web analytics
a

Facebook

Twitter

Copyright 2015 Libero Themes.
All Rights Reserved.

8:30 - 6:00

Our Office Hours Mon. - Fri.

703-406-7616

Call For Free 15/M Consultation

Facebook

Twitter

Search
Menu
Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Trump, Donald J" (Page 126)

A ‘Loser.’ An ‘Existential Threat.’ Trump and Biden Trade Barbs Ahead of Iowa Trip

OTTUMWA, Iowa — President Trump and former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. both traveled to the key early voting state of Iowa on Tuesday, trading attacks in sharply personal terms and giving the country a preview of what a general election match-up between the two men might look like.

Mr. Biden, who leads in early polls for the Democratic presidential nomination, described Mr. Trump as “an existential threat” who could change the nature of the nation and its values. He also ridiculed Mr. Trump’s trade policy, saying that “cashiers at Target” knew more about economics than the president.

Mr. Trump, as he departed the Oval Office, told reporters that he thought Mr. Biden was “a loser” and questioned his mental fitness. “I’d rather run against, I think, Biden than anybody,” he said. “I think he’s the weakest mentally, and I like running against people that are weak mentally. I think Joe is the weakest up here. The other ones have much more energy.”

The hostile exchange underscored the extent to which the two men view themselves as political foils in the 2020 White House race. Mr. Biden has largely ignored his Democratic rivals while building his campaign around the urgent need to oust Mr. Trump. The president, mindful of polling that shows him trailing Mr. Biden in several key states, has targeted him in particular with ridicule.

While they have attacked each other from a distance, their appearances in the same state on Tuesday seemed primed to intensify the hostility.

Mr. Biden, who began a three-city swing across the state on Tuesday, wasted no time trying to frame the debate, releasing excerpts at 6 a.m from the remarks he had prepared to deliver at a speech in Davenport in the evening.

Video

Westlake Legal Group 11bidentrump-videoSixteenByNine3000 A ‘Loser.’ An ‘Existential Threat.’ Trump and Biden Trade Barbs Ahead of Iowa Trip Trump, Donald J Presidential Election of 2020 Iowa Biden, Joseph R Jr

Prior to leaving for Iowa, President Trump told reporters that he would prefer to run against former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. in 2020.CreditCreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

The excerpts laced into Mr. Trump over a range of policy issues, such as “pursuing a damaging and erratic trade war” and his approach to tariff negotiations, as farmers — including in this heavily agricultural state — have struggled.

“Trump doesn’t get the basics. He thinks his tariffs are being paid by China,” Mr. Biden is set to say. “Any beginning econ student at Iowa or Iowa State could tell you that the American people are paying his tariffs. The cashiers at Target see what’s going on — they know more about economics than Trump.”

Mr. Trump, who prides himself on counterpunching, was scheduled to tour an ethanol plant in Council Bluffs in the late afternoon, hours after Mr. Biden’s first event in Ottumwa. Later in the evening, Mr. Trump was set to fly Air Force One across the state, appearing in West Des Moines for a state Republican Party fund-raising dinner as Mr. Biden delivers his speech in Davenport.

Public and private polls that show Mr. Trump trailing Mr. Biden in critical states have also made him most preoccupied with Mr. Biden, whom he has told aides to describe as old and feeble (Mr. Biden is 76; Mr. Trump will turn 73 this week).

Mr. Trump was criticized for attacking the former vice president on foreign soil while visiting Tokyo recently. But his trip to Iowa — a state that twice supported former President Barack Obama before flipping decisively for Mr. Trump in 2016 — will provide him with an appropriate stage on which to take on Mr. Biden.

Up to this point, Mr. Biden has largely resisted responding to Mr. Trump’s individual broadsides, insisting repeatedly that he wants to avoid a “mud-wrestling match” with the president and often ignoring shouted questions from reporters about Mr. Trump’s remarks.

But that hardly means Mr. Biden avoids discussing Mr. Trump. He is centering his campaign squarely on defeating the president, calling him an “aberration.” It’s a point of emphasis sharply at odds with several of his Democratic opponents, who believe Trumpism has redefined the Republican Party and say the country needs bigger, structural change that goes beyond defeating one man.

Video

Westlake Legal Group 25bidenrunsHFO1-videoSixteenByNine3000 A ‘Loser.’ An ‘Existential Threat.’ Trump and Biden Trade Barbs Ahead of Iowa Trip Trump, Donald J Presidential Election of 2020 Iowa Biden, Joseph R Jr

Joseph R. Biden Jr. was a two-term vice president and spent 36 years as a senator. But his front-runner status in the Democratic primary will be tested by the party’s desire for generational change.CreditCreditMaddie McGarvey for The New York Times

At every turn, Mr. Biden is seeking to keep the focus on a possible general election matchup between himself and Mr. Trump. He has recently visited Pennsylvania and Ohio, important general election swing states, arguing that he is able to connect in the industrial Midwest and torching Mr. Trump’s leadership approach.

He has generally avoided responding to fellow Democrats, even as his opponents ramp up their critiques of him. One exception came Monday, when he implicitly responded to the entrepreneur Andrew Yang, who had criticized him for missing a gathering of Democrats in Iowa over the weekend that drew most of the primary field.

“My granddaughter was graduating,” he said at a fund-raiser. “It was my daughter’s birthday. I would skip inauguration for that.” He is expected to reiterate a version of that message later on Tuesday.

Mr. Biden has also begun to roll out policy platforms, including on climate and education, though he has released fewer than many of his rivals so far. But on the campaign trail he often underscores that the first step to achieving any Democratic priority is beating Mr. Trump.

“If you want to know what the first, most important plank in my climate proposal is, beat Trump,” he said at his campaign’s first large-scale rally, held last month in Philadelphia. “Beat Trump, beat Trump.”

Mr. Biden’s face-off against Mr. Trump on Tuesday could have downsides, some Democratic strategists cautioned.

“The Biden campaign clearly seems to relish sparring with Trump. In their minds, they believe it elevates him above the rest of the Democratic field,” said Brian Fallon, who served as press secretary for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign. “The potential downside is that as Trump road tests different attacks on Biden, it may help the Democratic primary electorate better visualize potential vulnerabilites that Biden would have in a general election.”

Mr. Fallon said that if any of those attacks — from his supposed lack of energy to his support for the 1994 crime bill — changed voter perceptions, “that could erode the aura of electability that is right now Biden’s strongest asset.”

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

Biden to Describe Trump as ‘Existential Threat’ as They Circle Each Other in Iowa

Westlake Legal Group 11BIDENTRUMP1-facebookJumbo Biden to Describe Trump as ‘Existential Threat’ as They Circle Each Other in Iowa Trump, Donald J Presidential Election of 2020 Iowa Biden, Joseph R Jr

DES MOINES — President Trump and former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who are increasingly sparring and treating each other as political foils in the 2020 White House race, are each set to appear on Tuesday in the key early voting state of Iowa — and the Biden campaign wasted no time throwing swings.

Mr. Biden, who leads in early polls for the Democratic presidential nomination, will call Mr. Trump “an existential threat to America” in a speech in Davenport on Tuesday evening, according to prepared remarks. He will lace into the president over a range of issues, such as “pursuing a damaging and erratic trade war” and his approach to tariff negotiations, as farmers — including in this heavily agricultural state — have struggled.

“Trump doesn’t get the basics. He thinks his tariffs are being paid by China,” Mr. Biden is expected to say. “Any beginning econ student at Iowa or Iowa State could tell you that the American people are paying his tariffs. The cashiers at Target see what’s going on — they know more about economics than Trump.”

Mr. Biden’s campaign released early excerpts from his remarks at 6 a.m. in an attempt to frame the political day to come on the former vice president’s terms, rather than Mr. Trump’s, who usually begins attacking rivals on Twitter in the morning.

Mr. Trump avoided tweeting about Mr. Biden in the early hours, focusing on Democrats looking to investigate him rather than those running to replace him. But Mr. Trump has a long history of tearing into the former vice president, calling him “Sleepy Joe Biden,” mocking his crowd sizes, criticizing him on foreign soil and going after his family’s business dealings. Mr. Trump, who is often at his most energized when in campaign mode, will be in a highly partisan environment Tuesday evening as he addresses a dinner held by the Iowa Republican Party. It’s another potential opportunity for him to draw contrasts with a Democratic rival who is seeking to win back some of the same voters that powered Mr. Trump’s 2016 victory.

Mr. Biden, meanwhile, appears ready to deliver some of his most direct and blistering criticism of the president to date as he makes three campaign stops across the state, in his latest effort to stay above the Democratic primary fray and to deliver a general-election-themed message focused squarely on defeating Mr. Trump.

The schedule for the day had Mr. Biden setting the tone. Mr. Trump, who prides himself on counterpunching, was scheduled to tour an ethanol plant in Council Bluffs in the late afternoon, for what would ostensibly be a White House event, hours after Mr. Biden’s first event in Ottumwa. Later in the evening, Mr. Trump was set to fly Air Force One across the state, appearing in West Des Moines for the state party fund-raising dinner as Mr. Biden delivers his speech in Davenport.

Mr. Trump, who remains confident of his chances of re-election, has been frustrated, advisers said, by watching the campaign season from the sidelines. Public and private polls that show him trailing Mr. Biden in critical must-win states have also made him most preoccupied with Mr. Biden, whom he has told aides to describe as old and feeble (Mr. Biden is 76; Mr. Trump will turn 73 this week).

