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Westlake Legal Group > Lobbying and Lobbyists

Trump Saw Opportunity in Speech on Environment. Critics Saw a ‘“1984” Moment.’

WASHINGTON — Reviewing new polling data, consultants working for President Trump’s 2020 campaign discovered an unsurprising obstacle to winning support from two key demographic groups, millennials and suburban women. And that was his record on the environment.

But they also saw an opportunity. While the numbers showed that Mr. Trump was “never going to get” the type of voter who feels passionately about tackling climate change, a senior administration official who reviewed the polling said, there were moderate voters who liked the president’s economic policies and “just want to know that he’s being responsible” on environmental issues.

So for nearly an hour in the East Room on Monday afternoon, Mr. Trump sought to recast his administration’s record by describing what he called “America’s environmental leadership” under his command.

Flanked by several cabinet members and senior environmental officials — one a former lobbyist for the coal industry and the other a former oil lobbyist — Mr. Trump rattled off a grab bag of his administration’s accomplishments, which he said included “being good stewards of our public land,” reducing carbon emissions and promoting the “cleanest air” and “crystal clean” water.

“These are incredible goals that everyone in this country should be able to rally behind,” Mr. Trump said. “I really think that’s something that is bipartisan,” he said, adding that he had disproved critics who said his pro-business policies would harm the environment.

Experts watching the speech said many of the president’s claims were not based in fact. Those achievements that were real, they said, were the result of actions taken by his predecessors. And they noted the one conspicuous omission from the whole discussion: any mention of climate change, the overarching environmental threat that Mr. Trump has mocked in the past.

David G. Victor, the director of the Laboratory on International Law and Regulation at the University of California, San Diego, said the speech was the starkest example to date of the disconnect between Mr. Trump’s rhetoric and reality. “This speech is a true ‘1984’ moment,” he said.

[Read our fact check of the president’s speech.]

Mr. Trump called himself a protector of public land, but he has taken unprecedented steps to open up public lands to drilling, including signing off on the largest rollback of federal land protection in the nation’s history, and lifting an Obama-era moratorium on new coal mining leases on public lands.

He repeatedly cited his desire for clear water, but the Environmental Protection Agency is in the process of rolling back an Obama-era clean-water regulation of pollution in streams and wetlands.

He described himself as a champion of the oceans, while he and Mary Neumayr, the head of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, have promoted policies that the United States has advanced to reduce marine debris, particularly plastic drinking straws. But Mr. Trump did not mention that his administration has proposed opening up the entire United States coastline to offshore oil and gas drilling.

And he boasted that carbon dioxide emissions in the United States have gone down over the past decade, “more than any other country on earth.” But while it is true that carbon emissions have declined by over 10 percent in that time, over a dozen other countries — including most of the European Union — have seen declines of more than twice that.

In a phone call with reporters earlier Monday, Andrew Wheeler, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, cited data going back to the Nixon administration in describing the Trump administration’s accomplishments.

“There’s this factoid out there that the U.S. is a leader in reducing emissions,” said Richard Newell, the president of Resources for the Future, a nonprofit, nonpartisan environmental research organization in Washington. “That is just not true. It is disingenuous to both celebrate the decline in U.S. CO2 emissions at the same time that one promotes the use of coal power. You can’t have both.”

Westlake Legal Group us-air-pollution-trump-promo-1560953675555-articleLarge Trump Saw Opportunity in Speech on Environment. Critics Saw a ‘“1984” Moment.’ Wheeler, Andrew R United States Politics and Government United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Trump, Donald J Luntz, Frank I Lobbying and Lobbyists Global Warming Environmental Protection Agency Brinkley, Douglas G

America’s Skies Have Gotten Clearer, but Millions Still Breathe Unhealthy Air

Air pollution has improved dramatically over the past four decades, in a large part because of federal regulations. But many areas of the country still have high levels of pollution, and climate change may make them worse.

Last month, in a move that represented the Trump administration’s most direct effort to date to protect the coal industry, the E.P.A. finalized a plan to replace former President Barack Obama’s stringent rule on coal pollution with a new rule that would keep plants that use it to generate electricity open longer and significantly increase the nation’s emissions of planet-warming carbon dioxide.

The E.P.A. is also expected to finalize another plan this summer that would abandon Mr. Obama’s strict regulations on planet-warming tailpipe pollution in automobiles, replacing them with a new rule that experts say is likely to function as a total repeal of the original regulation.

Mr. Trump seemed to place a particular emphasis on environmental problems afflicting Florida, a state vital to his re-election, emphasizing that he backs restoring the Everglades, and that his administration has directed over half a billion dollars to mitigate a toxic tide of red algal blooms that originate in Florida’s Lake Okeechobee. He invited Bruce Hrobak, a bait and tackle shop owner in Port St. Lucie, Fla., who said his shop was devastated by the red tide, to the podium.

“You jumping into this environment brings my heart to warmth,” Mr. Hrobak told Mr. Trump, adding that his own father looked like Mr. Trump “but you’re much handsomer.”

Polls show that Florida is one state where Republican voters rank environmental issues as a top concern. The reason, the polls have found, is that Florida is now on the front lines of climate change, as Miami and other cities experience consistent, damaging flooding as a result of sea level rise and a warming planet.

But Mr. Trump made no mention of climate change, nor did he revisit a tendency to proudly sell himself as a champion of the coal industry and fossil fuels in general — even as they remain one of the chief causes of global warming.

This incongruous message of environmental action was so starkly at odds with Mr. Trump’s own record that some critics found the moment almost surreal.

“It is an utter farce for the president to talk about America’s environmental leadership, when he has been a champion of the polluters,” said Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian who has written about environmental policy.

Mr. Trump was joined by Mr. Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist who has played a lead role in crafting rollbacks of rules on climate change and clean air, and David Bernhardt, the interior secretary and a former oil lobbyist who has led the way in opening up the nation’s public lands and waters to more drilling.

When asked whether Mr. Trump still believed that global warming was a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese and whether windmills caused cancer, as the president has said, Mr. Wheeler said in a phone call that there were “positives and negatives” to all energy sources, and that administration officials were paying attention to this.

Frank Luntz, a Republican consultant and pollster, said he had presented Republican lawmakers with data in recent weeks that showed that the public — and particularly younger people — wanted to see action to safeguard the environment, but that the issue was seen as owned by Democrats.

“It is still not a top-five priority” among Republicans, Mr. Luntz said. “These guys, they really do care, but they don’t know how to get it done in this polarized environment.”

Among the Democrats who criticized the president’s speech on Monday was Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader.

“Try as he might say otherwise,” Mr. Schumer said in a speech on the Senate floor, “President Trump has proved himself probably the staunchest ally of the worst polluters, of any president we have ever had.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Trump Talks Up ‘America’s Environmental Leadership’ in Speech

WASHINGTON — Reviewing new polling data, consultants working for President Trump’s 2020 campaign discovered an unsurprising obstacle to winning support from two key demographic groups, millennials and suburban women. And that was his record on the environment.

But they also saw an opportunity. While the numbers showed that Mr. Trump was “never going to get” the type of voter who feels passionately about tackling climate change, a senior administration official who reviewed the polling said, there were moderate voters who liked the president’s economic policies and “just want to know that he’s being responsible” on environmental issues.

So for nearly an hour in the East Room on Monday afternoon, Mr. Trump sought to recast his administration’s record by describing what he called “America’s environmental leadership” under his command.

Flanked by several cabinet members and senior environmental officials — one a former lobbyist for the coal industry and the other a former oil lobbyist — Mr. Trump rattled off a grab bag of his administration’s accomplishments, which he said included “being good stewards of our public land,” reducing carbon emissions and promoting the “cleanest air” and “crystal clean” water.

“These are incredible goals that everyone in this country should be able to rally behind,” Mr. Trump said. “I really think that’s something that is bipartisan,” he said, adding that he had disproved critics who said his pro-business policies would harm the environment.

Experts watching the speech said many of the president’s claims were not based in fact. Those achievements that were real, they said, were the result of actions taken by his predecessors. And they noted the one conspicuous omission from the whole discussion: any mention of climate change, the overarching environmental threat that Mr. Trump has mocked in the past.

David G. Victor, the director of the Laboratory on International Law and Regulation at the University of California, San Diego, said the speech was the starkest example to date of the disconnect between Mr. Trump’s rhetoric and reality. “This speech is a true ‘1984’ moment,” he said.

Mr. Trump called himself a protector of public land, but he has taken unprecedented steps to open up public lands to drilling, including signing off on the largest rollback of federal land protection in the nation’s history, and lifting an Obama-era moratorium on new coal mining leases on public lands.

He repeatedly cited his desire for clear water, but the Environmental Protection Agency is in the process of rolling back an Obama-era clean-water regulation of pollution in streams and wetlands.

He described himself as a champion of the oceans, while he and Mary Neumayr, the head of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, have promoted policies that the United States has advanced to reduce marine debris, particularly plastic drinking straws. But Mr. Trump did not mention that his administration has proposed opening up the entire United States coastline to offshore oil and gas drilling.

And he boasted that carbon dioxide emissions in the United States have gone down over the past decade, “more than any other country on earth.” But while it is true that carbon emissions have declined by over 10 percent in that time, over a dozen other countries — including most of the European Union — have seen declines of more than twice that.

In a phone call with reporters earlier Monday, Andrew Wheeler, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, cited data going back to the Nixon administration in describing the Trump administration’s accomplishments.

“There’s this factoid out there that the U.S. is a leader in reducing emissions,” said Richard Newell, the president of Resources for the Future, a nonprofit, nonpartisan environmental research organization in Washington. “That is just not true. It is disingenuous to both celebrate the decline in U.S. CO2 emissions at the same time that one promotes the use of coal power. You can’t have both.”

