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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Trump, Donald J" (Page 189)

With Trade Talks Looming, U.S. and China Move to Relax Tensions

Westlake Legal Group 12DC-CHINATRADE-promo-facebookJumbo With Trade Talks Looming, U.S. and China Move to Relax Tensions United States Politics and Government United States International Relations United States Economy Trump, Donald J Soybeans International Trade and World Market Huawei Technologies Co Ltd Customs (Tariff) China Agriculture and Farming

WASHINGTON — The trade war between the United States and China showed signs of easing on Thursday, as China reportedly made its first large purchase in months of American soybeans after President Trump agreed to briefly delay his next round of tariffs.

A trade deal between the two sides is not imminent, and deep divisions remain. But after weeks of escalating tariffs that have pushed the bilateral relationship to its rockiest point in decades, both countries appeared eager this week to try to calm tensions before a new round of talks next month.

Mr. Trump said on Thursday that China would resume purchases of American farm goods, and Beijing confirmed that Chinese companies were making inquiries about buying products including pork and soybeans.

The president’s announcement, made on Twitter on Thursday morning, followed a day of cooling tensions, in which China announced that it would grant some limited exemptions to its tariffs for American products, and Mr. Trump responded by promising to delay his next tariff increase by two weeks to Oct. 15.

“It is expected that China will be buying large amounts of our agricultural products!” the president said in his announcement.

Jim Sutter, the chief executive of the U.S. Soybean Export Council, said he learned on Thursday that China had made a large soybean purchase. Mr. Sutter said that between 12 and 20 cargo ships containing 600,000 to 1 million metric tons of soybeans were being purchased from export terminals in the Pacific Northwest for October shipments to China.

“We’re quite happy to see this apparent thaw in the relationship,” Mr. Sutter said. “We wish we could get trade back to normal.”

China’s Ministry of Commerce said some Chinese companies were beginning to make inquiries about resuming purchases of American agricultural products. “Soybeans and pork are all within the scope of inquiry,” said Gao Feng, a spokesman for the ministry. “I hope that China and the United States will move in the same direction and create favorable conditions for consultations.”

American and Chinese negotiators plan to meet in person in early October, before Mr. Trump increases tariffs on $250 billion worth of goods to 30 percent from 25 percent. Expectations for quickly resolving the significant differences between the two sides remain modest. But the recent de-escalation increases the likelihood that the next round of tariffs might be averted, perhaps eventually opening a path to an agreement that would smooth relations between the countries.

Markets, which have gyrated with every twist and turn in the trade war, rose on the potential that the two sides could ultimately reach a deal. U.S. stock indexes climbed before paring back some of their gains. The S&P 500 index was up 0.29 percent at the close of the day, while the Dow Jones industrial average gained 0.17 percent.

Relations between the countries have worsened since May, when China backed away from a nearly complete deal that would have required it to codify the agreement into Chinese law, which Beijing said would infringe on its sovereignty. Since then, Mr. Trump has placed tariffs on an additional $112 billion of Chinese products and threatened further tariff increases in October and December.

China has responded to the escalation by increasing tariffs on $75 billion of American goods. Chinese state-owned companies have also suspended their purchases of American soybeans, pork and other products, a severe hit to American farmers who have already lost markets because of the trade clash.

Although Mr. Trump’s advisers publicly insist that the trade war is having no effect on the American economy, many of them are eager to calm tensions. They have been reviewing ways to avoid planned tariff increases that would result in the United States taxing nearly every Chinese toy, sneaker and computer by the end of this year.

The president pushed back on reports Thursday that he was vying for an interim deal with China that would resolve only some issues. “I’d rather get the whole deal done,” he said, before adding, “It’s something we would consider, I guess.”

The administration has been weighing whether a deal with China would be a boon or liability to the president’s re-election. His advisers have been working for months to secure an agreement strong enough to dodge criticism from both Democrats and Republicans that Mr. Trump is folding to America’s biggest economic competitor.

Some White House officials, including the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, have argued that the president does not need to seal a deal with China to win over voters. Mr. Kushner and others argue that if the administration can deliver other trade successes, like passing the revised North American trade agreement and announcing a trade deal with Japan, that will be enough to help rally the base, according to people familiar with their thinking.

But economic advisers like Steven Mnuchin and Larry Kudlow have been more attuned to the whipsawing financial markets and some flagging economic indicators and have advocated trying to reach a deal with China.

Discussions between the two countries have revolved around China strengthening its protections for American intellectual property, opening up its markets to competition from American firms and making large purchases of American products, like natural gas and soybeans.

The Trump administration has also pressed China to make more structural changes, for example rolling back the influence of state-owned enterprises in its economy. China has balked at making any concessions it sees as compromising its ability to manage its economy, or signing a deal it perceives as uneven. China has demanded that Mr. Trump remove the tariffs placed on $360 billion of Chinese products, as well as grant leniency for Huawei, the Chinese telecom giant the United States has cut off from purchasing American supplies.

Michael Pillsbury, a China scholar at the Hudson Institute who is advising the Trump administration in its negotiations, said the Chinese had been paving the way to better relations by toning down their formerly strident criticism of Mr. Trump and announcing several changes, including proposing more free trade zones around China that would feature open financial markets and better access for American companies.

“One swallow does not make a summer,” Mr. Pillsbury said, quoting a proverb. “But these gestures are now more and more numerous.”

Mr. Trump’s economic officials have also said the delay in tariffs could smooth relations.

Mr. Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, said on Thursday that Mr. Trump was making a “good gesture” by agreeing to move the deadline by two weeks so that it did not conflict with China’s celebration on Oct. 1 of its founding 70 years ago.

“The president delayed it because of a request from the vice premier,” Mr. Mnuchin said on CNBC. “The optics of us raising the tariffs on Oct. 1, which is their 70th anniversary, caused them grave concern on the symbolism.”

Mr. Mnuchin would not comment on the whether the United States and China were discussing an agreement smaller in scope than they originally hoped. But asked about thorny issues, he made clear that the unrest in Hong Kong would not be part of the trade talks.

“Hong Kong is definitely not on the table,” he said. “That’s an issue for the secretary of state to deal with. That’s not a trade issue.”

Mr. Mnuchin did not address whether Huawei would be discussed. He said the critical issues in the negotiations remained the protection of American intellectual property, an end to China forcing American companies into joint ventures, currency manipulation and increased purchases of American agricultural products.

“We expect and we want them to buy agriculture,” he said. “We view that as a personal attack on our farmers.”

Some White House officials played down the significance of Mr. Trump’s reprieve on Thursday.

“It’s a small thing in the scheme of things,” Peter Navarro, Mr. Trump’s trade adviser, said on CNN, noting that the delay was for only two weeks. “The Chinese are paying the tariffs anyway.”

Mr. Navarro accused the Chinese of economic aggression and stealing American intellectual property. He also pushed back against Republican lawmakers, such as Senator Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania, who have been voicing their frustration about the tariffs.

“He’s waving the white flag, not the American flag,” Mr. Navarro said of Mr. Toomey.

Mr. Navarro also seemed skeptical that China would actually step up its purchases of American agricultural products.

“Let’s see if the Chinese fulfill their commitments,” he said. “The problem we’ve always had with the Chinese is that they don’t necessarily honor their commitments.”

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

For Military Personnel, Trump’s Turnberry Hotel Is ‘Better Than a Tent’

TURNBERRY, Scotland — The middle-aged golfers had finished their last single-malt whiskeys late one night this July, and the bartenders were closing up.

Then a bus pulled up to the Trump Turnberry hotel on Scotland’s west coast with a load of new guests, several staff members said. The doormen, dressed in kilts with long feathers protruding from their berets, ushered in more than 50 uniformed American military service members.

After gawking at a fountain encircled by stone horses and classical statues, the troops piled their duffel bags around the table of orchids under the crystal chandeliers of the wood-paneled lobby, checked into their rooms and headed to the bar to begin ordering some whiskey of their own.

Throughout President Trump’s term, officials said this week, the American military has been paying his money-losing Scottish golf resort to provide five-star accommodations to United States military flight crews and other personnel during refueling stops on trips to and from Southeast Asia, the Middle East and other locations.

The chairman of the House Oversight committee has questioned if the spending at Turnberry is a violation of a constitutional prohibition on government payments to the president outside of his salary — a provision known as the emoluments clause. Other House Democrats have said they expect the matter will now figure in their investigation of a possible impeachment.

But an examination of military layovers at Turnberry, including a two-day stay by a reporter at the resort, reveals a more complicated picture.

There is little evidence of a systematic scheme to enrich Mr. Trump. But the military bookings at Turnberry are the latest in a series of episodes in which the president’s private businesses have intersected with his public position in ways that he can profit from.