Mr. Trump was criticized for attacking the former vice president on foreign soil while visiting Tokyo recently. But his first trip to Iowa since the midterm elections — a state that twice supported former President Barack Obama before flipping decisively for Mr. Trump in 2016 — will provide him with an appropriate stage on which to take on Mr. Biden.

Up to this point, Mr. Biden has largely resisted responding to Mr. Trump’s individual broadsides, insisting repeatedly that he wants to avoid a “mud-wrestling match” with the president and often ignoring shouted questions from reporters about Mr. Trump’s remarks.

But that hardly means Mr. Biden avoids discussing Mr. Trump. In fact, more than most of his rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination, Mr. Biden is centering his campaign squarely on defeating the president, calling his administration an “aberration.” It’s a point of emphasis sharply at odds with several of his Democratic opponents, who believe Trumpism has redefined the Republican Party and say the country needs bigger, structural change that goes beyond defeating one man.

At every turn, Mr. Biden is seeking to keep the focus on a possible general election matchup between himself and Mr. Trump. He has recently visited Pennsylvania and Ohio, important general election swing states, arguing that he is able to connect in the industrial Midwest and torching Mr. Trump’s leadership approach.

He has generally avoided responding to fellow Democrats, even as his opponents ramp up their critiques of him. One exception came Monday, when he implicitly responded to the entrepreneur Andrew Yang, who had criticized him for missing a gathering of Democrats in Iowa over the weekend that drew most of the primary field.

“My granddaughter was graduating,” he said at a fund-raiser. “It was my daughter’s birthday. I would skip inauguration for that.” He is expected to reiterate a version of that message on Tuesday.

Mr. Biden has also begun to roll out policy platforms, including on climate and education, though he has released fewer than many of his rivals so far. But on the campaign trail he often underscores that the first step to achieving any Democratic priority is beating Mr. Trump.

“If you want to know what the first, most important plank in my climate proposal is, beat Trump,” he said at his campaign’s first large-scale rally, held last month in Philadelphia. “Beat Trump, beat Trump.”

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

Trump’s Trade War Has Wall Street Forecasts Frozen in Place

Westlake Legal Group 11db-earnings-facebookJumbo Trump’s Trade War Has Wall Street Forecasts Frozen in Place United States Economy Trump, Donald J Stocks and Bonds Customs (Tariff) Company Reports Banking and Financial Institutions

Get the DealBook newsletter to make sense of major business and policy headlines — and the power-brokers who shape them.
__________

Business executives have warned repeatedly about the damage President Trump’s trade wars could do to their profits. Wall Street analysts and strategists have called increasing tit-for-tat tariffs the greatest risk to economic growth. Trade groups have raised alarms about the impact of rising prices on consumer spending.

Yet, as trade tensions have flared again, research analysts who forecast company earnings barely lowered their estimates for this year and next. That may not be good news for the stock market.

Companies in the S&P 500 are expected to increase their profits by 3.1 percent this year. That’s just 0.2 percentage points lower than the forecast for growth at the start of May, when Mr. Trump dashed investors’ hopes that a trade deal with China was near, according to data from John Butters, the senior earnings analyst at FactSet. Sales-growth estimates for 2019 are just two-tenths of a percentage point lower, at 4.5 percent.

Estimates for next year have also barely budged.

Given the concern surrounding tariffs, then, why haven’t earnings forecasts slipped more?

The answer, in short, is that it’s hard to quantify the costs of various on-again, off-again trade conflicts, or threats of future measures.

Many on Wall Street suspect Mr. Trump is just threatening more tariffs as a negotiating tactic, and deals will be struck before the most onerous levies go in to effect. The White House’s last-minute decision to call off tariffs on imports from Mexico would seem to encourage this kind of thinking.

Of course, the president has followed through on other tariffs, and that lack of certainty has left analysts wary of making big adjustments to their forecasts.

“There are so many different scenarios that people are trying to factor in,” said Carmel Wellso, the director of equity research at Janus Henderson. “Everyone knows that earnings estimates likely need to come down, but by how much? That’s the biggest challenge.”

They also have to consider that governments and central banks around the world will step in to stimulate the global economy, possibly offsetting some of the damage of the trade wars.

Mr. Trump’s escalation of the trade fight on multiple fronts hit stocks hard last month. The S&P 500 fell 6.6 percent. Stocks have rallied this month after Federal Reserve officials indicated they were prepared to act if the trade war threatened the economic expansion.

But the stock market is at risk of steeper declines if analysts do begin to revise down their forecasts.

The S&P 500’s slide in recent weeks has left the index by some measures looking fairly valued, with a price-to-earnings ratio, which compares stock prices to expected profits over the next 12 months, of 16.2 percent. That’s below the five-year average for the index.

But stocks could quickly begin to look expensive if the economy and earnings falter.

Tariffs will have a direct impact on many companies’ bottom lines by raising costs. The bigger effect, though, could come from the disruption of supply chains and the hit the trade wars pose to consumer and business confidence, which could lead to further economic slowing.

Corporate profits may be particularly vulnerable right now. Revenue overall is growing faster than earnings for companies in the S&P 500. In the first quarter, sales rose about 5 percent from a year earlier, while profits declined 0.4 percent. And that dynamic is expected to persist over the next two quarters. In other words, companies need revenue growth of 5 percent just to keep profits from contracting. That suggests companies have little ability to increase their bottom lines by expanding profit margins.

That means earnings could take a bigger hit if the tariffs cause the economy to slow and revenue growth to decline.

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

Trump Says Mexico Tariffs Worked, Emboldening Trade Fight With China

Westlake Legal Group merlin_156247959_315c0a2f-f9f2-4ff8-a8be-3b0f87a26d2c-facebookJumbo Trump Says Mexico Tariffs Worked, Emboldening Trade Fight With China Xi Jinping United States Politics and Government United States International Relations United States Economy Trump, Donald J Mnuchin, Steven T Mexico International Trade and World Market Customs (Tariff) China

WASHINGTON — President Trump has concluded his tariff threat worked and forced Mexico to stop the flow of migrants. On Monday, he pivoted back to his trade fight with China and vowed to hit Beijing with more tariffs if it did not accede to America’s trade demands.

“The China deal’s going to work out,” Mr. Trump said in an interview on CNBC. “You know why? Because of tariffs. Because right now China is getting absolutely decimated by companies that are leaving China, going to other countries, including our own, because they don’t want to pay the tariffs.”

The president has long favored tariffs as an immediate and unilateral policy tool. But his increasing confidence that the levies have helped accomplish his goals without harming the United States sets up an even more tumultuous period ahead for businesses, consumers and foreign countries.

“Protectionism shows no signs of abating, rather it is intensifying,” said Joshua Shapiro, the chief United States economist at MFR Inc.

Markets are already counting on the Federal Reserve to come to the rescue by cutting interest rates. Fed officials have begun signaling they are prepared to help prop up the economy to counter any slowdown from Mr. Trump’s trade war, a development that could give the president even more leeway to carry out an aggressive trade policy.

Mr. Trump on Monday continued to attack the Fed for raising rates last year, saying it had put the United States at a competitive disadvantage to China, which has a fairly subservient central bank. “They devalue their currency. They have for years,” he said. “It’s put them at a tremendous competitive advantage, and we don’t have that advantage because we have a Fed that doesn’t lower interest rates.”

The president insisted his tariffs were having their intended effect — pressuring other countries to make deals, prompting companies to move factories back to the United States and generating an enormous amount of money, all without costing American consumers.

“A lot of countries have changed their habits because they know they’re next,” Mr. Trump said.

He said he was prepared to place 25 percent tariffs on another $300 billion worth of Chinese goods and would do so immediately if a planned meeting with President Xi Jinping of China did not happen this month during the G-20 summit meeting in Japan.

“We are scheduled to talk and meet,” Mr. Trump said during remarks to reporters at the White House. “We always have the option to raise it another $300 billion to 25 percent.”

Mr. Trump has blamed China for “reneging” on a trade deal with the United States, and last month, he raised tariffs on $200 billion worth of goods as punishment. China has retaliated by raising tariffs on about $60 billion worth of American products, like soybeans. Mr. Trump said on Monday that he saw no downside to taxing nearly everything China sends into the United States, saying it would continue to boost the American economy.

“We’ve never gotten 10 cents from China. Now we’re getting a lot of money from China, and I think that’s one of the reasons the G.D.P. was so high in the first quarter because of the tariffs that we’re taking in from China,” he said, referring to the gross domestic product, which grew about 3.1 percent in the first three months of the year.

Economists and business leaders have rejected Mr. Trump’s claims that the tariffs are doing no harm and say the trade war is slowing global growth and could ultimately trigger a recession.

The World Bank said late last month that global trade growth has slowed to its lowest level in a decade, while the International Monetary Fund warned that reciprocal tariffs between the United States and China could reduce global gross domestic product by 0.5 percent, or $455 billion, next year. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York estimates that at their current levels, Mr. Trump’s tariffs would cost the typical American household $831 over a year.

But the president and his top advisers continue to disagree that import taxes — both real and threatened — are pinching economic growth.

“I don’t think in any way that the slowdowns you’re seeing in parts of the world are a result of trade tensions at the moment,” Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, told reporters this weekend on the sidelines of the G-20 meeting in Japan.

That view is unlikely to change absent a steep drop in the stock market or a pronounced slowdown in the American economy, two metrics that Mr. Trump pays close attention to.

Most expect the Fed to act before that occurs. Markets now estimate an 80 percent chance of a rate cut at or before the Fed’s July meeting, and they see a 46 percent chance of three or more .25 percentage point cuts by the end of the year.

