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Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Though President Trump insisted he plans to follow through on his threat to add escalating tariffs to all goods imported from Mexico, suspicion is beginning to grow among asset managers.

What it means: The timing, lack of clarity and lack of policy action or precedent has some wondering whether the president's actions are less about punishing Mexico and more an attempt to get the Fed to cut rates in order to stimulate the economy ahead of 2020.

What they're saying: Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, said on "Fox News Sunday" that Trump was "deadly serious" about the tariffs, but acknowledged there was "no specific target" and no concrete benchmarks to judge whether Mexico was stopping the flow of migrants from Central America into the U.S. as Trump demanded.

The other side: Afsaneh M. Beschloss, founder and CEO of asset management firm RockCreek, said Tuesday at the Bloomberg Invest conference in New York that Wall Street is starting to wonder aloud about the president's intentions.

"Looking at what's going on with trade, one question some people are asking is why are there so many tweets and why so much attention to trade at this particular moment. Because we know the president is one of the smartest when it comes to politics."
"We're out of fiscal policy options, since it's unlikely Congress can come to an agreement, and we know that the Fed is independent. So is the causal effect here to push the news on trade to a point that it might impact interest rate decisions? Some people are starting to talk that way."

Go deeper: Trump's Mexico tariffs would constitute the biggest tax hike in 30 years

Go deeper

Republicans pledge to set aside differences and work with Biden

President Biden speaks to Sen. Mitch McConnell after being sworn in at the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Several Republicans praised President Biden's calls for unity during his inaugural address on Wednesday and pledged to work together for the benefit of the American people.

Why it matters: The Democrats only have a slim majority in the Senate and Biden will likely need to work with the GOP to pass his legislative agenda.

The Biden protection plan

Joe Biden announces his first run for the presidency in June 1987. Photo: Howard L. Sachs/CNP/Getty Images

The Joe Biden who became the 46th president on Wednesday isn't the same blabbermouth who failed in 1988 and 2008.

Why it matters: Biden now heeds guidance about staying on task with speeches and no longer worries a gaffe or two will cost him an election. His staff also limits the places where he speaks freely and off the cuff. This Biden protective bubble will only tighten in the months ahead, aides tell Axios.

Bush labels Clyburn the “savior” for Democrats

House Majority Whip James Clyburn takes a selfie Wednesday with former President George W. Bush. Photo: Patrick Semansky-Pool/Getty Images

Former President George W. Bush credited Rep. James Clyburn with being the "savior" of the Democratic Party, telling the South Carolinian at Wednesday's inauguration his endorsement allowed Joe Biden to win the party's presidential nomination.

Why it matters: The nation's last two-term Republican president also said Clyburn's nod allowed for the transfer of power, because he felt only Biden had the ability to unseat President Trump.