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Photo: Jahi Chikwendiu / The Washington Post via Getty Images

"The White House is planning to make a major announcement today about whether it will impose new limits on steel and aluminum imports, ... following months of speculation about whether President Trump would follow through on trade threats and impose tariffs that could roil global markets," The Washington Post reports.

But the news comes as a big surprise to many administration officials, signaling a truly remarkable breakdown in process — and the event may not happen.

The confusion last night among senior officials on the trade announcement — a decision of global consequence — is like nothing I've seen in the Kelly era:

  • A staunch Trump loyalist inside the administration texted: “This is venturing into ‘OK, this is just too much’ territory.”
  • Senior White House officials had no idea what was going on, and tried to find out after seeing the WashPost story.

And today...

Be smart: This is a good illustration of catching Trump at the right moment — which senior administration officials believe is what Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and possibly trade adviser Peter Navarro did.

  • Trump is mad and feels he’s being poorly served by staff. And he wants tariffs, dammit!
  • So when somebody says: "You know, Mr., President, you could just do it," that’s pretty appealing.

Go deeper

34 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden's latest executive order: Buy American

President Joe R. Biden speaks about the economy before signing executive orders in the State Dining Room at the White House on Friday, Jan 22, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

President Joe Biden will continue his flurry of executive orders on Monday, signing a new directive to require the federal government to “buy American” for products and services.

Why it matters: The executive action is yet another attempt by Biden to accomplish goals administratively without waiting for the backing of Congress. The new order echoes Biden's $400 billion campaign pledge to increase government purchases of American goods.

Tech digs in for long domestic terror fight

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

With domestic extremist networks scrambling to regroup online, experts fear the next attack could come from a radicalized individual — much harder than coordinated mass events for law enforcement and platforms to detect or deter.

The big picture: Companies like Facebook and Twitter stepped up enforcement and their conversations with law enforcement ahead of Inauguration Day. But they'll be tested as the threat rises that impatient lone-wolf attackers will lash out.

The pandemic could be worsening childhood obesity

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The 10-month long school closures and the coronavirus pandemic are expected to have a big impact on childhood obesity rates.

Why it matters: About one in five children are obese in the U.S. — an all-time high — with worsening obesity rates across income and racial and ethnic groups, data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey show.