Those estimates fell, but not by much, after Mr. Trump announced on Friday that he had reached an immigration deal with Mexico and would suspend his tariffs, suggesting investors are accepting a rate cut as a done deal. Analysts say that the president’s willingness to use levies as a negotiating tactic for nontrade matters is helping to perpetuate uncertainty.

On Monday, Mr. Trump defended the immigration agreement with Mexico as a victory, and said unequivocally that tariffs were the vehicle that delivered it.

“If we didn’t have tariffs, we wouldn’t have made a deal with Mexico,” the president said. “We got everything we wanted.”

It was not clear what the threat of tariffs on Mexico helped the president to secure. Major terms of the deal were agreed to months ago.

But last week, Mexico said it would deploy its national guard around the country, including to its southern border, and expand a program to allow asylum seekers to remain in Mexico while their legal cases proceed, both actions that had been discussed in prior months.

The United States and Mexico also reached an agreement in principle to review the number of migrants crossing into the United States in 45 days and again in 90 days. If the number has not dropped sufficiently, Mr. Trump said he could impose tariffs.

Some said Mr. Trump’s threats toward Mexico, a close American ally, could send a message that trade wars are winnable and that the president will not back down against China.

“It’s obvious that on a long-term perspective, President Trump is willing to effectively weaponize tariffs,” said Wen Lu, a rates strategist at TD Securities. “I think he’s almost using this as a political message to reinforce his stance against China.”

The president’s fondness for levies has already propelled the United States into the top echelons of tariff-wielding countries. The United States now has an overall tariff level that is more than twice as high as Canada, Britain, Italy and Germany, and even higher than emerging markets like Russia and Turkey, according to research by Torsten Slok, a chief economist at Deutsche Bank Securities.

Progress toward a trade agreement with China has stalled since early last month, and Mr. Mnuchin said over the weekend that no further talks were scheduled. The next significant meeting is expected to take place between Mr. Trump and Mr. Xi in late June.

In the meantime, the United States continues to prepare for the next round of Chinese tariffs. The United States trade representative will hold a hearing on June 17 to allow companies to testify about the effects of the next $300 billion worth of levies on their businesses. That round of tariffs would hit a wide range of consumer goods, including sneakers, televisions and cribs.

Mr. Trump has also indicated he sees the fate of Huawei, the Chinese telecom giant that has been blacklisted from buying American technology, as a point of leverage in the trade talks.

The administration announced a ban on Huawei’s access to American components on May 15, citing security concerns. The executive order blacklisting Huawei had actually been prepared for months, but officials held off issuing it while trade talks continued. When negotiations with the Chinese broke down at the beginning of May, a consensus emerged among top Trump administration officials to proceed with adding the company to an “entity list,” according to people familiar with the matter, who declined to be named to discuss private deliberations.

On Monday, Mr. Trump said he viewed Huawei as a “threat” but “at the same time, it could be very well that we do something with respect to Huawei as part of our trade negotiations with China.”

Other countries are watching the threats warily. The Trump administration gave the European Union and Japan a six-month reprieve from tariffs on their auto exports in May, but negotiators have yet to make much progress on a trade agreement.

The administration has also been ramping up a trade fight with India, and laying the groundwork to impose tariffs on a variety of countries for manipulating their currencies.

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

No Secret Immigration Deal Exists With U.S., Mexico’s Foreign Minister Says

Westlake Legal Group 10dc-immig-promo-facebookJumbo No Secret Immigration Deal Exists With U.S., Mexico’s Foreign Minister Says United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Mexico Immigration and Emigration Illegal Immigration Ebrard, Marcelo Asylum, Right of

WASHINGTON — The Mexican foreign minister said Monday that no secret immigration deal existed between his country and the United States, directly contradicting President Trump’s claim on Twitter that a “fully signed and documented” agreement would be revealed soon.

Marcelo Ebrard, Mexico’s top diplomat, said at a news conference in Mexico City that there was an understanding that both sides would evaluate the flow of migrants in the coming months. And if the number of migrants crossing the United States border was not significantly reduced, he said, both sides had agreed to renew discussions about more aggressive changes to regional asylum rules that could make a bigger impact.

“Let’s have a deadline to see if what we have works and if not, then we will sit down and look at the measures you propose and those that we propose,” Mr. Ebrard said, describing the understanding reached by negotiators last week.

Mr. Trump has insisted for several days that the agreement reached with Mexico Friday evening is a strong one, rejecting criticism that it largely called upon the Mexicans to take actions to reduce the flow of immigration that they had already agreed to months earlier.

In a Twitter post on Monday morning, he said, “We have fully signed and documented another very important part of the Immigration and Security deal with Mexico, one that the U.S. has been asking about getting for many years. It will be revealed in the not too distant future and will need a vote by Mexico’s Legislative body!”

[President Trump’s immigration clampdown has pushed an increasing surge of migrants into the harsh Rio Grande current as the fastest route to American soil.]

American officials said Monday that what Mr. Trump appeared to be referring to was the agreement in principle to revisit the migration situation, and they said it gave the United States strong leverage over Mexico to live up to its promises. The numbers will be reviewed in 45 days and again in 90 days, officials said.

That was the understanding described by Mr. Ebrard, that if the numbers of migrants have not been substantially reduced, Mexico had agreed to discuss regional asylum changes that they had resisted for years. One of those ideas, “third safe country” arrangement, could eventually give the United States more legal authority to turn asylum seekers away at its southwestern border.

“They will propose third safe country,” he said. “We said it will have to be with the UNHCR, it will have to be regional,” he said, referring to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

In his news conference, Mr. Ebrard said that the United States continued to push for a third safe country agreement, but said that Mexico was proposing a regional asylum agreement, one that would review the flow of migrants across Mexico and Central America, with a number of different countries, including Panama and Brazil.

But Mr. Ebrard said an agreement on the asylum changes — which does not yet exist — would have to be approved by the Mexican Senate before it could go into effect. He said that the agreement announced last Friday effectively delayed that discussion, giving Mexico time to prove to Mr. Trump that they would help reduce the flow of immigration that has so infuriated him since the beginning of his presidency.

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

Justice Dept. Agrees to Turn Over Key Mueller Evidence to House

Westlake Legal Group 10dc-judiciary-promo-facebookJumbo-v2 Justice Dept. Agrees to Turn Over Key Mueller Evidence to House United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Special Prosecutors (Independent Counsel) Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Justice Department House Committee on the Judiciary

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department, after weeks of tense negotiations, has agreed to provide Congress with key evidence collected by Robert S. Mueller III that could shed light on possible obstruction of justice and abuse of power by President Trump, the House Judiciary Committee said on Monday.

The exact scope of the material the Justice Department has agreed to provide was not immediately clear, though the committee signaled that it could be a breakthrough after weeks of wrangling over those materials and others that the Judiciary panel demanded under subpoena. The Trump administration’s blockade of the material had ground the Democratic investigations of Mr. Trump’s possible obstruction of justice and abuse of power to a halt.

“These documents will allow us to perform our constitutional duties and decide how to respond to the allegations laid out against the president by the special counsel,” Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, the committee chairman, said in a statement.

Mr. Nadler said he expected the department to begin sharing some of the material Monday afternoon and that all members of the committee would be able to view it privately.

The agreement appears to have been foreshadowed in an exchange of letters in recent weeks between the committee and the department. In a May 24 letter outlining a proposed compromise Mr. Nadler wrote that he was “prepared to prioritize production of materials that would provide the committee with the most insight into certain incidents when the special counsel found ‘substantial evidence’ of obstruction of justice.”

Those incidences include Mr. Trump’s attempts to fire Mr. Mueller, the special counsel; his request that Donald F. McGahn II, the former White House counsel, create “a fraudulent record denying that incident”; and Mr. Trump’s efforts to get former Attorney General Jeff Sessions to undo his recusal and curtail the scope of the special counsel inquiry.

After weeks of objections, the Justice Department said it found the proposal reasonable and would work with the committee to share the materials in question, but only if the House would back off holding Attorney General William P. Barr in contempt of Congress for his defiance of the subpoena in question.

Democrats were willing to do so. The House still plans to vote on Tuesday to authorize the committee to go to a federal court against Mr. Barr to seek full enforcement of its subpoena and to petition a judge to unseal grand jury secrets related to the case for Congress. But in a sign of the newfound cooperation, the House will not formally vote to hold Mr. Barr in contempt of Congress, leveling a criminal accusation against him. Mr. Nadler hinted that Democrats could hold off on filing a lawsuit for now, as well.

“We have agreed to allow the department time to demonstrate compliance with this agreement. If the Department proceeds in good faith and we are able to obtain everything that we need, then there will be no need to take further steps,” Mr. Nadler said. “If important information is held back, then we will have no choice but to enforce our subpoena in court and consider other remedies.”

Republicans cheered the agreement. Representative Doug Collins of Georgia, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, said “today’s good faith provision from the administration further debunks claims that the White House is stonewalling Congress.”

News of the deal also comes just hours before the committee is scheduled to convene the first of a series of hearings focused on the findings of Mr. Mueller’s obstruction of justice investigation — a much-anticipated session that underscores the Democrats’ dilemma in the wake of Mr. Mueller’s report.

Because the Trump administration has blocked relevant witnesses from testifying, Monday’s session will star John W. Dean, a former White House counsel who turned against President Richard M. Nixon during the Watergate affair, and former federal prosecutors, who will assess the implications of the special counsel’s findings. The testimony is expected to be limited to the contents of Mr. Mueller’s 448-page report already voluntarily made public by Mr. Barr.

