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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Trump, Donald J" (Page 65)

Jason Greenblatt, a Designer of Trump’s Middle East Peace Plan, Is Leaving the Administration

WASHINGTON — President Trump’s special envoy for Middle East peace, Jason Greenblatt, will leave the administration, according to a senior Trump official, raising new questions about a long-delayed plan to resolve the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

Mr. Greenblatt has worked closely since early 2017 with Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, to design what Mr. Trump has called the “ultimate deal.” But their secretive plan has been delayed for several months, and it is unclear when it will be released — and whether Mr. Greenblatt will be around for the rollout.

Trump administration officials have said that the plan would not be released before Israel’s Sept. 17 election, which would determine the fate of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a close Trump ally who has overseen expansionist policies in the occupied West Bank. The vote, if close, could be followed by months of political jockeying to build a governing coalition, which could further delay the plan’s release.

On Thursday, the Trump official would say about the plan only that “the vision is now complete and will be released when appropriate.”

Mr. Trump had warm words for Mr. Greenblatt on Twitter. “Jason has been a loyal and great friend and fantastic lawyer,” Mr. Trump tweeted, praising his “dedication to Israel.”

By the time the administration’s peace plan is revealed, Mr. Greenblatt, formerly a longtime top lawyer to the Trump Organization, may have returned to private life. He accepted a huge pay cut in early 2017 when he took his White House job at an annual salary of about $180,000. His wife and six children have remained at their home in Teaneck, N.J. It is unclear whether Mr. Greenblatt will return to the Trump Organization after he leaves the government.

Westlake Legal Group all-the-major-firings-and-resignations-in-trump-administration-promo-1530825933054-articleLarge Jason Greenblatt, a Designer of Trump’s Middle East Peace Plan, Is Leaving the Administration United States International Relations Trump, Donald J State Department Palestinians Netanyahu, Benjamin Middle East Kushner, Jared Greenblatt, Jason D

The Turnover at the Top of the Trump Administration

Since President Trump’s inauguration, White House staffers and cabinet officials have left in firings and resignations, one after the other.

Mr. Greenblatt will remain on the job “in the coming period,” the Trump official said. The absence of a commitment to stay through the plan’s release is sure to stir doubts about its viability, which many regional experts and officials already doubt will break a decades-long stalemate between Israel and the Palestinians.

Some Trump administration critics expect it will be a largely political document meant to bolster Mr. Netanyahu, assuming he survives this month’s election, and to affirm Mr. Trump’s domestic standing with conservative Jews and evangelical Christians who support Israeli territorial expansion.

But Trump officials argue that their peace effort is a serious one that incorporates lessons from the mistakes of several past administrations, although they have so far provided few details beyond a call for major new economic development in Palestinian areas.

After Mr. Greenblatt’s departure, Avi Berkowitz, an adviser to Mr. Kushner, will become “more involved in the process,” the Trump official said. So will Brian H. Hook, the State Department’s special representative for Iran.

Mr. Hook has already worked closely on the Israel-Palestinian file, a reflection of the Trump team’s theory that Israel and its Sunni Arab enemies can unite against a shared adversary: Tehran’s Shiite-led government.

Mr. Hook joined Mr. Kushner and Mr. Greenblatt for a midsummer Middle East tour meant to build support for their proposal from Arab leaders, whose backing they hope to win for a peace initiative that is expected to demand far more concessions from the Palestinians than from the Israelis. The Trump administration has been closely aligned with Mr. Netanyahu’s government on security and territorial issues, while taking an openly adversarial stance toward Palestinian leaders.

“It has been the honor of a lifetime to have worked in the White House for over two and a half years under the leadership of President Trump,” Mr. Greenblatt said in a statement. “I am incredibly grateful to have been part of a team that drafted a vision for peace. This vision has the potential to vastly improve the lives of millions of Israelis, Palestinians and others in the region.”

Mr. Kushner added in a statement that Mr. Greenblatt “has done a tremendous job leading the efforts to develop an economic and political vision for a long sought after peace in the Middle East,” saying he would remain a “close friend and partner.”

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

Fact-Checking Trump’s Claims About China’s ‘Worst Year’

Westlake Legal Group merlin_157191180_989de729-06a7-4c1b-bf33-8a89f3b66add-facebookJumbo Fact-Checking Trump’s Claims About China’s ‘Worst Year’ United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Politics and Government International Trade and World Market Economic Conditions and Trends China

What Trump said

“We have taken in tens of billions of dollars in tariffs from China. Prices have not gone up, or they’ve gone up very little. China has paid for most of that, and I say paid for all of it. China has now had the worst year they’ve had in 57 years.”

First, the tariffs placed on Chinese imports have raised $27 billion, as of Aug. 28, and a number of recent studies have shown that the costs are borne by American companies and consumers, not by China. Analysts have estimated that the trade war would cost the average American family about $460 over a year.

As for China’s “worst year,” President Trump is most likely referring to economic growth. China’s gross domestic product grew 6.2 percent from April to June compared with a year earlier, the slowest rate since 1992. That’s 27 years, not 57 years.

For context, 50 to 60 years ago, China was in the throes of the Cultural Revolution and the Great Leap Forward. From 1953 to 1978, the Chinese government reported an average annual growth of 6.7 percent, though analysts have questioned the validity of that data. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development estimated that China’s economy actually grew at an annual rate of 4.4 percent in this period.

Other metrics do not show a five-decade low, either. China’s industrial production grew only 4.8 percent in July, the lowest rate since February 2002. Its currency fell to an 11-year low against the dollar in August. And the ratio of open positions to job applicants was the lowest since 2014.

Mr. Trump accurately described the slump in economic growth as the “worst in 27 years” on July 30 and at least four other times before he began throwing out different figures.

On Aug. 9, the president said China had experienced its worst year in 35 years. His time estimate contracted to 27 years on Aug. 18, and then increased to 54 years on Aug. 20.

“It was actually 52 or 54 years,” he then said on Aug. 21.

“Anywhere from 30 to 50 years,” according to the president on Aug. 23.

That number expanded again, to 61 years, on Friday.

“That’s a lot of years,” Mr. Trump said.

Curious about the accuracy of a claim? Email factcheck@nytimes.com.

