Trump Orders U.S. Companies Out Of China?

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

 

BIARRITZ, France — President Trump asserted on Saturday that he has the authority to make good on his threat to force all American businesses to leave China, citing a national security law that has been used mainly to target terrorists, drug traffickers and pariah states like Iran, Syria and North Korea.

As he arrived in France for the annual meeting of the Group of 7 powers, Mr. Trump posted a message on Twitter citing the International Emergency Economic Powers Act of 1977 — a law meant to enable a president to isolate criminal regimes but not intended to be used to cut off economic ties with a major trading partner because of a disagreement over tariffs.

“For all of the Fake News Reporters that don’t have a clue as to what the law is relative to Presidential powers, China, etc., try looking at the Emergency Economic Powers Act of 1977,” Mr. Trump wrote. “Case closed!”

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

For all of the Fake News Reporters that don’t have a clue as to what the law is relative to Presidential powers, China, etc., try looking at the Emergency Economic Powers Act of 1977. Case closed!

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The president’s tweet could further unsettle American companies that still conduct an enormous amount of business with China amid a trade war that has already strained ties. Stock markets fell sharply on Friday after Mr. Trump first raised the prospect of cutting off trade altogether.

The threat came after the Chinese government said it would raise tariffs on American goods in retaliation for the latest levies imposed by Mr. Trump on $300 billion in Chinese imports. Mr. Trump vowed hours later to raise tariffs further.

Under the weight of Mr. Trump’s tariff war, China has already fallen from America’s largest trading partner last year to the third largest this year.

China’s commerce ministry issued a strongly worded statement on Saturday evening warning the United States to turn back from ever-escalating confrontation, but it did not threaten any new trade measures.

“This unilateral and bullying trade protectionism and extreme pressure violate the consensus of the heads of state of China and the United States, violate the principle of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, seriously undermine the multilateral trading system and the normal international trade order,” the Chinese statement said.

China warned that the United States would suffer as a result.

“The Chinese side strongly urges the U.S. side not to misjudge the situation, not to underestimate the determination of the Chinese people, and immediately stop the wrong approach, otherwise all consequences will be borne by the U.S.,” the statement added.

In raising the possibility of forcing American businesses to pull out of China on Friday, Mr. Trump framed it not as a request but as an order he had already issued.

Image
Credit Gilles Sabrié for The New York Times

“Our great American companies are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China, including bringing our companies HOME and making your products in the USA,” he wrote on Twitter, adding, “We don’t need China and, frankly, would be far better off without them.”

In fact, aides said, no order has been drawn up nor was it clear that he would attempt to do so. Instead, it could be the latest negotiating tactic by a president who favors drastic threats without always following through on them in hopes of forcing partners to make concessions.

Andy Mok, a trade and geopolitics analyst at the Center for China and Globalization in Beijing, said that the Chinese government was coolly assessing the latest American actions.

“In negotiations, and especially in high-stakes negotiations, the side that reacts emotionally generally is the side that does not do well,” he said. “The U.S. side is approaching this from a more emotional side, while China is more calm and calculating.”

Mr. Trump’s threat to invoke the 1977 act to force companies to leave China would be his most recent unorthodox use of authorities that Congress delegated to the presidency for exigent circumstances.

The president previously threatened to use emergency powers to impose tariffs on Mexican goods, unless the Mexican government did more to stop migrants from illegally entering the United States. He backed off after Mexico promised to take tougher action.

His effort to use emergency powers could also be challenged in court, given the restrictions surrounding when it can be invoked.

The International Emergency Economic Powers Act says that if the president decides that circumstances abroad have created “any unusual and extraordinary threat” to “the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States,” the president can declare a “national emergency.” This triggers special authority for the leader to regulate “any transactions in foreign exchange” by Americans.

The law was passed to define and restrain presidential power, which until then had been seen by critics as interpreted too expansively. It has served ever since as the main source of authority for presidents to sanction other countries or individuals in response to specific national security threats, such as the Iranian hostage crisis that began in 1979.

