Photo: Dominick Reuter/AFP/Getty Images

The Trump administration's plans to directly intervene in power markets to prop up economically struggling coal-fired and nuclear power plants have been "shelved" for now, Politico reported last night.

Why it matters: The story underscores the challenge of finding legally and politically viable policy levers to directly keep these plants afloat, even as the White House pushes ahead with efforts to aid the coal sector by scaling back Obama-era pollution rules.

Where it stands: An Energy Department-led effort has been seeking ways to use sweeping federal national security powers to aid plants facing severe market pressures from cheap natural gas, renewables and regulations.

  • "But the White House has shelved the plan amid opposition from the president’s own advisers on the National Security Council and National Economic Council," Politico reports, citing 4 sources with "knowledge of the discussions."

The intrigue: Politico reports that one of Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s biggest problems is "figuring out who would pay the billions of dollars needed to keep money-losing power plants operating" and the prospect of the plan raising consumer costs.

The big picture: The administration — in an argument hotly disputed by numerous experts — says that it's essential to aid these coal and nuclear plants to ensure grid reliability, especially as officials review gas pipelines' vulnerability to cyber and physical attacks.

  • The White House did not comment when contacted by Axios last night.

Separately in coal policy, the Associated Press reports:

"The Trump administration is considering using West Coast military bases or other federal properties as transit points for shipments of U.S. coal and natural gas to Asia, as officials seek to bolster the domestic energy industry and circumvent environmental opposition to fossil fuel exports."

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Trump's TikTok and WeChat actions ratchet up the pressure on China

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump escalated his campaign to claw apart the Chinese and American tech worlds Thursday evening, issuing executive orders that threaten to ban both TikTok and massive global messaging app WeChat.

The big picture: Trump's orders come against a backdrop of heightening tension with China, the steady unfolding of a hard "decoupling" between the world's two largest economies, and the Trump campaign's effort to wave a "tough on China" banner.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 a.m. ET: 19,128,901 — Total deaths: 715,555— Total recoveries — 11,591,028Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 a.m. ET: 4,884,406 — Total deaths: 160,111 — Total recoveries: 1,598,624 — Total tests: 59,652,675Map.
  3. Politics: Trump floats executive action even if stimulus deal is reached.
  4. Business: U.S. economy adds 1.8 million jobs in July — Household debt and credit delinquencies dropped in Q2.
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Trump floats executive action even if stimulus deal is reached

Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

The White House is finalizing a series of executive orders addressing key coronavirus stimulus priorities if negotiations with Congress fall apart, and it's leaving the door open for President Trump to use them even if a deal is reached that doesn't encompass all of his priorities, two administration officials tell Axios.

What we’re hearing: “I wouldn't be surprised that, if something gets left off the table, we’d be like ‘we can take this executive action too and be able to win on it anyway,’” one official said.