The pattern also raises questions about how military officials failed to anticipate the questions that would accompany a large number of American military personnel marching into the opulent halls of one of the president’s golf resorts at public expense.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_160617279_e471b65c-e2cd-491e-8b75-60a9243897d9-articleLarge For Military Personnel, Trump’s Turnberry Hotel Is ‘Better Than a Tent’ United States Politics and Government United States Defense and Military Forces Turnberry (Scotland Golf Resort) Trump, Eric F (1984- ) Trump, Donald J Trump Organization Scotland Presidential Election of 2016 Conflicts of Interest

A United States Air Force plane at Glasgow Prestwick Airport on Wednesday. The bookings for American military personnel staying at the Trump resort are made by employees of the airport.CreditMary Turner for The New York Times

Mr. Trump’s defenders note that American military jets have been stopping in the region since long before Mr. Trump’s election. A decision by the Pentagon to have its flights stop more frequently at the local airport was made under the Obama administration.

The military says the vast majority of American military personnel who have passed through since 2016 have stayed at other area hotels, not Mr. Trump’s. Those who did stay there paid a discounted rate of as little as $130 a night, compared to a typical price of about $380 a night.

“To me, it was honestly just a hotel, a place to sleep,” said Nathan Wendzel, 33, a helicopter pilot, who spent a night at the Trump Turnberry last September, along with about 35 other members of his Iowa National Guard unit, on their way back to the United States from a trip to Kosovo. “It is better than a tent with no air conditioning.”

Neither Mr. Trump’s company nor the United States military has disclosed how much government money has been spent at the Trump resort. But a dozen Trump Turnberry staff members, all speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, said the military stays have been a regular occurrence and, often, encompass surprisingly large groups.

Buses like the one that arrived in July periodically turn up at midnight or 2 a.m. carrying dozens of soldiers or Marines, several hotel staff members said. Less expensive hotels, like a TraveLodge and a Premier Inn, are next to the airport — the Trump Turnberry resort is about a 40-minute drive.

The bookings for United States military personnel staying at the Trump resort are made by employees of the Glasgow Prestwick Airport, which has an incentive to curry favor with Mr. Trump. The airport has become economically reliant on the military refueling flights, creating at least the appearance of a motive to steer business to the American commander in chief.

Michael Matheson, the Scottish transport minister, told the Scottish Parliament this week that the Turnberry is one of 13 hotels the airport uses and that “Turnberry is generally booked only if other hotels are unavailable or if customers specifically request it.”

But critics say that the military stays at Trump Turnberry still underscore recurring questions that have grown out of Mr. Trump’s singular decision to remain the owner of the business that bears his name while holding high office.

Long stays by lobbyists and foreign officials at the Trump International hotel in Washington, Vice President Mike Pence’s recent stay at a Trump resort in Ireland, and the president’s highly publicized outings to his own golf clubs have all raised similar issues. At times Mr. Trump has appeared to promote his hotels at the same moment that he denies steering them government money.

Mr. Trump and his family gave a press conference during the reopening of the Turnberry resort in June 2016, while he was running for president.CreditJeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

“NOTHING TO DO WITH ME,” Mr. Trump tweeted this week in all capital letters about the military stays his Turnberry resort, before adding in parenthesis, “They have good taste!”

Even some guests at Turnberry questioned the arrangement. “It is completely inappropriate,” said Bennett Rodick, a Chicago lawyer watching the sunset from the hotel lobby with his wife. “You don’t want him commingling his business interests with his government interests.”

The United States military has been using Prestwick as a stopover since at least the World War II, in part because of the extremely long runway the airport offers, and its reputation for being largely free of fog.

Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower sometimes landed there, and after the war Scotland gave him permanent use of an apartment in a medieval castle not far from Turnberry that he frequently visited. In March 1960, Elvis Presley, then wrapping up his military service, stopped at the airport for a few hours and was mobbed by his fans.

But the last decade brought trying times to the airport. The United States military’s stopovers declined with the end of the war in Iraq and the pullback of troops from Afghanistan. And commercial air traffic shifted to the larger Glasgow International Airport. The situation got so desperate that in 2013 the Prestwick airport, deep in debt, was sold to the Scottish government for a little more than $1.

Mr. Trump entered the picture the next year, when he bought the Turnberry hotel and its storied golf course — it was one of the courses that had hosted the British Open — from a company owned by the emirate of Dubai, reportedly for about $55 million. Soon after he flew with great fanfare into Prestwick airport on his Boeing 757.

He announced that his resort was forming a cross-promotion deal with the airport. To make Turnberry “the finest resort anywhere,” he told reporters in 2014, “we need an airport.”

There would be “people coming in from New York, high level people from all over the place — a lot of private aircraft will be landing with groups and individuals and we expect to be using Prestwick quite a bit,” Mr. Trump promised.

Trump executives also began negotiating with Prestwick airport officials to try to ensure that they would refer visiting aircrews to the hotel, emails first obtained by The Guardian in 2017 show. Details of the House Oversight Committee investigation into the military stays at the resort were reported last week by Politico.

The town of Ayr, near Glasgow Prestwick Airport. There are less expensive hotels near the airport, while the Trump Turnberry resort is about a 40-minute drive.CreditMary Turner for The New York Times

But at least for Prestwick, almost none of Mr. Trump’s predictions came true. The majority of the resort’s customers are affluent North Americans, along with a smaller number of Asians and others who come on package golf tours. Few arrive via Prestwick.

These days its cavernous main passenger terminal is often almost deserted. The only airline that still flies into Prestwick is the discount carrier Ryanair. Only a handful of its flights come in each day, mainly from relatively small European markets. No flights arrive from London, Dublin or North America.

“Years ago we had more flights and other airlines, but it is very quiet now,” said Margaret Vincent, 57, pulling down the gates Thursday afternoon to close the empty airport bookstore next to the empty cafe, empty bar and empty foreign currency exchange desk.

But on the opposite side of the airport, the United States military has brought back at least some of the business.

The Defense Logistics Agency signed a formal refueling and aviation services contract with Prestwick in August 2016, under President Barack Obama. The contract began being used in a major way the following year, after Mr. Trump took office. Through June, federal contracting records show, it has made at least 925 fuel purchases at the airport, worth $17.3 million.

An American military aircraft — often a C-130 Hercules transport plane — lands or takes off almost every day, according to local airplane enthusiasts who wait by the airfield to watch them.

In part because of the refueling agreement, the level of American military air traffic has surged during the Trump presidency. After 145 stopovers in 2016, there were 257 last year and 259 in the first eight months of this year, the Pentagon said.

The number of stopovers with overnight stays, entailing booking rooms at hotels, has climbed from 75 in 2016 to 208 last year and 220 this year through August, according to the Defense Department figures.

Trump Turnberry can seen like incongruous housing for military personnel. The white walls and red roof of the main hotel stretch along a high ridge overlooking the rocky coast of the Irish Sea.

Mr. Trump arrived in a private helicopter for his 2016 visit to Turnberry. During the visit, his staff handed out “Make Turnberry Great Again” hats.CreditOli Scarff/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The windows look out over stone steps descending through rolling hills to the golf course, with the historic Turnberry castle and lighthouse in one direction and the surreal dome of the granite Ailsa Craig protruding from the sea in the other. Each night at sunset, a bagpiper — also in a kilt — parades past the lobby windows, right in front of the helicopter pad.

Several of the military visitors complained that the resort was not a particularly convenient place. It is far from any restaurants or even a pub. A burger costs almost $26 at current exchange rates, 21 pounds, and blended whiskey starts at nearly $10 a glass. A day ticket for hotel guests to play on the signature golf course costs $495.

Mr. Trump visited during the 2016 presidential campaign and his staff passed out baseball hats with the slogan “Make Turnberry Great Again.” Since his election, Mr. Trump and his family have also brought additional federal spending to the resort. He stayed at the hotel and played a round of golf there in July 2018, accompanied by diplomats, advisers and his Secret Service detail.

“I have arrived in Scotland and will be at Trump Turnberry for two days of meetings, calls and hopefully, some golf — my primary form of exercise!” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter during that visit. “The weather is beautiful, and this place is incredible!”

Eric Trump, who helps oversee its operations, visits frequently, along with his own Secret Service detail. Asked Thursday about the stays by military personnel, Eric Trump declined to comment but praised his family’s property.

Records show payments of at least $64,000 to Trump Turnberry by the State Department in the last two years, although part of that money might have been refunded, the records suggest, after the trips ended. The Trump Organization said it refunds to the government any payments made to Turnberry for those visits by federal government employees after accounting for the resort’s costs, but declined to provide details.

President Trump, after he was elected, transferred ownership of his resorts, golf courses and other properties to a trust that is controlled by his sons and company executives. But Mr. Trump still benefits financially.

The resort lost $4.2 million in 2017, according to an annual filing in Britain, continuing a string of losses reported since Mr. Trump bought it.

The club had revenue of $23.4 million in 2018, according to a financial report filed in the United States, its best year since the Trumps’ ownership. The company has not filed the resort’s profit or loss statement for 2018.