As of March 1, presidents had declared 54 national emergencies under the law, of which 29 were still active, according to the Congressional Research Service. Among others, presidents have used it to target international terrorists, drug kingpins, human rights abusers, cyber attackers, illegal arms proliferators, and multinational criminal organizations.

Presidents relied on the law’s authority when Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, when Serbia sent troops into Kosovo in 1998 and when Russia annexed Crimea in 2014. Among the countries targeted at various points over the years have been international outliers like North Korea, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, Syria, Congo and Venezuela.

Seeking to use it in a trade dispute with a country like China would be a drastic departure from its history. But Mr. Trump could make the argument that China’s theft of intellectual property constitutes a national security threat akin to cyber attacks or other nonviolent attacks on American sovereignty.

Credit Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times

Mr. Trump came to office criticizing President Barack Obama for abusing his executive authority but has himself asserted new and creative ways of taking action that his predecessors never used.

Among other things, he invoked a related national emergency law to finance parts of his proposed wall along the Mexican border even though Congress explicitly refused to authorize the money. So far, Mr. Trump has successfully rebuffed legal challenges to that decision.

Speaking with reporters before leaving Washington for France, Mr. Trump made clear how much of a priority his trade war with China has become for his presidency.

“This is more important than anything else that we’re working on, just about,” he said.

But he brushed off the stock market drop in reaction to his statements on Friday, saying he was “not at all” responsible and, besides, the markets had gone up substantially since he took office.

“So don’t talk to me about 600 points,” he said, minimizing the drop in the Dow Jones industrial average.

Mr. Trump’s meetings in Biarritz could be tense given the economic uncertainty and his many policy differences with his global counterparts. The American president has become such a dissenter from the international consensus that President Emmanuel Macron of France, the host, has decided even not to bother trying to craft a single joint statement for the first time in the history of the summit.

“This is another G7 summit which will be a difficult test of unity and solidarity of the free world and its leaders,” Donald Tusk, the president of the European Union, told reporters in Brussels.

“There is still no certainty whether the group will be able to find common solutions, and the global challenges are today really serious, or whether to focus on senseless disputes among each other.”

He warned against further economic conflict.

“Trade deals and the reform of the W.T.O. are better than trade wars,” he said, referring to the World Trade Organization. “Trade wars will lead to recession while trade deals will boost the economy.”

After landing in Biarritz, Mr. Trump had lunch with Mr. Macron and the two put on a friendly show for reporters.

“We will be allies, friends,” Mr. Macron said.

Mr. Trump insisted that he and Mr. Macron “actually have a lot in common” and “have been friends a long time.”

“Once in a while we go at it just a little bit,” he added, “not very much.”

Reporting was contributed by Michael D. Shear from Biarritz, Keith Bradsher from Shanghai and Matina Stevis-Gridneff from Brussels.

Follow Peter Baker on Twitter: @peterbakernyt.

China to counter any new US tariffs

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWS AGENCY ‘SHINE’)

 

China to counter any new US tariffs

Shine

China’s Commerce Ministry said on Thursday that the country would have to take countermeasures if the United States imposes new additional tariffs on Chinese goods.

This came after the United States threatened an additional tariff of 10 percent on about US$300 billion of Chinese imports.

China’s position is consistent and clear. “Trade wars produce no winners. China does not want a trade war, but it is not afraid of one, and it will fight one if necessary,” Ministry of Commerce spokesman Gao Feng told a press conference.

Although the United States announced a plan to postpone the tariff hike on some Chinese goods, any new US tariff hike will lead to an escalation of trade frictions unilaterally, Gao said.

“If the United States acts arbitrarily, China will have to take countermeasures,” he said.

The tariff measures will damage the interests of both China and the United States, and may also have a recessionary impact on the global economy, Gao said.

“If the United States goes ahead willfully, it will have a serious negative impact on US businesses and consumers,” Gao said.

“Some US financial institutions have predicted that the tariffs would cost an ordinary US family US$1,000 a year on average.