Westlake Legal Group us-air-pollution-trump-promo-1560953675555-articleLarge Trump Talks Up ‘America’s Environmental Leadership’ in Speech Wheeler, Andrew R United States Politics and Government United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Trump, Donald J Luntz, Frank I Lobbying and Lobbyists Global Warming Environmental Protection Agency Brinkley, Douglas G

America’s Skies Have Gotten Clearer, but Millions Still Breathe Unhealthy Air

Air pollution has improved dramatically over the past four decades, in a large part because of federal regulations. But many areas of the country still have high levels of pollution, and climate change may make them worse.

Last month, in a move that represented the Trump administration’s most direct effort to date to protect the coal industry, the E.P.A. finalized a plan to replace former President Barack Obama’s stringent rule on coal pollution with a new rule that would keep plants that use it to generate electricity open longer and significantly increase the nation’s emissions of planet-warming carbon dioxide.

The E.P.A. is also expected to finalize another plan this summer that would abandon Mr. Obama’s strict regulations on planet-warming tailpipe pollution in automobiles, replacing them with a new rule that experts say is likely to function as a total repeal of the original regulation.

Mr. Trump seemed to place a particular emphasis on environmental problems afflicting Florida, a state vital to his re-election, emphasizing that he backs restoring the Everglades, and that his administration has directed over half a billion dollars to mitigate a toxic tide of red algal blooms that originate in Florida’s Lake Okeechobee. He invited Bruce Hrobak, a bait and tackle shop owner in Port St. Lucie, Fla., who said his shop was devastated by the red tide, to the podium.

“You jumping into this environment brings my heart to warmth,” Mr. Hrobak told Mr. Trump, adding that his own father looked like Mr. Trump “but you’re much handsomer.”

Polls show that Florida is one state where Republican voters rank environmental issues as a top concern. The reason, the polls have found, is that Florida is now on the front lines of climate change, as Miami and other cities experience consistent, damaging flooding as a result of sea level rise and a warming planet.

But Mr. Trump made no mention of climate change, nor did he revisit a tendency to proudly sell himself as a champion of the coal industry and fossil fuels in general — even as they remain one of the chief causes of global warming.

This incongruous message of environmental action was so starkly at odds with Mr. Trump’s own record that some critics found the moment almost surreal.

“It is an utter farce for the president to talk about America’s environmental leadership, when he has been a champion of the polluters,” said Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian who has written about environmental policy.

Mr. Trump was joined by Mr. Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist who has played a lead role in crafting rollbacks of rules on climate change and clean air, and David Bernhardt, the interior secretary and a former oil lobbyist who has led the way in opening up the nation’s public lands and waters to more drilling.

When asked whether Mr. Trump still believed that global warming was a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese and whether windmills caused cancer, as the president has said, Mr. Wheeler said in a phone call that there were “positives and negatives” to all energy sources, and that administration officials were paying attention to this.

Frank Luntz, a Republican consultant and pollster, said he had presented Republican lawmakers with data in recent weeks that showed that the public — and particularly younger people — wanted to see action to safeguard the environment, but that the issue was seen as owned by Democrats.

“It is still not a top-five priority” among Republicans, Mr. Luntz said. “These guys, they really do care, but they don’t know how to get it done in this polarized environment.”

Among the Democrats who criticized the president’s speech on Monday was Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader.

“Try as he might say otherwise,” Mr. Schumer said in a speech on the Senate floor, “President Trump has proved himself probably the staunchest ally of the worst polluters, of any president we have ever had.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Trump Talks Up ‘America’s Environmental Leadership’ in Climate Speech

WASHINGTON — President Trump has withdrawn the United States from the international Paris climate change accord, sought to roll back or weaken over 80 environmental regulations and punted on global environmental leadership.

“On the issue of environmental stewardship,” said Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian, “Trump is seen around the world as a Darth Vader-like figure.”

But Monday afternoon, Mr. Trump delivered a speech billed as “America’s Environmental Leadership.” He was flanked by his two senior environmental officials — one a former lobbyist for the coal industry and the other a former oil lobbyist.

But the idea for the speech did not start with the president. It started with consultants on his re-election campaign who have discovered that his environmental record is a definite turnoff for two key demographics — millennials and suburban women, according to two people familiar with the plans.

In an administration that has often had a muddled approach to policy, both Mr. Trump’s allies and his enemies agree that in initiating the rollback of environmental rules he has clearly delivered on his campaign promises. In his speech, he trumpeted that rollback as part of what administration officials say is an economy-boosting approach to the environment that could appeal to at least some of the voters unhappy with his record.

In a phone call with reporters on Monday, Andrew Wheeler, the Environmental Protection Agency administrator, said that

“Air pollution has continued to decline under President Trump’s leadership. We continue to make progress on the water side.”

When asked whether Mr. Trump still believed that global warming was a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese and whether windmills cause cancer, as the president has said, Mr. Wheeler said that there were “positives and negatives” to all energy sources, and that administration officials were paying attention to this.

In his speech, Mr. Trump also lauded the fact that the United States’ greenhouse gas emissions have dropped about 10 percent in recent years. But that drop is largely due to market shifts leading to an increase in the use of natural gas, which produces about half the greenhouse gas pollution of coal. Under Mr. Trump’s policies, which are intended to promote the use of more polluting coal, those emissions are now expected to rise.

“These steps to support coal-based power in fact run in the opposite direction of the cause of climate change,” said Richard Newell, the president of Resources for the Future, a nonprofit, nonpartisan environmental research organization in Washington.

Westlake Legal Group us-air-pollution-trump-promo-1560953675555-articleLarge Trump Talks Up ‘America’s Environmental Leadership’ in Climate Speech Wheeler, Andrew R United States Politics and Government United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Trump, Donald J Luntz, Frank I Lobbying and Lobbyists Global Warming Environmental Protection Agency Brinkley, Douglas G

America’s Skies Have Gotten Clearer, but Millions Still Breathe Unhealthy Air

Air pollution has improved dramatically over the past four decades, in a large part because of federal regulations. But many areas of the country still have high levels of pollution, and climate change may make them worse.

“It is disingenuous to both celebrate the decline in U.S. CO2 emissions at the same time that one promotes the use of coal power,” he said. “You can’t have both.”

Mr. Trump’s most notable efforts to weaken environmental protections have been on climate change, which many environmental scientists and policy experts call the defining threat to humanity of the 21st century. Mr. Trump has publicly mocked the established science of human-caused climate change.

And he has proudly sold himself as a champion of the coal industry — even as emissions from burning coal remain one of the chief causes of global warming.

A senior White House official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity and had reviewed internal campaign polling, said that the numbers showed Mr. Trump was “never going to get” the type of voter who feels passionately about tackling climate change.

But, the official said, there were moderate voters who like the president’s economic policies who “just want to know that he’s being responsible” on environmental issues. And that is who the speech will be aimed at convincing.

Mr. Trump was joined by Mr. Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist, and David Bernhardt, the interior secretary and a former oil lobbyist, who has led the way in opening up the nation’s public lands and waters to more drilling.

Last month, in a move that represented the Trump administration’s most direct effort to date to protect the coal industry, the E.P.A. finalized its plan to replace former President Barack Obama’s stringent rule on coal pollution with a new rule that would keep plants open longer and significantly increase the nation’s emissions of planet-warming carbon dioxide pollution.

This summer, the E.P.A. is expected to finalize another plan that would replace Mr. Obama’s strict regulations on planet-warming tailpipe pollution, replacing them with a new rule that experts say is likely to function as a total repeal of the original regulation.

The incongruous message of environmental preservation is so starkly at odds with Mr. Trump’s own record, experts say, that the moment already smacks of the surreal.

“It is an utter farce for the president to talk about America’s environmental leadership, when he has been a champion of the polluters,” Mr. Brinkley said.

Frank Luntz, a Republican consultant and pollster, said he had presented Republican lawmakers with data in recent weeks that showed that the public — and particularly younger people — wanted to see action to safeguard the environment, but that the issue was seen as owned by Democrats.

“It is still not a top-five priority” among Republicans, Mr. Luntz said. “These guys, they really do care, but they don’t know how to get it done in this polarized environment.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Ukraine Role Focuses New Attention on Giuliani’s Foreign Work

WASHINGTON — More than two years ago, Pavel Fuks, a wealthy Ukrainian-Russian developer looking for ways to attract more investment from the United States to his hometown, Kharkiv, Ukraine, enlisted an especially well-connected American to help him: Rudolph W. Giuliani.

Mr. Fuks, who years earlier had discussed a Moscow tower project with Donald J. Trump, hired Mr. Giuliani, who in 2018 would become the president’s personal lawyer, under a one-year deal to help improve Kharkiv’s emergency services and bolster its image as a destination for investment.

“I would call him the lobbyist for Kharkiv and Ukraine — this is stated in the contract,” Mr. Fuks said in an interview in March for an episode of The New York Times’s television show, “The Weekly.” Mr. Fuks added: “It is very important for me that such person as Giuliani tells people that we are a good country, that people can do business with us. That’s what we would like to bring to America’s leaders.”

Mr. Fuks’s description of Mr. Giuliani as a lobbyist further highlighted a controversy over what some Democrats say is a pattern by Mr. Giuliani of providing influence with the Trump administration. Some Democrats have asked whether Mr. Giuliani’s role working in a number of foreign countries fits the legal definition of lobbying and requires him to register as a foreign agent, something Mr. Giuliani has not done.

Mr. Giuliani rejected the use of the word lobbyist to describe his work for Mr. Fuks. “That makes it sounds like I lobbied the U.S. government, which I never did,” he said.

Mr. Giuliani acknowledged that he did lobby Petro O. Poroshenko, who was then the president of Ukraine. But he said that was to pitch a plan developed by his consulting firm, Giuliani Security and Safety, and funded by Mr. Fuks, to put into place emergency management improvements, including a 911-like platform in Kharkiv, where the mayor, Gennady A. Kernes, is a close ally of Mr. Fuks.