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

Trade Talks Looming, U.S. and China Lower Their Guard, a Little

Westlake Legal Group 12DC-CHINATRADE-promo-facebookJumbo Trade Talks Looming, U.S. and China Lower Their Guard, a Little United States Politics and Government United States International Relations United States Economy Trump, Donald J Soybeans International Trade and World Market Huawei Technologies Co Ltd Customs (Tariff) China Agriculture and Farming

WASHINGTON — President Trump said on Thursday that China would resume purchases of American farm goods and Beijing confirmed that Chinese companies were making inquiries about buying agricultural products, the latest sign that both sides are trying to ease tensions that have pushed the bilateral relationship to its rockiest point in decades.

The president’s announcement, made on Twitter on Thursday morning, followed a day of cooling trade tensions, in which China announced that it would grant some limited exemptions to its tariffs for American products, and Mr. Trump responded by promising to delay his next tariff increase by two weeks to Oct. 15.

“It is expected that China will be buying large amounts of our agricultural products!” the president said on Twitter on Thursday.

China’s Ministry of Commerce said some Chinese companies were beginning to make inquiries about resuming purchases of American agricultural products. “Soybeans and pork are all within the scope of inquiry,” said Gao Feng, a spokesman for the ministry. “I hope that China and the United States will move in the same direction and create favorable conditions for consultations.”

American and Chinese negotiators now plan to meet in person in early October, before Mr. Trump’s deadline to increase tariffs on $250 billion worth of goods to 30 percent from 25 percent. Expectations for quickly resolving the significant differences between the two sides remain modest. But the recent de-escalation increases the likelihood that the next round of tariffs might be averted, perhaps eventually opening a path to an agreement that would smooth relations between the countries.

Markets, which have gyrated with every twist and turn in the trade war, rose on the potential that the two sides could de-escalate a trade war that has gone on far longer than most investors had expected. The S&P 500 index rose 0.45 percent by noon, while the Dow Jones industrial average gained 0.42 percent.

Mr. Trump’s tariff threats against China have weighed heavily on markets, as the trade war’s effect on the economy has become more obvious in recent months. A manufacturing index published this month showed American factory activity contracting for the first time in three years, while an index of consumer sentiment reflected the biggest decline since 2012, where one in three consumers spontaneously mentioned tariffs.

The signs of easing follow a familiar pattern for Mr. Trump, who has routinely vacillated between punishing China and trying to cool tensions when markets and economic data start to wobble.

Relations between the countries have worsened since May, when China backed away from a nearly complete deal that would have required it to codify the agreement into Chinese law, which Beijing said would infringe on its sovereignty. Since then, Mr. Trump has placed tariffs on an additional $112 billion of Chinese products and threatened further tariff increases in October and December.

China has responded to the escalation by increasing tariffs on $75 billion of American goods. Chinese state-owned companies have also suspended their purchases of American soybeans, pork and other products, a severe hit to American farmers who have already lost markets because of the trade clash.

Mr. Trump and his advisers have weighed whether striking a deal with China would be a boon or liability to the president heading into his re-election. They have been working for months to secure a trade deal that is strong enough to dodge criticism from both Democrats and Republicans that Mr. Trump is folding to America’s biggest economic competitor.

The details of the trade agreement the United States is discussing with China are tightly held. But they have revolved around China strengthening its protections for American intellectual property, opening up its markets to competition from American firms and making large purchases of American products, like natural gas and soybeans.

The Trump administration has also pressed China to make more structural changes, for example rolling back the influence of state-owned enterprises in its economy. But China has balked at making any concessions it sees as compromising its ability to manage its economy, or signing a deal it perceives as uneven. For their part, the Chinese have demanded the rollback of the tariffs Mr. Trump has placed on $360 billion of Chinese products, as well as leniency for Huawei, the Chinese telecom giant the United States has cut off from purchasing American supplies.

Mr. Trump’s closest advisers said the delay in tariffs would pave the way for smoother relations.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Thursday that Mr. Trump was making a “good gesture” by agreeing to move the deadline by two weeks so that it did not conflict with China’s celebration on Oct. 1 of its founding 70 years ago.

“The president delayed it because of a request from the vice premier,” Mr. Mnuchin said on CNBC. “The optics of us raising the tariffs on Oct. 1, which is their 70th anniversary, caused them grave concern on the symbolism.”

Mr. Mnuchin would not comment on the whether the United States and China are discussing an agreement that is smaller in scope than they originally hoped. But asked about thorny issues, he made clear that the unrest in Hong Kong would not be part of the trade talks.

“Hong Kong is definitely not on the table,” he said. “That’s an issue for the secretary of state to deal with. That’s not a trade issue.”

Mr. Mnuchin did not address whether Huawei would be discussed. He said the critical issues in the negotiations remained the protection of American intellectual property, an end to China forcing American companies into joint ventures, currency manipulation and increased purchases of American agricultural products.

“We expect and we want them to buy agriculture,” he said. “We view that as a personal attack on our farmers.”

Some White House officials played down the significance of Mr. Trump’s reprieve on Thursday.

“It’s a small thing in the scheme of things,” Peter Navarro, Mr. Trump’s trade adviser, said on CNN, noting that the delay was for only two weeks. “The Chinese are paying the tariffs anyway.”

Mr. Navarro accused the Chinese of economic aggression and stealing American intellectual property. He also pushed back against Republican lawmakers, such as Senator Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania, who have been voicing their frustration about the tariffs.

“He’s waving the white flag, not the American flag,” Mr. Navarro said of Mr. Toomey.

Mr. Navarro also seemed skeptical that China would actually step up its purchases of American agricultural products.

“Let’s see if the Chinese fulfill their commitments,” he said. “The problem we’ve always had with the Chinese is that they don’t necessarily honor their commitments.”

Business leaders are hoping for a quick resolution to the trade fight.

Jennifer Safavian, the executive vice president of government affairs at the Retail Industry Leaders Association, which represents companies including Walmart, Best Buy and Target, said they were hopeful that the delay in American tariffs would lead to productive talks.

“A resolution is sorely needed that puts an end to the tariff increases,” Ms. Safavian said. “Negotiating a path forward that puts an end to the erratic tariff increases and provides some dose of certainty to businesses should be the goal for the October trade discussions.”

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

For Mike Pompeo, a Moment of Singular Influence

WASHINGTON — It took about five minutes after John R. Bolton’s unceremonious fall from grace this week before Washington’s official whisper factory started floating a surprising suggestion for a replacement: Mike Pompeo.

Not that Mr. Pompeo would give up his post as secretary of state to succeed Mr. Bolton as national security adviser. Instead, he would take on both jobs, occupying the corner West Wing office and the Foggy Bottom diplomatic headquarters simultaneously, just as the now-legendary Henry A. Kissinger did in the 1970s.

The notion may be fanciful; it may only be the fevered dream of Mr. Pompeo’s ambitious camp. But even if it never comes to pass, just the fact that it was floated speaks volumes about how singular a figure Mr. Pompeo has become in President Trump’s factional foreign policy circle, the victor in his cage match with Mr. Bolton and the one true survivor as every other original member of the national security team has been cast aside or fled.

Unlike Mr. Bolton or other departed advisers like H.R. McMaster, Rex W. Tillerson, Jim Mattis or Dan Coats, Mr. Pompeo has navigated Mr. Trump’s choppy presidency without capsizing. While conservative like Mr. Bolton, Mr. Pompeo has learned to advance his policy goals where he can, dispense with them when he has to and keep himself in the good graces of a notoriously fickle commander in chief.

“Secretary Pompeo has figured out how to advise the president in ways the president wants,” said Kori Schake, deputy director-general of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London and a former National Security Council official under President George W. Bush.

For now, anyway. As the last 32 months have shown, the only permanent aspect of Mr. Trump’s administration is impermanence. Next week, Mr. Pompeo could just as easily find himself on the wrong side of the president — even the talk of his potentially taking both jobs might irritate Mr. Trump.

But at the moment, no other foreign policy adviser has the president’s ear like Mr. Pompeo and Mr. Bolton’s exit gives him a chance to further enhance his influence.

Even if he does not take on twin titles, the list of apparent candidates for the national security adviser job includes a couple of Mr. Pompeo’s special envoys, Stephen E. Biegun and Brian Hook, either of whom would give Mr. Pompeo a stronger connection to the White House than he had during Mr. Bolton’s 17-month tenure.

And he already has important allies at the Defense Department — Secretary Mark T. Esper was a West Point classmate — and at the C.I.A., whose director, Gina Haspel, previously worked for Mr. Pompeo when he ran the agency at the start of Mr. Trump’s presidency.

Yet Mr. Pompeo’s own commitment to the administration has been in question lately as he flirts with a possible run for the Senate from Kansas. He has months to decide and the emergence of a new national security structure without Mr. Bolton and with his own role enhanced could tilt the odds toward him staying.