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

U.S. and China Agree to Resume Trade Talks, Sending Markets Higher

Westlake Legal Group 04chinatrade-facebookJumbo U.S. and China Agree to Resume Trade Talks, Sending Markets Higher United States International Relations United States Trump, Donald J Politics and Government Mnuchin, Steven T Liu He (1952- ) Lighthizer, Robert E International Trade and World Market Economic Conditions and Trends Customs (Tariff) China

SHANGHAI — The United States and China will hold trade talks in Washington early next month, officials from both countries said on Thursday, but new tariffs will make it difficult to find a way to end their economic clash.

Liu He, a top Chinese economic official and Beijing’s top trade negotiator, will travel to Washington in early October, state media said. Mr. Liu spoke on Thursday morning with Robert E. Lighthizer, the United States trade representative, and Steven Mnuchin, the United States Treasury secretary. Mr. Lighthizer’s office said that deputy-level meetings would take place ahead of the talks.

Stocks around the world rose following the news that talks would resume. Early trading on Wall Street was also up.

If held as scheduled, the talks would take place after new American tariffs kick in, which could make it difficult for the two sides to reach a deal. President Trump has said he would raise tariffs to 30 percent from the current 25 percent on $250 billion in Chinese goods. Those tariffs cover everything from cars to aircraft parts.

On Sunday, Washington began charging a 15 percent tax on more than $100 billion worth of Chinese imports. Beijing retaliated with its own increased tariffs. Both countries plan to impose still more tariffs in December, barring a breakthrough in talks.

Already, pessimism had been growing on both sides of the Pacific Ocean about the possibility of a trade deal before the United States presidential elections next year. The mounting tariffs have rattled global markets and set off fears over world economic growth.

On Thursday, the S&P 500 jumped following news of the talks.

The rise reflects a sense of relief among investors that the two sides, which have recently been seen as far apart in negotiations, may once again seek to find a way to de-escalate a conflict that has raised global economic concerns and has injected uncertainty into the markets.

More than half of respondents to Bank of America’s monthly survey of global fund managers in August cited a worsening trade war as the top “tail risk” — a remote, but potentially deeply destabilizing threat — facing markets.

Over the last year, the potential fallout of the trade battle surpassed previous worries that troubled these professional investors, such as the chance that the Federal Reserve could tighten interest rates too far or a sharp slowdown in Chinese growth could stifle global growth.

At times this year, the stock market has suffered bouts of extreme volatility, first in May and again last month, when previous cease-fires in the battle between the United States and China broke down.

Data on mutual funds and E.T.F.s has shown money consistently flowing out of the stock market and into the bond market, often considered a safe haven for investors, which is also enjoying a strong year.

Businesses in both the United States and China have begun to express concern about a trade war that has dragged on for more than a year. American manufacturing activity contracted for the first time in three years because of slowing export orders amid the trade dispute, data showed on Wednesday.

Chinese factory activity, meanwhile, contracted for three months this summer before ticking back up slightly in data released this week. Its manufacturing sector has suffered layoffs and factory shutdowns from the trade war and as its economy grows at its slowest pace in three decades.

“When I speak to C.E.O.s of leading Chinese and global companies, everyone is fretting about what the latest escalations mean for their businesses in the short term, and more worrisome, for their long-term strategy and investment plans,” said Fred Hu, founder of the investment firm Primavera Capital Group and former head of Goldman Sachs’s greater China business.

The two sides show little sign of backing down, however. Mr. Trump has gambled that China’s softening economy will put pressure on Beijing’s leaders to back down. Speaking with reporters on Wednesday, Mr. Trump cited the country’s slowdown, which he called, inaccurately, “the worst year they’ve had in 57 years.”

“And they want to make a deal,” Mr. Trump said. “We’ll see what happens.”

For their part, China’s leaders believe their own efforts to quell China’s dependence on debt are mostly responsible for the slowdown, and that they could reverse course if needed to bolster growth.

Next month’s talks would be the 13th time that senior-level trade negotiators have met. American negotiators traveled to Shanghai in July to meet briefly with their Chinese counterparts and left with an agreement to meet again in Washington on Sept. 1.

But the plans were disrupted when, one day after negotiators returned home, Mr. Trump said the United States would impose a 10 percent tariff on $300 billion worth of Chinese goods on Sept. 1, once again escalating trade tensions.

State controlled media has contended that the trade war is hurting American consumers more than Chinese companies and citizens. “The White House lifted a rock, which fell on the feet of the America public,” the Global Times, a nationalistic tabloid, wrote in a Sept. 1 editorial after the latest round of tariffs set in.

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

Ken Cuccinelli Emerges as Public Face, and Irritant, of Homeland Security

WASHINGTON — As Donald J. Trump moved to wrap up his unlikely Republican nomination for the presidency, a senior adviser to Senator Ted Cruz laced into the front-runner in March 2016, in a last-ditch effort to swing the contest to Mr. Cruz, the more traditionally conservative candidate.

The target? Mr. Trump’s soft stand on immigrant workers.

“He uses the immigrants in ways that advantage him monetarily but disadvantage American citizens,” Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II said of Mr. Trump’s hiring of temporary foreign employees for Trump resorts from Florida to New Jersey. “He says it’s wrong,” Mr. Cuccinelli told a radio interviewer, “but he still does it.”

Three years later, the president and Mr. Cuccinelli have put aside their differences to make common cause in a pursuit of the fiercest anti-immigration agenda in generations. As the acting director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, Mr. Cuccinelli now oversees legal immigration, including the visa program that he once criticized and Mr. Trump made rich use of in staffing resorts such as Mar-a-Lago in Florida and the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J.

From that seemingly narrow perch, he has roiled the Department of Homeland Security, peppering other senior officials with pointed email demands, encroaching on Immigration and Customs Enforcement operations and generally appointing himself spokesman for all things immigration in the Trump administration.

In three weeks, one fact has become clear: In Mr. Cuccinelli, Mr. Trump has found someone to his right on immigration but perfectly in line with his street-fighting skills.

“He has many critics,” said L. Preston Bryant, a Republican who served in the Virginia House of Delegates when Mr. Cuccinelli was a state senator, “but they underestimate Ken Cuccinelli at their own peril.”