“At the same time, the delay in imposing tariffs on some goods fully demonstrate that there are no winners in a trade war,” he said. “If the trade frictions escalate, US consumers and businesses will suffer heavy losses.”

Gao expressed the hope that the US side would stop its erroneous practice of imposing tariffs, meet halfway with China, and find a solution to the problem based on equality and mutual respect.

He said that the US move would pose certain challenges to China’s exports and economy, but the impact is fully controllable in general.

“The Chinese side is confident, determined and capable of meeting various challenges and maintaining the sound and stable development of its economy and foreign trade,” he added.

Chinese and US chief trade negotiators held a phone conversation on August 13 and agreed to hold another phone conversation in two weeks.

“The two negotiating teams have maintained communication,” Gao said.

US and Chinese negotiators are due to meet in September in Washington. The last round of talks in Shanghai in July ended with no indication of progress.

Gao also said Beijing is working on a planned corporate blacklist of “unreliable entities” that might face curbs on their operations but gave no timeline.

China announced plans for that list after Washington imposed curb on sales of US technology to telecom equipment producer Huawei Technologies Ltd.

The United States has imposed 25 percent tariffs on US$250 billion of Chinese products.

China retaliated with its own penalties on US$110 billion of goods from the United States.

China to impose sanctions on US companies in case of arms sales to Taiwan

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWS AGENCY ‘SHINE’)

 

China to impose sanctions on US companies in case of arms sales to Taiwan

Xinhua

China on Wednesday urged the United States to immediately cancel the planned arms sales to Taiwan, saying China will take all necessary measures to defend its own interests including imposing sanctions on US companies involved in the planned sales.

The US Defense Department on Wednesday officially notified the US Congress of the plan to sell 66 F-16 fighters and relevant equipment worth around US$8 billion to Taiwan and to provide support.

“China firmly opposes the plan and has lodged solemn representations and protests to the US side,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a press briefing.

The US arms sales plan seriously violated international laws and basic norms governing international relations, as well as the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiques, especially the August 17 Communique, Geng said.

“[Such a move] constitutes severe interference in China’s internal affairs, and undermines China’s sovereignty and security interests.”

The spokesman said the Taiwan question concerns China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, which is associated with China’s core interests. “China has firm determination to safeguard its own national sovereignty, unity and security.”

Geng urged the US side to abide by the one-China principle and relevant provisions laid out in the three China-US joint communiques, “immediately cancel the aforementioned arms sales plan, cease arms sales to Taiwan and sever military ties with the island.”

“Otherwise, all the ensuing consequences will be born by the US side,” Geng added.

China, Trump And Tariffs: My Idea On How To Best Do The Tariffs

China, Trump And Tariffs: My Idea On How To Best Do The Tariffs

 

First, the government of China is no one’s friend just as Putin’s government in Russia nor is the fat little Rocket Man in North Korea. I know that statement will bring a rebuke from Mr. Trump who thinks these guys love him, but then again, he is possibly the world’s biggest idiot. I did not say that the people of these countries are ass-hats like their Leaders and Ours are. I have nothing against the people of these Countries, just their Leaders, and our Leaders.

 

Now, about those tariff’s, this is what I wish our government’s policies were toward China. Personally I believe that the whole world should stop buying anything that has to do with China as long as they have a Communists government in place who seems to think that everything on earth should be theirs to control, including all the land, oceans and air space. When anyone buys anything that is made in China you are feeding their military buildup that they will use to subjugate their own people and the people of the Nations around them.

 

But for a more doable emmediate tariff policy I believe the following approach should be adopted. Instead of having a trade war with China via tariff’s I believe that our government should only put tariffs on products that are coming into the U.S. from companies who have outsourced jobs that used to be here in our Country.  Including to China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Mexico or any other Nation. For the purpose of an example let us use General Motors. If General Motors wants into the Chinese market for the purpose of making vehicles for the Chinese market I have no problem with that at all. But, if they take jobs away from our people and then want to sell in our market I believe that our government needs to put a 100% tariffs on all of those imports. Make it very un-profitable for the company to take away American jobs if they want to sell to our market. This program would keep American companies from closing factories here and it would force the companies who have closed shops here to reinvest in our Nation, not an enemy Nation like China.

