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World Trade Organisation director-general Brazil's Roberto Azevedo. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images

The Director-General of the World Trade Organization, Roberto Azevêdo, said during an episode of Freakonomics Radio that while he has had conversations with the leaders of nearly every major economy, he has never spoken directly with President Trump.

Why it matters: Trump has repeatedly threatened to withdraw from the WTO, a move that would send global markets into a spiral and cast trillions of dollars of trade into doubt, per Axios' Jonathan Swan. The U.S. has also blocked the reappointment of one of the WTO's four remaining appellate judges, claiming the panel oversteps its authorities and protects unfair trade practices by other countries.

The big picture: Azevêdo said he can see why President Trump and others may have concerns about the way global trade operates, but claimed those frustrations stem from a lack of understanding about the WTO's history:

"These tariffs are there because they were negotiated over 80 years...those situations are not there by accident. They are there because there is a history behind them and this is why we got to these tariffs and these commitments negotiated in the WTO."

He called for "a deeper conversation" with the U.S. and others in order to resolve ongoing trade tensions, and said he is "always available" if President Trump is interested in reaching out.

Go deeper

Updated 30 mins ago - Politics & Policy

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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

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  2. Education: Schools face an uphill battle to reopen during the pandemic.
  3. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  4. World: Hong Kong puts tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge — Pfizer to supply 40 million vaccine doses to lower-income countries — Brazil begins distributing AstraZeneca vaccine.
  5. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.

DOJ: Capitol rioter threatened to "assassinate" Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Supporters of former President Trump storm the U.S. Captiol on Jan. 6. Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A Texas man who has been charged with storming the U.S. Capitol in the deadly Jan. 6 siege posted death threats against Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), the Department of Justice said.

The big picture: Garret Miller faces five charges in connection to the riot by supporters of former President Trump, including violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds and making threats. According to court documents, Miller posted violent threats online the day of the siege, including tweeting “Assassinate AOC.”

Schumer calls for IG probe into alleged plan by Trump, DOJ lawyer to oust acting AG

Jeffrey Clark speaks next to Deputy US Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen at a news conference in October. Photo: Yuri Gripas/AFP via Getty Images.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Saturday called for the Justice Department inspector general to investigate an alleged plan by former President Trump and a DOJ lawyer to remove the acting attorney general and replace him with someone more willing to investigate unfounded claims of election fraud.

Driving the news: The New York Times first reported Friday that the lawyer, Jeffrey Clark, allegedly devised "ways to cast doubt on the election results and to bolster Mr. Trump’s continuing legal battles and the pressure on Georgia politicians. Because Mr. [Jeffrey] Rosen had refused the president’s entreaties to carry out those plans, Mr. Trump was about to decide whether to fire Mr. Rosen and replace him with Mr. Clark."