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President Trump's top trade advisor, economist Peter Navarro, is arguing that it is imperative for U.S. national security interests to reduce the trade deficit, in both a new Wall Street Journal op-ed and during a talk Monday at the National Association of Business Economics.

"Running large and persistent trade deficits facilitates a pattern of wealth transfers offshore," Navarro writes, arguing that if this wealth comes in the form of industries critical to national defense, it could be devastating to security.

Make America safer, but poorer: Navarro notes that the U.S. doesn't house a "single company that can make flat-panel displays for military aircraft or night-vision goggles," as an example of how free-trade globalism has hurt national security. But in order for this to become the case, the U.S. would have to be suffering under trade embargoes from every nation that makes flat-panel displays, and all of their trade partners too. If military experts see this as likely, passing laws to require domestic production of flat-panel displays would be prudent. But it will cost taxpayers more for such an arrangement, right at the time when the President is trying to increase the efficiency of defense spending.

Go deeper

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Inhofe loudly sets Trump straight on defense bill

Sen. Jim Inhofe speaks with reporters in the Capitol last month. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Senator Jim Inhofe told President Trump today he'll likely fail to get two big wishes in pending defense spending legislation, bellowing into his cellphone: "This is the only chance to get our bill passed," a source who overheard part of their conversation tells Axios.

Why it matters: Republicans are ready to test whether Trump's threats of vetoing the bill, which has passed every year for more than half a century, are empty.

Conspiracy theories blow back on Trump's White House

Sidney Powell. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

President Trump has rarely met a conspiracy theory he doesn't like, but he and other Republicans now worry the wild tales told by lawyers Sidney Powell and Lin Wood may cost them in Georgia's Senate special elections.

Why it matters: The two are telling Georgians not to vote for Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler because of a bizarre, baseless and potentially self-defeating theory: It's not worth voting because the Chinese Communist Party has rigged the voting machines.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Bolton lauds Barr for standing up to Trump

John Bolton. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

John Bolton says Attorney General Bill Barr has done more to undercut President Trump's baseless assertions about Democrats stealing the election than most Senate Republicans by saying publicly that the Justice Department has yet to see widespread fraud that could change the election's outcome.

What he's saying: “He stood up and did the right thing," Bolton said in a Wednesday phone interview.