Mr. Giuliani traveled to Ukraine for the project, touring the site of a Holocaust memorial in the capital, Kiev, spearheaded by Mr. Fuks as well as appearing at an event in Kharkiv to highlight the plan. “After I finished in Kharkiv, I spent an hour with Poroshenko, which turned into two hours,” he said. “I presented him with the plan.”

ImageWestlake Legal Group 30dc-rudy-2-articleLarge Ukraine Role Focuses New Attention on Giuliani’s Foreign Work Zelensky, Volodymyr United States Politics and Government United States International Relations Trump, Donald J Poroshenko, Petro Olekseyevich Lobbying and Lobbyists Kharkiv (Ukraine) Giuliani, Rudolph W

Mr. Giuliani, now the president’s personal lawyer, rejected the use of the word lobbyist to describe his work for Mr. Fuks.CreditJulio Cortez/Associated Press

Mr. Giuliani said the contract did not call for him to seek American investment, and he did not do so. The Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA, requires Americans to detail payments they receive from foreign governments, politicians or parties for lobbying or public relations work in the United States, but not for legal representation or work done solely overseas.

Mr. Giuliani’s overseas work in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and South America has drawn criticism from Democrats, who contend it is difficult to separate that work from his close relationship with the president.

That criticism escalated when The Times revealed in May that he was planning to travel to Kiev to urge Volodymyr Zelensky, then the nation’s president-elect, to pursue inquiries into matters that could help Mr. Trump.

Senator Christopher S. Murphy of Connecticut, in a letter asking the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to investigate, accused Mr. Giuliani of “operating a shadow foreign policy apparatus aimed at influencing upcoming U.S. elections.”

Mr. Giuliani quickly canceled the trip, though he argued that the efforts to influence Ukrainian investigations were related only to his representation of the president and not to his foreign consulting or Mr. Fuks.

Mr. Fuks earned an estimated $270 million in the post-Soviet real estate boom in Moscow, and negotiated with Mr. Trump around 2006 or 2007 over a possible licensing agreement for a Trump Tower in Moscow. After months of negotiations, the deal fell through when Mr. Fuks refused to agree to Mr. Trump’s asking price.

Since then, Mr. Fuks has fallen out of favor in Russia and been included on a sanctions list by the Kremlin.

He has aligned himself more closely with Ukraine, while trying to court influential connections in Washington. He says in the episode of “The Weekly” that he paid $200,000 for V.I.P. access to Mr. Trump’s inauguration, but never received the promised tickets.

Since then, he has been barred from traveling to the United States, and has sued the lobbyist who brokered his inauguration trip.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

A Plan to Mine the Minnesota Wilderness Hit a Dead End. Then Trump Became President.

ELY, Minn. — In the waning months of the Obama administration, a Chilean conglomerate was losing a fight with the United States government over a copper mine that it wanted to build near a pristine wilderness area in Minnesota.

The election of President Trump, with his business-friendly bent, turned out to be a game-changer for the project.

Beginning in the early weeks of Mr. Trump’s presidency, the administration worked at a high level to remove roadblocks to the proposed mine, government emails and calendars show, overruling concerns that it could harm the Boundary Waters, a vast landscape of federally protected lakes and forests along the border with Canada.

Executives with the mining company, Antofagasta, discussed the project with senior administration officials, including the White House’s top energy adviser, the emails show. Even before an interior secretary was appointed to the new administration, the department moved to re-examine leases critical to the mine, eventually restoring those that the Obama administration had declined to renew. And the Forest Service called off an environmental review that could have restricted mining, even though the agriculture secretary had told Congress that the review would proceed.

An Interior Department spokesman said it simply worked to rectify “a flawed decision rushed out the door” before Mr. Trump took office. Several senior department officials with previous administrations, however, said they were surprised by the swift change of course for the little-known Minnesota project, which was not a focal point of Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign.

For the family of the billionaire Andrónico Luksic, which controls the Chilean conglomerate, the policy reversals could provide a big boost to its mining business. Since the change in administration, the Antofagasta subsidiary Twin Metals Minnesota has significantly ramped up its lobbying in Washington, according to federal disclosures, spending $900,000.

ImageWestlake Legal Group 00CLI-HOUSE-luksic-articleLarge A Plan to Mine the Minnesota Wilderness Hit a Dead End. Then Trump Became President. Zinke, Ryan (1961- ) Wilderness Areas Wetlands washington dc United States Politics and Government Trump, Ivanka Trump, Donald J Tidwell, Thomas L Renting and Leasing (Real Estate) Minnesota Mines and Mining Lobbying and Lobbyists Kushner, Jared Kushner, Charles Interior Department Greenhouse Gas Emissions Global Warming Forests and Forestry Forest Service environment Chile Carbon Dioxide Banco de Chile Bachelet, Michelle Appointments and Executive Changes

Andrónico Luksic’s plan for a copper mine in Minnesota was blocked by President Barack Obama. His fortunes have since shifted.CreditMartin Bernetti/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Ivanka Trump, left, and Jared Kushner, second from left, two of the president’s closest advisers.CreditAlex Wong/Getty Images

But the mining project’s breakthrough, already unpopular with environmentalists, has drawn additional scrutiny and criticism because of an unusual connection between Mr. Luksic and two of Mr. Trump’s family members.

Just before Mr. Trump took office, Mr. Luksic added a personal investment to his portfolio: a $5.5 million house in Washington. Mr. Luksic bought the house with the intention of renting it to a wealthy new arrival to Mr. Trump’s Washington, according to Rodrigo Terré, chairman of Mr. Luksic’s family investment office, which handled the purchase.

The idea worked. Even before the purchase was final, real estate agents had lined up renters: Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump.

The rental arrangement has been a point of concern for ethics experts and groups opposed to mining near the Boundary Waters, and has focused national attention, particularly among some Democrats in Congress, on an otherwise local debate.

The Wall Street Journal first reported about the house in March 2017. At that time, Twin Metals was suing the federal government over the mining leases, but the Trump administration’s direction on the mine since then had only begun to take shape.

In recent months, the scrutiny has grown. In March, Representative Raúl M. Grijalva, the Arizona Democrat who is chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, wrote a letter with other lawmakers to the interior and agriculture secretaries raising significant concerns about the proposed mine.

The letter said the two departments’ actions “blatantly ignored scientific and economic evidence.” It also mentioned the “interesting coincidence” surrounding the rental of the Luksic house to Mr. Trump’s relatives. Separately, a group in Minnesota opposed to the mining, Save the Boundary Waters, has called the rental arrangement “deeply troubling” and has seized on it to cast doubt on the administration’s actions.

The White House and representatives for the couple declined to answer questions about whether the rental deal had been reviewed by ethics officials. “Both Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump follow the ethics advice they received when they entered government service,” said Peter Mirijanian, a spokesman for Mr. Kushner’s lawyer, Abbe Lowell.

Mr. Terré called the lease a simple real estate transaction that happened to involve the incoming president’s family. “I do not believe there was anything unethical or inappropriate about this business transaction,” he said.

Both Mr. Mirijanian and Mr. Terré said the rental was not related to the Minnesota mine. “There is no correlation in any way,” Mr. Mirijanian said. They were “two entirely unrelated matters” and tying them together was “based on unfounded rumors and speculation,” Mr. Terré said.

An Interior Department spokeswoman said that neither Mr. Kushner nor Ms. Trump been involved in discussions about the mine.

Nonetheless, several ethics experts said they would have cautioned Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump against renting the home, given the Luksic family’s business before the administration.

“There may be nothing wrong,” said Arthur Andrew Lopez, a federal government ethics official for two decades who is now a professor at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business. “But it doesn’t look good.”

Antofagasta hopes to mine on the edge of the Boundary Waters, which encompasses more than a million acres of lakes and forest.CreditTim Gruber for The New York Times

The Boundary Waters hold a special place in American geography: More than a million acres of lakes and forests provide a rich habitat for thousands of species, including the gray wolf and Canada lynx. But below the surface and beyond lies richness of another sort, an estimated four billion tons of copper and nickel ore — believed to be one of the world’s largest undeveloped mineral deposits.

The mining giant controlled by the Luksic family, Antofagasta, took full control of the project in 2015, and its executives have called it the company’s “most advanced international opportunity.” Antofagasta, which is publicly traded in London, is poised to benefit from the growing use of copper in renewable-energy technologies like wind and solar. It lists Mr. Luksic as a board member, and his younger brother, Jean-Paul Luksic, as chairman.

The company has spent more than $450 million so far on the project, run by the subsidiary, Twin Metals Minnesota. It says the project will generate hundreds of mining jobs.

The promise of employment resonates in Minnesota’s Iron Range, which has lost a quarter of its mining jobs since 2000. “The mining industry brings a tsunami effect for the community with regard to jobs, schools, everything,” said Andrea Zupancich, the mayor of Babbitt, a town of 1,500 near the proposed mine.

Antofagasta’s environmental record, however, has raised concerns. In Chile, the company’s Los Pelambres copper mine has suffered toxic spills, according to environmental groups. The company said the mine had experienced only “minor incidents involving limited spills” which were not toxic, and said it was proud of its environmental record.

In a 2016 analysis, Thomas Tidwell, who was then chief of the United States Forest Service, warned of risks to the Boundary Waters from the proposed Twin Metals mine, including the leaching of harmful metals. Mining, he concluded, risked “serious and irreplaceable harm to this unique, iconic, and irreplaceable wilderness.”

Twin Metals called the analysis “riddled with errors” and said “environmental risks will be properly managed.”

Still, the fears have divided nearby residents. “In the summer, we drink out of this water,” said Susan Schurke, who runs Wintergreen Northern Wear, an outdoor clothing company. “Once that’s tainted, it’s over. How can we risk that?”

When the Obama administration moved to block the project in 2016, Twin Metals sued. The company said in a statement then that the administration’s move threatened jobs and would “hinder access to one of the world’s largest sources of copper, nickel and platinum — resources of strategic importance to the U.S. economy and national defense.”