For Mr. Pompeo, 55, the rise to the top of Mr. Trump’s team is the culmination of a rocket ride from obscurity in just eight years. A backbench Republican congressman from Kansas, he made himself into a hero of conservatives and the bête noire of liberals with an aggressive performance on the committee investigating Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state, over the 2012 attack on a diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.

First as C.I.A. director and then as secretary of state, Mr. Pompeo has shown a knack for connecting with Mr. Trump. Widely viewed as smart and strategic, if at times testy and even bombastic, Mr. Pompeo has made loyalty to the president his first “mission set,” a phrase he uses constantly from his time at West Point and in the Army.

And while he agreed with and facilitated the president’s desire to abandon the international nuclear agreement with Iran negotiated by President Barack Obama, he also kept private any skepticism he may have had over Mr. Trump’s diplomatic outreach to North Korea and Iran.

Even the recent collapse of the proposed peace agreement with the Taliban in Afghanistan may have served Mr. Pompeo’s complicated interests. He pleased Mr. Trump by delivering a deal as requested and yet when the president canceled it over a suicide bomb attack, he was off the hook for whatever blowback the deal might have caused.

“Pompeo is a guy who on one hand wants to deliver for the president, and is often also the guy who kind of has to placate the State Department, whch often is dovish,” said James Jay Carafano, a national security scholar at the Heritage Foundation. “So there’s a lot of triangulation there.”

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_68977141_cf16147e-9582-4615-9861-f40e077552fd-articleLarge For Mike Pompeo, a Moment of Singular Influence United States Politics and Government United States International Relations Trump, Donald J State Department Pompeo, Mike National Security Council Kissinger, Henry A Bolton, John R

Henry A. Kissinger, right, with President Richard M. Nixon in 1973. Mr. Kissinger was the only person to simultaneously serve as both secretary of state and national security adviser.CreditGeorge Tames/The New York Times

But putting him in dual roles like Mr. Kissinger held under Presidents Richard M. Nixon and Gerald R. Ford would be fraught with risks — some for Mr. Pompeo, and many for the national security establishment, which, in more normal times has come to view the National Security Council as a somewhat neutral arbiter among competing departments and agencies, from the Pentagon to the State Department to the intelligence agencies.

Colin Kahl, who was the top foreign policy aide for Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., noted that the national security adviser is expected to focus on the inside game, staffing the president and coordinating a collection of agencies and departments, while the secretary of state is the public face of American diplomacy.

“Given how much care and feeding Trump needs from staff, and how complex and fast moving the world is — even compared to Kissinger’s time — it is hard to imagine anyone effectively playing both roles,” Mr. Kahl said.

Yet Ms. Schake noted that Mr. Trump clearly does not want the kind of rigorous interagency process that other presidents have had and so in that sense there may be less of a problem in combining the roles. “But mainly what appointing Pompeo to both State and NSA jobs would show is that, like Nixon, President Trump doesn’t actually trust anybody else,” she said.

The prospect of being the most powerful national security figure since Mr. Kissinger would hold obvious appeal for Mr. Pompeo. As Mr. Nixon’s national security adviser, Mr. Kissinger played an outsized role and effectively overshadowed Secretary of State William P. Rogers, so that when Mr. Rogers stepped down, it made sense to formalize his expanded role.

When Mr. Nixon resigned, Mr. Ford kept Mr. Kissinger in both jobs after he became president, but ultimately the dual role came to be problematic and, in a broader reshuffling of his team, the president stripped Mr. Kissinger of his national security adviser title and left him at State.

Instead, it was his successor, Brent Scowcroft, who became known as the model national security adviser. He was known for letting agencies present their views, and not coloring them with his own. He was so successful that he was later brought back for a second stint in the job under President George Bush.

For Mr. Pompeo, the challenge would be satisfying his boss while convincing the rest of the national security establishment that he was a neutral player — and also representing the views of the State Department.

One recent former White House official said the biggest risk for Mr. Pompeo would be “proximity.” The official noted that while it was one thing to move in and out of the White House, Mr. Trump frequently tires of those who are constantly in his sight — and, eventually, seek to contain his instincts. As the former official noted, an adviser loses altitude as soon as he settles into an adjoining office.

“The biggest reason this is unworkable though is that Trump is too insecure to rest this much prestige in one adviser,” agreed John Gans, author of “White House Warriors,” a new book on the National Security Council.

He noted that Mr. Trump was reported to be upset in 2017 when, Stephen K. Bannon, then his chief strategist, landed on the cover of Time magazine. “How is he going to feel when everyone rightly calls Pompeo the most powerful foreign policy player since Kissinger?” he asked.

David Rothkopf, who has also written about the history of the National Security Council, noted other risks of giving both jobs to Mr. Pompeo. “It might seem tempting and fuss free to Trump, but it would be a big mistake,” he said. “It would be tempting because Trump is comfortable with Pompeo and he won’t have to at least attempt or pretend to introduce someone new into his inner circle.”

But Mr. Rothkopf noted that such a move would be complicated by the fact that Mr. Trump often “tweets out positions before deliberations had taken place,” forcing aides to reverse-engineer a policymaking process to justify a decision that has already been made. The result is that national security adviser “isn’t much of a role under Trump. In fact, it is both the most negligible and the most dysfunctional NSC process since the Reagan years and the debacle of Iran-contra.”

Whether he takes the second job or simply continues in the one he already has, Mr. Pompeo now has a window of opportunity to shape Mr. Trump’s foreign policy as no other adviser has been able to do.

He has shown that he may try to steer the president but will not try too hard to dissuade him from his strongest impulses. Instead, it seems, he will wait for his moments and make the most of them.

Whether that dynamic is sustainable, of course, is anyone’s guess. “Pompeo has been able to walk through the rain drops so far, but how long does that last?” said Mr. Gans. “No one else on the national security side has managed to stay dry forever.”

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When Your Commander in Chief Is Also Providing Your Hotel Room

TURNBERRY, Scotland — The middle-aged golfers had finished their last single-malt whiskeys late one night this July, and the bartenders were closing up.

Then a bus pulled up to the Trump Turnberry hotel on Scotland’s west coast with a load of new guests, several staff members said. The doormen, dressed in kilts with long feathers protruding from their berets, ushered in more than 50 uniformed American military service members.

After gawking at a fountain encircled by stone horses and classical statues, the troops piled their duffel bags around the table of orchids under the crystal chandeliers of the wood-paneled lobby, checked into their rooms and headed to the bar to begin ordering some whiskey of their own.

Throughout President Trump’s term, officials said this week, the American military has been paying his money-losing Scottish golf resort to provide five-star accommodations to United States military flight crews and other personnel during refueling stops on trips to and from Southeast Asia, the Middle East and other locations.

The chairman of the House Oversight committee has questioned if the spending at Turnberry is a violation of a constitutional prohibition on government payments to the president outside of his salary — a provision known as the emoluments clause. Other House Democrats have said they expect the matter will now figure in their investigation of a possible impeachment.

But an examination of military layovers at Turnberry, including a two-day stay by a reporter at the resort, reveals a more complicated picture.

There is little evidence of a systematic scheme to enrich Mr. Trump. But the military bookings at Turnberry are the latest in a series of episodes in which the president’s private businesses have intersected with his public position in ways that he can profit from.

The pattern also raises questions about how military officials failed to anticipate the questions that would accompany a large number of American military personnel marching into the opulent halls of one of the president’s golf resorts at public expense.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_160617279_e471b65c-e2cd-491e-8b75-60a9243897d9-articleLarge When Your Commander in Chief Is Also Providing Your Hotel Room United States Politics and Government United States Defense and Military Forces Turnberry (Scotland Golf Resort) Trump, Eric F (1984- ) Trump, Donald J Trump Organization Scotland Presidential Election of 2016 Conflicts of Interest

A United States Air Force plane at Glasgow Prestwick Airport on Wednesday. The bookings for American military personnel staying at the Trump resort are made by employees of the airport.CreditMary Turner for The New York Times

Mr. Trump’s defenders note that American military jets have been stopping in the region since long before Mr. Trump’s election. A decision by the Pentagon to have its flights stop more frequently at the local airport was made under the Obama administration.

The military says the vast majority of American military personnel who have passed through since 2016 have stayed at other area hotels, not Mr. Trump’s. Those who did stay there paid a discounted rate of as little as $130 a night, compared to a typical price of about $380 a night.

“To me, it was honestly just a hotel, a place to sleep,” said Nathan Wendzel, 33, a helicopter pilot, who spent a night at the Trump Turnberry last September, along with about 35 other members of his Iowa National Guard unit, on their way back to the United States from a trip to Kosovo. “It is better than a tent with no air conditioning.”

Neither Mr. Trump’s company nor the United States military has disclosed how much government money has been spent at the Trump resort. But a dozen Trump Turnberry staff members, all speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, said the military stays have been a regular occurrence and, often, encompass surprisingly large groups.

Buses like the one that arrived in July periodically turn up at midnight or 2 a.m. carrying dozens of soldiers or Marines, several hotel staff members said. Less expensive hotels, like a TraveLodge and a Premier Inn, are next to the airport — the Trump Turnberry resort is about a 40-minute drive.