Weeks ago, the Judiciary Committee requested — and then subpoenaed — the full text of Mr. Mueller’s report without redactions, as well as all of the evidence underlying it. Mr. Barr initially refused and after negotiations broke down, Mr. Trump asserted executive privilege over all the material. Democrats then voted to recommend the House hold Mr. Barr in contempt.

But in recent weeks, the Justice Department appeared amenable to a proposed compromise that would give the committee access to F.B.I. interview summaries with key witnesses, contemporaneous notes taken by White House aides, and certain memos and messages cited in the report.

The more limited request outlined in recent weeks includes the F.B.I. summaries — called 302 reports — with Mr. McGahn, who served as a kind of narrator for Mr. Mueller as he assembled an obstruction case. Mr. Mueller ultimately concluded that Justice Department policy prevented him from contemplating charges against Mr. Trump and instead left action to Congress.

Democrats asked for summaries from interviews with Annie Donaldson, Mr. McGahn’s chief of staff; Hope Hicks, the former communications director; Reince Priebus and John F. Kelly, former White House chiefs of staff; Michael D. Cohen, Mr. Trump’s one-time fixer and personal lawyer; and Mr. Sessions, among others.

Democrats had also requested detailed notes taken by Ms. Donaldson about White House meetings and Mr. McGahn’s interactions with the president that proved pivotal for Mr. Mueller’s team, as well as notes taken by Joseph Hunt, Mr. Sessions’s chief of staff when he was attorney general. Other documents in the narrowed request included a draft letter justifying the firing of James B. Comey as F.B.I. director; a White House counsel memo on the firing of Michael Flynn as national security adviser; and other documents created by the White House.

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

Trump Lawyer’s Message Was a Clue for Mueller, Who Set It Aside

WASHINGTON — As the special counsel’s investigators pursued the question of whether President Trump tried to impede their work, they uncovered compelling evidence — a voice mail recording and statements from a trusted witness — that might have led to him.

A lawyer for Mr. Trump, John M. Dowd, reached out to a lawyer for a key witness who had just decided to cooperate with the government, Michael T. Flynn. Mr. Dowd fished in his message for a heads-up if Mr. Flynn was telling investigators negative information about Mr. Trump — while also appearing to say that if Mr. Flynn was just cutting a deal without also flipping on the president, then he should know Mr. Trump still liked him.

But the president’s role, if any, remains a mystery. Mr. Dowd never said whether Mr. Trump directed him to make the overture. And investigators for the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, declined to question Mr. Dowd about his message, citing “attorney-client-privilege issues.”

The release of the recording last week served as a reminder that despite the considerable evidence laid out in the 448-page Mueller report, some tantalizing questions about the president’s conduct went unanswered because investigators encountered obstacles or backed off on pursuing leads.

Mr. Dowd could have told investigators whether Mr. Trump knew about his message and had directed him to convey it, and whether any such conversation included dangling a veiled suggestion of a potential pardon at Mr. Flynn. The question is whether it amounted to witness tampering.

[The special counsel played by the rules. The president made new ones.]

Legal experts were divided on whether Mr. Mueller’s team should have sought to question Mr. Dowd. The investigators compiled substantial evidence that Mr. Trump tried to obstruct justice even without Mr. Dowd’s testimony, and an attempt to interview him could have set off a lengthy court battle with an uncertain outcome.

“Given all that Mueller’s team had on their plate, it doesn’t strike me as unreasonable for them to have said, ‘This is not what we want to spend our time on,’” said David A. Sklansky, a Stanford law professor and a former criminal prosecutor.

But questioning Mr. Dowd about whether Mr. Trump wanted him to dangle pardons or other favorable treatment to witnesses might have been a worthy investigative pursuit because it would have cut to the heart of whether the president abused his power.

Joyce Vance, a professor at the University of Alabama School of Law and a former United States attorney, said she would have wanted to use all tools available to learn whether Mr. Trump told Mr. Dowd to make the call.

She noted that courts have recognized an exception to attorney-client privilege that allows investigators to compel people to testify to a grand jury about such conversations if they are involved in the commission of a crime.

“Lawyers can’t engage in criminal conduct disguised as legal representation,” she said.

Ms. Vance said that seeking to interview Mr. Dowd “seems so obvious” that there may be details that have yet to become public that shed light on the Mueller team’s decision.

Westlake Legal Group mueller-report-document-promo-1555353284901-articleLarge-v8 Trump Lawyer’s Message Was a Clue for Mueller, Who Set It Aside United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Mueller, Robert S III Kelner, Robert K Flynn, Michael T Dowd, John M

Read the Mueller Report: Searchable Document and Index

The findings from the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, are now available to the public. The redacted report details his two-year investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Mr. Dowd did not respond to a message seeking comment. He has reacted angrily to the report’s portrayal of his messages, calling it “a baseless, political document designed to smear and damage the reputation of counsel and innocent people,” and stressing that the special counsel never even asked him about the voice mail message.

Other presidents have faced immense scrutiny for the same issue. In 1974, one of the articles of impeachment against Richard M. Nixon said he had sought to signal to defendants in the Watergate investigation that they would be treated favorably “in return for their silence or false testimony.”

A transcript of Mr. Dowd’s message for Mr. Flynn’s lawyer at the time, Robert K. Kelner, was included in the Mueller report, which was made public in April. But the audio, released after prosecutors said they no longer needed to keep it under seal, added new texture to the episode.

The report laid out a string of communications between Mr. Dowd and Mr. Flynn’s lawyers around the decision by their client, the president’s first national security adviser, to cooperate with Mr. Mueller’s prosecutors. That move effectively ended the joint defense agreement that the lawyers had operated under for months and that had allowed them to share information about the investigation.

After Mr. Kelner told Mr. Dowd that they could no longer work together, Mr. Dowd left the voice mail message that Mr. Mueller’s team later obtained, saying that if Mr. Flynn had information that could incriminate the president, he should share it because that might create a “national security issue.”

“We need some kind of heads-up” if Mr. Flynn was planning to give investigators negative information about Mr. Trump, Mr. Dowd said.

Mr. Dowd then added that “if it’s the former” — an apparent reference to an earlier part of his message, when he raised the possibility that Mr. Flynn had struck a plea deal to end his own legal troubles — then Mr. Flynn should “remember what we’ve always said about the president and his feeling toward Flynn, and that still remains.”

It is unclear what Mr. Dowd meant by a “national security issue” — or why Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, as opposed to a government lawyer, would have any role in thinking about it.

At the time, Mr. Trump’s lawyers were concerned about Mr. Mueller’s investigation into whether he was tied to Russia’s election interference. Mr. Flynn was also under investigation for his ties to Russia. And as Mr. Trump’s national security adviser for less than a month, he had access to many of the country’s most heavily guarded secrets.

Mr. Kelner returned the call the next day — on Thanksgiving — according to the report, again saying that he and his client could no longer share information.

Mr. Dowd reacted indignantly. “He interpreted what they said to him as a reflection of Flynn’s hostility toward the president” and planned to tell Mr. Trump so, the report said, citing an F.B.I. interview of Mr. Kelner.

Mr. Dowd’s call, investigators wrote, played out against the backdrop of a pattern in which Mr. Trump had “sent private and public messages to Flynn encouraging him to stay strong and conveying that the president still cared about him” before he began to cooperate with investigators.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_130757349_3a706d04-ae2b-4a75-85dd-1e67f1460616-articleLarge Trump Lawyer’s Message Was a Clue for Mueller, Who Set It Aside United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Mueller, Robert S III Kelner, Robert K Flynn, Michael T Dowd, John M

President Trump’s former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn agreed in late 2017 to cooperate with the special counsel’s investigation.CreditBrendan Smialowski/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Yet Mr. Mueller’s investigation of that episode essentially stopped there. In addition to citing in a footnote the attorney-client-privilege issues that kept them from questioning Mr. Dowd, investigators also agreed after months of negotiations to accept written answers from Mr. Trump, who refused to address obstruction issues, rather than subpoena him for an interview.

Around the time Mr. Flynn decided to cooperate, Mr. Dowd told others that he told Mr. Kelner that the president was prepared to pardon his client because he had long believed that the case against Mr. Flynn was weak, a person familiar with the matter has said. That detail, reported in The New York Times in March 2018, was not in the Mueller report.

One way of interpreting the episode is that Mr. Dowd was telling Mr. Flynn not to provide the government with damaging information about Mr. Trump even if he cooperated in other ways, and suggesting that Mr. Trump might reward his loyalty with a pardon.

But the message was ambiguous. Mr. Dowd never mentioned pardons specifically. The Mueller report said only that the call and other events “could have had the potential to affect Flynn’s decision to cooperate, as well as the extent of that cooperation.”

By contrast, the report is far more explicit about Mr. Trump’s conduct toward his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort. Evidence shows that Mr. Trump sought to discourage Mr. Manafort from cooperating with the government and intended to influence a jury weighing whether to convict him, according to the report.

Analyzing the episode begins with trying to make sense of what Mr. Dowd was saying in his circular, halting way, legal experts said.

His message might be interpreted “as a thinly veiled offer of a pardon conditioned on Flynn keeping his mouth shut,” Mr. Sklansky said.

If so, he said, that would amount to obstruction of justice, and any conversations between the president and Mr. Dowd about sending such a message to Mr. Flynn would no longer be protected by attorney-client privilege because they would be considered part of a crime. In that case, a judge might have ordered Mr. Dowd to comply with a subpoena to disclose the discussions.

