John Minchillo / AP

On Thursday evening, the President's top trade officials previewed two executive actions that are coming Friday and intended to signal to foreign countries that Trump intends to follow through on his nationalist campaign rhetoric:

  • Investigation into causes of America's trade deficits: Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and the US Trade Representative are initiating a comprehensive study of the ways foreign countries are fleecing America on trade. They'll report back to the President in 90 days with findings on everything from unbalanced free trade deals to lax enforcement to unfair WTO constraints. Ross said no country in particular is being targeted — and he emphasized not all trade deficits are evidence of evil-doing — but he listed China, Japan and Germany as countries with the biggest trade advantages over the US.
  • Anti-dumping order: Peter Navarro, the director of Trump's National Trade Council, said too many countries are getting away with dumping artificially cheap goods into U.S. markets. The executive order directs the Homeland Security Secretary, in consultation with the Treasury Secretary, the Commerce Secretary, and the Trade Rep to write a plan to ensure these countries play by the rules.

Why this matters: These orders are directions to write a study and a plan, so critics could safely describe them as toothless. But our sources have been telling us for weeks that Trump is ready to exorcise his trade demons, so expect these plans to give birth to hardline policies. Ross said the administration wouldn't necessarily wait for these reports to come out before taking action against trade abusers, and there'll very likely be some "interim" activity during the 90 days.

The giant panda in the room: Navarro said tonight's announcement isn't about China ― but it kinda is. The example of unfair trade practice that Ross highlighted was the dumping of artificially cheap, state-subsidized steel into the American market. And which country might be doing that? Hmmm... Trump could have a rather contentious meeting next week at Mar-a-Lago with President Xi.

Go deeper

Two officers shot in Louisville amid Breonna Taylor protests

Police officers stand guard during a protest in Louisville, Kentucky. Photo: Ben Hendren/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Louisville Metro Police Department said two officers were shot downtown in the Kentucky city late Wednesday, just hours after a grand jury announced an indictment in the Breonna Taylor case.

Driving the news: Metrosafe, the city's emergency services, said it received reports of a shooting at South Brook St. and Broadway Ave., near the area where protests were taking place. A police spokesperson told a press briefing the injuries of both officers were not life-threatening. One officer was "alert and stable" and the other was undergoing surgery, he said.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 31,778,331 — Total deaths: 974,436 — Total recoveries: 21,876,025Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 6,943,078 — Total deaths: 201,930 — Total recoveries: 2,670,256 — Total tests: 97,459,742Map.
  3. Health: CDC director says over 90% of Americans have not yet been exposed to coronavirus — Supply shortages continue to plague testing.
  4. Politics: Missouri Gov. Mike Parson tests positive for coronavirus — Poll says 51% of Republicans trust Trump on coronavirus more than the CDC.
  5. Technology: The tech solutions of 2020 may be sapping our resolve to beat the coronavirus
  6. Vaccines: Johnson & Johnson begins large phase 3 trial — The FDA plans to toughen standards.
  7. Sports: Less travel is causing the NBA to see better basketball.
  8. Future: America's halfway coronavirus response

Biden: Breonna Taylor indictment "does not answer" call for justice

Former Vice President Joe Biden. Photo: Leigh Vogel/Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday condemned the grand jury indictment of a Louisville police officer who entered Breonna Taylor's home in March in a botched drug raid that led to her death, saying in a statement the decision "does not answer" for equal justice.

The big picture: Biden called for reforms to address police use of force and no-knock warrants, while demanding a ban on chokeholds. He added that people "have a right to peacefully protest, but violence is never acceptable."

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