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Trump admin sets new record for censorship of federal files

National Archives
The National Archives. Photo by George Rose/Getty Images.

The federal government denied more public records requests in 2017 than at any other point in the past decade, according to an analysis by the AP. Out of 823,222 requests filed under the Freedom of Information Act last year, the government censored or failed to provide records in 78% of cases claiming that it could either not find the requested files or that releasing the information would be illegal under U.S. law.

Why it matters: Per the AP, this analysis provides one of the first insights into how President Trump's administration complies with the Freedom of Information Act. Anyone seeking federal information through a FOIA request is supposed to receive it unless disclosure would threaten "national security, violate personal privacy, or expose business secrets or confidential decision-making in certain areas."

But, but, but: It's important to note that the Trump administration received a record number of FOIA requests last year, and that requests can sometimes take months to complete. However, the government also spent a record $40.6 million in court defending its decisions, and admitted to improperly withholding information in more than 33% of cases in which appeals were filed.

Jonathan Swan 1 hour ago
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Trump to announce anti-China tariffs tomorrow

President Donald Trump
Photo: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

President Trump plans to unveil his aggressive package of tariffs against China tomorrow, with a charge led by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer that will use Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 to target Beijing.

The big picture: Two sources with direct knowledge tell me Kevin Hassett has been crunching the numbers, and the dollar value of the tariffs will likely be around $50 billion per year — or slightly less. The administration has used an algorithm to select a batch of Chinese products and then apply tariff rates to those products in a way that will hopefully limit the harm to American consumers. 

Axios 22 hours ago
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LIVE: Jamie Dimon, Steve Case speak with Axios at Howard

Axios hosts a conversation on the future of work at Howard University in Washington, D.C., featuring JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, MSNBC hosts Stephanie Ruhle and Ali Velshi, AOL co-founder Steve Case and comedian and writer Baratunde Thurston.