Mr. Cuccinelli, a descendant of Italian immigrants who sought sanctuary at Ellis Island, was recruited initially as the administration’s immigration czar, with the broadest possible portfolio. Within days, though, he was redirected to head Citizenship and Immigration Services. The more limited job description has not hindered Mr. Cuccinelli. If the White House adviser Stephen Miller is the architect of Mr. Trump’s effort to restrict both legal and illegal immigration, Mr. Cuccinelli has emerged as its public face.

He has aggressively pushed immigration policies with little concern for legal constraints. His tendency to make light of sensitive policies has incensed senior homeland security officials, including the acting secretary, Kevin K. McAleenan, and the acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Matthew T. Albence, according to administration officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the rising tension among officials.

Signature Cuccinelli initiatives include efforts to speed up asylum screenings, to make it harder for children of some active service members born abroad to obtain citizenship and to force immigrants facing life-threatening health crises to return to their home countries (the administration recently announced that it would reconsider the last decision).

His agency also put in place a rule that would deny legal status to immigrants deemed likely to use government benefit programs. A day after announcing that “public charge” policy, Mr. Cuccinelli revised the iconic sonnet on the Statue of Liberty by saying the United States would welcome those “who can stand on their own two feet.”

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_159683040_1f5150ea-cb74-4701-b222-7b3b59950a84-articleLarge Ken Cuccinelli Emerges as Public Face, and Irritant, of Homeland Security Trump, Donald J Politics and Government Immigration and Emigration Immigration and Customs Enforcement (US) Illegal Immigration Homeland Security Department Cuccinelli, Kenneth T II Conservatism (US Politics) Citizenship and Naturalization Citizenship and Immigration Services (US)

Asylum seekers who were sent back to Mexico from the United States last month. One of Mr. Cuccinelli’s signature efforts is to speed up asylum screenings.CreditLoren Elliott/Reuters

Born in Edison, N.J., Mr. Cuccinelli, 51, was raised in Virginia, where he assumed the nickname “Cooch.” He graduated from the University of Virginia with an engineering degree and from George Mason with a law degree.

From the start, his political career — he was a state senator from 2002 to 2010 before becoming Virginia’s attorney general — was marked by his hard-line stand on immigration at a time when his home base, extending to parts of Fairfax County in the far suburbs of Washington, was divided by an influx of first-generation Americans. He proposed legislation that would allow employers to fire employees who did not speak English, advocated denying citizenship to the American-born children of undocumented immigrants and provoked backlash as attorney general when he referred to immigration policy while discussing killing rats in Washington.

He also displayed the acumen to carry out wide-reaching, complex policy.

A devout Catholic, Mr. Cuccinelli made his name nationally more as a social conservative than as an immigration hard-liner. He defended a Virginia law that criminalized sodomy, advocated prohibiting Virginia state universities from protecting same-sex couples from discrimination and investigated the University of Virginia to obtain documents related to the work of a scientist who studied climate change, accusing the professor of fraud. He issued edited pins of the state seal for his staff to wear with the exposed breast of a Roman goddess covered up.

“He certainly shares Trump’s desire for cultural conflict and a relishing of cultural conflict that is very uncommon for most Virginia Republicans,” said Brennan Bilberry, a former spokesman for Terry McAuliffe, who defeated Mr. Cuccinelli in the 2013 Virginia governor’s race.

But long before Mr. Trump was galvanizing his political base with anti-immigrant language, Mr. Cuccinelli used a similar approach to appeal to white voters in a rapidly changing Northern Virginia.

His district was “beginning to see early in his term a substantial influx from people outside who looked different,” said Mark J. Rozell, the dean of the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University in Virginia. “So there was some populist appeal to his taking a very hard immigration stance.

“But,” Mr. Rozell added, “with Cuccinelli, for good or bad, it has always seemed that his positions came out of a certain core of his convictions.”

Mr. Cuccinelli’s allies say his positions are rooted in the belief that a legal immigration system is crucial to maintaining a functioning society. But Mr. Cuccinelli tends to tailor his views based on whether the legal immigrants in question are fleeing desperation south of the border or, like his ancestors, escaping Europe.

When a photograph of a drowned migrant father and daughter on the banks of the Rio Grande went viral in June, Mr. Cuccinelli said the father was to blame. When he was pressed on CNN about his edit of the Statue of Liberty poem, he said Emma Lazarus’s famous verses referred to “people coming from Europe where they had class-based societies.”

Mr. Cuccinelli did not respond to requests to be interviewed, but a Citizenship and Immigration Services spokeswoman, Jessica Collins, said Mr. Cuccinelli viewed the United States as a nation of immigrants; maintaining that tradition “requires immigrants to come here legally.” Ms. Collins said one of the first bills Mr. Cuccinelli passed as a state senator extended legal protections to immigrants in the country legally and illegally who had their personal documents withheld from them by the authorities.

But current and former Virginia lawmakers pointed to actions of a different type taken by Mr. Cuccinelli, such as a 2010 legal opinion that allowed Virginia law enforcement officials to check the immigration status of anyone they stopped. When Mr. Cuccinelli called into a radio station in 2012 to criticize a local ordinance that he said protected rats from being killed in Washington, he segued into immigration enforcement.

Mr. Cucinelli has aggressively pushed immigration policies with little concern for legal constraints.CreditDrew Angerer for The New York Times

The law “is worse than our immigration policy — you can’t break up rat families,” he pivoted, apparently advocating such separations. “Or raccoons or all the rest, and you can’t even kill them. It’s unbelievable.”

Claire G. Gastañaga, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia, sued Mr. Cuccinelli repeatedly when he was the state’s attorney general, but she also wrote columns with him and praised his willingness to protect privacy rights, one of a handful of issues in which Mr. Cuccinelli’s populism can cross party lines.

“There are areas where his conservative approach to government is protective to individual rights,” Ms. Gastañaga said, “but not if you’re an immigrant.”

Since joining Citizenship and Immigration Services, Mr. Cuccinelli has brandished the sharp elbows he honed in Richmond. Senior officials in the Department of Homeland Security have watched angrily as Mr. Cuccinelli spoke about ICE raids on television and tweeted a photograph of an active crime scene at an ICE office in San Antonio without consulting top officials at the enforcement agency, administration officials said.