Just as the mining company’s hopes appeared to be on the ropes, it got a welcome surprise: Mr. Trump’s election, and the promise of a pro-industry agenda.

“In 100 years, this water is going to be far more valuable a resource here than copper,” Sullen Sack, a wilderness educator, said.CreditTim Gruber for The New York Times
A map of the Boundary Waters at Ely Outfitting Company in Ely, Minn.CreditTim Gruber for The New York Times The region has lost a quarter of its mining jobs since 2000.CreditTim Gruber for The New York Times

With a new administration on its way to Washington, Mr. Luksic contacted a real estate broker he knew for help with an investment idea: buying residential properties in Washington, including a luxury home, to rent out.

With the help of the broker, Rodrigo Valderrama, Mr. Luksic’s family investment office, which through corporate entities owns a portfolio of real estate in the United States, bought two condominiums in the capital. One was never rented and the other was later sold at a loss.

As for the luxury home, Mr. Valderrama spent weeks touring homes and alerting brokers that he had an interested client. One house he saw was on Tracy Place, in the Kalorama neighborhood, being handled by the real estate firm Washington Fine Properties.

Ms. Trump and Mr. Kushner were using the same firm for their hunt for a house to rent. With Mr. Kushner’s parents tagging along, they saw the six-bedroom, 7,000-square-foot Kalorama home as well.

In the space of a week, Mr. Luksic’s representatives agreed to buy the house and closed on the all-cash transaction, while their would-be tenants waited for the purchase to be complete.

The two sides, working through brokers, agreed on rent of $15,000 per month. Mr. Terré described it as being in the “high range” for the area, which some real estate agents confirmed. Still, that rent was significantly lower than what the couple had discussed paying for another more expensive house, according to interviews.

The home rented by Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump in the Kalorama neighborhood of Washington.CreditTom Brenner for The New York Times

Mr. Terré said both sides were aware of each others’ identities before the rental deal was finalized. “We disclosed our name and the name of my boss,” he said in a telephone interview. Mr. Mirijanian said the couple had decided to lease the home before knowing the landlord’s identity. He did not directly respond to questions about whether they learned of that identity before signing the lease.

Mr. Luksic has written on Twitter that he does not know Mr. Trump or any member of his family, and only met Mr. Trump briefly at a New England Patriots football game years ago. Mr. Terré said Mr. Luksic “has not had any interactions with the Trump White House.”

Critics of the Luksic family say they were suspicious of the Washington investments because of Mr. Luksic’s past in Chile, where he has faced claims of attempts to win favor with the family of a former Chilean president. The Luksic family, one of the world’s wealthiest, has interests spanning banking, manufacturing, energy, shipping and beer.

Mr. Luksic came under fire for meeting with the son and daughter-in-law of Michelle Bachelet, who was running to be president of Chile at the time, as they sought a $10 million loan for their company from Banco de Chile, which is controlled by the Luksic family conglomerate. After Ms. Bachelet’s 2013 election, the bank approved the loan.

A spokesman for Ms. Bachelet said an investigation into the meeting didn’t lead to any charges. Representatives for Mr. Luksic said that he never discussed the loan with Ms. Bachelet, and that regulators found “there was absolutely nothing irregular about the bank’s approval of the loan.”

The Trump administration’s efforts to smooth the way for Antofagasta’s mining ambitions began less than two weeks after the inauguration, when Interior Department officials began re-examining the leases, the government emails show.

The message from an early meeting, according to an attendee who spoke on condition of anonymity, was that officials should prepare for a change in direction.

Officials also made sure the incoming interior secretary, Ryan Zinke, not yet in the job, was briefed. In an email, one Interior Department official described that effort as a “fire drill.”

The administration’s efforts are documented in part in thousands of pages of government emails and calendars, many obtained through records requests by Louis V. Galdieri, a documentary filmmaker, and the Sierra Club, an environmental organization.

A key meeting occurred in early May, when Antofagasta’s chief executive, along with other executives and lobbyists, discussed the issue with the White House’s top adviser on domestic energy and the environment, Michael Catanzaro. The company said it wanted to reverse the Obama-era decisions, which it said were illegal and inflicted “undue damage.”

Rock core samples taken by Twin Metals as part of preparations for mining.CreditTim Gruber for The New York Times
Near the Wintergreen Dogsled Lodge outside Ely. Dogsledding in the Boundary Waters wilderness is popular in winter.CreditTim Gruber for The New York Times A slab of taconite iron ore, a major local industry in decades past, on display in Babbitt, Minn.CreditTim Gruber for The New York Times

The next month, Interior Department officials learned that the White House had “expressed interest in the Twin Metals matter,” according to an email sent by a department lawyer marked “TIME SENSITIVE.” Soon after, top interior appointees traveled to the Minnesota site.

That December, the department reversed course on denying the company’s leases, and Twin Metals withdrew its lawsuit. The Interior Department formally renewed the leases last month, with some restrictions.

Twin Metals scored another victory in September when the Forest Service cut short its mining-ban review. An agency spokesman said it had determined that neither the study nor a ban was needed.

A Twin Metals spokesman, David Ulrich, said the company’s outreach was part of a long-running effort to share its views with the federal government. Obama administration officials had also visited the mining site, he said.

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“We are confident that this world-class mineral resource can be developed safely and with a minimal impact to the environment,” he said in a statement.

The mine still faces a yearslong permitting and approval process. Engineers have been drilling boreholes and wells to study the region’s geology and water, and the company is preparing an operating plan.

“The last administration created some challenges,” Mr. Ulrich said during a tour of the site on the Boundary Waters’ edge. “But it was never not moving forward.”

On a trip to Minnesota in April, Mr. Trump was jubilant about the restoration of mining.

“Under the previous administration,” he said at a truck factory, “America’s rich natural resources were put under lock and key.” The changes since then, he said, were “really pretty amazing.”

Moonrise over Garden Lake, on the edge of the Boundary Waters in Minnesota.CreditTim Gruber for The New York Times

Reporting was contributed by Lisa Friedman in Washington, Jesse Drucker and Kate Kelly in New York, and Pascale Bonnefoy in Santiago, Chile. Kitty Bennett and Alain Delaquérière contributed research.

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Tech Giants Amass a Lobbying Army for an Epic Washington Battle

WASHINGTON — Faced with the growing possibility of antitrust actions and legislation to curb their power, four of the biggest technology companies are amassing an army of lobbyists as they prepare for what could be an epic fight over their futures.

Initially slow to develop a presence in Washington, the tech giants — Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google — have rapidly built themselves into some of the largest players in the influence and access industry as they confront threats from the Trump administration and both parties on Capitol Hill.

The four companies spent a combined $55 million on lobbying last year, doubling their combined spending of $27.4 million in 2016, and some are spending at a higher rate so far this year, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks lobbying and political contributions. That puts them on a par with long-established lobbying powerhouses like the defense, automobile and banking industries.

As they have tracked increasing public and political discontent with their size, power, handling of user data and role in elections, the four companies have intensified their efforts to lure lobbyists with strong connections to the White House, the regulatory agencies, and Republicans and Democrats in Congress.

Of the 238 people registered to lobby for the four companies in the first three months of this year — both in-house employees and those on contract from lobbying and law firms — about 75 percent formerly served in the government or on political campaigns, according to an analysis of lobbying and employment records. Many worked in offices or for officials who could have a hand in deciding the course of the new governmental scrutiny.

The influence campaigns encompass a broad range of activities, including calls on members of Congress, advertising, funding of think-tank research and efforts to get the attention of President Trump, whose on-again, off-again streak of economic populism is of particular concern to the big companies.

Last month, the industry lobbying group, the Internet Association, which represents Amazon, Facebook and Google, awarded its Internet Freedom Award to Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and White House senior adviser.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_149988195_14e7be20-d0d7-4871-a515-af34f2448287-articleLarge Tech Giants Amass a Lobbying Army for an Epic Washington Battle United States Politics and Government Social Media Regulation and Deregulation of Industry Lobbying and Lobbyists Google Inc Facebook Inc Corporations Computers and the Internet Apple Inc Antitrust Laws and Competition Issues Amazon.com Inc Alphabet Inc

Brian Huseman, Amazon’s vice president of public policy, is a former Federal Trade Commission official.CreditHiroko Masuike/The New York Times

“They are no longer upstarts dipping a toe in lobbying,” said Sheila Krumholz, the executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics. “They have both feet in.”

Facebook and Google are dogged by concerns over their handling of consumer data, harmful content and misinformation. Amazon’s rapid expansion has been met with unease over labor conditions and the company’s effect on small businesses. Apple’s control over its app store makes it hard for new apps to get discovered, some rivals say.

Earlier this week, the threat of government action became more real, driving down their stock prices. The House Judiciary Committee announced a broad antitrust investigation into big tech. And the two top federal antitrust agencies agreed to divide oversight over Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google as they explore whether the companies have abused their market power to harm competition and consumers.

“Unwarranted, concentrated economic power in the hands of a few is dangerous to democracy — especially when digital platforms control content,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi tweeted after the Judiciary Committee announced its investigation. “The era of self-regulation is over.”

The industry’s troubles mean big paydays for the lawyers, political operatives and public relations experts hired to ward off regulations, investigations and lawsuits that could curtail the companies’ huge profits. The companies all had earlier ties to Democrats but have also worked to develop closer relationships with Republicans.

Facebook is paying two lobbyists who worked for Ms. Pelosi, including her former chief of staff Catlin O’Neill, who now serves as a director of United States public policy for the social media company.

Ms. Pelosi received nearly $43,000 in total donations for her 2018 re-election campaign from employees and political action committees of Facebook, Amazon and Alphabet, Google’s corporate parent — each of which ranked among her top half-dozen sources of campaign cash. She had been a champion of tech companies, which have a robust presence in her district in California.