 

As I said earlier, the people of China are not our enemy, but their government damn sure is. And, in my opinion, companies who have outsourced American jobs for the sole purpose of higher profits should be treated as enemies of the American people. If you have noticed, when a company closes shop here in the States and moves to a “cheaper” place to make their products they never ever lower the prices they sell their products for. If a company made a product here in the States and sold it for $20 then they close shop here and move to China they still sell the product for $20, the name of the game is all and only about profits, to hell with the people, they only want your money. We need to quit giving it to them. Force them to move back here, if they refuse then tariff the hell out of them and also sell all of their stock, don’t allow it to be sold on the U.S Stock Exchange, bankrupt their asses. If our Leaders really want to put America, then prove it!

Japan: Rohingya activist calls U.S. ban on Myanmar generals a first step

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE JAPAN TIMES)

 

ASIA PACIFIC / CRIME & LEGAL

Rohingya activist calls U.S. ban on Myanmar generals a first step

AFP-JIJI

A formerly imprisoned Rohingya activist said Wednesday that a U.S. ban on Myanmar’s top generals was a welcome first step but urged more action to support the long-targeted minority.

The State Department on Tuesday said that army chief Min Aung Hlaing, three other top officers and their families would not be allowed to visit the United States due to their roles in “ethnic cleansing” of the mostly Muslim Rohingya.

Participating in a high-level State Department meeting on religious freedom, peace activist Wai Wai Nu said it was critical to address the “decades-old impunity” enjoyed by the military in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma.

“Many of us in Burma welcome this decision of the State Department. However, we think this is a first step and we are hoping to see more concrete and efficient steps in the future,” she told reporters.

This, she said, should include an end to impunity in the country.

“The only way to move forward, I believe, is holding the perpetrators accountable and abolishing institutionalized religious and ethnic discrimination against ethnic minorities,” she added.

Wai Wai Nu founded two groups promoting inter-ethnic harmony and women’s rights. Along with other survivors and witnesses to abuses who are taking part in the ministerial, she met Wednesday at the White House with President Donald Trump.

Wai Wai Nu, whose father was also an activist, was arrested with her family in 2005 when she was a law student.

The family was freed in 2012 amid a political opening in Myanmar as the military junta reconciled with the West and eventually allowed civilian, elected leaders.

In 2017, Myanmar’s military launched a campaign against the Rohingya that led about 740,000 to flee to neighboring Bangladesh amid accounts of brutal attacks on whole villages.

The army denies wrongdoing and says it was responding to militant attacks.

The Rohingya are widely despised in the country and do not enjoy citizenship, with the government calling them “Bengalis,” suggesting they are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

China to Sanction U.S. Companies for Arms Sales to Taiwan

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WALL STREET JOURNAL)

 

China to Sanction U.S. Companies for Arms Sales to Taiwan

Beijing says U.S. approval of $2.2 billion in military sales harms its national security

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, shown here in June, arrived in the U.S. on Thursday. PHOTO: RITCHIE B TONGO/EPA/SHUTTERSTOCK

China will sanction U.S. firms that participate in arms sales to Taiwan, after Washington approved sales of $2.2 billion in tanks, missiles and related military hardware, Beijing said.

China’s Foreign Ministry said Friday that the arms sales “harmed China’s sovereignty and national security” and that the sanctions were necessary to safeguard its national interests.

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency, part of the United States Defense Department, notified Congress on Monday of proposed arms sales including 108 M1A2T Abrams tanks, Hercules armored vehicles, heavy equipment transporters and Stinger antiaircraft missiles.

The proposed sales risk further testing relations between the U.S. and China, already strained by protracted trade tensions. They swiftly drew the ire of Beijing, which sees such sales as interference in its sovereignty claims over the self-ruled island.