However, Mr. Sklansky stressed, all of that depends on two things that remain unclear: whether that is the correct interpretation of Mr. Dowd’s remarks and whether Mr. Trump in fact told him to send that message with corrupt intent. And because Mr. Dowd would certainly have invoked attorney-client privilege to avoid voluntarily answering questions about those interactions, he said, it would mean a lengthy subpoena fight in court for his testimony.

It was probably not worth it for Mr. Mueller’s investigators to take on that challenge — especially if all they had to make the case to a judge were their suspicions about a difficult-to-parse statement, said Samuel W. Buell, a former federal prosecutor who now teaches criminal law at Duke University.

“It’s a little bit of a Catch-22 because the privilege is so carefully protected by the courts that the exceptions only kick in when you can show they apply,” Mr. Buell said. “How can you show they apply before you have that information? You have to have a circumstantial case already that someone and their lawyer were engaging in obstruction before you can get to the conversations between them.”

Mr. Buell also noted that it was common for defense lawyers to fish around for information that might be helpful to their client, and while Mr. Dowd’s comments may have walked “somewhat dangerously close to the line,” Mr. Buell’s assessment was that “it strikes me as veiled enough that it’s nothing a prosecutor could base a witness-tampering charge on.”

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

Trump Lawyer’s Message Was a Clue for Mueller, Who Set It Aside

WASHINGTON — As the special counsel’s investigators pursued the question of whether President Trump tried to impede their work, they uncovered compelling evidence — a voice mail recording and statements from a trusted witness — that might have led to him.

A lawyer for Mr. Trump, John M. Dowd, reached out to a lawyer for a key witness who had just decided to cooperate with the government, Michael T. Flynn. Mr. Dowd fished in his message for a heads-up if Mr. Flynn was telling investigators negative information about Mr. Trump — while also appearing to say that if Mr. Flynn was just cutting a deal without also flipping on the president, then he should know Mr. Trump still liked him.

But the president’s role, if any, remains a mystery. Mr. Dowd never said whether Mr. Trump directed him to make the overture. And investigators for the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, declined to question Mr. Dowd about his message, citing “attorney-client-privilege issues.”

The release of the recording last week served as a reminder that despite the considerable evidence laid out in the 448-page Mueller report, some tantalizing questions about the president’s conduct went unanswered because investigators encountered obstacles or backed off on pursuing leads.

Mr. Dowd could have told investigators whether Mr. Trump knew about his message and had directed him to convey it, and whether any such conversation included dangling a veiled suggestion of a potential pardon at Mr. Flynn. The question is whether it amounted to witness tampering.

[The special counsel played by the rules. The president made new ones.]

Legal experts were divided on whether Mr. Mueller’s team should have sought to question Mr. Dowd. The investigators compiled substantial evidence that Mr. Trump tried to obstruct justice even without Mr. Dowd’s testimony, and an attempt to interview him could have set off a lengthy court battle with an uncertain outcome.

“Given all that Mueller’s team had on their plate, it doesn’t strike me as unreasonable for them to have said, ‘This is not what we want to spend our time on,’” said David A. Sklansky, a Stanford law professor and a former criminal prosecutor.

But questioning Mr. Dowd about whether Mr. Trump wanted him to dangle pardons or other favorable treatment to witnesses might have been a worthy investigative pursuit because it would have cut to the heart of whether the president abused his power.

Joyce Vance, a professor at the University of Alabama School of Law and a former United States attorney, said she would have wanted to use all tools available to learn whether Mr. Trump told Mr. Dowd to make the call.

She noted that courts have recognized an exception to attorney-client privilege that allows investigators to compel people to testify to a grand jury about such conversations if they are involved in the commission of a crime.

“Lawyers can’t engage in criminal conduct disguised as legal representation,” she said.

Ms. Vance said that seeking to interview Mr. Dowd “seems so obvious” that there may be details that have yet to become public that shed light on the Mueller team’s decision.

Mr. Dowd did not respond to a message seeking comment. He has reacted angrily to the report’s portrayal of his messages, calling it “a baseless, political document designed to smear and damage the reputation of counsel and innocent people,” and stressing that the special counsel never even asked him about the voice mail message.

Other presidents have faced immense scrutiny for the same issue. In 1974, one of the articles of impeachment against Richard M. Nixon said he had sought to signal to defendants in the Watergate investigation that they would be treated favorably “in return for their silence or false testimony.”

A transcript of Mr. Dowd’s message for Mr. Flynn’s lawyer at the time, Robert K. Kelner, was included in the Mueller report, which was made public in April. But the audio, released after prosecutors said they no longer needed to keep it under seal, added new texture to the episode.

The report laid out a string of communications between Mr. Dowd and Mr. Flynn’s lawyers around the decision by their client, the president’s first national security adviser, to cooperate with Mr. Mueller’s prosecutors. That move effectively ended the joint defense agreement that the lawyers had operated under for months and that had allowed them to share information about the investigation.

After Mr. Kelner told Mr. Dowd that they could no longer work together, Mr. Dowd left the voice mail message that Mr. Mueller’s team later obtained, saying that if Mr. Flynn had information that could incriminate the president, he should share it because that might create a “national security issue.”

“We need some kind of heads-up” if Mr. Flynn was planning to give investigators negative information about Mr. Trump, Mr. Dowd said.

Westlake Legal Group mueller-report-document-promo-1555353284901-articleLarge-v8 Trump Lawyer’s Message Was a Clue for Mueller, Who Set It Aside United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Mueller, Robert S III Kelner, Robert K Flynn, Michael T Dowd, John M

Read the Mueller Report: Searchable Document and Index

The findings from the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, are now available to the public. The redacted report details his two-year investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Mr. Dowd then added that “if it’s the former” — an apparent reference to an earlier part of his message, when he raised the possibility that Mr. Flynn had struck a plea deal to end his own legal troubles — then Mr. Flynn should “remember what we’ve always said about the president and his feeling toward Flynn, and that still remains.”

It is unclear what Mr. Dowd meant by a “national security issue” — or why Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, as opposed to a government lawyer, would have any role in thinking about it.

At the time, Mr. Trump’s lawyers were concerned about Mr. Mueller’s investigation into whether he was tied to Russia’s election interference. Mr. Flynn was also under investigation for his ties to Russia. And as Mr. Trump’s national security adviser for less than a month, he had access to many of the country’s most heavily guarded secrets.

Mr. Kelner returned the call the next day — on Thanksgiving — according to the report, again saying that he and his client could no longer share information.

Mr. Dowd reacted indignantly. “He interpreted what they said to him as a reflection of Flynn’s hostility toward the president” and planned to tell Mr. Trump so, the report said, citing an F.B.I. interview of Mr. Kelner.

Mr. Dowd’s call, investigators wrote, played out against the backdrop of a pattern in which Mr. Trump had “sent private and public messages to Flynn encouraging him to stay strong and conveying that the president still cared about him” before he began to cooperate with investigators.

Yet Mr. Mueller’s investigation of that episode essentially stopped there. In addition to citing in a footnote the attorney-client-privilege issues that kept them from questioning Mr. Dowd, investigators also agreed after months of negotiations to accept written answers from Mr. Trump, who refused to address obstruction issues, rather than subpoena him for an interview.

Around the time Mr. Flynn decided to cooperate, Mr. Dowd told others that he told Mr. Kelner that the president was prepared to pardon his client because he had long believed that the case against Mr. Flynn was weak, a person familiar with the matter has said. That detail, reported in The New York Times in March 2018, was not in the Mueller report.

One way of interpreting the episode is that Mr. Dowd was telling Mr. Flynn not to provide the government with damaging information about Mr. Trump even if he cooperated in other ways, and suggesting that Mr. Trump might reward his loyalty with a pardon.

But the message was ambiguous. Mr. Dowd never mentioned pardons specifically. The Mueller report said only that the call and other events “could have had the potential to affect Flynn’s decision to cooperate, as well as the extent of that cooperation.”

By contrast, the report is far more explicit about Mr. Trump’s conduct toward his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort. Evidence shows that Mr. Trump sought to discourage Mr. Manafort from cooperating with the government and intended to influence a jury weighing whether to convict him, according to the report.

Analyzing the episode begins with trying to make sense of what Mr. Dowd was saying in his circular, halting way, legal experts said.

His message might be interpreted “as a thinly veiled offer of a pardon conditioned on Flynn keeping his mouth shut,” Mr. Sklansky said.

If so, he said, that would amount to obstruction of justice, and any conversations between the president and Mr. Dowd about sending such a message to Mr. Flynn would no longer be protected by attorney-client privilege because they would be considered part of a crime. In that case, a judge might have ordered Mr. Dowd to comply with a subpoena to disclose the discussions.

However, Mr. Sklansky stressed, all of that depends on two things that remain unclear: whether that is the correct interpretation of Mr. Dowd’s remarks and whether Mr. Trump in fact told him to send that message with corrupt intent. And because Mr. Dowd would certainly have invoked attorney-client privilege to avoid voluntarily answering questions about those interactions, he said, it would mean a lengthy subpoena fight in court for his testimony.

It was probably not worth it for Mr. Mueller’s investigators to take on that challenge — especially if all they had to make the case to a judge were their suspicions about a difficult-to-parse statement, said Samuel W. Buell, a former federal prosecutor who now teaches criminal law at Duke University.