“There is a burgeoning awareness that there is a big problem with the dominance of big tech,” said Senator Josh Hawley, Republican of Missouri.CreditSarah Silbiger/The New York Times

But her support for the industry appeared more tenuous last month, when she said Facebook’s refusal to take down a doctored video of her that made her appear drunk demonstrated how the social network contributed to misinformation and enabled Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Google is paying two contract lobbyists who worked as lawyers on the Republican staff of the House Judiciary Committee. One of the lawyers, Sean McLaughlin, also served as a deputy assistant attorney general under President George W. Bush.

“Having conducted congressional investigations from the inside, Sean is able to counsel clients on how to respond to them from the outside,” reads Mr. McLaughlin’s biography on the website of his firm, Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, which was paid $50,000 by Google to lobby Congress during the first three months of the year, according to lobbying records.

The Washington office of Amazon, whose chief executive, Jeff Bezos, has drawn regular criticism from Mr. Trump, is led by a former Federal Trade Commission official, Brian Huseman. And its roster of outside lobbyists includes three Democratic former members of Congress — Norm Dicks of Washington, Vic Fazio of California and Kendrick B. Meek of Florida — as well as two former Justice Department lawyers.

One of them, Seth Bloom, was a trial lawyer in the department’s antitrust division in the late 1990s before going on to work on antitrust issues for the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Democratic staff. He went on to lobby for Amazon, including in connection with its purchase in 2017 of the grocery chain Whole Foods, which required a review of competition concerns by the Federal Trade Commission. Amazon paid $30,000 to Mr. Bloom’s firm to lobby Congress on issues “related to competition in technology industries” during the first three months of the year.

In that span, Amazon also paid $70,000 to the lobbying firm of a top Trump fund-raiser, Brian Ballard, to lobby Congress and the administration. Top-tier lobbyists in Washington can make millions of dollars a year.

One of the lobbyists on the account for Mr. Ballard’s firm, Daniel F. McFaul, worked on Mr. Trump’s presidential transition team and then briefly as chief of staff for Representative Matt Gaetz, Republican of Florida. Mr. Gaetz is a member of a House Judiciary subcommittee that is planning a set of hearings, testimony from executives of top companies and subpoenas for internal corporate documents.

The head of the Justice Department’s antitrust division, Makan Delrahim, was paid as a contract lobbyist by Google in 2007. He is facing pressure to recuse himself if the department pursues an investigation of the company.CreditStephen Voss for The New York Times

Even before Senator Josh Hawley, Republican of Missouri, was sworn in at the beginning of the year, the tech companies reached out to him. Mr. Hawley had investigated Google as his state’s attorney general, and the industry saw him as a threat.

Facebook called, as did Twitter and Google. This winter, in Mr. Hawley’s windowless temporary office, the lobbyists for the companies came to meet with Mr. Hawley’s aides, arguing that their companies contributed to Missouri’s economy and were innovative businesses that did more good than harm for consumers, according to a person familiar with the meetings.

“There is a burgeoning awareness that there is a big problem with the dominance of big tech,” Mr. Hawley said in a recent interview. “Big tech may be more socially powerful than the trusts of the Roosevelt era, and yet they still operate like a black box.”

The internet giants have learned from the hard lessons of Microsoft, which was caught flat-footed with a sparse lobbying presence in the 1990s when federal antitrust officials called for a breakup of the software giant. Google has especially been forced to deal with regulatory issues, both in Europe, where it has been hit with three multibillion-dollar penalties, and in the United States, where it escaped an Obama administration-era Federal Trade Commission investigation without any action being taken.

The companies have separately argued that they have not violated antitrust laws. Google and Facebook say that their services are free and do not harm competitors and that consumers can turn to alternative search and social networking apps. Amazon has said it has a large share of online commerce but only a small fraction of the overall retail market. And Apple argues that the majority of apps in its store are free and that the company rejects only apps that violate its policies on hate speech and pornography, for instance, or try to take too much data from users.

“We have seen these tech companies escape accountability for years,” said Lisa Gilbert, the vice president of legislative affairs for the government watchdog group Public Citizen. The group, which has called for more user data protections and for breaking up Facebook, published a study last month showing that in the last two decades, 59 percent of top Federal Trade Commission officials who left the agency entered financial relationships with technology interests regulated by it.

The head of the Justice Department’s antitrust division, Makan Delrahim, was paid as a contract lobbyist by Google in 2007 to win approval for its acquisition of DoubleClick, which had drawn antitrust concerns. He is now facing pressure to recuse himself if the Justice Department pursues an investigation of the company.

Former Representative Darrell Issa, Republican of California, last year. He attended a Google holiday party in December after questioning the company’s chief executive at a House hearing earlier in the day.CreditErin Schaff for The New York Times

Federal employees are barred from working on specific issues that affect their former private sector employers or interests, and generally face “cooling off” periods of one to two years after leaving government, during which they cannot lobby their former colleagues. But there are all manner of loopholes.

Ms. Gilbert’s group has called for stricter conflict-of-interest provisions. She said that “in this moment of enhanced scrutiny, the tech companies are going to be looking for those who have the Rolodexes that matter to try to stop regulation and legislation of the type that’s required to protect consumers.”

It is hard to avoid the increasing prominence of the companies in Washington.

They finance some of the most influential think tanks from across the political spectrum, sometimes making it difficult for critical voices to win funding.

Google and Facebook have provided funding to hundreds of influential trade groups and think tanks across the ideological spectrum, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Conservative Union, the Brookings Institution and the Center for American Progress.

In the spring of 2018, Facebook moved into a new office with room for as many as 200 lobbyists, policy experts and engineers for its Washington-based security team. With a full cafeteria, soaring ceilings, wall-size abstract art and concrete floors, the office copies its look from Facebook’s Frank Gehry-designed headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif.

Apple is preparing to move into a bigger office, and Google recently opened one of the city’s biggest corporate lobbying offices.

Amazon also opened a new office near Capitol Hill, where it regularly hosts policy events with members of Congress. And Amazon recently announced that it would place a second corporate headquarters across the Potomac River from downtown Washington, in Arlington, Va.

Last December, in the evening after Google’s chief executive, Sundar Pichai, testified for the first time at a House hearing, the company hosted a holiday party with hundreds of government officials at the trendy Wharf along the Potomac.

Scores of lawmakers, including Representatives Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Democrat of Florida, and Darrell Issa, Republican of California, gathered under neon displays of YouTube and Google. Mr. Issa, who had questioned Mr. Pichai earlier in the day and was within weeks of leaving office, was waiting near one of several open bars for a cocktail.

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What to Know About Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, the Arab Ruler Swaying Trump

The United Arab Emirates has fewer citizens than Rhode Island, but its de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed of Abu Dhabi, is widely regarded as one of the most influential Arab leaders in Washington and across the Middle East.

He may be the richest man in the world: He controls sovereign wealth funds worth $1.3 trillion, more than any other country. His military is the most potent of any Arab state. His influence in the United States is legendary — and never more felt than under President Trump.

Prince Mohammed, 58, is obsessed with two enemies, Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood, and Mr. Trump has sought to move strongly against both. In fact, the president has repeatedly adopted positions favored by the prince over the reservations of cabinet members and career national security officials on subjects including Iran, Qatar, Libya, Saudi Arabia and the Muslim Brotherhood.

[Read our full report on Prince Mohammed.]

Now Prince Mohammed has caught the interest of American prosecutors as well. The special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election unearthed evidence that the prince tried to help the Russians open back channels to Mr. Trump’s inner circle.

The Times examined the prince and his power. Here are five takeaways.

His special forces are active in Yemen, Libya, Somalia and Egypt’s North Sinai. He has established a ring of ports and bases around the Horn of Africa. He has worked to thwart democratic transitions, helped install a reliable autocrat in Egypt and led a drive to isolate Qatar, his regional rival.

He also helped lift a protégé to power in Saudi Arabia: Prince Mohammed bin Salman, now 33, who has captured the attention of the West, especially since American intelligence agencies concluded that he ordered the killing of the dissident Jamal Khashoggi.

But the Saudi prince’s rise to power was aided by assiduous advocacy in Washington from the elder Prince Mohammed. The Emirati prince was also the first to argue to Washington for some of the aggressive moves that they have undertaken together, including their military intervention in Yemen and their attempt to isolate Qatar — a campaign that began with an act of online sabotage orchestrated by the U.A.E., according to American investigators.

The approach to Israeli-Palestinian peace advocated by Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner, in some ways resembles a Persian Gulf-centric approach that Prince Mohammed has advocated since the end of the Obama administration.

In 1991, after Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, Prince Mohammed came to Washington shopping for weapons, and a senior State Department official, Richard A. Clarke, reassured nervous lawmakers that the United Arab Emirates were “a force for peace” and would never be “an aggressor.” (After leaving the government in 2003, Mr. Clarke founded a consultancy that worked extensively for the U.A.E., and he is the chairman of a think tank that has received significant Emirati funding.)

The Emiratis eventually acquired more than 80 F-16 fighters and 30 Apache combat helicopters. Prince Mohammed hired former American officers to help run his military and former American spies to help set up his intelligence services. And with the advice of retired American generals, Prince Mohammed began to build a domestic Emirati defense industry, which already exports Emirati-made armored vehicles to clients in Libya and Egypt.

Unlike any other Arab state, the United Arab Emirates have also now deployed their forces to fight alongside the United States military in six conflicts: in Iraq, Kosovo, Somalia, Afghanistan and Libya, and against the Islamic State. In the process, Prince Mohammed gained the rare capability of carrying out military actions beyond his own borders — something he is now putting to use.

Prince Mohammed worked against the transition to democracy in Egypt, defied a United Nations embargo to arm a would-be Libyan strongman and ignored American entreaties to end his feud with Qatar, the host of a United States air base.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_155680158_e43395bb-9d4e-4db4-8b9b-2b4b5af25db2-articleLarge What to Know About Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, the Arab Ruler Swaying Trump Yemen United States International Relations United States United Arab Emirates Trump, Donald J Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Zayed Mohammed bin Salman (1985- ) Lobbying and Lobbyists Kushner, Jared

Prince Mohammed on Friday during an Arab summit meeting in Saudi Arabia.CreditBandar Aldandani/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Many of his interventions have produced mixed results. Egypt is struggling. Qatar is unbowed. He set off a scramble among rivals in the Horn of Africa. Yemen is a military quagmire and a humanitarian disaster.

