference. But we'll look at everything.So what would your preference be Mr President? You know about that very well.Trump: No, I would say probably…I think we're contemplating is the word. And it hasn't been determined yet, but we're contemplating.

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Trump tightens screws on ByteDance to sell Tiktok

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President Trump added more pressure Friday night on China-based TikTok parent ByteDance to exit the U.S., ordering it to divest all assets related to the U.S. operation of TikTok within 90 days.

Between the lines: The order means ByteDance must be wholly disentangled from TikTok in the U.S. by November. Trump had previously ordered TikTok banned if ByteDance hadn't struck a deal within 45 days. The new order likely means ByteDance has just another 45 days after that to fully close the deal, one White House source told Axios.

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Coronavirus dashboard

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  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m ET: 5,306,215 — Total deaths: 168,334 — Total recoveries: 1,796,309 — Total tests: 65,676,624Map.
  3. Health: CDC: Survivors of COVID-19 have up to three months of immunity Fauci believes normalcy will return by "the end of 2021" with vaccine — The pandemic's toll on mental health — FDA releases first-ever list of medical supplies in shortage.
  4. States: California passes 600,000 confirmed coronavirus cases.
  5. Cities: Coronavirus pandemic dims NYC's annual 9/11 Tribute in Light.
  6. Business: How small businesses got stiffed — Unemployment starts moving in the right direction.
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Harris: "Women are going to be a priority" in Biden administration

Sen. Kamala Harris at an event in Wilmington, Del. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

In her first sit-down interview since being named Joe Biden's running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris talked about what she'll do to fight for women if elected VP, and how the Democrats are thinking about voter turnout strategies ahead of November.

What they're saying: "In a Biden-Harris administration women are going to be a priority, understanding that women have many priorities and all of them must be acknowledged," Harris told The 19th*'s Errin Haines-Whack.