Mr. Cuccinelli has emailed Mr. Albence, the acting director of ICE, and other officials at the agency to demand that it turn over authority over a student visa program, which Mr. Cuccinelli wants to limit in scope, according to administration officials. Mr. Albence pushed back against the combative emails, the officials said, and Mr. McAleenan and some White House officials have told Mr. Cuccinelli to tone it down.

“That’s not how it’s going to work, my friend,” Mr. Cuccinelli said in a reply to the pushback from ICE officials, according to an administration official.

His performance has pleased immigration restrictionists outside the administration, a key constituency of Mr. Trump’s. “I haven’t had any little birdies tell me it’s a disaster or anything like that” at the agency, said Mark Krikorian, the executive director of the hard-line Center for Immigration Studies.

Ms. Collins, the Citizenship and Immigration Services spokeswoman, disputed that Mr. Cuccinelli had demanded anything from officials and said he had “gone out of his way to be of assistance to them in a variety of ways.”

But Mr. Cuccinelli is unlikely to be confirmed as the permanent director because of his tumultuous relationship with the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. Two years ago Mr. Cuccinelli signed a letter drafted by conservative activists calling for Mr. McConnell to step down. As president of the Senate Conservatives Fund, he backed hard-line conservatives against more mainstream Republicans, even siding with Matt Bevin, Kentucky’s current governor, in his failed 2014 primary campaign against Mr. McConnell. And Mr. McConnell has let the White House know of his displeasure with Mr. Cuccinelli’s appointment.

Mr. Cuccinelli’s emergence as the unofficial homeland security spokesman, when each agency overseeing immigration policy is led by an acting chief, has left the rank and file wondering who is in charge, administration officials said.

“Is Kevin McAleenan in charge of homeland security; is he acting secretary?” asked David Lapan, a former press secretary for the cabinet department. “Why is Cuccinelli out there talking about all these topics? I’m sure people would say that’s because that’s what the president wants, but that’s not necessarily the best thing for the Department of Homeland Security.”

A senior White House official responded to such questions unbidden, emphasizing that those closest to Mr. Trump believe Mr. Cuccinelli is more aligned with the president on immigration than his peers in the sprawling department, including Mr. McAleenan.

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

U.S.-China Trade Talks to Resume, but New Tariffs Could Complicate Them

Westlake Legal Group 04chinatrade-facebookJumbo U.S.-China Trade Talks to Resume, but New Tariffs Could Complicate Them United States International Relations United States Trump, Donald J Politics and Government Mnuchin, Steven T Liu He (1952- ) Lighthizer, Robert E International Trade and World Market Economic Conditions and Trends Customs (Tariff) China

SHANGHAI — The United States and China will hold trade talks in Washington early next month, officials from both countries said on Thursday, but new tariffs will make it difficult to find a way to end their economic clash.

Liu He, a top Chinese economic official and Beijing’s top trade negotiator, will travel to Washington in early October, state media said. Mr. Liu spoke on Thursday morning with Robert E. Lighthizer, the United States trade representative, and Steven Mnuchin, the United States Treasury secretary. Mr. Lighthizer’s office said that deputy-level meetings would take place ahead of the talks.

If held as scheduled, the talks would take place after new American tariffs kick in, which could make it difficult for the two sides to reach a deal. President Trump has said he would raise tariffs to 30 percent from the current 25 percent on $250 billion in Chinese goods. Those tariffs cover everything from cars to aircraft parts.

On Sunday, Washington began charging a 15 percent tax on more than $100 billion worth of Chinese imports. Beijing retaliated with its own increased tariffs. Both countries plan to impose still more tariffs in December, barring a breakthrough in talks.

Already, pessimism had been growing on both sides of the Pacific Ocean about the possibility of a trade deal before the United States presidential elections next year. The mounting tariffs have rattled global markets and set off fears over world economic growth.

Businesses in both the United States and China have begun to express concern about a trade war that has dragged on for more than a year. American manufacturing activity contracted for the first time in three years because of slowing export orders amid the trade dispute, data showed on Wednesday.

Chinese factory activity, meanwhile, contracted for three months this summer before ticking back up slightly in data released this week. Its manufacturing sector has suffered layoffs and factory shutdowns from the trade war and as its economy grows at its slowest pace in three decades.

“When I speak to C.E.O.s of leading Chinese and global companies, everyone is fretting about what the latest escalations mean for their businesses in the short term, and more worrisome, for their long-term strategy and investment plans,” said Fred Hu, founder of the investment firm Primavera Capital Group and former head of Goldman Sachs’s greater China business.

The two sides show little sign of backing down, however. Mr. Trump has gambled that China’s softening economy will put pressure on Beijing’s leaders to back down. Speaking with reporters on Wednesday, Mr. Trump cited the country’s slowdown, which he called, inaccurately, “the worst year they’ve had in 57 years.”

“And they want to make a deal,” Mr. Trump said. “We’ll see what happens.”

For their part, China’s leaders believe their own efforts to quell China’s dependence on debt are mostly responsible for the slowdown, and that they could reverse course if needed to bolster growth.

Next month’s talks would be the 13th time that senior-level trade negotiators have met. American negotiators traveled to Shanghai in July to meet briefly with their Chinese counterparts and left with an agreement to meet again in Washington on Sept. 1.

But the plans were disrupted when, one day after negotiators returned home, Mr. Trump said the United States would impose a 10 percent tariff on $300 billion worth of Chinese goods on Sept. 1, once again escalating trade tensions.

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

U.S.-China Trade Talks to Resume, but New Tariffs Could Complicate Them

Westlake Legal Group 04chinatrade-facebookJumbo U.S.-China Trade Talks to Resume, but New Tariffs Could Complicate Them United States International Relations United States Trump, Donald J Politics and Government Mnuchin, Steven T Liu He (1952- ) Lighthizer, Robert E International Trade and World Market Economic Conditions and Trends Customs (Tariff) China

SHANGHAI — The United States and China will hold trade talks in Washington early next month, officials from both countries said on Thursday, but new tariffs will make it difficult to find a way to end their economic clash.