By arming the United Arab Emirates with advanced surveillance technology, commandos and weaponry, argued Tamara Cofman Wittes, a former State Department official and fellow at the Brookings Institution, “We have created a little Frankenstein.”

Prince Mohammed devotes tens of millions of dollars a year to hiring former American officials, paying lobbyists, donating to charities that Washington cares about and contributing to the city’s research institutes.

Before Mr. Trump took office, the prince secured a secret meeting with the president-elect’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. He also tried to broker talks between the Trump administration and Russia, turning to a financier and friend of Mr. Kushner’s, Richard Gerson, to help.

One of the prince’s younger brothers introduced Mr. Gerson to a Russian businessman who acts as a liaison between President Vladimir V. Putin and the Persian Gulf monarchs, according to the special counsel’s report. The businessman, Kirill Dmitriev, conferred with Mr. Gerson about a “reconciliation plan” for the United States and Russia, and Mr. Gerson gave Mr. Kushner a summary.

Prince Mohammed later invited Mr. Dmitriev to the Seychelles to meet with Erik Prince, the founder of a private security company and someone the Emiratis thought represented the Trump team.

Prosecutors are continuing to examine the activities of at least five emissaries or operatives working for the prince who tried to insinuate themselves near Mr. Trump. Another investigation is examining the possibility that the United Arab Emirates used cyberespionage techniques from former American operatives to spy on American citizens.

Although he regularly visited the United States for decades, Prince Mohammed has now stayed away for two years, in part because he fears prosecutors might seek to question him or his aides, according to two people familiar with his thinking. (His brother, the foreign minister, has visited.)

American officials invariably describe the prince as concise, inquisitive, even humble. He pours his own coffee. To illustrate his love for America, he tells visitors he has taken his grandchildren to Disney World incognito.

He also tells American visitors that his dread of the Muslim Brotherhood comes from firsthand experience, when a teacher attempted to indoctrinate him. He argues that the Arab world is not ready for democracy because it would elect Islamists.

With American officials, Prince Mohammed emphasizes the United Arab Emirates’ relative liberalism on social issues: About a third of its cabinet ministers are women and, unlike in neighboring Arab countries, Christians, Hindus and Sikhs are allowed to build houses of worship. Although critics note that the Emirati authorities have zero tolerance for political dissent, the prince has created a “Ministry of Tolerance” and declared 2019 the official “Year of Tolerance.”

James Mattis, the former secretary of defense, recently delivered a lecture in Abu Dhabi sponsored by Prince Mohammed. When he joined the Trump administration, Mr. Mattis disclosed that he had received $242,000 in annual fees as well as valuable stock options as a board member at the defense contractor General Dynamics, which does extensive business with Abu Dhabi. He had also worked as an unpaid adviser to Prince Mohammed.

“It’s the Year of Tolerance. How many countries in the world right now are having a year of tolerance?” Mr. Mattis asked. “I don’t know of any,” he said. “You are an example.”

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Trump Increases China Tariffs as Trade Deal Hangs in the Balance

Westlake Legal Group trump-increases-china-tariffs-as-trade-deal-hangs-in-the-balance Trump Increases China Tariffs as Trade Deal Hangs in the Balance United States Politics and Government United States International Relations United States Economy Lobbying and Lobbyists International Trade and World Market Economic Conditions and Trends Customs (Tariff)

WASHINGTON — 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.

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 his comments at the White House on Thursday afternoon, Mr. Trump vacillated between threatening China and suggesting a deal could still happen. The president said he had received a “beautiful letter” from President Xi Jinping of China and would probably speak to him by phone, but said he was more than happy to keep hitting Beijing with tariffs.

“I have no idea what’s going to happen,” he said. “They’ll see what they can do, but our alternative is, is an excellent one,” Mr. Trump added, noting that American tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese products were bringing “billions” in to the United States government.

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.

“It is hoped that the U.S. and Chinese sides will meet each other halfway and work together” to resolve their dispute, the statement added.

The renewed brinkmanship has plunged the world’s two largest economies back into a trade war that had seemed on the cusp of ending. The United States and China were nearing a trade deal that would lift tariffs, open the Chinese market to American companies and strengthen China’s intellectual property protections. But discussions fell apart last weekend, when China called for substantial changes to the negotiating text that both countries had been using as a blueprint for a sweeping trade pact.

Mr. Trump, angered by what he viewed as an act of defiance, responded on Sunday by threatening to raise existing tariffs to 25 percent and impose new ones on an additional $325 billion worth of products. China has said it is prepared to retaliate should those tariffs go into effect.

“We were getting very close to a deal then they started to renegotiate the deal,” Mr. Trump said. “We can’t have that.”

Note: Overall import data based on 2018 figures.

Source: Census Bureau

The New York Times

Chinese officials said the decision to come to the United States after Mr. Trump’s tariff threat showed they are serious about trying to reach a resolution. But it is unclear whether China is willing to make the changes that the Trump administration is demanding, including codifying much of the agreement into Chinese law.

“I come here facing pressure,” Liu He, China’s vice premier, said on Thursday in an interview with China Central Television in Washington. “That expresses China’s greatest sincerity. And we want to resolve some of the differences we face honestly, confidently and rationally. I think there is hope.”

An administration official described Mr. Xi’s letter to Mr. Trump as conveying a nice, diplomatic tone but noted that the word “equality” was included, suggesting that China believes the United States is demanding too much and that a trade agreement must be more equitable. Mr. Xi also said he believed that his friendship with Mr. Trump would endure the trade dispute.

Despite the overture, the administration official said that this round of talks had the dour feeling of heading toward a breakup. There is a growing sense of disappointment in Mr. Xi being unable to follow through on things that Mr. Trump’s trade negotiators thought had been addressed.

Mr. Trump’s decision to impose 25 percent tariffs on nearly one-third of all Chinese products is the biggest trade action that Mr. Trump has taken so far. The higher tax hits many consumer products that Americans rely on from Beijing, like seafood, luggage and electronics, raising prices for American companies and their customers across a large portion of sectors.

Stock markets fell Thursday in the United States, but pared some of those losses after Mr. Trump’s comments in the afternoon. The S&P 500 index ended the day down less than 0.5 percent.

Talks resumed at 5 p.m. on Thursday at the offices of the United States trade representative, and Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, and Robert Lighthizer, Mr. Trump’s top trade negotiator, continued them over a dinner with Mr. Liu and some members of the Chinese delegation.

The new 25 percent rate went into effect at 12:01 a.m. Friday. But the higher tariffs will hit only products that leave China after that time, not those already in transit. That could provide some additional time for the two sides to reach an agreement. Mr. Trump may also be able to rescind the tariffs once a deal is reached, retroactively reversing the higher rates.

“This week is really a challenge if you’ve got boats on the ocean,” said Brian Keare, the field chief information officer at Incorta, who advises companies like Broadcom, Starbucks and Apple on scenario planning amid the uncertainty they face under the Trump administration. “If I’ve got 30 days’ notice, I can make a smarter decision. If I’ve got 72 hours, my hands are more tied.”

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_154567839_c472e9be-74b7-4cd4-880e-1066642c0fb5-articleLarge Trump Increases China Tariffs as Trade Deal Hangs in the Balance United States Politics and Government United States International Relations United States Economy Lobbying and Lobbyists International Trade and World Market Economic Conditions and Trends Customs (Tariff)

Vice Premier Liu He of China, right, will resume trade talks on Thursday in Washington with the Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, center, and Robert Lighthizer, the United States trade representative.CreditPool photo by New

China, which has already placed tariffs on nearly all of America’s exports, including agriculture products, has threatened to respond with additional “countermeasures” to Mr. Trump’s latest tariff.

Lyle Benjamin, the president of the Montana Grain Growers Association, said that China had essentially stopped buying American wheat since last year. He was hopeful that a trade truce would change that, but now he expected prices to keep falling.

“It’s highly frustrating, particularly in the agricultural sector, to be collateral damage as we try to achieve these trade goals for other industries,” Mr. Benjamin said. “It’s a tough game right now and it’s tied almost entirely to this trade war.”

But Mr. Trump, already emboldened by a healthy American economy, may be encouraged to keep his trade war going given the monthly trade deficit with China fell in March to its lowest level since 2014 as China slowed its exports to America. The overall United States trade deficit with the world increased 1.5 percent in March to $50 billion, as it continued to import more goods and services than it exported worldwide.

Mr. Trump has seized on that shrinking deficit as evidence that his trade policy is narrowing the trade deficit and boosting growth, as have some of his supporters.

The Trump administration has done projections on the effect of the additional tariffs on the economy and believes that the negative effects will be minimal and pale in comparison to those facing China, an administration official said. The White House will consider taking additional measures to mitigate the effects of any retaliatory measures that China takes against America’s farmers.

“To the president’s credit, the tariffs are working,” said Dan DiMicco, the chairman of the trade lobbying group Coalition for a Prosperous America and a former trade adviser to Mr. Trump during his 2016 campaign. “America’s manufacturers and workers are now seeing gains as manufacturing employment rises and China’s hold on the U.S. market shrinks.”

Mr. Trump’s toughened stance toward China has rattled American businesses, which had been anticipating a trade truce but are now bracing for higher tariffs.

“Clearly, we think a negotiating strategy based on tariffs is the wrong direction,” said David French, the senior vice president of government relations at the National Retail Federation.

Among the products that will be hit by higher levies is seafood from China imported into the United States.CreditWu Hong/EPA, via Shutterstock

Retailers wielded their influence successfully in 2017 when Republicans were considering a tax plan that they believed would have harmed their businesses. But when it comes to trade, Mr. French said that the Trump administration had been intransigent about their tariff concerns. To make its point, the retail association has been holding events featuring businesses that are suffering from tariffs in politically important states like Ohio.