“It’s a little bit of a Catch-22 because the privilege is so carefully protected by the courts that the exceptions only kick in when you can show they apply,” Mr. Buell said. “How can you show they apply before you have that information? You have to have a circumstantial case already that someone and their lawyer were engaging in obstruction before you can get to the conversations between them.”

Mr. Buell also noted that it was common for defense lawyers to fish around for information that might be helpful to their client, and while Mr. Dowd’s comments may have walked “somewhat dangerously close to the line,” Mr. Buell’s assessment was that “it strikes me as veiled enough that it’s nothing a prosecutor could base a witness-tampering charge on.”

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

People Are Trying to Figure Out William Barr. He’s Busy Stockpiling Power.

WASHINGTON — Not long before Attorney General William P. Barr released the special counsel’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election, he strategized with Senator Lindsey Graham, the Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, about one of his next moves: investigating the investigators.

Over a dinner of steak, potatoes and carrots in a wood-paneled conference room off Mr. Barr’s Justice Department office, the two discussed their shared suspicions that the officials who initially investigated the Trump campaign’s links to Russia had abused their powers.

They strongly agreed, Mr. Graham said, that “maybe one of the most important things we’ll ever do is clean up this mess.”

Less than two months later, Mr. Barr began his cleanup with the most powerful of brooms: a presidential order commanding intelligence agencies to cooperate with his inquiry, and sweeping power to declassify and make public their secrets — even if they objected.

The move illustrates Mr. Barr’s swift rise in the pantheon of President Trump’s most prominent and loyal allies — and in the eyes of Mr. Trump himself. In a cabinet stocked with government neophytes and placeholders, the deeply experienced Mr. Barr is quickly emerging as the most influential figure in the second half of Mr. Trump’s term.

“He is the closest thing we have to Dick Cheney,” said Charles J. Cooper, a former senior Justice Department official, referring to President George W. Bush’s unusually powerful vice president. “He is a strong-willed man with a forceful personality” and “well-formed, deeply studied views.”

But his rising power over the intelligence community has been accompanied by swelling disillusionment with Mr. Barr among former national security officials and ideological moderates. When he agreed late last year to take the job, many of them had cast him as a Republican straight shooter, steeped in pre-Trump mores, who would restrain an impetuous president.

Now they see in him someone who has glossed over Mr. Trump’s misdeeds, smeared his investigators and positioned himself to possibly declassify information for political gain — not the Bill Barr they thought they knew.

“It is shocking how much he has echoed the president’s own statements,” said Mary McCord, who led the Justice Department’s national security division at the end of the Obama administration and the start of the Trump era. “I thought he was an institutionalist who would protect the department from political influence. But it seems like everything he has done so far has counseled in the opposite direction.”

So which is the real William P. Barr?

Is he the upright defender of the presidency who used his discretion to disclose nearly all of the 448-page Mueller report, even though it hurt Mr. Trump? Or is he a manipulator who has skewed the special counsel’s evidence in Mr. Trump’s favor and is now endorsing questionable legal arguments to fend off legitimate congressional inquiry?

An examination of his record, coupled with interviews of more than two dozen associates, suggests elements of both: He is neither as apolitical as his defenders claim, nor as partisan as his detractors fear. Instead, he is a complex figure whom the right cannot count on to be a Trumpland hero and whom the left cannot dismiss as nothing more than a political hack.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_156013761_e1b39e71-2fdc-4ec5-b426-abb042d337c0-articleLarge People Are Trying to Figure Out William Barr. He’s Busy Stockpiling Power. United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Special Prosecutors (Independent Counsel) Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Russia Presidents and Presidency (US) Presidential Election of 2016 Mueller, Robert S III Constitution (US) Bush, George W Barr, William P

Mr. Barr has defended President Trump, saying he has seen “no evidence” that Mr. Trump has undermined the nation’s institutions.CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

“I would describe Barr as a cross between Mr. Wolfe, the fixer in ‘Pulp Fiction,’ and one of the wise men-type upper-crust figures who believe they protect and shape America,” said Ketan Jhaveri, a former Justice Department official.

Defenders like Paul T. Cappuccio, a key adviser to Mr. Barr when he first served as attorney general under President George Bush, say Mr. Barr is anything but a factotum for Mr. Trump.

“If I had told you a year ago that President Trump would pick an attorney general who would not fire Bob Mueller, who would not interfere in his work,” and then “get the report out promptly with no redactions for executive privilege,” he said, “you would have told me I was smoking the stuff that’s now legal in certain states.”

Given the president’s threat to indiscriminately declassify every document related to the Russia investigation, Mr. Barr’s ability to persuade Mr. Trump to outsource those judgments to him is comforting, said Jack Goldsmith, a conservative former senior Justice Department official who has repeatedly criticized Mr. Trump.

“There is no way to know now what Barr will find in his investigation or whether or how he will use this power,” said Mr. Goldsmith, who is also a Harvard Law School professor. “But Barr is not someone inclined to harm our national security bureaucracy.”

Mr. Barr, 69, declined to be interviewed for this article. He brushes aside the debate, seemingly imperturbable. When a Democratic senator, Mazie K. Hirono of Hawaii, accused him at a widely watched congressional hearing of abusing his public office, lying to Congress and serving as Mr. Trump’s toady, he just stared at her impassively.

“If you had an EKG strapped on Bill Barr, the needle would not have moved at all,” said Jonathan Turley, a professor at George Washington University Law School, political independent and longtime friend.

“The idea that these attacks are having an impact on Bill Barr?” he said. “These people have no idea who they are dealing with.”

Mr. Barr first served as attorney general from November 1991 until the end of President George Bush’s term.CreditBettmann, via Getty Images

William Pelham Barr was born May 23, 1950, to a Manhattan family that prized scholarship, Catholicism and Republican conservatism. His father was a World War II intelligence officer who became an assistant dean at Columbia University, then headed the elite, private Dalton School before resigning in a dispute with trustees.

A Republican Party district leader in an overwhelmingly Democratic neighborhood, Mr. Barr’s father criticized his liberal colleagues as sloppy thinkers with “messianic” complexes, earning occasional headlines calling him a maverick.

Young Bill Barr was also a defender of Republican causes at Horace Mann, the private school he attended in the Bronx. “He was conservative in attitude, demeanor and politics in a way that was distinctive,” said Doug Schoen, a Democratic pollster and former fellow student.

But he came across as thoughtful, not ideologically rigid, Mr. Schoen said. He also had a disarming wit and warm demeanor, qualities that later in life attracted a broad circle of friends, including some Democratic lawyers who heartily disagreed with his politics and legal philosophy. “It’s hard not to like him,” said Mr. Cooper, the former senior Justice Department official.

He studied at Columbia University, eventually obtaining a master’s degree in government and Chinese studies. At a fraternity party he hosted, he met his wife, Christine, a student at the College of Mount Saint Vincent. By age 23, he was married.

Mr. Barr, who once told a high school counselor he wanted to lead the C.I.A., began as an intern there. He took night classes at George Washington University Law School, figuring he could fall back on law if he got “boxed in counting rivets on Chinese tanks” as an intelligence analyst, he later said. It quickly became his passion.

He clerked for Malcolm R. Wilkey, a noted conservative judge on the federal Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Five years earlier, Judge Wilkey had dissented from the court’s historic opinion ordering President Richard M. Nixon to turn over his secret Watergate tape recordings, arguing that discussions between a president and his advisers are protected by “absolute privilege.”

Like the judge, Mr. Barr came to embrace an aggressive view of presidential powers outlined in Article II of the Constitution.

“Bill’s natural default is Article II,” said Mr. Turley, a defender of congressional powers defined in Article I. “He views a strong executive as more needed than ever to stabilize the country and the world at large.”

In between stints at a Washington law firm, Mr. Barr worked from 1982 to 1983 at the Reagan White House under C. Boyden Gray, then counsel to Vice President George Bush. Mr. Gray, who shared Mr. Barr’s belief that the post-Watergate reforms had unduly eroded the powers of the presidency, became his patron.

When Mr. Bush was elected president, Mr. Gray helped elevate Mr. Barr to head the Justice Department’s powerful Office of Legal Counsel, whose interpretations of the Constitution and law bind the executive branch unless overruled by the attorney general or president.

Mr. Barr, then acting attorney general, at a news conference in 1991 about the bombing of Pan Am flight 103.CreditBarry Thumma/Associated Press

Over the next four years, as he rose to deputy attorney general, then attorney general, Mr. Barr put into practice his expansive view of the executive branch’s authority. He was deeply involved in the administration’s decision to invade Panama and arrest its strongman, Manuel Noriega, a move the United Nations condemned as a violation of international law.

He advised President Bush that he did not need lawmakers’ approval to unilaterally attack Iraq in the Persian Gulf war of 1991, although he recommended that Mr. Bush seek a resolution of congressional support anyway.

In that post-Watergate era, the White House was very deferential to the Justice Department, Mr. Barr said in a 2001 interview with the University of Virginia’s Miller Center. Once, when Mr. Bush asked if he could brief the National Security Council on a pending indictment of terrorists, Mr. Barr was flabbergasted, as he later recalled: “Would it be O.K.? Well, I work for you; you’re the top law enforcement officer. Of course it’s O.K.”

Mr. Barr’s forte was his administrative skills, said Nancy Baker, a scholar of attorneys general who interviewed him for the Miller Center. “He had a comfort level with the levers of power and how you get what you want” that extended to the Oval Office, she said.

