Trump signs executive order to prevent price gouging, hoarding of medical supplies

Trump signs executive order to prevent price gouging, hoarding of medical supplies
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President TrumpDonald John Trump Trump responds to calls to tear down monuments with creation of 'National Garden' of statues Trump: Children are taught in school to 'hate their own country' Trump accuses those tearing down statues of wanting to 'overthrow the American Revolution' MORE signed an executive order Monday aimed at preventing price gouging and hoarding of critical medical supplies amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Attorney General William BarrBill BarrDemocrat asks Barr to preserve any records tied to environmental hacking probe Justice Dept. considering replacing outgoing US attorney in Brooklyn with Barr deputy: report Ousted Manhattan US Attorney Berman to testify before House next week MORE detailed the executive order at a White House briefing Monday evening, saying it would prohibit people from accumulating critical supplies amid the coronavirus outbreak in an effort to profit off of them.

Barr said the Department of Justice (DOJ) had seen potential evidence of hoarding and price gouging amid the pandemic.

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Trump is authorized under the Defense Production Act to prohibit hoarding of needed resources by designating them as scarce or threatened by people accumulating excessive amounts, Barr said.

The executive order signed by Trump on Monday gives Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar the authority to designate certain supplies as critical, meaning those found to be hoarding or price gouging such equipment could face criminal action, Barr said.

“Once specific materials are so designated, persons are prohibited from accumulating those items in excess of reasonable personal or business needs or for the purpose of selling them in excess of prevailing market prices,” Barr said.

“It is a crime to engage in prohibited activity,” the attorney general continued.

No materials have been designated as critical, Barr said, but the DOJ and HHS are working together to identify possible cases where hoarding is hampering response efforts amid the coronavirus outbreak.

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White House press secretary Stephanie GrishamStephanie GrishamMelania Trump's spokeswoman slams 'inappropriate and insensitive comments' about Barron Trump Melania Trump is 'behind-the-scenes' but 'unbelievably influential': book East Wing rips book saying Melania Trump renegotiated prenup before moving to White House MORE tweeted a photo of Trump earlier signing the executive order alongside Barr and Azar in the Oval Office.