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Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Trump wants to sign a presidential proclamation tomorrow to set his steel and aluminum tariffs in motion, according to two senior administration officials. (More on how proclamations work below).

The big picture: Trump is impatient and he wants to act — or at least be seen as acting. He got fed up with staff, especially Gary Cohn and Rob Porter, not giving him his tariffs on steel and aluminum. And some of Trump’s nationalist-minded advisers are telling him these tariffs will help turn out voters in the upcoming special election in Pennsylvania's 18th congressional district.

Yes, but: Keep in mind that this is what Trump has been telling staff he wants. These days — and in this White House — nothing is set in stone. Besides, the White House lawyers have been working overtime on these tariffs and sources tell me nothing is certain when it comes to timing.

What to watch from a proclamation:

  1. Are any countries exempted? If not, this is a global 25% tariff on steel, and 10% on aluminum.
  2. What, if any, steel and aluminum products are exempted? Past proclamations have listed specific products for targeted tariffs, but they were on different grounds than this round.
  3. What does the post-tariff exclusion process look like? How do they handle the potential exemptions for specific products or countries after the fact?

How it works:

  • The Trump administration used a proclamation earlier this year when it slapped restrictions on Chinese solar panels.
  • Most proclamations imposing tariffs — like Trump's move against Chinese solar, Obama's 2009 Chinese tire tariffs, or Bush's 2002 steel tariffs — are highly-detailed documents based on government trade reports.
  • They also tend to run through the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC), but this round will not because they're using Wilbur Ross' Section 232 report, citing national security grounds.
  • This one is different: 232 is rarely invoked, but one example is Ronald Reagan's use of 232 in 1982, when he cited national security grounds for ending oil imports from Libya.

The backdrop: Next Tuesday's looming Pennsylvania election could be pushing Trump to act quickly, given that the race is taking place in industrial steel and coal strongholds in the southwestern corner of the state. Trump's preferred candidate Rick Saccone is struggling against Democrat Conor Lamb. Senior Republicans on the Hill and inside the administration are nervous and pessimistic about this race in a district they really ought to win.

Go deeper

Anti-Trump lawmakers' private security expenses ballooned after Jan. 6 riot

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill on April 14. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Image

Members of Congress are spending tens of thousands of dollars on personal security for them and their families in the wake of the Jan. 6 riot, according to an analysis of first-quarter Federal Election Commission reports by Punchbowl News.

Between the lines: Private security expenditures were especially common among anti-Trump Republicans and high-profile Democrats who earlier this year voted to impeach and convict the former president for inciting the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riot, signaling they fear for the safety of themselves and their families.

1 hour ago - World

Jimmy Lai among Hong Kong pro-democracy leaders sentenced to prison

Students standing under a banner during a flag raising ceremony on the first annual National Security Education Day in Hong Kong. Photo: Vernon Yuen/NurPhoto via Getty Images

A Hong Kong court sentenced a group of the city's most prominent pro-democracy activists to up to 18 months in prison Friday for organizing a massive unauthorized protest in August 2019 that drew an estimated 1.7 million people, AP reports.

Why it matters: Critics say the sentences send the message that even peaceful pro-democracy activism will be severely punished. They mark a continuation of Beijing's overhaul of Hong Kong's political structure, designed to crack down opposition to the Chinese Communist Party.

Local news moves to the inbox

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A slew of new companies are launching platforms for local newsletters, a shift that could help finally bring the local news industry into the digital era.

Driving the news: Substack, the email publishing platform for independent journalists, on Thursday announced a new local news platform.