When Attorney General Dick Thornburgh resigned in mid-1991 to run for the Senate and Mr. Bush picked Mr. Barr to replace him, the president notified Mr. Barr that the White House would choose a deputy with more political clout than he had. Mr. Barr replied: “The attorney general’s balls are in the deputy attorney general’s pocket, and I’m not putting my balls in anyone’s pocket I don’t know.”

He saw some matters through both a legal and political lens. Immigration law, he said, dictated that thousands of Haitians who had fled the island nation on rickety boats seeking asylum after a coup should not be allowed to enter the United States. But in discussions with other officials, he also pointed out the political damage if they reached American shores. “You want 80,000 Haitians to descend on Florida months before the election?” he said. “Gimme a break.”

Westlake Legal Group mueller-report-document-promo-1555353284901-articleLarge-v8 People Are Trying to Figure Out William Barr. He’s Busy Stockpiling Power. United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Special Prosecutors (Independent Counsel) Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Russia Presidents and Presidency (US) Presidential Election of 2016 Mueller, Robert S III Constitution (US) Bush, George W Barr, William P

Read the Mueller Report: Searchable Document and Index

The findings from the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, are now available to the public. The redacted report details his two-year investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

While he crafted a broad policy agenda, a White House preoccupied with Mr. Bush’s re-election campaign mainly ignored it. Largely for that reason, Ms. Baker said, she graded his tenure, which lasted just 17 months, a B-minus.

His treatment of independent counsels, a post-Watergate reform, in some ways foreshadowed the division over his handling of the findings of the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III. He abhorred the now-defunct independent counsel statute, saying it created “headhunters” who answered to no one.

Nonetheless, just days before the act was to expire, he appointed one to look into charges that administration officials had tampered with passport records of Mr. Bush’s opponent in his bid for re-election, Bill Clinton. White House aides were furious, Mr. Barr later said, but “I had to do it.”

On the other hand, he strove to put an end to the inquiry of another independent counsel, whom he described as out of control.

Lawrence E. Walsh spent almost seven years investigating how the Reagan administration had secretly sold arms to Iran to win the release of American hostages, then used the profits to secretly arm anti-Communist rebels in Nicaragua despite a law cutting off assistance to them. The obstruction of justice case he mounted against Caspar Weinberger, President Ronald Reagan’s defense secretary, threatened to reveal that Mr. Bush, as vice president, was more implicated in the arms shipments than he had claimed.

Mr. Barr served under President George Bush for his final 17 months in office, but the White House was preoccupied with re-election and mostly ignored his policy agenda.CreditBarry Thumma/Associated Press

In his waning days in office, Mr. Bush resolved to pardon Mr. Weinberger. “I went over and told the president I thought he should not only pardon Caspar Weinberger, but while he was at it, he should pardon about five others,” Mr. Barr later said. Mr. Walsh called the pardons “the last card” in the cover-up.

Six years later, senior Clinton administration officials were equally critical of the independent counsel Ken Starr’s far-flung investigation of Mr. Clinton. But in that case, in a letter signed by three other former attorneys general, Mr. Barr assailed the officials, not the investigators.

The attacks on Mr. Starr “appear to have the improper purpose of influencing and impeding an ongoing criminal investigation and intimidating possible jurors, witnesses and even investigators,” the 1998 letter said. Twenty-one years later, those comments seem strikingly at odds with how Mr. Barr described Mr. Trump’s efforts to interfere with the Mueller inquiry.

While he periodically opined on other legal and political issues after President Bush’s defeat, Mr. Barr concentrated on the corporate work that made him a multimillionaire. Other lawyers described him as a formidable general counsel for GTE, the telecommunications giant that is now Verizon.

Mr. Barr provided the Justice Department with information to block mergers of competitors that might create unfair monopolies — and harm his company, said Mr. Jhaveri, a former antitrust lawyer with the Justice Department’s telecommunications task force. “With a lot of help from Barr,” he said, the department prevented a merger between WorldCom and Sprint. Mr. Barr knew “what to put into the subpoenas and what issues the companies would be vulnerable on,” he said.

A few years later, after GTE became Verizon, Mr. Barr worked quietly to vanquish the competition again. A former engineer from MCI called his office with a lead: MCI may have wrongfully routed phone traffic through Canada to avoid fees — a potential national security risk. Mr. Barr chased down information from other former MCI employees and rival telecom companies.

Then he took his case to federal regulators and to James B. Comey, then the United States attorney in Manhattan. He also lobbied against new federal contracts to MCI. The investigations exacerbated MCI’s many other woes, and in 2005, Verizon acquired it.

By 2012, Mr. Barr had been semiretired for three years, serving on corporate boards, traveling and playing the bagpipes. Then, the youngest of his three daughters, Meg McGaughey, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

She said in an interview that her father tackled her illness as if he were deconstructing a complex legal case. When standard treatments failed her and her odds of survival plummeted, he steeped himself in medical studies until a stem-cell transplant worked.

Always thick-skinned, she said, her father emerged from her lengthy ordeal even more unflappable. “If it’s not about my daughter’s being mortally ill,” he said this year in an interview with a Fox News contributor, “it’s nothing.”

To Mr. Trump’s advisers, Mr. Barr seemed like the perfect replacement for Attorney General Jeff Sessions, second from the right. Between them is Rod J. Rosenstein, the former deputy attorney general, and on the right is the F.B.I. director, Christopher A. Wray.CreditLeah Millis/Reuters

By all accounts, Mr. Barr was not anxious to join Mr. Trump’s team. Although he contributed to Mr. Trump’s general election campaign, Jeb Bush was his first choice for the Republican nomination in 2016. He refused to represent Mr. Trump as a private criminal lawyer, saying, “I didn’t want to stick my head into that meat grinder.”

But Mr. Trump’s advisers saw him as the perfect replacement for Attorney General Jeff Sessions when the president forced him out in November: someone with Republican establishment gravitas and distinguished legal pedigree who seemed to share at least some of the president’s views.

Mr. Barr had publicly called Mr. Mueller’s investigation of obstruction of justice accusations against the president “asinine” and, in a memo he gave to Justice Department officials, “grossly irresponsible.” He had said he saw far less reason to scrutinize the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia than to investigate whether donations to Hillary Clinton’s family foundation had influenced her actions as secretary of state.

Among those who recommended him was Abbe D. Lowell, the criminal defense lawyer representing Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and daughter Ivanka. Finally, Mr. Barr’s expansive view of executive powers suggested he would strongly defend Mr. Trump from House Democrats determined to uncover his hidden tax records and more.

Ms. McGaughey said her father “really struggled deciding whether or not to do this.” J. Michael Luttig, a former appeals court judge and longtime friend, said he ultimately decided he was unwilling to sit on the sidelines “at a moment when the country is wrapped around the axle to the point of constitutional and political paralysis.”

He had two goals, which he is now executing, friends said: to serve as a firewall between the White House and the Justice Department, which he reveres, and to keep the crisis unleashed by the investigation of Mr. Trump from weakening the presidency. Critics like Paul Rosenzweig, a former prosecutor, said that what he is actually doing is “putting his thumb on the scale” for Mr. Trump.

Mr. Rosenzweig served on the independent counsel team that investigated President Clinton and as a homeland security official under President George W. Bush. A critic of Mr. Trump, he called Mr. Barr “a situational ethicist who sees legal issues through the prism of what benefits him and his party.”

Mr. Barr’s decisions after he received the evidence from Mr. Mueller’s two-year investigation are likely to long be debated. Both men were on unplowed ground, without obvious historical precedent or definitive Justice Department guidelines. They disagreed on legal issues, what to tell the public and when, and it appears, the gravity of the accusations against Mr. Trump.

At a news conference, Mr. Mueller stressed that interfering with a criminal investigation “strikes at the core” of the justice system. Mr. Barr has suggested that Mr. Trump’s relentless attacks on and efforts to fire the special counsel were the understandable reaction of a leader frustrated by an investigation he saw as unjust.

Both Mr. Barr and Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, were on uncharted territory regarding the special counsel’s investigation, without obvious historical precedent or definitive Justice Department guidelines.CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

Rod J. Rosenstein, the former deputy attorney general whom Mr. Trump excoriated for appointing Mr. Mueller, said in an interview that he believed that Mr. Barr’s critics had been unfair. He said he agreed with Mr. Barr’s conclusion that regardless of whether department policy allows indicting a sitting president, the evidence against Mr. Trump was insufficient to warrant criminal prosecution.

“A few years from now, after all of this is resolved, some of Barr’s critics might conclude that his approach was a reasonable way to navigate through a difficult situation,” he said.

Some friends had speculated that Mr. Barr returned to the department as attorney general just to see it through that crisis. That is clearly not so.

“He dives right into things,” said Mr. Rosenstein, who left the department last month. “He doesn’t act like somebody who just arrived recently. He acts like someone who has been here all along for 30 years.”

Unlike Mr. Sessions, whose voice was drowned out by Mr. Trump’s tirades, Mr. Barr is engaging across a broad spectrum. He started out meeting United States attorneys at a rate of two a day. He personally called the mother of Kayla Mueller, an American aid worker who was taken hostage and killed in Syria, with directions to his office, where she asked for help in finding out what happened to her daughter.

In contrast to Mr. Sessions, who refused to even sign a requisite pledge to provide a workplace free of discrimination, Mr. Barr ordered an investigation into the treatment of gay and transgender employees.

Every week seems to bring fresh signs of how closely his quest to defend the presidency dovetails with Mr. Trump’s political interests. At a May rally in Pennsylvania, Mr. Trump launched into his usual blistering denunciation of those who investigated him and his campaign, then evoked Mr. Barr.

