A coal-fired power plant in Springdale, Pennsylvania. Photo: Robert Nickelsberg / Getty Images

President Trump appeared to signal Thursday that he'll soon examine a plea by the financially struggling power company, FirstEnergy Solutions Corp., for the Energy Department (DOE) to support the operation of its coal-fired and nuclear plants.

Why it matters: Trump's remarks in West Virginia lacked detail, but nonetheless show that the controversial request for DOE to make sweeping use of its emergency powers has landed on the White House's radar screen.

What he said: According to tweets from Argus Media's Chris Knight and other reports, Trump said, "We'll be looking at that 202, you know what a 202 is, we'll be looking at that, we're trying," and "About nine of your people just came up to me outside, could you talk about 202, and we'll be looking at that as soon as we get back."

What that probably means: It's an apparent reference to FirstEnergy's March 29 request for DOE to use its powers under Section 202(c) of the Federal Power Act to keep companies' coal-fired and nuclear plants running and ensure they're "compensated fairly."

One level deeper: As we noted in Axios' Generate newsletter last week, FirstEnergy wants DOE to alter market conditions in the PJM Interconnection region, which covers all or parts of 13 states — including Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia — and contains a substantial number of coal and nuclear plants operated by multiple companies.

  • Their filing says DOE should order PJM to ensure financially challenged coal and nuclear plants are compensated by ratepayers for the "full benefits they provide to energy markets and the public at large, including fuel security and diversity."

DOE has said they are reviewing the request.

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Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 12,859,834 — Total deaths: 567,123 — Total recoveries — 7,062,085Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 3,297,501— Total deaths: 135,155 — Total recoveries: 1,006,326 — Total tested: 40,282,176Map.
  3. States: Florida smashes single-day record for new coronavirus cases with over 15,000 — NYC reports zero coronavirus deaths for first time since pandemic hit.
  4. Public health: Ex-FDA chief projects "apex" of South's coronavirus curve in 2-3 weeks — Coronavirus testing czar: Lockdowns in hotspots "should be on the table"
  5. Education: Betsy DeVos says schools that don't reopen shouldn't get federal funds — Pelosi accuses Trump of "messing with the health of our children."

Scoop: How the White House is trying to trap leakers

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Trump's chief of staff, Mark Meadows, has told several White House staffers he's fed specific nuggets of information to suspected leakers to see if they pass them on to reporters — a trap that would confirm his suspicions. "Meadows told me he was doing that," said one former White House official. "I don't know if it ever worked."

Why it matters: This hunt for leakers has put some White House staffers on edge, with multiple officials telling Axios that Meadows has been unusually vocal about his tactics. So far, he's caught only one person, for a minor leak.

11 GOP congressional nominees support QAnon conspiracy

Lauren Boebert posing in her restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, on April 24. Photo: Emily Kask/AFP

At least 11 Republican congressional nominees have publicly supported or defended the QAnon conspiracy theory movement or some of its tenets — and more aligned with the movement may still find a way onto ballots this year.

Why it matters: Their progress shows how a fringe online forum built on unsubstantiated claims and flagged as a threat by the FBI is seeking a foothold in the U.S. political mainstream.