The bookings for United States military personnel staying at the Trump resort are made by employees of the Glasgow Prestwick Airport, which has an incentive to curry favor with Mr. Trump. The airport has become economically reliant on the military refueling flights, creating at least the appearance of a motive to steer business to the American commander in chief.

Michael Matheson, the Scottish transport minister, told the Scottish Parliament this week that the Turnberry is one of 13 hotels the airport uses and that “Turnberry is generally booked only if other hotels are unavailable or if customers specifically request it.”

But critics say that the military stays at Trump Turnberry still underscore recurring questions that have grown out of Mr. Trump’s singular decision to remain the owner of the business that bears his name while holding high office.

Long stays by lobbyists and foreign officials at the Trump International hotel in Washington, Vice President Mike Pence’s recent stay at a Trump resort in Ireland, and the president’s highly publicized outings to his own golf clubs have all raised similar issues. At times Mr. Trump has appeared to promote his hotels at the same moment that he denies steering them government money.

Mr. Trump and his family gave a press conference during the reopening of the Turnberry resort in June 2016, while he was running for president.CreditJeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

“NOTHING TO DO WITH ME,” Mr. Trump tweeted this week in all capital letters about the military stays his Turnberry resort, before adding in parenthesis, “They have good taste!”

Even some guests at Turnberry questioned the arrangement. “It is completely inappropriate,” said Bennett Rodick, a Chicago lawyer watching the sunset from the hotel lobby with his wife. “You don’t want him commingling his business interests with his government interests.”

The United States military has been using Prestwick as a stopover since at least the World War II, in part because of the extremely long runway the airport offers, and its reputation for being largely free of fog.

Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower sometimes landed there, and after the war Scotland gave him permanent use of an apartment in a medieval castle not far from Turnberry that he frequently visited. In March 1960, Elvis Presley, then wrapping up his military service, stopped at the airport for a few hours and was mobbed by his fans.

But the last decade brought trying times to the airport. The United States military’s stopovers declined with the end of the war in Iraq and the pullback of troops from Afghanistan. And commercial air traffic shifted to the larger Glasgow International Airport. The situation got so desperate that in 2013 the Prestwick airport, deep in debt, was sold to the Scottish government for a little more than $1.

Mr. Trump entered the picture the next year, when he bought the Turnberry hotel and its storied golf course — the longtime home of the British Open — from a company owned by the emirate of Dubai, reportedly for nearly $70 million. Soon after he flew with great fanfare into Prestwick airport on his Boeing 757.

He announced that his resort was forming a cross-promotion deal with the airport. To make Turnberry “the finest resort anywhere,” he told reporters in 2014, “we need an airport.”

There would be “people coming in from New York, high level people from all over the place — a lot of private aircraft will be landing with groups and individuals and we expect to be using Prestwick quite a bit,” Mr. Trump promised.

Trump executives also began negotiating with Prestwick airport officials to try to ensure that they would refer visiting aircrews to the hotel, emails first obtained by The Guardian in 2017 show.

The town of Ayr, near Glasgow Prestwick Airport. There are less expensive hotels near the airport, while the Trump Turnberry resort is about a 40-minute drive.CreditMary Turner for The New York Times

But at least for Prestwick, almost none of Mr. Trump’s predictions came true. The majority of the resort’s customers are affluent North Americans, along with a smaller number of Asians and others who come on package golf tours. Few arrive via Prestwick.

These days its cavernous main passenger terminal is often almost deserted. The only airline that still flies into Prestwick is the discount carrier Ryanair. Only a handful of its flights come in each day, mainly from relatively small European markets. No flights arrive from London, Dublin or North America.

“Years ago we had more flights and other airlines, but it is very quiet now,” said Margaret Vincent, 57, pulling down the gates Thursday afternoon to close the empty airport bookstore next to the empty cafe, empty bar and empty foreign currency exchange desk.

But on the opposite side of the airport, the United States military has brought back at least some of the business.

The Defense Logistics Agency signed a formal refueling and aviation services contract with Prestwick in August 2016, under President Barack Obama. The contract began being used in a major way the following year, after Mr. Trump took office. Through June, federal contracting records show, it has made at least 925 fuel purchases at the airport, worth $17.3 million.

An American military jet — often a C-130 Hercules transport plane — lands or takes off almost every day, according to local airplane enthusiasts who wait by the airfield to watch them.

In part because of the refueling agreement, the level of American military air traffic has surged during the Trump presidency. After 145 stopovers in 2016, there were 257 last year and 259 in the first eight months of this year, the Pentagon said.

The number of stopovers with overnight stays, entailing booking rooms at hotels, has climbed from 75 in 2016 to 208 last year and 220 this year through August, according to the Defense Department figures.

Trump Turnberry can seen like incongruous housing for military personnel. The white walls and red roof of the main hotel stretch along a high ridge overlooking the rocky coast of the Irish Sea.

Mr. Trump arrived in a private helicopter for his 2016 visit to Turnberry. During the visit, his staff handed out “Make Turnberry Great Again” hats.CreditOli Scarff/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The windows look out over stone steps descending through rolling hills to the golf course, with the historic Turnberry castle and lighthouse in one direction and the surreal dome of the granite Ailsa Craig protrudes from the sea in the other. Each night at sunset, a bagpiper — also in a kilt — parades past the lobby windows, right in front of the helicopter pad.

Several of the military visitors complained that the resort was not a particularly convenient place. It is far from any restaurants or even a pub. A burger costs almost $26 at current exchange rates, 21 pounds, and blended whiskey starts at nearly $10 a glass. A day ticket for hotel guests to play on the signature golf course costs $495.

Mr. Trump visited during the 2016 presidential campaign and his staff passed out baseball hats with the slogan “Make Turnberry Great Again.” Since his election, Mr. Trump and his family have also brought additional federal spending to the resort. He stayed at the hotel and played a round of golf there in July 2018, accompanied by diplomats, advisers and his Secret Service detail.

“I have arrived in Scotland and will be at Trump Turnberry for two days of meetings, calls and hopefully, some golf — my primary form of exercise!” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter during that visit. “The weather is beautiful, and this place is incredible!”

Eric Trump, who helps oversee its operations, visits frequently, along with his own Secret Service detail. Asked Thursday about the stays by military personnel, Eric Trump declined to comment but praised his family’s property.

Records show payments of at least $64,000 to Trump Turnberry by the State Department in the last two years, although part of that money might have been refunded, the records suggest, after the trips ended. The Trump Organization said it refunds to the government any payments made to Turnberry for those visits by federal government employees after accounting for the resort’s costs, but declined to provide details.

President Trump, after he was elected, transferred ownership of his resorts, golf courses and other properties to a trust that is controlled by his sons and company executives. But Mr. Trump still benefits financially.

The resort lost $4.2 million in 2017, according to an annual filing in Britain, continuing a string of losses reported since Mr. Trump bought it.

The club had revenue of $23.4 million in 2018, according to a financial report filed in the United States, its best year since the Trumps’ ownership. The company has not filed the resort’s profit or loss statement for 2018.

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Judiciary Panel Advances Impeachment Inquiry of Trump as Doubts Linger

WASHINGTON — The House Judiciary Committee on Thursday took its first vote to press forward with an impeachment investigation of President Trump, putting aside internal divisions over the process in a bid to strengthen its hand in uncovering crucial facts in the inquiry.

The measure, which was approved on Thursday morning, laid out procedures to govern the investigation and granted due process to the president. But as lawmakers began debating it early Thursday morning, the most pressing disagreement was not over specific authorities, but over whether the panel was actually engaged in an impeachment inquiry at all.

Republicans argued that no matter what Democrats on the panel contended, they simply had not crossed that threshold.

“As we say in Texas, this is fixing to be an impeachment,” said Representative Louie Gohmert, Republican of Texas. “It’s not now, but it’s fixing to be.”

Republicans were not the only ones with doubts. There is significant lingering confusion surrounding the inquiry both among moderate lawmakers who are wary of impeachment and other rank-and-file Democrats eager to begin the process who have been frustrated with the mixed signals sent by House leaders about it.

An exasperated Judiciary Committee chairman, Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, sought to push past the debate as he opened Thursday’s hearing, insisting that semantics aside, his committee was investigating whether to impeach Mr. Trump for possible obstruction of justice, abuse of power and corruption.

“This committee is engaged in an investigation that will allow us to determine whether to recommend articles of impeachment with respect to President Trump,” Mr. Nadler said. “Some call this process an impeachment inquiry. Some call it an impeachment investigation. There is no legal difference between these terms, and I no longer care to argue about the nomenclature.”

The questions go beyond mere semantics, however. Senior Democrats and the lawyers advising them have a strong interest in demonstrating that the House is, in fact, pursuing an impeachment inquiry, which maximizes their leverage in lawsuits to compel the cooperation of witnesses and secure grand jury testimony. At the same time, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, has toiled to avoid the issue, worrying that the process would be divisive, ultimately fail to result in Mr. Trump’s removal and could potentially cost Democrats in conservative-leaning districts their jobs.