It coincided with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen’s arrival in the U.S. on Thursday, as part of a visit to four Caribbean allies, a trip that has also prompted anger from Beijing.

China’s Foreign Ministry on Tuesday urged the U.S. to immediately withdraw the sale and said it had lodged “stern representations.” The official China Daily said Ms. Tsai was “playing a game of brinksmanship” by building up Taiwan’s military defense.

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Screw U.S. Companies Whining About China Sanctions: Bring Those Jobs Back Home

Screw U.S. Companies Whining About China Tariff War: Bring Those Jobs Back Home

 

This oped to you will be short if not sweet today. This is simply my opinion on President Trump’s sanctions on countries like China and Mexico. These tariffs and sanctions do hurt a lot of companies here in the U.S. and it will make some of the products we buy here in the States more expensive. My response to that issue is simple, if they had not closed their manufacturing plants here in the States, throwing millions of Americans out of work then these issues would not be an issue to them or us at all. Companies, especially those on the world Stock Markets have moved ‘offshore’ for the purpose of higher profits at the cost to American jobs and the American tax structure need to be hit with at least a 100% tariff on everything they want to bring back into the U.S. for sell here. I am not a fan of President Trump at all, I literally can’t stand that crooked ignorant putz but I wish he would put up a program of tariffs and restrictions on any goods coming into into the States from such companies. When companies move out of this country it is so that they can increase their profit margins, period. It is not a reality that a company moves away and then lowers the prices of their products to give a better deal to the consumer.  Everything is about profits, period. Our government if they had any hootspa would make the tariffs so high on these traitorous companies that they would be forced to either quit selling to the American market, or bring their factories back here to the States in which they deserted. Personally as I have aged and had many years of observing the Stock Market systems I have come to the conclusion that Stock Markets are pure poison to the workers of the world, at the very least that is so here in the U.S.. Okay, that is my observation for the day, what are your thoughts on this issue?

Fact-checking Trump’s flurry of lies Thursday morning

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Fact-checking Trump’s flurry of lies Thursday morning

Washington (CNN)One day after special counsel Robert Mueller publicly refused to exonerate President Donald Trump and hinted at potential impeachment, the President responded Thursday with an avalanche of widely debunked lies about the investigation and its findings.

Over a few hours Thursday morning, Trump spread several lies and falsehoods about the Russia investigation, Mueller’s findings, the cost of the probe, and the legal restrictions that Mueller faced when grappling with the possibility of a President who broke the law.
Here’s a breakdown of Trump’s comments.

Cost of the investigation

In a tweet, Trump said the Mueller probe cost “$40,000,000 over two dark years.”
Facts First: It’s not clear where Trump is getting his numbers. The latest information from the Justice Department goes through September and says Mueller-specific expenses were around $12 million. Mueller’s final price tag will be higher than that, but the data isn’t public yet.
The Justice Department spent another $13 million investigating Russian meddling, costs that would have been incurred even if Mueller weren’t appointed. That’s a total of $25 million, though the price tag will be higher because that doesn’t cover the last seven months of the probe. It’s unlikely that the final amount for Mueller will reach the $40 million figure claimed by Trump.

Cooperation with the probe

In a tweet, Trump said Mueller had “unlimited access, people, resources and cooperation.”
Facts First: The White House largely cooperated with the investigation, but it’s wrong to say there was “unlimited” cooperation. Trump repeatedly refused a sit-down interview with Mueller’s team. Some Trump campaign associates “deleted relevant communications” or gave conflicting information. Others lied to investigators and were charged with obstruction offenses.
Trump submitted written testimony about Russian meddling but refused to answer any questionsabout obstruction. Mueller made it clear that Trump’s responses were “incomplete” and insufficient. The President’s son, Donald Trump Jr., also declined an in-person interview.
At least three Trump associates were charged with lying to investigators, which is an obstructive act, and two others were charged with lying to congressional inquiries about Russian meddling.

