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Joe Nocera

The Trump Administration Is Playing Dirty With Automakers

A questionable crackdown on companies that already meet stringent emissions standards.

Body slam! And the match isn’t rigged.

Body slam! And the match isn’t rigged.

Photograph: Bloomberg 

The sad degradation of the Department of Justice’s antitrust division continues. An agency charged with upholding the nation’s antitrust laws, without fear or favor, has become just another tool President Donald Trump uses to reward his friends and punish his enemies in corporate America.

I don’t know how else you can characterize the news, reported by the Wall Street Journal on Friday, that the DOJ is investigating four major automakers that agreed to abide by California’s stringent tailpipe-emissions standards — and chose to ignore less onerous rules the Trump administration has proposed.