Liu He, a top Chinese economic official and Beijing’s top trade negotiator, will travel to Washington in early October, state media said. Mr. Liu spoke on Thursday morning with Robert E. Lighthizer, the United States trade representative, and Steven Mnuchin, the United States Treasury secretary. Mr. Lighthizer’s office said that deputy-level meetings would take place ahead of the talks.

If held as scheduled, the talks would take place after new American tariffs kick in, which could make it difficult for the two sides to reach a deal. President Trump has said he would raise tariffs to 30 percent from the current 25 percent on $250 billion in Chinese goods. Those tariffs cover everything from cars to aircraft parts.

On Sunday, Washington began charging a 15 percent tax on more than $100 billion worth of Chinese imports. Beijing retaliated with its own increased tariffs. Both countries plan to impose still more tariffs in December, barring a breakthrough in talks.

Already, pessimism had been growing on both sides of the Pacific Ocean about the possibility of a trade deal before the United States presidential elections next year. The mounting tariffs have rattled global markets and set off fears over world economic growth.

Businesses in both the United States and China have begun to express concern about a trade war that has dragged on for more than a year. American manufacturing activity contracted for the first time in three years because of slowing export orders amid the trade dispute, data showed on Wednesday.

Chinese factory activity, meanwhile, contracted for three months this summer before ticking back up slightly in data released this week. Its manufacturing sector has suffered layoffs and factory shutdowns from the trade war and as its economy grows at its slowest pace in three decades.

“When I speak to C.E.O.s of leading Chinese and global companies, everyone is fretting about what the latest escalations mean for their businesses in the short term, and more worrisome, for their long-term strategy and investment plans,” said Fred Hu, founder of the investment firm Primavera Capital Group and former head of Goldman Sachs’s greater China business.

The two sides show little sign of backing down, however. Mr. Trump has gambled that China’s softening economy will put pressure on Beijing’s leaders to back down. Speaking with reporters on Wednesday, Mr. Trump cited the country’s slowdown, which he called, inaccurately, “the worst year they’ve had in 57 years.”

“And they want to make a deal,” Mr. Trump said. “We’ll see what happens.”

For their part, China’s leaders believe their own efforts to quell China’s dependence on debt are mostly responsible for the slowdown, and that they could reverse course if needed to bolster growth.

Next month’s talks would be the 13th time that senior-level trade negotiators have met. American negotiators traveled to Shanghai in July to meet briefly with their Chinese counterparts and left with an agreement to meet again in Washington on Sept. 1.

But the plans were disrupted when, one day after negotiators returned home, Mr. Trump said the United States would impose a 10 percent tariff on $300 billion worth of Chinese goods on Sept. 1, once again escalating trade tensions.

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

U.S.-China Trade Talks to Resume, but New Tariffs Could Complicate Them

Westlake Legal Group 04chinatrade-facebookJumbo U.S.-China Trade Talks to Resume, but New Tariffs Could Complicate Them United States International Relations United States Trump, Donald J Politics and Government Mnuchin, Steven T Liu He (1952- ) Lighthizer, Robert E International Trade and World Market Economic Conditions and Trends Customs (Tariff) China

SHANGHAI — The United States and China will hold trade talks in Washington early next month, officials from both countries said on Thursday, but new tariffs will make it difficult to find a way to end their economic clash.

Liu He, a top Chinese economic official and Beijing’s top trade negotiator, will travel to Washington in early October, state media said. Mr. Liu spoke on Thursday morning with Robert E. Lighthizer, the United States trade representative, and Steven Mnuchin, the United States Treasury secretary. Mr. Lighthizer’s office said that deputy-level meetings would take place ahead of the talks.

If held as scheduled, the talks would take place after new American tariffs kick in, which could make it difficult for the two sides to reach a deal. President Trump has said he would raise tariffs to 30 percent from the current 25 percent on $250 billion in Chinese goods. Those tariffs cover everything from cars to aircraft parts.

On Sunday, Washington began charging a 15 percent tax on more than $100 billion worth of Chinese imports. Beijing retaliated with its own increased tariffs. Both countries plan to impose still more tariffs in December, barring a breakthrough in talks.

Already, pessimism had been growing on both sides of the Pacific Ocean about the possibility of a trade deal before the United States presidential elections next year. The mounting tariffs have rattled global markets and set off fears over world economic growth.

Businesses in both the United States and China have begun to express concern about a trade war that has dragged on for more than a year. American manufacturing activity contracted for the first time in three years because of slowing export orders amid the trade dispute, data showed on Wednesday.

Chinese factory activity, meanwhile, contracted for three months this summer before ticking back up slightly in data released this week. Its manufacturing sector has suffered layoffs and factory shutdowns from the trade war and as its economy grows at its slowest pace in three decades.

“When I speak to C.E.O.s of leading Chinese and global companies, everyone is fretting about what the latest escalations mean for their businesses in the short term, and more worrisome, for their long-term strategy and investment plans,” said Fred Hu, founder of the investment firm Primavera Capital Group and former head of Goldman Sachs’s greater China business.

The two sides show little sign of backing down, however. Mr. Trump has gambled that China’s softening economy will put pressure on Beijing’s leaders to back down. Speaking with reporters on Wednesday, Mr. Trump cited the country’s slowdown, which he called, inaccurately, “the worst year they’ve had in 57 years.”

“And they want to make a deal,” Mr. Trump said. “We’ll see what happens.”

For their part, China’s leaders believe their own efforts to quell China’s dependence on debt are mostly responsible for the slowdown, and that they could reverse course if needed to bolster growth.

Next month’s talks would be the 13th time that senior-level trade negotiators have met. American negotiators traveled to Shanghai in July to meet briefly with their Chinese counterparts and left with an agreement to meet again in Washington on Sept. 1.

But the plans were disrupted when, one day after negotiators returned home, Mr. Trump said the United States would impose a 10 percent tariff on $300 billion worth of Chinese goods on Sept. 1, once again escalating trade tensions.

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Trump Insists He Was Right About Hurricane Dorian Heading for Alabama

WASHINGTON — When President Trump displayed a large map of Hurricane Dorian’s path in the Oval Office on Wednesday, it was hard to miss a black line that appeared to have been drawn to extend the storm’s possible path into the state of Alabama.