Mueller’s conflicts of interest

In a tweet, Trump said Mueller was “highly conflicted.”
Facts First: Mueller did not have conflicts of interest, and Trump knows it. The Justice Department cleared Mueller of any conflicts when he took the job in 2017. Trump’s top aides told him that these perceived conflicts were “ridiculous” and were not considered true conflicts.
Trump has long claimed that Mueller was conflicted for a few reasons: Because he once sought a refund from a Trump-owned golf course, because he interviewed to be FBI director after Trump fired James Comey in 2017, and because his old law firm represented key figures in the investigation.
When Trump raised these concerns with his top aides, they “pushed back on his assertion of conflicts, telling the President they did not count as true conflicts,” according to the Mueller report. These White House aides included former chief strategist Steve Bannon, former chief of staff Reince Priebus and former White House counsel Don McGahn, according to the report.

Legal constraints on Mueller

In a tweet, Trump said, “Robert Mueller would have brought charges, if he had ANYTHING, but there were no charges to bring!”
Facts First: This is the opposite of the truth. Mueller’s hands were tied by longstanding Justice Department guidelines that a sitting President can’t be indicted. In his public comments this week, Mueller specifically said charging Trump was “not an option we could consider.”
Mueller made it clear in his public comments on Wednesday that the guidelines had a significant influence on the investigation, tying his hands from the very start from even considering whether a crime had been committed. Trump is therefore creating a false narrative by asserting that Mueller “would have brought charges” if there was evidence Trump broke the law.
In fact, Mueller’s report presented substantial evidence that Trump obstructed justice on a few fronts. But Mueller didn’t offer a conclusion on whether Trump should be prosecuted, because he was bound by Justice Department guidelines that stopped him from even considering it.

Fairness of the investigation

In a tweet, Trump called the Mueller probe a “witch hunt,” a label he has used for two years to suggest that the investigation was unfairly targeting him and would bring him down at any cost.
Facts First: If the investigation really were a “witch hunt,” things might have been very different. But Mueller said that the facts didn’t lead him to a collusion conspiracy, and he repeatedly declined to use hardball tactics against Trump, like issuing a subpoena for his testimony.
First, Mueller went to great lengths to be fair to Trump and said there was not a collusion conspiracy. He didn’t play hardball and subpoena Trump’s testimony, and he followed the rules that restrained him from charging Trump. If this was a “witch hunt,” it wasn’t a very good one.
In his comments, Mueller stressed how it would be unfair to Trump to accuse him of a crime without Trump having a legal venue to clear his name, because he couldn’t go on trial while in office. Mueller even said it’s “prohibited” to seek a sealed indictment of Trump for later on.
Many of Trump’s top appointees and associates, like FBI Director Chris Wray and former White House lawyer Ty Cobb, have broken with the President and publicly rejected the “witch hunt” label. Even Barr rejected the term during his Senate confirmation hearing earlier this year, specifically saying that Mueller wouldn’t be involved in a witch hunt.

Concerns about Russian meddling

In a tweet, Trump said “Russia has disappeared” from the public debate because the Mueller investigation did not establish a conspiracy of collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia.
Facts First: The topic of Russian interference is still at the forefront of national politics.
Mueller zeroed in on Russian meddling during his public comments, solemnly saying, “I will close by reiterating the central allegation of our indictments, that there were multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election. And that allegation deserves the attention of every American.”
Top US intelligence officials have warned about Russia’s continued efforts to undermine American politics. Democratic presidential candidates are bringing it up on the campaign trail, and lawmakers are asking about it at Congressional hearings with administration officials.
Trump’s handpicked chiefs to lead the US intelligence community have continued to raise the alarm about persistent Russian meddling. And many of the Democratic candidates for president, including frontrunner Joe Biden, feature their positions on how to counter Russia on their websites.