Most business groups agree with Mr. Trump that China engages in unfair trade practices. Among the shared concerns is that China needs to protect American intellectual property and curb subsidies for state-owned enterprises. But those businesses, which depend on China for many of the products they rely on and sell, say the economic pain of tariffs makes them a poor negotiating tool.

“American business continues to have major problems with China’s commercial policies, but we simply must find a way to tackle these that doesn’t turn our most competitive companies into collateral damage,” said Peter Robinson, the chief executive of the United States Council for International Business.

Mr. Robinson suggested that the United States should team up with other trading partners to pressure China to change its ways and work with the World Trade Organization to adjudicate its complaints.

But administration officials have begun to run out of patience with China, which they say reneged on several areas of agreement over the weekend. After a meeting last week in Beijing, Mr. Mnuchin and Mr. Lighthizer were angered to receive a new draft of the agreement from the Chinese with major revisions to provisions they thought had been agreed to. According to people who have been tracking the talks, Chinese officials determined that many of the concessions they were being asked to make would clash with Chinese laws, which the government was not prepared to change.

“The administration has been talking to China for months now about specific things that needed to change in Chinese law,” said Clete Willems, a former member of Mr. Trump’s trade team who left recently to become a partner at the law firm Akin Gump. “The administration was operating under the assumption that some of that would be part of the deal, so to the extent that China is saying that’s no longer possible, that is a pretty big reversal.”

Wall Street analysts have been girding for more volatility this week and many have been adjusting their predictions about the likelihood of an all out trade war.

“The opportunity window for avoiding a trade war is closing fast,” economists at Citigroup wrote in a note to clients.

They warned that an increase in tariffs could begin to push up inflation in the United States and tighten financial conditions. A full-blown trade war is expected to be a drag on global economic growth.

Thus far, most companies have managed to absorb the brunt of the initial batch of China tariffs, keeping inflation at bay, but analysts said that jumping to a rate of 25 percent is impossible to ignore.

“Any maneuverability these companies had been using to blunt the impact of these tariffs is very likely exhausted,” said Henrietta Treyz, the director of economic policy at the investment advisory firm Veda Partners.

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Trump Says China Tariffs Will Increase as Trade Deal Hangs in the Balance

Westlake Legal Group trump-says-china-tariffs-will-increase-as-trade-deal-hangs-in-the-balance Trump Says China Tariffs Will Increase as Trade Deal Hangs in the Balance United States Politics and Government United States International Relations United States Economy Lobbying and Lobbyists International Trade and World Market Economic Conditions and Trends Customs (Tariff)

WASHINGTON — A pivotal round of trade talks between the United States and China gets underway on Thursday but American businesses are bracing for higher tariffs on Chinese imports as a quick resolution to resolve a yearlong trade war becomes increasingly unlikely.

Just a week ago, Wall Street and the nation’s largest industry lobbying groups were hopeful that the world’s two largest economies were on the cusp of securing a historic trade treaty. But President Trump’s anger at China for backtracking on big parts of an emerging deal has raised fears that the fragile negotiations are on the verge of collapse.

“We were getting very close to a deal and they started to renegotiate the deal. We can’t have that,” Mr. Trump said in remarks at the White House on Thursday ahead of talks between his trade negotiators and the Chinese. The president said he plans to raise tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods to 25 percent on Friday and said that the administration had started the paperwork to enable tariffs on another $325 billion worth of imports.

The president expressed hope that the talks would go well, saying that Chinese President Xi Jinping had sent him “a beautiful letter” and that he would probably speak to him by phone. But he added “I have no idea what will happen.”

“I think it will be a very strong day frankly, but we’ll see. We’ll see. It was their idea to come back,” he said, in reference to the Chinese delegation. But he reiterated that he was more than happy to keep tariffs on Chinese goods if a deal could not be reached.

“We’ll see what they can do, but our alternative is, is an excellent one. It’s an alternative I’ve spoken about for years. We’ll take in well over $100 billion a year,” he said. “We’re raising it to 25 percent on Friday.”

Mr. Trump plans on Friday morning to raise tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports to 25 percent from 10 percent, including many consumer products that Americans rely on from Beijing, like seafood, luggage and electronics. The standoff is expected to raise prices for American companies and their customers across a large swath of sectors, potentially sending global stock markets falling.

The talks will resume at 5 p.m. at the offices of the United States Trade Representative. Steven Mnuchin, Treasury secretary, and Robert E. Lighthizer, Mr. Trump’s top trade negotiator, will have dinner with Liu He, China’s vice premier, and members of the Chinese delegation on Thursday evening. At midnight, the tariffs higher are expected to be triggered.

Mr. Trump said that Chinese President Xi Jinping had sent him “a beautiful letter” and that he would probably speak to him by phone.

Stock markets fell in the United States on Thursday morning, with the S&P 500 index down slightly more than 1 percent after trading began.

Despite Mr. Trump’s affinity for corporate America, its vocal concerns about the damage from the president’s trade war and tariffs have done little to change the White House’s approach.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_154567839_c472e9be-74b7-4cd4-880e-1066642c0fb5-articleLarge Trump Says China Tariffs Will Increase as Trade Deal Hangs in the Balance United States Politics and Government United States International Relations United States Economy Lobbying and Lobbyists International Trade and World Market Economic Conditions and Trends Customs (Tariff)

Vice Premier Liu He of China, right, will resume trade talks on Thursday in Washington with the Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, center, and Robert Lighthizer, the United States trade representative.CreditPool photo by New

“Clearly, we think a negotiating strategy based on tariffs is the wrong direction,” said David French, senior vice president of government relations at the National Retail Federation. “We’re certainly hopeful that the Chinese, when they come to Washington this week, come with a plan to make substantial concessions to avert this disaster.”

But Mr. Trump, already emboldened by a healthy American economy, may be encouraged to keep his trade war going given the monthly trade deficit with China fell in March to its lowest level since 2014 as China slowed its exports to America. The overall United States trade deficit with the world increased 1.5 percent in March to $50 billion, as it continued to import more goods and services than it exported worldwide.

Retailers wielded their influence successfully in 2017 when Republicans were considering a tax plan that they believed would have harmed their businesses. But when it comes to trade, Mr. French said that the Trump administration had been intransigent about their tariff concerns. To make its point, the retail association has been holding events featuring businesses that are suffering from tariffs in politically important states like Ohio.

Most business groups agree with Mr. Trump that China treats the United States unfairly on trade. They think that intellectual property protections need to be bolstered and that China’s subsidies of state-owned enterprises must be curbed. Yet they also believe that the economic pain of tariffs makes them a poor negotiating tool.

“When the U.S. and China fight, nobody wins, as the past year’s market gyrations, lost deals, and strained diplomatic ties have made abundantly clear,” said Peter Robinson, chief executive of the United States Council for International Business. “American business continues to have major problems with China’s commercial policies, but we simply must find a way to tackle these that doesn’t turn our most competitive companies into collateral damage.”

Mr. Robinson suggested that the United States should team up with other trading partners to pressure China to change its ways and work with the World Trade Organization to adjudicate its complaints.

The United States and China appeared to be closing in on an agreement after more than a year of talks. Despite the sense of optimism, which Mr. Trump had often fanned, some of the president’s top advisers signaled last week that the administration was running out of patience.

Speaking at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Los Angeles last week, Mick Mulvaney, the White House chief of staff, said that the talks would not “go on forever.” Mr. Mnuchin said the negotiations were in their “final laps” and noted that it would soon be evident if it were time to strike a deal or walk away.

Asked at the conference if he was feeling optimistic about the talks, Stephen A. Schwarzman, the chief executive of Blackstone and a confidant of Mr. Trump, rolled his eyes and said, “we’ll see.”

After Mr. Mnuchin and Mr. Lighthizer returned from a trip to Beijing last week, they were angered to receive from their Chinese counterparts a new draft of the agreement with major revisions to provisions they thought had been agreed to. According to people who have been tracking the talks, Chinese officials determined that many of the concessions they were being asked to make would clash with Chinese laws, which the government was not prepared to change.

“The administration has been talking to China for months now about specific things that needed to change in Chinese law,” said Clete Willems, a former member of Mr. Trump’s trade team who left recently to become a partner at the law firm Akin Gump. “The administration was operating under the assumption that some of that would be part of the deal, so to the extent that China is saying that’s no longer possible, that is a pretty big reversal.”

Despite Mr. Trump’s threat of higher tariffs, China decided that it would send a delegation, led by Vice Premier Liu He, to Washington nonetheless. Still, it remains unclear if there will be sufficient time to avert the tariff increase and how forcefully China will respond.

Among the products that will be hit by higher levies is seafood from China imported into the United States.CreditWu Hong/EPA, via Shutterstock

Mr. Willems said that while both sides have overcome setbacks, Mr. Trump and his economic team believe that the progress that they have made with China is directly related to the president’s willingness to impose tariffs.

“I do think more likely than not you’re going to see tariffs going into place tomorrow,” Mr. Willems said. “This is not a bluff by the president.”

This week Mr. Lighthizer has warned members of Congress to be prepared for the tariffs to increase, according to people familiar with the discussions, while Mr. Mnuchin has expressed hope that Mr. Liu will bring meaningful concessions to the table.

Although there appears to be little time to resolve their remaining differences before the Friday deadline, a Trump administration official clarified that the higher tariffs would hit products leaving China on May 10. This could provide some additional time for the two sides to reach an agreement before those goods reach the United States.

Wall Street analysts have been girding for more volatility this week and many have been adjusting their predictions about the likelihood of an all out trade war.

“The opportunity window for avoiding a trade war is closing fast,” economists at Citigroup wrote in a note to clients.

They warned that if tariffs increased, inflation in the United States could begin to tick up and financial conditions could tighten. A full-blown trade war is expected to be a drag on global economic growth.