That might have been intended to bolster Mr. Trump’s claim on Sunday when he tweeted that “in addition to Florida — South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama, will most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated.”

Never mind that the Alabama office of the National Weather Service quickly responded to Mr. Trump’s original claim by insisting that “Alabama will NOT see any impacts from #Dorian.”

“We repeat, no impacts from Hurricane #Dorian will be felt across Alabama,” the office tweeted. “The system will remain too far east.”

So did Mr. Trump — who frequently uses black Sharpie pens to sign legislation — add the mark to justify his unfounded claim about the dangers faced by residents of the Cotton State?

Or did someone else in his administration clumsily modify the map so that it would appear to back up the president?

The black line on the map was drawn to look like the top of the so-called cone of uncertainty that is familiar to weather watchers. The line curved through the southwest corner of Georgia and the southeast corner of Alabama, and into the Gulf of Mexico.

A spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security said that he was unclear what the black line on the map was referring to and that he needed to gather additional information. He later referred questions about the map to the White House.

Asked about the marking on the map, Mr. Trump told reporters that he did not know how it got there. “I don’t know,” he said on Wednesday while insisting that his assertion about the dangers that Alabama faced had been right all along.

“We had many models, each line being a model, and they were going directly through. And in all cases, Alabama was hit, if not lightly, then in some cases, pretty hard,” Mr. Trump said.

“They actually gave that a 95 percent chance probability,” he said. “It turned out that that was not what happened. It made the right turn up the coast. But Alabama was going to be hit very hard, along with Georgia. But under the current, they won’t be.”

The president did not say where he got that information, which is directly contradicted by days of reports from the National Weather Service and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, neither of which publicly reported any threat to Alabama from the hurricane.

ImageWestlake Legal Group 04dc-trumpmap2-articleLarge Trump Insists He Was Right About Hurricane Dorian Heading for Alabama United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Hurricane Dorian (2019) Alabama

A spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security said that he was unclear what the black line on the map was referring to.CreditErin Schaff/The New York Times

Governors in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia have declared emergencies as Dorian grew into a monster storm in the Atlantic. Alabama’s governor did not.

But Stephanie Grisham, the White House press secretary, on Wednesday released an internal map that she said Mr. Trump was shown on Sunday as he traveled from Camp David back to the White House.

The map provided by the White House shows the impact of Dorian touching parts of Georgia and a small corner of Alabama, much like the black line that was drawn on the larger map Mr. Trump displayed in the Oval Office.

“I just know that Alabama was in the original forecast,” Mr. Trump said on Wednesday. “They thought it would get it as a piece of it.”

Later in the day, Mr. Trump tweeted a map from the South Florida Water Management District that he said supported his contention that Dorian had been heading for Alabama.

“This was the originally projected path of the Hurricane in its early stages,” he said. “As you can see, almost all models predicted it to go through Florida also hitting Georgia and Alabama. I accept the Fake News apologies!”

However, the map came with a warning that information from the National Hurricane Center and local emergency officials superseded it: “If anything on this graphic causes confusion, ignore the entire product.”

Mr. Trump also responded on Wednesday to reports that he had suggested to Vice President Mike Pence that he stay at one of Mr. Trump’s resorts while on an trip to meet with top officials in Ireland.

Mr. Pence’s decision to stay at the Trump International Golf Links & Hotel in Doonbeg drew criticism because it meant that the vice president was more than two hours away from Dublin, where his official meetings were being held.

Mr. Pence has family roots in Doonbeg, and Marc Short, the vice president’s chief of staff, told reporters on Tuesday that it was the president who suggested his hotel when he heard that Mr. Pence was traveling to Ireland.

“It’s like when we went through the trip, it’s like, ‘Well, he’s going to Doonbeg because that’s where the Pence family is from,’” Mr. Short said. “It’s like, ‘Well, you should stay at my place.’”

But on Wednesday, Mr. Trump denied that.

“I had no involvement, other than it’s a great place,” Mr. Trump said, adding: “I heard he was going there, but it wasn’t my idea for Mike to go there. Mike went there because his family’s there. That’s my understanding of it.”

Mr. Trump said he did not suggest that Mr. Pence stay at his property.

“I don’t suggest anything,” he insisted.

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

With Altered Map, Trump Insists He Was Right About Dorian Heading for Alabama

WASHINGTON — When President Trump displayed a large map of Hurricane Dorian’s path in the Oval Office on Wednesday, it was hard to miss a black line that appeared to have been drawn to extend the storm’s possible path into the state of Alabama.

That might have been intended to bolster Mr. Trump’s claim on Sunday when he tweeted that “in addition to Florida — South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama, will most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated.”

Never mind that the Alabama office of the National Weather Service quickly responded to Mr. Trump’s original claim by insisting that “Alabama will NOT see any impacts from #Dorian.”

“We repeat, no impacts from Hurricane #Dorian will be felt across Alabama,” the office tweeted. “The system will remain too far east.”

So did Mr. Trump — who frequently uses black Sharpie pens to sign legislation — add the mark to justify his unfounded claim about the dangers faced by residents of the Cotton State?

Or did someone else in his administration clumsily modify the map so that it would appear to back up the president?

The black line on the map was drawn to look like the top of the so-called cone of uncertainty that is familiar to weather watchers. The line curved through the southwest corner of Georgia and the southeast corner of Alabama, and into the Gulf of Mexico.

A spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security said that he was unclear what the black line on the map was referring to and that he needed to gather additional information. He later referred questions about the map to the White House.

Asked about the marking on the map, Mr. Trump told reporters that he did not know how it got there. “I don’t know,” he said on Wednesday while insisting that his assertion about the dangers that Alabama faced had been right all along.

“We had many models, each line being a model, and they were going directly through. And in all cases, Alabama was hit, if not lightly, then in some cases, pretty hard,” Mr. Trump said.

“They actually gave that a 95 percent chance probability,” he said. “It turned out that that was not what happened. It made the right turn up the coast. But Alabama was going to be hit very hard, along with Georgia. But under the current, they won’t be.”