Trump’s role in Russian meddling

In a tweet, Trump said, “I had nothing to do with Russia helping me to get elected.”
Facts First: The Mueller investigation did not establish a criminal conspiracy between Trump and the Russians. But Trump’s tweet ignores his role in promoting the fruits of Russian hacks during the 2016 campaign, which he embraced and amplified at his rallies and on social media.
To be completely clear: Mueller never accused Trump, or any Trump aides, or any Americans for that matter, of criminally conspiring with the Russian government to influence the election.
But that doesn’t mean Trump played no role whatsoever, even if it wasn’t criminal. Instead of denouncing Russia for intervening in US politics, Trump embraced their actions and used his platform, and his campaign apparatus, to amplify Russian meddling. He regularly cited the emails that Russian hackers stole from Democrats and gave to WikiLeaks for publication.
In his tweet, Trump seemed to accidentally acknowledge for the first time, that Russia tried to help him defeat Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in 2016. (This is the assessment of Obama-era intelligence officials and Trump’s handpicked appointees.) But later Thursday morning, Trump walked back this part of his tweet, saying “Russia did not help me get elected.”

Mueller’s findings on obstruction

In a tweet, Trump said, “Mueller didn’t find Obstruction either.”
Facts First: This is patently false. Mueller did uncover substantial evidence of obstruction by Trump and the report detailed how Trump’s actions crossed the legal threshold on several key episodes. But Mueller said he was prohibited from recommending criminal charges and struggled with “difficult issues” of investigating a sitting President. Instead, he alluded to Congress’ role in holding a president accountable.
The report details a few incidents with “substantial evidence” that Trump obstructed justice, including his efforts to fire the special counsel and have McGahn lie about it to the press, as well as Trump’s efforts to influence the cooperation of several key witnesses in the investigation.
“Our investigation found multiple acts by the President that were capable of exerting undue influence over law enforcement investigations, including the Russian-interference and obstruction investigations,” the report said.
Regarding the obstruction inquiry, Mueller said Wednesday, “if we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so.” Mueller submitted his report to Attorney General William Barr, who announced in March his conclusion that Trump didn’t break the law. Trump’s tweet would have been accurate if he cited Barr instead of Mueller.

This story is being updated

G7: Trump says Russia should be part of summit

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BBC)

 

G7: Trump says Russia should be part of summit

Media captionTrump to G7: ‘They should let Russia come back in

US President Donald Trump says he wants Russia to be part of the G7 group of key industrialised nations.

Russia was expelled in 2014 following its annexation of Crimea, but Mr Trump said he wanted the country readmitted.

The build-up to the meeting has seen major disagreements between the US president and other nations over his imposition of trade tariffs.

There are also likely to be disagreements with Mr Trump over Iran and climate change.

The G7 summit, which groups Canada, the US, the UK, France, Italy, Japan and Germany, is being held in the town of La Malbaie in Quebec, Canada.

The leaders of the nations, which represent more than 60% of global net worth, meet annually. Economics tops the agenda, although the meetings now always branch off to cover major global issues.

What did Mr Trump say about Russia?

Mr Trump said he regretted the meeting had shrunk in size, putting him at odds with most other G7 members on yet another issue.

“You know, whether you like it or – and it may not be politically correct – but we have a world to run and in the G7, which used to be the G8, they threw Russia out. They should let Russia come back in,” he said.

He found support in the shape of the newly installed Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, who tweeted that it was “in the interests of everyone” for Russia to be readmitted.

Canada, France and the UK though immediately signalled they remain opposed to Russian re-entry. A Kremlin spokesperson said they were interested in “other formats”, apart from the G7.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is currently in Beijing, where he was presented with a friendship medal by Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.

Fellow members of what was then the G8 suspended Russia after it took control of Crimea, saying it would remain until Russia “changes course”.

Presentational grey line

Trump arrives with a bang

By the BBC’s diplomatic correspondent, James Robbins

Relations between Donald Trump and America’s leading allies were already at a new low over trade tariffs before the president casually dropped his Russia hand-grenade.

Most G7 leaders think the decision to expel Russia in 2014 was right then, and remains right today. Even Russia itself seems lukewarm about rejoining.

