The Dumbest Antitrust Probe In Car History Was Even Dumber Than We Thought

Last September, we got word that the U.S. Department of Justice had begun an investigation into Ford, Honda, Volkswagen, and BMW after the four said they had reached agreements with California over emissions regulations. Surely that all didn’t start because of tweets from Trump, right? Oh wait, I’m being told otherwise.

The timeline is remarkable. As Bloomberg reported yesterday:

The memo opening the automaker investigation was dated Aug. 22, 2019, one day after Trump issued a series of tweets blasting executives for refusing to back the administration’s August 2018 plan that called for capping efficiency requirements after 2020 and revoking California’s authority to regulate vehicle greenhouse gas emissions to combat climate change.

[…]

“The day after the tweets, Antitrust Division political leadership instructed staff to initiate an investigation,” [John Elias, a trial attorney in the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division] said during the hearing. He said paperwork for the probe was hurried and that staff had only partially reviewed public information relevant to the deal, but the probe proceeded anyway.

“The career staff who examined it saw some very obvious defences” for the California emissions pact, Elias said. “You really have to twist things to get around those, so it did not appear to be in good faith.”

Elias was testifying today at the House Judiciary Committee as a whistleblower. He also said that he reported what he knew to the U.S. Department of Justice’s inspector general. The Department of Justice’s investigation was closed in February after the department didn’t find anything that violated the law.

The apparent tweets in question, by the way, are pretty standard stuff from Trump. I would point out that none of them make sense or are factually accurate, but I respect you, reader.

Twitter should delete Trump’s account — and Trump’s account alone — not only for the betterment of the U.S. but also because it would be extremely funny.