As the crowd erupted into chants of “lock them up,” Mr. Trump clapped along, and then declared, with a mirthless smile, “Well, we have a great new attorney general who’s going to give it a very fair look — a very fair look.”

After the release of the Mueller report, which was the subject of intense media scrutiny, Mr. Barr is trying to return some sense of stability to the Justice Department.CreditTom Brenner for The New York Times

Under Mr. Barr, the Justice Department is fighting congressional subpoenas on the grounds they lack any legitimate legislative purpose — an argument that federal judges have rejected in related cases. The House Judiciary Committee has recommended holding him in contempt of Congress, and House Democrats are planning to vote this week on whether to authorize the panel to take Mr. Barr to court, for defying subpoenas for the full text of the Mueller report and underlying evidence.

His review of whether counterintelligence officials acted improperly in investigating links between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign — the inquiry that spawned Mr. Mueller’s inquiry — is clearly Mr. Barr’s biggest initiative. One of his concerns is the F.B.I.’s partial reliance on research financed by Democratic Party interests to obtain court approval to wiretap of a former Trump campaign adviser. Even before becoming attorney general, he recently told The Wall Street Journal, “I felt the rules were being changed to hurt Trump.”

In comments a week ago to CBS News, he delivered his strongest defense yet of the president. He said he had seen “no evidence” that Mr. Trump had undermined the nation’s institutions, but his investigators — whom he has accused of “spying” on the Trump campaign — might have.

“The idea of resisting a democratically elected president and basically throwing everything at him, and you know, really changing the norms on the grounds that we have to stop this president, that is where the shredding of our norms and institutions is occurring,” he said. Asked whether investigators had committed treason, as Mr. Trump claims, he answered, “Not as a legal matter.”

Mr. Graham said Mr. Barr’s review could result in new rules governing use of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to target someone close to a political campaign. That would shore up public support for counterintelligence tools, he said, and “make sure this never happens again.”

David Kris, a former assistant attorney general in charge of national security now with the Culper Partners consulting firm, said fears were mounting that the attorney general is not the department’s salvation, but a “real danger.” He himself is not ready to go that far, he said — yet.

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

Wall Street Asks When, Not if, the Fed Will Cut Interest Rates

Westlake Legal Group 09dc-fedcuts-facebookJumbo Wall Street Asks When, Not if, the Fed Will Cut Interest Rates Xi Jinping Williams, John C United States Economy Unemployment Trump, Donald J Powell, Jerome H Politics and Government Labor and Jobs International Trade and World Market Interest Rates Inflation (Economics) Group of Twenty Federal Reserve System Clarida, Richard H (1957- ) Brainard, Lael Banking and Financial Institutions

The American economy is showing signs of cooling, and Wall Street is counting on Jerome H. Powell, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, to come to the rescue.

The big question facing the Fed is when, not whether, to act, as far as investors are concerned.

But the Fed faces a tricky balancing act as it tries to parse economic data that are routinely complicated by President Trump’s unpredictable policies.

Mr. Powell signaled last week that policymakers were ready to help prop up the economy should mounting risks from Mr. Trump’s ongoing trade battles and slowing global growth hit the United States economy. The jobs report last Friday showed that gains slowed sharply in May, prompting Fed watchers to expect rate cuts sooner rather than later.

Just last month, Fed officials had agreed to leave rates unchanged as Washington’s trade war with China seemed on the brink of being resolved. But Mr. Trump renewed his fight just days after that April 30 and May 1 meeting, raising tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods and threatening to tax nearly every Chinese import. China has since retaliated with higher tariffs on American products.

Those actions rattled financial markets and were compounded late last month by Mr. Trump’s threat to impose tariffs of up to 25 percent on Mexican imports. But Mr. Trump said on Friday that the tariffs would be postponed indefinitely after the Mexican government agreed to help curb illegal immigration into the United States.

The president’s penchant for waging economic wars with other countries puts the Fed in a tough spot as it tries to keep employment high and inflation low. The Fed, which has struggled with persistently low inflation despite a strong job market, indicated earlier this year that it was done raising rates regularly after increasing them nine times since 2015 and that it would take a wait-and-see approach to any additional changes.

Markets now expect the Fed to cut rates — and soon. A rate cut by the end of July was 83 percent priced into futures markets when they closed on Friday, just before Mr. Trump’s tweet announcing the Mexican deal. That was up from 20 percent a month ago.

The Fed next gathers on June 18 and 19 in Washington but it may not be prepared to act that quickly. In part, that is because officials must observe a pre-meeting quiet period that began on June 8 — meaning that they could not give speeches to signal to the public that a cut was imminent and would risk surprising markets if they moved quickly.

A bigger factor that could delay a cut is an expected meeting between Mr. Trump and the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, at the Group of 20 meeting in Japan later this month. That meeting is seen as critical to the trajectory of the economic dispute and could determine whether the two sides can reach an agreement. Mr. Trump is expected to decide after that meeting whether to impose additional tariffs on China.

That leaves the Fed’s July or September meetings as more likely candidates for the Fed to act on rates.

Fed policymakers could use the June meeting “to signal that their finger is on the trigger,” said Michelle Girard, chief United States economist at NatWest Markets Securities, who expects cuts to start in September.

“The hurdle to cut is pretty low,” she said. “You go back to a risk-management approach, and the cost of cutting rates and being wrong is not nearly as high as the risk of not cutting and being wrong.”

Employers added just 75,000 jobs in May, and downward revisions to the prior two months of data left the three-month trend at 151,000 — down sharply from readings that averaged above 200,000 last year.

While the Fed has been expecting job gains to slow for some time given the low unemployment rate, underlying details of the report suggest that the pullback comes from economic softness, not just a lack of available workers.

Wages are a big source of worry. They climbed just 3.1 percent in the year through May, slowing for the third straight month and missing analysts’ estimates. If employers were fighting for a finite pool of labor, they would, in theory, be bidding up compensation.

“The trade uncertainty might be pushing firms to hold off investment for the time being,” said Ernie Tedeschi, policy economist for Evercore ISI. “They want to see what goes on with trade.”

Mr. Tedeschi said the risk, though it’s not the most likely case, is that the slowing job market is a signal that a recession is coming. “What I hope is not happening, but we have to keep the option open, is: Is this the beginning of the end?” he said.

If pay gains don’t accelerate, it means they will never touch the 3.6 percent year-on-year increases achieved in June 2007, the highest rate of the last expansion. That would be a significant shortfall, given that this economic expansion is set to be the longest on record as of July, and was marked by major fiscal stimulus in the form of Mr. Trump’s tax cuts and additional government spending. Growth in average hourly earnings peaked at 3.4 percent in February after growing tepidly for years.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that some of the recent labor market cooling is related to the trade uncertainty. Many companies in a Fed survey of businesses reported that they are holding off on hiring and expansion plans as they wait to see how the tariff tensions play out. And initial jobless claims have remained low, which suggests that companies aren’t firing workers — they just aren’t adding new ones.

Against that backdrop, the outlook for the economy could improve with the removal of tariff threats. And the unemployment rate in May held steady at 3.6 percent — nearly a 50-year low — while a more comprehensive gauge of underemployment actually edged lower. So while there are signs of softening, the labor market is still strong.

But slowing progress in hiring paired with already-weak inflation could create a rationale for Fed action. The central bank’s whole job is to foster the conditions necessary for full employment and stable price gains.

The Fed was already falling short on half of that mission. It defines price stability as 2 percent inflation, but price gains have consistently fallen beneath that target. The Fed’s preferred index climbed just 1.5 percent in the year through April.

Now the second half of the Fed’s mandate could be imperiled if the economic uncertainty drags out, putting corporate expansion and hiring plans on ice, and the overall economy slows.

Mr. Powell’s colleagues — including the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, John Williams; the Fed’s vice chairman, Richard Clarida; and the Fed governor Lael Brainard — have echoed his pledge to act as necessary to keep the economy on track and achieve their goals.

”My baseline is a very good one but at the same time we obviously, as always, need to be prepared to adjust our views on what’s happening with the economy and where the economy is likely going to go,” Mr. Williams said on Thursday.

Economists at Barclays say a .50 percentage point move in July is now their most likely scenario, followed by another .25 percentage point cut before the end of the year.

“We now expect the Fed to initiate a precautionary rate cut cycle,” the Barclays economists Michael Gapen and Jonathan Millar wrote in a note to clients after the employment numbers were released on Friday. “We expect the committee to give a heavy nod to downside risks in the June statement, signaling to markets that they are closely monitoring incoming data and that they stand ready to provide policy support as necessary,” they said.

Mr. Gapen said that the call was based on economic fundamentals — incoming data on manufacturing production, business sector spending, durables orders and capital goods imports have all weakened — and didn’t change on news of the deal with Mexico.

Rate cuts would come at a cost, though. For one thing, they risk enabling further trade tensions. Stock prices soared on the bad-news jobs report, as investors took it as a sign that the central bank would move. Because Mr. Trump closely watches the market, such a rally could leave him feeling less pressure to reach a quick deal with China.

Financial stability risks could also climb on the back of lower rates. The United States’ leveraged lending market has already drawn the attention of Fed officials, as highly indebted corporations take out loans at a breakneck pace and that debt is bundled, sliced into securities and sold off to investors hungry for higher interest rates.

“I do think financial market overheating is the one concern this Fed has about cutting rates and being wrong,” Ms. Girard from NatWest Markets said. “That’s something that the Fed is watchful of — but it very well may be a risk that they’re willing to take.”

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