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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 TrumpIran's leader vows 'revenge,' posting an image resembling Trump Former Sanders spokesperson: Biden 'backing away' from 'populist offerings' Justice Dept. to probe sudden departure of US attorney in Atlanta after Trump criticism 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 BarrBudowsky: Democracy won, Trump lost, President Biden inaugurated Two-thirds say the election was fair: poll The Hill's Morning Report - An inauguration like no other 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.

White House press secretary Stephanie GrishamStephanie GrishamMelania Trump says she was 'disappointed and disheartened' watching Capitol riots Trump resignations gaining steam GOP senators urging Trump officials to not resign after Capitol chaos MORE tweeted a photo of Trump earlier signing the executive order alongside Barr and Azar in the Oval Office.

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