Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

China's Xi Jinping Photo: Pool photo / AP

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has announced that the Commerce Department today "self-initiated" antidumping and countervailing duty investigations of aluminum imports from China, which Ross claims have been dumped and subsidized to the detriment of U.S. manufacturers, CNBC reported.

Why it matters: China and some US free traders will scream "trade war," but self-initiated AD/CVD cases, while rare, are still permitted (and governed) by World Trade Organization rules, and Ross promised them back in his confirmation hearings. So this move is far less controversial than the investigations into steel and aluminum imports earlier this year which were initiated on national security grounds. The Trump administration will nevertheless hold these investigations up as a fulfillment of Trump's "America First" promises to crack down on unfair trade, and China's complaints will probably help their public case.

Why "self-initiated" matters: Most of the time, these cases are adjudicated by the U.S. government following a U.S. industry petition claiming injury from a foreign nation's subsidies or a private company's dumping. By self-initiating, the U.S. will play both plaintiff and judge. This will understandably set off diplomatic and geopolitical alarms, but the cases will still follow standard procedures under U.S. law and WTO rules.

What's next: This kicks off a year-long process of fact-finding on Chinese dumping/subsidization and "material injury" to U.S. manufacturers. If the U.S. finds that Chinese companies have been selling dumped (sold at prices below fair value) or subsidized imports that have hurt the U.S. aluminum industry, the U.S. will impose duties on those imports.

Go deeper: Back in July, Mike Allen reported that Trump was reigning in his tariff temptation.

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Trump to issue at least 100 pardons and commutations before leaving office

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump plans to issue at least 100 pardons and commutations on his final full day in office Tuesday, sources familiar with the matter told Axios.

Why it matters: This is a continuation of the president's controversial December spree that saw full pardons granted to more than two dozen people — including former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, longtime associate Roger Stone and Charles Kushner, the father of Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

  • The pardons set to be issued before Trump exits the White House will be a mix of criminal justice ones and pardons for people connected to the president, the sources said.
  • CNN first reported this news.

Go deeper: Convicts turn to D.C. fixers for Trump pardons

Schumer's m(aj)ority checklist

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Capitalizing on the Georgia runoffs, achieving a 50-50 Senate and launching an impeachment trial are weighty to-dos for getting Joe Biden's administration up and running on Day One.

What to watch: A blend of ceremonies, hearings and legal timelines will come into play on Tuesday and Wednesday so Chuck Schumer can actually claim the Senate majority and propel the new president's agenda.

The dark new reality in Congress

National Guard troops keep watch at security fencing. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

This is how bad things are for elected officials and others working in a post-insurrection Congress:

  • Rep. Norma Torres (D-Calif.) said she had a panic attack while grocery shopping back home.
  • Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said police may also have to be at his constituent meetings.
  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) told a podcaster he brought a gun to his office on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 because he anticipated trouble with the proceedings that day.