The president did not say where he got that information, which is directly contradicted by days of reports from the National Weather Service and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, neither of which publicly reported any threat to Alabama from the hurricane.

ImageWestlake Legal Group 04dc-trumpmap2-articleLarge With Altered Map, Trump Insists He Was Right About Dorian Heading for Alabama United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Hurricane Dorian (2019) Alabama

A spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security said that he was unclear what the black line on the map was referring to.CreditErin Schaff/The New York Times

Governors in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia have declared emergencies as Dorian grew into a monster storm in the Atlantic. Alabama’s governor did not.

But Stephanie Grisham, the White House press secretary, on Wednesday released an internal map that she said Mr. Trump was shown on Sunday as he traveled from Camp David back to the White House.

The map provided by the White House shows the impact of Dorian touching parts of Georgia and a small corner of Alabama, much like the black line that was drawn on the larger map Mr. Trump displayed in the Oval Office.

“I just know that Alabama was in the original forecast,” Mr. Trump said on Wednesday. “They thought it would get it as a piece of it.”

Later in the day, Mr. Trump tweeted a map from the South Florida Water Management District that he said supported his contention that Dorian heading for Alabama.

“This was the originally projected path of the Hurricane in its early stages,” he said. “As you can see, almost all models predicted it to go through Florida also hitting Georgia and Alabama. I accept the Fake News apologies!”

However, the map came with a warning that information from the National Hurricane Center and local emergency officials superseded it: “If anything on this graphic causes confusion, ignore the entire product.”

Mr. Trump also responded on Wednesday to reports that he had suggested to Vice President Mike Pence that he stay at one of Mr. Trump’s resorts while on an trip to meet with top officials in Ireland.

Mr. Pence’s decision to stay at the Trump International Golf Links & Hotel in Doonbeg drew criticism because it meant that the vice president was more than two hours away from Dublin, where his official meetings were being held.

Mr. Pence has family roots in Doonbeg, and Marc Short, the vice president’s chief of staff, told reporters on Tuesday that it was the president who suggested his hotel when he heard that Mr. Pence was traveling to Ireland.

“It’s like when we went through the trip, it’s like, ‘Well, he’s going to Doonbeg because that’s where the Pence family is from,’” Mr. Short said. “It’s like, ‘Well, you should stay at my place.’”

But on Wednesday, Mr. Trump denied that.

“I had no involvement, other than it’s a great place,” Mr. Trump said, adding: “I heard he was going there, but it wasn’t my idea for Mike to go there. Mike went there because his family’s there. That’s my understanding of it.”

Mr. Trump said he did not suggest that Mr. Pence stay at his property.

“I don’t suggest anything,” he insisted.

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

Brexit’s ‘Doomsday Politics’ Mean Voters May Be Last Chance to Resolve Crisis

LONDON — He jabbed his finger in the air and shook his head theatrically. He dared the opposition to back his call for an election and sneered that the Labour Party’s leader was a “chlorinated chicken.”

By the time Prime Minister Boris Johnson finished taking questions in Parliament on Wednesday, he had ushered in a new season of political mayhem in Britain, one in which the voters are now as likely as their feuding leaders to resolve the questions over how and when Britain should leave the European Union.

The raucous spectacle in the House of Commons illustrated the obstacles Mr. Johnson will face as he tries to lead Britain out of the European Union next month. On Wednesday, Parliament handed the prime minister two stinging defeats.

It first blocked his plans to leave the union with or without an agreement. And it then stymied his bid, at least for the moment, to call an election for Oct. 15, out of fear he could secure a new majority in favor of breaking with Europe, deal or no deal.

The frenzied maneuvering showed how Brexit keeps propelling the country ever deeper into uncharted political territory, where centuries of unwritten rules and conventions are giving way to a brawl over the future of the world’s oldest democracy.

The upheaval in Parliament on Wednesday was the latest and perhaps the ultimate test of a political system that has been under unrelenting strain since the British voted narrowly to leave the European Union in June 2016.

Britain has since unwittingly become a laboratory for how a deeply rooted parliamentary democracy can be shaken to its core by populism, especially when wrapped in the democratic legitimacy of a public referendum.

Parliament has become a theater, beamed live around the world, in which democracy’s messy, self-interested and self-destructive tendencies are laid bare in real time.

Despite the vote by lawmakers defying the prime minister’s call to go to the polls, Britain still appears headed for a general election in the coming weeks or months, with the opposition likely to agree to a vote once a law forbidding a no-deal Brexit is firmly in place.

An election could clarify a debate that has become hopelessly muddled. A clear victory would give Mr. Johnson’s Conservative government a mandate to withdraw, regardless of whether it strikes an agreement with officials in Brussels. A defeat would eject him from office and in all likelihood delay and reshape the terms of Britain’s exit.

Yet an inconclusive result — equally plausible, given the splintered nature of British politics — could leave the nation even more paralyzed than it is now. Having exhausted one of the last political mechanisms left, an indecisive vote could deepen divisions and reinforce fears that Brexit is a problem that defies a democratic solution.

In many ways, Britain appears set on a course not unlike that in the United States, where President Trump, an ally of Mr. Johnson’s, has galvanized his political base by vilifying his opponents. Like Mr. Trump, Brexit has not just dominated the nation’s political debate but changed the very nature of its politics.

“You have a complete fracturing of the British political system, and a British government that has ground to a halt,” said Frank Luntz, a Republican pollster who advised the Conservative Party in past elections and knew Mr. Johnson as a student at Oxford.

“Everyone is seeking to be as dogmatic and punitive as they can,” he said. “This is doomsday politics at its worst.”

If Mr. Johnson can ultimately get Parliament to agree to an election, he hopes to mobilize those who voted to leave by tarring his opponents as lackeys of Europe. He is ruthlessly purging the ranks of the Conservative Party to make it more radically pro-Brexit and fend off threats from a new Brexit Party.

Mr. Johnson got an endorsement from Mr. Trump. “He’s in there fighting,” the president said. “Boris knows how to win.”

The parallels between Mr. Johnson’s campaign and Mr. Trump’s takeover of the Republican Party are obvious, but there are important differences as well. Lawmakers in Britain have pushed back vigorously on Mr. Johnson’s tactics, with even members of the prime minister’s party rebelling against his drive for a swift exit.

