Trump administration launches investigation into carmakers' deal with California against White House wishes
Attorney General Bill Barr during his press conference the day of the Mueller report release. Image via screengrab.

According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, the Justice Department has opened up anti-trust investigations against four major automakers who have made a deal with California on emissions controls opposed by President Donald Trump.

The report states that Justice Department lawyers are seeking to determine if Ford Motor Co, Honda Motor Co, BMW AG and Volkswagen AG violated federal competition laws after making the deal with California that go beyond what the Trump White House desires.

The Journal reports, "The new antitrust inquiry by the Justice Department stands to escalate tensions between Washington, Sacramento and the auto industry over plans by the Trump administration to roll back clean-air mandates on auto makers."

"California regulators have said they are willing to ease mandates, but not nearly as far as the Trump administration, which has proposed eliminating all upcoming increases in the efficiency requirements," the reports states, adding, "The four companies and the California Air Resources Board announced the deal to signal support for keeping one, nationwide emissions standard."

According to a source familiar with preliminary investigation, the Justice Department’s antitrust division "is acting on its own accord and without direction from or coordination with the White House."

In a statement, Honda Motor claimed, "Honda will work cooperatively with the Department of Justice with regard to the recent emissions agreement reached between the State of California and various automotive manufacturers, including Honda.”

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