Politico: “Senate Republicans acknowledge that the president’s latest tariff increase on Chinese imports are harming farm state economies, their own constituents and some of Trump’s most reliable voters. But there’s no plan to stop, or even threaten, the president’s tariff regime — just the latest example of Trump imposing his protectionist will on a party that once celebrated free trade.”
In a major escalation of the U.S.-China trade fight, President Trump “is preparing to slap tariffs on remaining Chinese imports, which could add levies on roughly $300 billion in additional goods,” the Washington Post reports.
“If approved, American consumers would probably see higher prices on everyday products including cellphones and televisions.”
“Secretary of State Michael Pompeo made scant progress persuading European Union counterparts to take a harder line toward Iran during a quick visit to Brussels, with the EU standing behind the nuclear accord abandoned by Washington — and warning of a potential military conflict,” Bloomberg reports.
“Pompeo presented what the U.S. says is fresh intelligence on the threat posed by Iran in meetings with counterparts from the three EU nations that joined the landmark 2015 accord that President Trump abandoned a year ago. The top U.S. diplomat received a cool initial response to the surprise visit as foreign ministers from the 28-member bloc convened in the Belgian capital.”
Bloomberg: “The European Union is finalizing a list of American goods to target with retaliatory tariffs in the event that U.S. President Donald Trump, who is expected to make a decision by May 18, imposes levies on car imports.”
“A 25 percent U.S. levy on foreign cars would add 10,000 euros to the sticker price of European vehicles imported into the country, according to the European Commission.”
China said it will raise tariffs on $60 billion of U.S. goods effective June 1,:the Washington Post reports.
“The announcement from the finance ministry in Beijing comes days after the United States raised tariffs on some Chinese imports as talks to resolved a trade fight between the countries faltered.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has changed the schedule for his latest trip to Europe, substituting a stop in Brussels for one in Moscow to discuss Iran and other issues with European officials, CBS News reports.
Jared Kushner is “preparing to sell ambitious fixes to two of the most stubborn problems of the past 50 years,” Politico reports.
“With a headlong plunge into immigration reform and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Kushner is presenting his political inexperience as an asset, telling lawmakers he is free of preconceived notions that stymied previous attempts. His air of breezy self-assurance in the private meetings he is conducting to tease his plans at times astounds the battle-scarred veterans of past such efforts. Critics complain, too, that his briefings are often woefully short on detail.”
“The Swedish authorities announced on Monday that they would reopen an investigation into a rape allegation against Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, who is serving a prison term in Britain for jumping bail as the United States seeks his extradition for his role in a huge breach of classified data,” the New York Times reports.
“The United States has already begun trying to extradite Mr. Assange, an effort that was expected to be prolonged and complex even before the announcement in Stockholm on Monday, and it could be further complicated by Sweden’s wish to reinstate its investigation.”
“Three nations that have long defined themselves as bitter adversaries of the United States — North Korea, Iran and Venezuela — decided this week they could take on President Trump,” the New York Times reports.
“Each one is betting that Mr. Trump is neither as savvy a negotiator nor as ready to use military force as he claims. Each also poses a drastically different challenge to a president who has little experience in handling international crises, has struggled to find the right balance of diplomacy and coercion and has not always been consistent in defining his foreign policy.”
“The rising tensions with all three serve as reminders that Mr. Trump’s constant talk about taking care of problems that he has accused his predecessors of aggravating, or failing to confront, is difficult to convert into real-world solutions — as events of recent days have shown.”
New York Times: “For months, the prospect of a landmark trade agreement with China has tantalized Mr. Trump. But now, according to analysts and several former aides, his political calculus seems to have flipped. His recent statements suggest he now believes that demonstrating his toughness with the Chinese and walking away from a deal might well put him in a better position politically than signing one.”
New York Times: “As Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, closes in on victory over an eight-year revolt, a secret, industrial-scale system of arbitrary arrests and torture prisons has been pivotal to his success. While the Syrian military, backed by Russia and Iran, fought armed rebels for territory, the government waged a ruthless war on civilians, throwing hundreds of thousands into filthy dungeons where thousands were tortured and killed.”
“Nearly 128,000 have never emerged, and are presumed to be either dead or still in custody, according to the Syrian Network for Human Rights, an independent monitoring group that keeps the most rigorous tally. Nearly 14,000 were ‘killed under torture.’ Many prisoners die from conditions so dire that a United Nations investigation labeled the process ‘extermination.'”
A day after announcing plans to visit Ukraine in the hopes of meeting with the incoming president to push Trump’s political agenda, Rudy Giuliani called the trip off because, he claimed, it “was a set up” concocted by “enemies of the United States,” the Daily Beast reports.
Giuliani said he had decided not to go “because I think I’m walking into a group of people that are enemies of the president, in some cases enemies of the United States, and in one case an already convicted person who has been found to be involved in assisting the Democrats with the 2016 election.”
“Secretary of State Michael Pompeo leaves for Moscow on Sunday, with President Donald Trump again calling for improved ties now that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has finished his investigation,” Bloomberg reports”
“Pompeo will meet U.S. diplomats at the American Embassy in Moscow on Monday before continuing to Sochi for talks with President Vladimir Putin and other senior officials. The secretary has 48 hours — the entire length of the trip — to cram in discussions of disputes between the two nations, involving Ukraine, Venezuela and Syria and other issues, along with continued accusations of election interference.”
South China Morning Post: “If China was unwilling to play ball on Trump’s terms, Beijing, analysts said, not only could retaliate by imposing countervailing tariffs of its own, but it also has a range of financial arsenal power at its disposal to punish the US.”
“For starters, China could fire back by dumping its vast holdings of US government debt. Flooding the market with treasuries would push down US bond prices and cause the yields to spike. That would make it more costly for US companies and consumers to borrow, in turn depressing America’s economic growth.”
President Trump, the morning after levying fresh tariffs on China, caused confusion among journalists and traders by tweeting there is ‘no need to rush’ on China trade — then deleting that and other tweets moments later, Bloomberg reports.
NBC News: “The three new missiles North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has tested over the past week are eerily familiar to military experts: They look just like a controversial and widely copied missile the Russian military has deployed to Syria and has been actively trying to sell abroad for years.”
Associated Press: “B-52 bombers ordered by the White House to deploy to the Persian Gulf to counter unspecified threats from Iran have arrived at a major American air base in Qatar, the U.S. Air Force acknowledged Friday.”
“President Trump escalated his trade war with China on Friday morning, raising tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods and taking steps to tax nearly all of China’s imports as punishment for what he said was Beijing’s attempt to ‘renegotiate’ a trade deal,” the New York Times reports.
“Mr. Trump’s decision to proceed with the tariff increase came after a pivotal round of trade talks in Washington on Thursday night failed to produce an agreement to forestall the higher levies. The White House said talks would resume again on Friday but it remains uncertain whether the two sides can bridge the differences that have arisen over the past week. … In a statement on Friday, China’s Ministry of Commerce said that the government ‘deeply regrets that it will have to take necessary countermeasures.’ It didn’t specify what those countermeasures might be.”