Thus far, most companies have managed to absorb the brunt of the initial batch of China tariffs, keeping inflation at bay, but analysts warn that jumping to a rate of 25 percent will be impossible to ignore.

“Any maneuverability these companies had been using to blunt the impact of these tariffs is very likely exhausted,” said Henrietta Treyz, director of economic policy at the investment advisory firm Veda Partners.

Equally painful will be China’s retaliatory measures, which Chinese officials have signaled are already being prepared. China has already imposed new duties on American products from soybeans to seafood, damaging businesses in parts of the United States where voters tend to support Mr. Trump.

An escalation in the trade dispute will probably mean more pressure on agricultural industries whose workers account for a large part of the president’s base.

Lyle Benjamin, president of the Montana Grain Growers Association, said that China had essentially stopped buying American wheat since last year. He was hopeful that a trade truce would change that, but now he expected prices to keep falling.

“It’s highly frustrating, particularly in the agricultural sector, to be collateral damage as we try to achieve these trade goals for other industries,” Mr. Benjamin said. “It’s a tough game right now and it’s tied almost entirely to this trade war.”

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In Washington, Juul Vows to Curb Youth Vaping. Its Lobbying in States Runs Counter to That Pledge.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — For months, Juul Labs has had a clear, unwavering message for officials in Washington: The e-cigarette giant is committed to doing all it can to keep its hugely popular vaping products away from teenagers.

But here in Columbia, the South Carolina capital, and in statehouses and city halls across the country, a vast, new army of Juul lobbyists is aggressively pushing measures that undermine that pledge.

The company’s 80-plus lobbyists in 50 states are fighting proposals to ban flavored e-cigarette pods, which are big draws for teenagers; pushing legislation that includes provisions denying local governments the right to adopt strict vaping controls; and working to make sure that bills to discourage youth vaping do not have stringent enforcement measures.

Though Juul supports numerous state bills that would raise the legal age for buying vaping and tobacco products to 21, some of those bills contain minimal sanctions for retailers. Others fine only the clerks and not the owners for violations.

“Juul is attempting to rehabilitate its public image by posing as a public health advocate while working behind the scenes to weaken or defeat tobacco control proposals and prevent communities from even considering policies to curb tobacco use,” said Nancy Brown, chief executive of the American Heart Association, whose network of lobbyists has parried with e-cigarette and tobacco industries in many states this year.

In a statement, Juul said, “We are as committed as ever to combating youth usage but don’t take our word for it — look at our actions.”

The company cited its action plan, unveiled in November, which included shutting down its social media accounts, discontinuing sales of many flavored pods in retail stores and strengthening its online age verification systems.

E-cigarettes allow smokers to inhale the nicotine they crave without the toxins that come from burning tobacco. But Juul’s sleek devices, which resemble a flashdrive, became immensely popular with teenagers, stoking worries that the devices were creating a new generation of nicotine addicts among people who have never smoked.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_153448086_ddc4b7a2-69e3-4e8a-8ca7-de6cd873b60e-articleLarge In Washington, Juul Vows to Curb Youth Vaping. Its Lobbying in States Runs Counter to That Pledge. Teenagers and Adolescence States (US) State Legislatures south carolina Smoking and Tobacco Local government Lobbying and Lobbyists Law and Legislation Juul Labs Inc E-Cigarettes

Marlon Kimpson, a state senator in South Carolina, put a legislative block on a bill that would bar communities from restricting sales of vaping products.CreditSean Rayford for The New York Times

Juul denies marketing to young people, and it has revamped its website to focus on adult smokers. But as it faces serious regulatory threats from the Trump administration, as well as targeting by state and city lawmakers, the company has quickly built an enormous lobbying machine to protect its turf as best it can. With the recent departure of Scott Gottlieb, a vociferous critic of Juul, from the post of F.D.A. commissioner, the company’s more urgent battles, for now, are in the states.

Most of Juul’s state lobbyists work for well-connected firms run by ex-governors, former state lawmakers and big political donors, public records show. Some are in-house, based in the growing number of offices the company is opening around the country. The company’s latest star hire is Martha Coakley, the former attorney general of Massachusetts. (The state’s current attorney general, Maura Healey, is investigating whether Juul intentionally targeted its vaping products to minors.)

In a series of interviews, Lindsay Andrews, a spokeswoman for Juul, said the lobbyists were primarily focused on raising the minimum age for buying e-cigarette and traditional tobacco products to 21 from 18, or in a few states, 19. More than 400 local governments and 14 states have already done so, eight of the states this year.

But in numerous states, the proposals that Juul publicly supports, known as Tobacco 21, or T21, contain measures that public health experts consider poison pills.

Juul says it prefers that T21 legislation does not have added provisions. But it worked to help pass a T21 law in the Arkansas Legislature, for example, that would also block local governments from enacting new rules regarding the manufacture, sale, storage or distribution of tobacco and vaping products — including restrictions on flavored products.

For related reasons, public health advocates have opposed Juul-backed T21 bills in Arizona, Florida, Iowa, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia. The tobacco industry supported the T21 bills.

In some states Juul’s advocacy is public, and in others the company is barely visible, working only through the Vapor Technology Association, or by relying on Altria, the tobacco company that late last year paid Juul $12.8 billion for a 35 percent stake.

In South Carolina, for example, Juul has not taken a public position on a contentious proposal to pre-empt local governments from banning flavored e-cigarettes or otherwise regulating any tobacco product. But at a hearing on the bill last month, Brian Flynn, one of Juul’s three lobbyists with McGuireWoods Consulting, a firm run by the former governor James H. Hodges, testified in favor of the pre-emption plan.

At the hearing, Mr. Flynn introduced himself as a lobbyist for both Juul and the South Carolina Association of Convenience Stores. He noted that on the matter of pre-emption, he spoke only for the retailers.

State Representative Beth Bernstein wrote legislation in South Carolina that would bar people under age 18 from going into vape shops without an adult, and also prohibit vaping on school property.CreditSean Rayford for The New York Times

Critics did not see much of a distinction.

“This is too cute by half,” said Pamela Gilbert, a lawyer and a former executive director of the Consumer Product Safety Commission. “Juul must know their lobbyist is lobbying for the pre-emption bill, and Juul must have approved that. If Juul really didn’t want to be connected to the support for that bill, Juul should hire another lobbyist.”

Some of the so-called pre-emption measures around the country were written using model language from the Vapor Technology Association, according to Kinn Elliott, a V.T.A. lobbyist who recently joined the association from Juul. Other pre-emption bills, in whole or in part, have been drafted with language from lobbyists for Altria and the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company.

Altria, maker of Marlboro cigarettes, has a potent lobbying network in Washington and around the country. Asked if Altria was advising Juul’s state lobbying efforts, or if the two related businesses were working together, an Altria spokesman, David Sutton, replied that there was no contractual service agreement by which Altria would assist Juul’s government affairs. He added that he did not know what informal conversations on state lobbying issues might have taken place.

“I just don’t know, I’m not on the ground,” Mr. Sutton said. “Is there a conversation between the Altria government affairs people and the Juul government affairs people on the ground? I don’t know.”

He declined to provide access to Altria employees who could answer the question. Juul also declined to answer the question.

But Vince Willmore, a spokesman for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, which has been involved in many of these state battles, said, “It’s hard to say where Altria ends and Juul begins.”

So far, Juul’s state and local efforts have had mixed success. In Sacramento, Juul tried to head off a proposal to ban the sale of all flavored e-cigarettes and tobacco products in the city, as San Francisco did last year.

Steve Hansen, the councilman who wrote the bill, met with two Juul lobbyists in early March to hear their alternative plan. They were pushing a plan that would ban only flavors that are “knowingly attractive to minors.” The City Council rejected Juul’s proposal and on April 16 passed Mr. Hansen’s plan.

Mr. Hansen said he was surprised by the intensity of the lobbying effort.

“In my six years on the City Council I’ve never seen the number of money, lobbyists and Astroturfing we’ve seen here on anything else,” he said.

The South Carolina Statehouse, the scene of intensive lobbying on bills involving e-cigarettes and vaping.CreditSean Rayford for The New York Times

“In our studies of thousands of Juul users, people who exclusively used nontobacco flavors were 30 percent more likely to switch than those who use tobacco flavors,” she said. “While we do not and will not sell flavors which are clearly targeted to youth, we also understand that flavors that drive adults from cigarettes have the potential to appeal to youth.”

One afternoon last month, Mr. Flynn and another Juul lobbyist, Darrell Campbell, milled about under the South Carolina Statehouse dome, awaiting the fate of a bill that would restrict youths’ access to vape shops.

That legislation, written by State Representative Beth Bernstein, a Democrat, bars anyone under age 18 from going into vape shops without an adult. It also prohibits vaping on school property. But at Juul’s request, Ms. Bernstein took out a provision that would have required an adult to sign for online deliveries of any e-cigarette products ordered online.

In an interview, Ms. Bernstein said that Mr. Flynn and Mr. Campbell were helpful in providing input for the bill, as was Juul’s in-house lobbyist, Jennifer Cunningham.

“They had a little heartburn with it because they felt they were already employing a robust process for verification,” she said. “Juul came to me and said, ‘We already employ a very robust measure to make sure the person purchasing online is over 18.’”

The bill passed, and Gov. Henry McMaster, a Republican, is expected to sign it.

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network opposed the legislation, saying it did not go far enough.

“This bill is like putting lipstick on a pig,” said Cathy Callaway, state and local campaign director for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. “We don’t need cosmetic fixes, we need proven policies and strong tobacco retailer enforcement to prevent illegal sales to kids.”

Katrina F. Shealy, a Republican senator who supported the bill, said: “I have talked to the people from Juul. They want this.”

Ms. Shealy also said that Juul had spoken to her about bringing a manufacturing plant to her district. “They are looking at locations and one of them is in my district; 825 jobs,” she said. “That’s a lot of jobs.”

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