The proposed timing of a vote, before the Oct. 31 deadline to leave the European Union, has stoked suspicions that Mr. Johnson is acting in his own interests rather than the nation’s. Rather than embracing the call for an election, the Labour Party insisted that Parliament first prohibit Mr. Johndon from pursuing a no-deal Brexit before it would agree.

On Wednesday, Parliament moved closer to achieving that. By a vote of 327 to 299, lawmakers advanced a bill that would tie Mr. Johnson’s hands on Brexit, barring any departure without a deal. The bill now goes to the House of Lords, which must give its assent.

Until it’s the law of the land, Parliament is determined to resist Mr. Johnson’s push for a new election. And late Wednesday night, Mr. Johnson failed to win in another vote the two-thirds majority he needed to call an election.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_160179450_531cd632-b5b3-4ca6-8ccb-d0fa6203013a-articleLarge Brexit’s ‘Doomsday Politics’ Mean Voters May Be Last Chance to Resolve Crisis Trump, Donald J London (England) Liberal Democrats (Great Britain) Labour Party (Great Britain) Johnson, Boris Great Britain Withdrawal from EU (Brexit) European Union Corbyn, Jeremy (1949- ) Conservative Party (Great Britain) Brussels (Belgium) Brexit Party (Great Britain)

Leader of the opposition Jeremy Corbyn in the House of Commons on Wednesday. Mr. Corbyn complained that Mr. Johnson refused to answer questions about the economic costs of a no-deal Brexit.CreditJessica Taylor/UK Parliament

“Under normal circumstances, no opposition party would ever get in the way of a governing party calling it quits,” said Baroness Rosalind Scott, a member of the House of Lords and a former president of the Liberal Democrats. “But all the normal rules are gone, which makes it difficult to predict the outcome.”

As Parliament went back into session this week, the signs of Britain’s political dislocation were everywhere.

Mr. Johnson took questions while behind him sat members of the Conservative Party, some of whom he had expelled a day earlier for voting against his call to withdraw, with or without a deal. Among those were party elders Kenneth Clarke, who has served in Parliament since 1970 and is known as the Father of the House, and Nick Soames, a grandson of Mr. Johnson’s hero, Winston Churchill.

Some Conservatives rose to Mr. Johnson’s defense, but others scolded him for trying to cut off debate on Brexit by curtailing the number of days Parliament could legislate before the deadline. Those tactics prompted an outburst from an opposition figure.

“Are you a dictator or a democrat?” Ian Blackford, a Scottish leader in Parliament, bellowed at Mr. Johnson.

“I am a democrat,” Mr. Johnson replied, “because I not only want to respect the will of the people in the referendum but want to have an election.”

Prime Minister’s Questions, a weekly ritual dating back to 1961, is often marked by grandstanding, catcalls and rowdy interruptions. But Wednesday’s session seemed especially unruly, less an effort to extract information from the government’s leader than an opportunity for Mr. Johnson and the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, to position themselves for the coming campaign.

After challenging Mr. Corbyn to a vote, Mr. Johnson pointed across the well of the House and declared, “There’s only one chlorinated chicken that I can see in this house, and he’s on that bench.”

Mr. Corbyn has warned often that Brexiteers will force Britain into a one-sided trade deal with the United States, in which the British will be forced to import chemically treated meat and poultry.

Labour’s legislation to prevent him from withdrawing without a deal, Mr. Johnson said, amounted to a “surrender bill” to Europe. He branded it a strategy of “dither and delay,” repeating the phrase like it was a poll-tested message for a campaign.

For his part, Mr. Corbyn complained that Mr. Johnson refused to answer questions about the economic costs of a no-deal Brexit. The government, he said, declined to release an internal study, known as Operation Yellowhammer, which he said presented a dire picture of food and medical shortages.

“He’s desperate, absolutely desperate, to avoid scrutiny,” Mr. Corbyn declared. “If the prime minister does to the country what he did to his party over the last 24 hours, a lot of people have a great deal to fear.”

That line drew blood: Mr. Johnson’s purge the previous day has left the Conservative Party in a state of near-civil war. The prime minister watched on Tuesday as one of his members crossed the House floor and sat with the Liberal Democrats, officially erasing his government’s one-seat majority. The subsequent expulsions left the government 21 seats short of a majority.

For Mr. Johnson, a disheveled figure known more for his mop of blonde hair than for his legislative skills, an election would be a chance to take his case out of the gilded halls of Westminster and directly to the British public. It is a debate he won in 2016, when he led the pro-Brexit referendum campaign, and he won the party leadership this summer partly because members believed he was the best candidate to lead them into a general election.

Mr. Johnson is gambling that the Conservatives, riding slightly higher in the polls, can win a solid majority over Labour, which is mired in its own Brexit divisions and saddled with a leader, Mr. Corbyn, whose leftist views put off middle-of-the-road voters. A strong victory, he said, would allow him to go into negotiations with European officials with a stronger hand than his predecessor, Theresa May.

In the three years since the referendum, however, people here have heard harrowing accounts of what could happen if Britain leaves Europe without a deal: shortages of food and medicine; trucks lined up for miles at newly installed border posts on each side of the English Channel; chaos at airports and train stations; and violence in Ireland after a hard border once again bisects the island.

That explains Mr. Johnson’s eagerness to hold the vote in mid-October, just weeks before the Oct. 31 deadline to leave the European Union, rather than afterward, when the costs of a disorderly Brexit could become clearer to voters.

“What he doesn’t want is an election down the road when we’re all eating barbecued rat,” said Baroness Scott.

There is no indication, however, that even a resounding election victory for Mr. Johnson would make Europe any more amenable to a new deal.

Officials in Brussels said they have no plans to bend on the demands they made of Mrs. May, specifically on the Northern Ireland border, which Mr. Johnson has said he would not accept. Europeans have watched the spectacle in London with a mixture of bemusement, distaste and concern.

“Observing how the prime minister behaves, both to Parliament and opponents in his own party, is certainly not an exercise in trust building,” said Norbert Röttgen, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the German Parliament. “We prefer to stay out of this jungle.”

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