In many ways, this seems to be a deliberate Donald Trump tactic, to distract attention from his war of words with the rest of the G7 over trade and protectionism.

President Trump dislikes the whole idea of the G7: a club of nations which traditionally comes together around shared values rooted in a world order based on agreed rules. Last to arrive, he’ll also be first to leave.

Presentational grey line

What were the exchanges on the eve of the summit?

It was mainly France and Canada v Donald Trump, sparked by Mr Trump’s imposition of steel and aluminium tariffs.

Appearing alongside host leader Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron said: “A trade war doesn’t spare anyone. It will start first of all to hurt US workers.”

For his part Mr Trudeau described Mr Trump’s citing of national security to defend his steel and aluminium tariffs as “laughable”.

Never one to back down, Mr Trump fired off a series of tweets, keeping up the tirade on Friday.

Speaking to reporters before the summit he again criticised other nations for their treatment of the US but predicted tensions would ease and “we’ll all be in love again”.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May appeared to take a more conciliatory approach, saying she wanted the EU to act with restraint and proportion in retaliating to the US tariffs.

Unlike Mr Macron and Mr Trudeau, she won’t be having a bilateral meeting with Mr Trump, but insisted on Friday it was not a snub.

The EU has called Mr Trump’s tariffs “protectionism, pure and simple” and are among others in announcing retaliatory measures.

Media captionDairy wars: Why is Trump threatening Canada over milk?

What else can we expect in Quebec?

Mr Trump is leaving early to head to Singapore for his landmark summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, meaning he will miss some of the topics advanced by Mr Trudeau.

The five themes for this year’s summit are:

  • Inclusive economic growth
  • Gender equality and women’s empowerment
  • World peace and security
  • Jobs of the future
  • Climate change and oceans

According to the leaders’ programme, Mr Trump will be around for the economic and security issues being discussed on Friday but will miss climate change, the environment and probably gender equality on Saturday.

The US president was very much the odd man out on climate change during the G7 in Italy last year, later announcing his intention to withdraw from the landmark Paris agreement.

Media captionG7 summit: Trapped in the world’s most secure house

Iran is also a big sticking point. Mr Trump recently ditched the 2015 agreement with Tehran that aimed to curb its nuclear programme. This angered the other signatories who have since sought to shore it up.

Previous G7 meetings have seen huge protests, and about 8,000 soldiers and police officers are expected to be on hand during the Quebec event.

Protester in QuebecImage copyrightREUTERS
Image captionA protester with a flare at a protest march in Quebec City, ahead of the summit

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    1 June 2018
  • China warns US sanctions will void trade talks
    3 June 2018

China says US trade move contrary to bilateral consensuses

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWS AGENCY ‘SHINE’)

(COMMENTARY: FROM AN AMERICAN CITIZEN TO THE GOVERNMENT AND TO THE PEOPLE OF CHINA, THIS POLICY FLIP FLOP IS 100% FROM THE IGNORANT EGOMANIAC BRAIN OF THE STUPID ASS WHO SITS IN THE OVAL OFFICE IN THE WHITE HOUSE, THIS IS NOT THE WISHES OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE NOR OF AMERICAN BUSINESSES.)(OLDPOET56)

 

China says US trade move contrary to bilateral consensuses

Xinhua

China’s Ministry of Commerce said yesterday that the US trade statement is contrary to the consensuses the two sides have previously reached in Washington.

Calling the White House statement as unexpected and within expectation, the ministry said whatever measures the United States will take, China has the confidence, capability and experience to defend the interests of Chinese people and the core interests of the country, the ministry said on its website.

Earlier yesterday, the US said it will continue pursuing action on trade with China.

By June 15, Washington will release a list of US$50 billion worth of Chinese goods that will be subject to a 25 percent tariff, the White House said in a statement.

By June 30, the US will announce investment restrictions and “enhanced export controls” for Chinese individuals and entities “related to the acquisition of industrially significant technology,” it said.