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Why the stock markets are tanking

Stock market trader adjusts his glasses.
Photo by Xinhua/Wang Ying via Getty Images

Stock markets were down sharply on Thursday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average losing 724 points, or 2.96%.

Three key drivers: Tariffs, inter-bank lending rates and Facebook's troubles.

Tariffs: President Trump's expected announcement of anti-China tariffs, which have taken a particular bite out of Dow components like Boeing and Caterpillar. Stocks rebounded slightly after news came that the tariffs would not be imposed until after a 3o-day public comment period, which could let U.S. businesses plead their case. But then they resumed their plummet.

Financials: The LIBOR rates, which are the interest rates at which banks lend to one another, have hit their highest levels since 2008, thus hammering bank stocks.

Tech-lash: Facebook shares continue to fall, amid calls for increased regulation that could impact broader social media ad models. Some tech hardware companies, like Apple, also are experiencing tariff-related drops.

Jonathan Swan 10 hours ago
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Trump asked Netanyahu if he genuinely cares about peace

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Trump at the White House in March. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

In a phone call last year with Bibi Netanyahu, President Trump said something that shocked some of the people who helped prepare his briefing materials for the conversations. According to three sources familiar with the call, Trump asked Bibi bluntly if he actually cares about peace or not.

The details: Trump was pressing Bibi on the importance of striking a "deal" for Mideast peace. He'd read news reports about Bibi planning to build additional settlements to please his conservative base in Israel. Trump thought Bibi was unnecessarily angering the Palestinians. So, in the course of a longer conversation that was mostly friendly and complimentary, he bluntly asked Bibi whether or not he genuinely wants peace.

Jonathan Swan 10 hours ago
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Kellyanne Conway rises — again

Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Kellyanne Conway has never actually wanted the job of White House communications director, according to sources who've discussed it with her, but Axios has learned that she left many in the White House communications team this week with the impression that she'd be leading the team in some capacity.

Behind the scenes: Senior White House communications official Mercedes Schlapp convened an off-site team-building and planning retreat last week for the White House comms team. They held the session on Thursday at the General Services Administration building a couple blocks from the WH (the same building that once housed the transition).