The conflicting imperatives have led to an unusual process in which the Judiciary panel is going forward with what it calls an impeachment investigation without a vote of the full House.

Republicans repeatedly pointed out on Thursday that the panel had not sought or received a House vote authorizing an impeachment inquiry, as had been the case in the two modern presidential impeachments. Without it, they argued, the panel was still engaged in regular oversight. And some lawmakers suggested that the only reason Democrats had not pursued such a vote was that they lacked the necessary support in their caucus to clear the floor.

“The Judiciary Committee has become a giant Instagram filter,” said Representative Doug Collins of Georgia, the top Republican on the committee, “to make it appear that something’s happening that is not.”

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_160662036_8f23bb39-b079-481a-9c8c-a65c60c80451-articleLarge Judiciary Panel Advances Impeachment Inquiry of Trump as Doubts Linger United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Special Prosecutors (Independent Counsel) Pelosi, Nancy Nadler, Jerrold impeachment House Committee on the Judiciary Courts and the Judiciary

“As we say in Texas, this is fixing to be an impeachment,” said Representative Louie Gohmert, left, Republican of Texas. “It’s not now, but it’s fixing to be.”CreditErin Schaff/The New York Times

At other points, though, they appeared to accept that an impeachment inquiry was underway in order to suggest changes to the resolution and charge that the Democrats were pursuing the president out of political spite.

Republicans were correct about the precedent, but Democrats argue no vote is actually necessary. Few rules govern the impeachment process, and they argue that the committee need only be considering impeachment articles to stand up an inquiry of that name.

Still, part of the confusion stems from the fact that top Democratic leaders — including Ms. Pelosi — have declined to use those shorthand terms, even as Ms. Pelosi has approved the investigative steps themselves. Instead, she has stressed the investigative work of six House committees and said only that impeachment is one possible recourse for its findings.

Things were muddled further on Wednesday when the second-ranking House Democrat, Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland told reporters that the committee was decidedly not engaged in an impeachment investigation then later had to backtrack in a written statement. That statement echoed language Mr. Nadler has used in court but avoided the term impeachment investigation or inquiry.

The resolution itself under consideration on Thursday defines four authorities for the inquiry.

It would allow Mr. Nadler to designate any hearing of the full Judiciary Committee or its subcommittees as part of the investigation, a measure Democrats believe could help expedite their work by spreading it across the smaller, nimbler panels.

Under the new procedures, staff attorneys would be afforded time at each hearing to directly question witnesses. Democratic and Republican lawyers would each be given 30-minute blocks after lawmakers had exhausted their own questioning time.

The resolution also includes rules for how information collected by the committee — including classified material and grand jury secrets — will be handled. Most information will be treated as private by default, unless the chairman designates otherwise.

And for the first time, the committee’s vote would grant Mr. Trump and his legal team formal due process, by allowing his lawyers to respond to committee proceedings in writing in real time.

“No matter how we may disagree with him, President Trump is entitled to respond to the evidence in this way,” Mr. Nadler said.

But Republicans pointed out that the language falls well short of the privileges extended to the president’s legal teams in impeachment inquiries of President Richard Nixon and President Bill Clinton, where the defense was allowed to participate in all committee hearings, cross-examine witnesses and recommend witnesses for hearings.

“Not allowing the president’s counsel the same kind of rights as was done in the two previous presidential impeachments that have been put before this committee is a gross denial of due process,” said Representative Jim Sensenbrenner, Republican of Wisconsin and a former chairman of the Judiciary panel. “We are the committee that is supposed to stand up and protect the constitutional rights of everybody.”

The committee plans to put the new rules to use on Sept. 17, when Corey Lewandowski, Mr. Trump’s former campaign manager and an important witness to the special counsel’s obstruction of justice investigation, is scheduled to appear before the committee. Mr. Lewandowski was told to appear under subpoena and has indicated his willingness to come, but the White House could still try to intervene, preventing his testimony like those of past witnesses.

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Judiciary Panel Advances Impeachment Inquiry of Trump as Doubts Linger

WASHINGTON — The House Judiciary Committee on Thursday took its first vote to press forward with an impeachment investigation of President Trump, putting aside internal divisions over the process in a bid to strengthen its hand in uncovering crucial facts in the inquiry.

The measure, which was approved on Thursday morning, laid out procedures to govern the investigation and granted due process to the president. But as lawmakers began debating it early Thursday morning, the most pressing disagreement was not over specific authorities, but over whether the panel was actually engaged in an impeachment inquiry at all.

Republicans argued that no matter what Democrats on the panel contended, they simply had not crossed that threshold.

“As we say in Texas, this is fixing to be an impeachment,” said Representative Louie Gohmert, Republican of Texas. “It’s not now, but it’s fixing to be.”

Republicans were not the only ones with doubts. There is significant lingering confusion surrounding the inquiry both among moderate lawmakers who are wary of impeachment and other rank-and-file Democrats eager to begin the process who have been frustrated with the mixed signals sent by House leaders about it.

An exasperated Judiciary Committee chairman, Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, sought to push past the debate as he opened Thursday’s hearing, insisting that semantics aside, his committee was investigating whether to impeach Mr. Trump for possible obstruction of justice, abuse of power and corruption.

“This committee is engaged in an investigation that will allow us to determine whether to recommend articles of impeachment with respect to President Trump,” Mr. Nadler said. “Some call this process an impeachment inquiry. Some call it an impeachment investigation. There is no legal difference between these terms, and I no longer care to argue about the nomenclature.”

The questions go beyond mere semantics, however. Senior Democrats and the lawyers advising them have a strong interest in demonstrating that the House is, in fact, pursuing an impeachment inquiry, which maximizes their leverage in lawsuits to compel the cooperation of witnesses and secure grand jury testimony. At the same time, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, has toiled to avoid the issue, worrying that the process would be divisive, ultimately fail to result in Mr. Trump’s removal and could potentially cost Democrats in conservative-leaning districts their jobs.

The conflicting imperatives have led to an unusual process in which the Judiciary panel is going forward with what it calls an impeachment investigation without a vote of the full House.

Republicans repeatedly pointed out on Thursday that the panel had not sought or received a House vote authorizing an impeachment inquiry, as had been the case in the two modern presidential impeachments. Without it, they argued, the panel was still engaged in regular oversight. And some lawmakers suggested that the only reason Democrats had not pursued such a vote was that they lacked the necessary support in their caucus to clear the floor.

“The Judiciary Committee has become a giant Instagram filter,” said Representative Doug Collins of Georgia, the top Republican on the committee, “to make it appear that something’s happening that is not.”

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_160662036_8f23bb39-b079-481a-9c8c-a65c60c80451-articleLarge Judiciary Panel Advances Impeachment Inquiry of Trump as Doubts Linger United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Special Prosecutors (Independent Counsel) Pelosi, Nancy Nadler, Jerrold impeachment House Committee on the Judiciary Courts and the Judiciary

“As we say in Texas, this is fixing to be an impeachment,” said Representative Louie Gohmert, left, Republican of Texas. “It’s not now, but it’s fixing to be.”CreditErin Schaff/The New York Times

At other points, though, they appeared to accept that an impeachment inquiry was underway in order to suggest changes to the resolution and charge that the Democrats were pursuing the president out of political spite.

Republicans were correct about the precedent, but Democrats argue no vote is actually necessary. Few rules govern the impeachment process, and they argue that the committee need only be considering impeachment articles to stand up an inquiry of that name.

Still, part of the confusion stems from the fact that top Democratic leaders — including Ms. Pelosi — have declined to use those shorthand terms, even as Ms. Pelosi has approved the investigative steps themselves. Instead, she has stressed the investigative work of six House committees and said only that impeachment is one possible recourse for its findings.

Things were muddled further on Wednesday when the second-ranking House Democrat, Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland told reporters that the committee was decidedly not engaged in an impeachment investigation then later had to backtrack in a written statement. That statement echoed language Mr. Nadler has used in court but avoided the term impeachment investigation or inquiry.

The resolution itself under consideration on Thursday defines four authorities for the inquiry.

It would allow Mr. Nadler to designate any hearing of the full Judiciary Committee or its subcommittees as part of the investigation, a measure Democrats believe could help expedite their work by spreading it across the smaller, nimbler panels.

Under the new procedures, staff attorneys would be afforded time at each hearing to directly question witnesses. Democratic and Republican lawyers would each be given 30-minute blocks after lawmakers had exhausted their own questioning time.

The resolution also includes rules for how information collected by the committee — including classified material and grand jury secrets — will be handled. Most information will be treated as private by default, unless the chairman designates otherwise.

And for the first time, the committee’s vote would grant Mr. Trump and his legal team formal due process, by allowing his lawyers to respond to committee proceedings in writing in real time.

