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European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker with President Trump in July. Photo: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

The White House does not plan to make a decision on whether to impose auto tariffs by President Trump's May 18 deadline and will instead delay the announcement by up to 6 months, Bloomberg reports.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Jonathan Swan: Trump's team has been looking for ways to punt the auto tariffs decision. The White House knows that if they pile on another set of tariffs now — especially the deeply unpopular auto tariffs, which use the dubious justification that importing foreign automobiles and auto parts constitutes a "national security threat" — then the stock market would collapse and Congress would revolt.

  • Trump still wants to hold out the threat of auto tariffs over the Europeans as leverage. But his team is acutely aware that they've pushed Republican lawmakers to the brink of their tolerance with his tariffs war with China.

The other side: The EU had been finalizing a list of retaliatory tariffs on $23 billion of U.S. goods in the event that Trump decided to move forward with the decision.

Go deeper: Trump's plan to keep car tariffs in his back pocket

Go deeper

10 hours ago - World

Maximum pressure campaign escalates with Fakhrizadeh killing

Photo: Fars News Agency via AP

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s military nuclear program, is a new height in the maximum pressure campaign led by the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government against Iran.

Why it matters: It exceeds the capture of the Iranian nuclear archives by the Mossad, and the sabotage in the advanced centrifuge facility in Natanz.

Scoop: Biden weighs retired General Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star General Lloyd Austin as his nominee for defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

Updated 12 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.

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