“No matter how we may disagree with him, President Trump is entitled to respond to the evidence in this way,” Mr. Nadler said.

But Republicans pointed out that the language falls well short of the privileges extended to the president’s legal teams in impeachment inquiries of President Richard Nixon and President Bill Clinton, where the defense was allowed to participate in all committee hearings, cross-examine witnesses and recommend witnesses for hearings.

“Not allowing the president’s counsel the same kind of rights as was done in the two previous presidential impeachments that have been put before this committee is a gross denial of due process,” said Representative Jim Sensenbrenner, Republican of Wisconsin and a former chairman of the Judiciary panel. “We are the committee that is supposed to stand up and protect the constitutional rights of everybody.”

The committee plans to put the new rules to use on Sept. 17, when Corey Lewandowski, Mr. Trump’s former campaign manager and an important witness to the special counsel’s obstruction of justice investigation, is scheduled to appear before the committee. Mr. Lewandowski was told to appear under subpoena and has indicated his willingness to come, but the White House could still try to intervene, preventing his testimony like those of past witnesses.

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Trump Wants Big Diplomatic Wins. Here Are the Odds.

WASHINGTON — John R. Bolton has left the Situation Room, and President Trump is left at the table with a giant set of chips set on hot spots around the world.

In Mr. Trump’s view, the clock is ticking: He needs some big victories between now and the election in November 2020. But he also wants to prove that his idiosyncratic approach to foreign policy — as a series of deals rather than a philosophy of how American hard and soft power is deployed — can produce results that have eluded Washington’s foreign policy establishment for a decade or more.

Here’s a look at six issues on the table.

Ask Mr. Trump about his negotiations with Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, and he will tell you he is already winning: He was the first American president to meet a North Korean leader — three times now — and the first to step, briefly, into North Korean territory. He has gotten back the remains of American soldiers and won a pause, which has lasted nearly two years, in nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missile tests. It all led Mr. Trump to declare on Twitter, after his first meeting with Mr. Kim in Singapore, that North Korea was “no longer a Nuclear Threat.”

The only problem is that the North’s nuclear ability has increased since that meeting, by some estimates significantly. Intelligence estimates indicate that the North’s stockpile of fuel has swelled, and so has its missile arsenal. Short-range missile tests have improved Mr. Kim’s ability to strike American bases in South Korea and Japan with a new generation of weapons intended to avoid missile defenses. And the North hasn’t turned over a list of its weapons, missiles and facilities, which was supposed to be the first step.

Mr. Trump remains convinced that Mr. Kim will be impressed by the prospect of new hotels on the (heavily mined) beaches of North Korea’s east coast. The whole country, he notes, is a great property, with easy access to China, Russia, South Korea and Japan. The only issue is whether he can persuade his new friend to give up the weapons that, in the North Korean leader’s view, have kept him in office. That may mean settling with partial steps — starting with a nuclear freeze — on the way to a bigger deal that may or may not happen.

Prospects for a win: Next to none, unless Mr. Trump changes the goals. It is more likely he will agree to incremental reductions and call it a victory.


ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_160210131_b9fd2d00-0986-4f9a-b012-dc2a82d262e3-articleLarge Trump Wants Big Diplomatic Wins. Here Are the Odds. Xi Jinping United States International Relations Trump, Donald J Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Putin, Vladimir V Nuclear Weapons North Korea Middle East Kim Jong-un Iran General Assembly (UN) Embargoes and Sanctions Bolton, John R Afghanistan

President Hassan Rouhani of Iran with Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of Iran’s nuclear technology organization, in April.CreditAgence France-Presse — Getty Images

To the Trump administration, there is no more existential threat than Iran. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sees it as the source of virtually all trouble in the Middle East, and Mr. Trump kept insisting to a series of aides that the only way to get a good deal with Iran was to destroy the 2015 nuclear agreement, which he dismissed as “terrible” and a giveaway because it did not forever ban Iran from making nuclear fuel.

Mr. Bolton, who before joining the administration was an advocate of American-led regime change in Iran, was an enthusiast of the “maximum pressure” campaign. And indeed it has been more successful than most experts expected. Iran’s oil revenues have plunged, its economy is shrinking and some of its elites are beginning to wonder whether it’s time to acknowledge the inevitable, which is to negotiate with a president they can’t stand.

All eyes are on the opening of the United Nations General Assembly in 10 days. Mr. Trump and even Mr. Pompeo have said they are ready to negotiate without preconditions, and could meet with President Hassan Rouhani of Iran.

“I do believe they would like to make a deal,” Mr. Trump said on Wednesday. “If they do, that’s great. If they don’t, that’s great, too.”

He insisted the goal remained the same. “They never will have a nuclear weapon,” he said. “If they are thinking about enrichment, they can forget about it.”

The wild card here is Mr. Rouhani because he is unwilling to meet until sanctions are lifted, or so he says.

Prospects for a win: Not bad. The Iranians have a long history of changing their minds and negotiating when there are no other options. And unlike North Korea, they have no nuclear weapons, so they have less to give up.


Every time Mr. Trump goes to Camp David, he sees pictures of Jimmy Carter, whose cabin-to-cabin diplomacy in 1978 brought peace between Israel and Egypt. Some aides think that inspired Mr. Trump to invite the Taliban — who gave haven to Al Qaeda to plan the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks — to the presidential retreat. Mr. Bolton’s argument that this was a crazy idea precipitated this week’s rupture.

But it’s hardly over. The “peace deal” Mr. Trump is touting isn’t the Camp David accords. It would call for a “reduction in violence” and the beginning of a dialogue about power sharing between the Taliban and the American-backed Afghan government of President Ashraf Ghani. Few think it will lead to true peace. But it may be enough to give Mr. Trump the chance to significantly reduce the number of American troops in Afghanistan.

Prospects for a win: Fairly high. The only people who want American troops out more than Mr. Trump are the Taliban.


President Xi Jinping of China at the Group of 20 summit this year in Osaka, Japan.CreditErin Schaff/The New York Times

Mr. Trump miscalculated when it came to challenging President Xi Jinping of China: He thought Mr. Xi would fold as tariffs took their toll. So far, Mr. Xi has not folded, and market jitters are a reflection of the fear that the world’s two largest economies could tank simultaneously.

The bigger problem facing the Trump administration is that after nearly 32 months in office, it has no integrated China strategy.

Mr. Pompeo and many in the military establishment view Mr. Xi, the most powerful Chinese leader in decades, as determined to spread the country’s influence through Africa, Latin America and, increasingly, Europe — and to use its technology, led by Huawei-produced networks, to exercise control. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and other members of the economics team are convinced that Mr. Xi, in the end, will take the best economic deal he can.

And Mr. Trump, forever seeking flexibility, gyrates between these two posts, sometimes declaring China’s progress on 5G networks, artificial intelligence and quantum computing a national security threat, and at other times suggesting that supplying those efforts is up for negotiation.

Prospects for a win: Poor. Mr. Xi is playing a long game, and Mr. Trump is playing for November 2020.


The president and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, have taken two years to study Middle East peace — “the deal of the century,” Mr. Trump called it — and when they revealed the first part of the plan, it was all about getting wealthy Arab states, among others, to invest tens of billions of dollars in the Palestinian territories, as well as in Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon.

But key decision makers avoided the conference, and with Israel in the midst of its own campaign season, the political side of the plan won’t be released until after the election — if then. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pre-empted the whole proposal this week with his pre-election promise to annex nearly a third of the occupied West Bank — reducing any future Palestinian state to an enclave encircled by Israel.

Prospects for a win: On life support. No evidence supports the idea that Mr. Kushner will succeed where others have failed.

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia this month. Mr. Trump pushed for Russia to be allowed back into the Group of 7, despite the country’s annexation of Crimea.CreditMikhail Klimentyev/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Alone among his foreign policy advisers, Mr. Trump believes the key to dealing with Russia is reintegration, letting the country back into the Group of 7, forgiving (or ignoring) its annexation of Crimea and never mentioning its effort to influence the 2016 election, a charge he has dismissed as a “hoax.”

Meanwhile, the Pentagon is gearing up for a fundamental shift in policy in which Russia and China are regarded as “revisionist” states that must be challenged. And the F.B.I., the Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency say they are constantly creating plans to counter Russian malign influence in the 2020 election.

Mr. Trump argues “there is no reason for this,” and says that with a little help to the Russian economy, President Vladimir V. Putin would be a lot easier to deal with. With Mr. Bolton gone, Mr. Trump may well try to negotiate an extension to the New START treaty, the last remaining arms control agreement between the United States and Russia.

But when it comes to lifting sanctions, Mr. Trump has run into a brick wall with his own party, whose leaders say they have no intention of reversing decades of hawkish views on containment.

Prospects for a win: Mr. Trump is not playing poker here — he’s playing solitaire. The only possible victory is an arms control treaty extension.

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Trump Delays Planned Tariff Increase in ‘Gesture of Good Will’ to China

WASHINGTON — President Trump said Wednesday night that the United States would delay its next planned tariff increase on China by two weeks, as “a gesture of good will” that may help to mend the seriously damaged ties between the world’s two biggest economies.

The United States would delay a planned increase in its 25 percent tariff on $250 billion of Chinese goods from Oct. 1 to Oct. 15, a move that was made “at the request of the Vice Premier of China, Liu He, and due to the fact that the People’s Republic of China will be celebrating their 70th Anniversary on October 1st,” the president said in a tweet.

The move comes as trade talks between the United States and China have stagnated, leading to stock market volatility and consternation among businesses that have paid higher prices to import and export goods. Despite months of talks, negotiators still appear far from a comprehensive trade deal that would resolve the Trump administration’s concerns about Chinese economic practices, including its infringement on American intellectual property.

The president’s announcement will delay tariffs by only two weeks. But it could allow negotiators to meet ahead of the next round of tariffs, raising the potential for that increase to be averted.

The two sides were on the cusp of a trade deal this spring, when Chinese leaders decided that some American demands to change their laws infringed too much on Chinese sovereignty. Since then, Mr. Trump has moved ahead with taxing an additional $112 billion of Chinese products, and he was expected to raise tariffs even further on Oct. 1. China imposed additional tariffs on $75 billion worth of American goods in retaliation.

Tensions between the two sides have eased slightly in recent weeks, with Chinese officials agreeing to travel to the United States in October for the next round of talks. On Wednesday, China published a short list of American products that would be exempt from its new tariffs, and said it would announce more exemptions in coming weeks. The exemptions included cancer drugs and certain chemicals that China does not produce domestically, but it did not include American exports like pork and soybeans, which have been targeted by Beijing as punishment for Mr. Trump’s tariffs.

In remarks in the Oval Office on Wednesday, Mr. Trump greeted the exemptions as a sign that China would soon compromise, saying that the trade war “was only going to get worse” and “they want to make a deal.”

“They took tariffs off, certain types,” he said. “I think it was a gesture. It was a big move. People were shocked. I wasn’t shocked.”

On other fronts, the Trump administration continues to move ahead with more stringent treatment of China. The administration has drafted an executive order that would increase inspections of mailed packages, in an effort to crack down on shipments of counterfeit goods and deadly drugs from foreign nations including China.

The order would empower the United States Postal Service to increase inspections of small packages that arrive in the country by air, according to several people familiar with the draft, who declined to be named because they were not authorized to speak publicly. That would help to close a loophole that has allowed dangerous drugs like the opioid fentanyl and other contraband to pass into the United States unchecked.

The measure is not aimed specifically at China. But Mr. Trump has often accused China of failing to stop shipments of fentanyl from flowing into the United States. Mr. Trump said late last month that he was directing the Postal Service and private American companies like FedEx, Amazon and UPS to search packages from China for fentanyl and refuse delivery. On Sept. 1, Mr. Trump placed more tariffs on Chinese imports as punishment for Beijing’s failure to stop fentanyl shipments and its refusal to buy more agricultural goods from the United States.

“Fentanyl kills 100,000 Americans a year. President Xi said this would stop — it didn’t,” Mr. Trump said in a tweet last month, referring to Xi Jinping, China’s president.

The executive order would apply solely to the Postal Service, not private companies like FedEx or UPS. The order is drafted to apply to all countries, though the effects would fall most heavily on China, a major source of both counterfeit products and fentanyl as well as small packages shipped into the United States.

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The executive order drafted by the Trump administration would increase inspections of packages mailed through the United States Postal Service but would not apply to private companies like FedEx or UPS.CreditChristopher Lee/Bloomberg

Regarding the trade talks, China and the United States appear to still have substantive differences. Chinese officials have emphasized recent changes they have made to laws governing foreign investment and intellectual property, rather than discussing the more significant changes the Trump administration has demanded.

Mr. Trump has ordered American companies out of China and expressed satisfaction at the damage his tariffs are wreaking on its economy.

Business leaders say they are already struggling under the tariffs, and predict lower profits and wage cuts if further levies — more are set for December — go into place. A poll by the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai published Wednesday said the trade war was weighing on its members’ projections for revenue growth, optimism about the future and future investment plans. Moody’s Analytics estimates that the trade war has already cost 300,000 American jobs, a toll that could increase to nearly 450,000 by the end of this year and nearly 900,000 jobs by the end of next year, assuming Mr. Trump’s planned tariff increases go into effect.

In recent months, some of the focus has shifted away from the terms of the trade deal itself to whether there can be an interim agreement that would involve Chinese purchases of American agricultural products and smooth over relations between the countries.

Chinese officials and their contacts have floated the idea of restarting agricultural purchases, in return for the United States postponing further tariff increases and offering some relief for Huawei, the Chinese telecom giant that has been blacklisted from buying American products, several people familiar with the matter said.

Mr. Trump has been deeply frustrated by China’s refusal to purchase American agricultural products in recent months. The move would help the president by buoying a constituency that is important for him politically and also increasingly opposed to the trade war.

But such an interim agreement has also proved elusive. The president and his advisers are increasingly aware of the national security risk posed by Huawei, and cognizant that they would face criticism from Democrats and Republicans alike if they relent. Companies have submitted more than 120 applications to the Commerce Department to supply certain nonsensitive products to Huawei, but no applications have yet been approved.

American officials may consider removing some tariffs in return for economic concessions from China, but they are unlikely to do so for agricultural purchases, Mr. Trump’s allies say.

The Chinese, meanwhile, know that agricultural purchases would reduce the political pressure on Mr. Trump and potentially increase his chances of re-election, and they are not likely to trade away this source of leverage easily, people familiar with their thinking said.

At a Senate hearing Tuesday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the two countries were discussing soybean purchases, but pushed back on suggestions that the United States would be easily bought off.

“I’ve been accused at times of just wanting to sell soybeans. That’s not what we’re trying to do,” Mr. Mnuchin told lawmakers in the hearing. “We want to make sure that China treats our farmers fairly and doesn’t retaliate against the farmers in an unfair way.”

“As part of any discussion, we are talking about ag purchases,” he told reporters after the hearing. “That’s very important to us, defending our farmers.”

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Trump Won’t Order a Capital Gains Tax Cut, for Now

Westlake Legal Group merlin_150683208_9c41ddae-6e59-471f-ba7f-5575fc55bd68-facebookJumbo Trump Won’t Order a Capital Gains Tax Cut, for Now United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Norquist, Grover G Federal Taxes (US) Cruz, Ted Capital Gains Tax

WASHINGTON — President Trump told his top economic advisers on Wednesday that he had decided, for now, to forgo using executive authority to deliver a tax cut that would primarily benefit wealthy investors.

The decision, which Mr. Trump disclosed at a White House meeting focused on tax issues, ended more than a year of debate inside his administration over a proposal that would have reduced the taxes investors pay on the profits they earn when selling assets like stocks or bonds.

Mr. Trump’s economic team had been exploring the idea of taking unilateral action on capital gains and delivering a tax break to investors without congressional approval. The president said last month he believed this could be accomplished with his executive authority.

But the idea of circumventing Congress was challenged by some within the administration who argued it would defy a legal opinion issued in 1992, under President George Bush.

The decision not to push for an investor tax cut spares Mr. Trump from what would have been a new round of attacks by Democrats, who have assailed the tax cut on so-called capital gains as a handout to the rich, and most likely a prolonged court fight over whether the executive branch has the authority to enact the cut without action from Congress.

“President Trump was thoroughly briefed on the complex economic, legal and regulatory issues, and concluded that at this time he does not feel enough of the benefits will go to the middle class,” Judd Deere, a White House spokesman, said Wednesday evening in an email.

Mr. Trump left open the possibility that he could revisit the idea. The Wall Street Journal first reported the decision.

Republican senators and conservative anti-tax groups have pushed Mr. Trump over the past year to order the Treasury Department to change the definition of “cost” for calculating capital gains. Such a move would allow taxpayers to adjust the initial value of an asset for inflation when it sells, effectively reducing the profit earned on the sale and, with it, the tax liability.

Analyses by outside groups, including the Penn Wharton Budget Model, have found that the vast majority of the gains from the move would go to the top 1 percent of taxpayers, who disproportionately pay capital gains taxes. Advocates of the tax cut had argued that millions of middle-class Americans would also benefit, by reducing taxes on the sale of stocks held in their portfolios or pension funds.

Supporters of the plan included Larry Kudlow, the director of Mr. Trump’s National Economic Council, the conservative anti-tax advocate Grover Norquist and a group of Republicans led by Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. Twenty-one Republican senators wrote Mr. Trump this summer to champion the move.

Critics of the idea included Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, whose department is bound by a 1992 opinion from the Office of Legal Counsel that determined the Treasury Department does not have the authority to index capital gains to inflation by regulation. Democrats also opposed it overwhelmingly: 42 Democratic senators wrote Mr. Mnuchin, asking him to reject the idea.

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