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Jamie Dupree's Washington Insider

    While Democrats still have over 20 major candidates competing for their party's nomination, the small 2020 GOP field has not created any concerns for the re-election campaign of President Donald Trump, as a former Tea Party Congressman announced this weekend he would take on Trump for the GOP nomination. 'He must not be re-elected,' Tea Party lawmakers turned conservative radio talk show host Joe Walsh wrote on Twitter Sunday night about President Trump. But a quick look back at Walsh's time in Congress, his attacks on President Barack Obama, and his recent change to hard-line Trump opponent didn't exactly leave political experts feeling like this was the start of something bad for Mr. Trump. On the ABC News program, 'This Week,' Walsh acknowledged that he was at the tip of the spear for Republicans in terms of pushing the party more and more to the right - creating an opening for President Trump. Also challenging the President is a former Governor of Massachusetts, William Weld - the Vice Presidential nominee of the Libertarian Party in 2016 - who has not moved the political meter against Mr. Trump. If one is looking to compare Weld, Walsh and any other GOP candidates, for a similar historical moment in modern Presidential politics, maybe you could look at 1968 when challenges built against President Lyndon B. Johnson, or in 1980, when Ted Kennedy took on President Jimmy Carter. But the difference is obvious right away - Walsh and Weld are not big names right now. Eugene McCarthy and Robert Kennedy were big names taking on LBJ. Ted Kennedy damaged Carter so much that it made Ronald Reagan's campaign that much easier. While President Trump has very strong approval ratings from Republican voters, his policies have certainly caused concerns among some in the GOP - like on tariffs - where President Trump has suddenly turned the party of free trade into the party of protectionism. 'The tariffs are attacks on the American people,' said ex-Rep. Dave McIntosh (R-IN), who now heads the conservative group Club for Growth, though McIntosh made clear he wasn't going to abandoning the President any time soon. Business groups - once a super reliable source of support for the GOP - are also increasingly going public with their concerns about the President's extra tariffs on China. 'Tariffs hurt retail,' said Matthew Shay, the head of the National Retail Federation. 'It's impossible for businesses to plan for the future in this type of environment,' the group said over the weekend. Other groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce fully support more aggressive American treatment of unfair trade practices by the Chinese - but they are worried the President's tariffs aren't the right answer. 'While we share the President’s frustration, we believe that continued, constructive engagement is the right way forward,' the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said in a statement. But there's certainly been no rush to throw Mr. Trump overboard, no matter the policy differences.
  • On a day of big losses on the stock markets sparked first by China levying new tariffs on imports from America, President Donald Trump wasted no time Friday afternoon in announcing higher import duties against the Chinese, plunging the two countries even deeper into an economic standoff which could have negative worldwide ramifications. 'China should not have put new Tariffs on 75 BILLION DOLLARS of United States product,' the President tweeted about an hour after the close on Wall Street, where the Dow Jones dropped over 600 points. 'Starting on October 1st, the 250 BILLION DOLLARS of goods and products from China, currently being taxed at 25%, will be taxed at 30%,' the President wrote.  'Additionally, the remaining 300 BILLION DOLLARS of goods and products from China, that was being taxed from September 1st at 10%, will now be taxed at 15%,' he added. The President also called on American companies to take their manufacturing businesses out of China, arguing that the United States was the victim of an 'unfair Trading Relationship.' 'Our great American companies are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China, including bringing your companies HOME and making your products in the USA,' Mr. Trump tweeted. The White House did not provide any explanation as to how the President would have the power to force U.S. companies to abandon their manufacturing operations in China. Economic experts and businesses were worried by the days events. “(T)his is a major risk as it's the economy - households and businesses - that are in play,” said Gregory Daco of Oxford Economics. “The administration's approach clearly isn't working, and the answer isn't more taxes on American businesses and consumers,” said the National Retail Federation. “Where does this end?'  “These added tariffs will ratchet up consumer prices, stall business investment, escalate uncertainty and cost American jobs,” said the pro-free trade group Tariffs Hurt the Heartland. “In just the past three years, U.S. soybean exports to China have fallen nearly 80 percent, and once these tariffs kick in, things are likely to get worse,” said Roger Johnson, the head of the National Farmers Union.  The standoff with China was a far cry from President Trump's prediction in March of 2018, when he wrote on Twitter that trade wars are 'easy to win.' As for Democrats - even though many of them would like to see the United States be more forceful with China - their answer is not retaliatory tariffs and a trade war. “Our economy is showing signs of weakening due to the president’s trade war, and these back-and-forth tariffs will only make things worse,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). “The facts are clear: President Trump's destabilizing and reckless trade war is undermining growth,” said Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA). “Your tariffs are hurting our country badly,” said Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA). “There's nothing funny about tanking people's retirement accounts with a failed trade war,” said Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA).
  • With the United States set to slap a new 10 percent tariff on billions of dollars in Chinese goods coming into the U.S. on September 1, the Chinese government officially retaliated on Friday, announcing its own new tariffs on American products, and denouncing President Donald Trump's get-tough actions on trade. 'The US measures have led to the continuous escalation of Sino-US economic and trade frictions, which have greatly harmed the interests of China, the United States and other countries,' the Chinese Minstry of Finance announced. The documents released by China today apply to over 5,000 categories of items imported from the United States, covering everything from diapers to pipes and cigarette holders, to a range of agricultural products like barley, wheat, oats, corn, sorghum, soybeans, peanuts, cotton, covering about $75 billion in U.S. goods. Much like a 122 page list of targeted items put out by the United States earlier this month, China issued over 100 pages of products which would face new import duties. The reaction from Congress and business groups was negative. 'This trade war is not holding China accountable,' said Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA). 'It's hurting farmers and small business owners all over the country who are just trying to earn a living.' “The fact of the matter is that nobody wins a trade war, and the continued tit-for-tat escalation between the U.S. and China is putting significant strain on the U.S. economy, raising costs, undermining investment, and roiling markets,” the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said in a statement. As for President Trump, he has not wavered in his public statements about taking on china, tariff for tariff, as one of his Friday tweets caused some shock on  the markets. “Our great American companies are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China,” the President wrote. “Here’s the thing: Somebody had to take on what China was doing to the United States economically,” the President told reporters this week. “We’re winning big. I took it on. And it should have been done by previous Presidents,” he added. And on Twitter Friday morning, the President expressed no concerns about the Chinese response. Asked by reporters earlier this week about the trade war with China, Mr. Trump said he was the only President who had decided to actually confront Beijing. “I am the chosen one,” the President said, as he looked skyward.
  • Before the leaders of the G7 nations had even boarded their flights for the meeting in Biarritz, France, President Donald Trump was already stirring the political pot associated with the meeting of western allies, making it clear he wants to see Russia return to the group, after being exiled in 2014 over the seizure of the Crimea from Ukraine. 'We spend a lot of time talking about Russia at those meetings,' the President told reporters this week. 'And they're not there. I think it would be a good thing if Russia were there so we can speak directly.' Russia was a member of what was then known as the 'Group of Eight' - but Moscow was booted out in 2014 after Russia seized Crimea from Ukraine. 'President Obama thought it wasn't a good thing to have Russia in,' Mr. Trump said to reporters. 'But I think it's much more appropriate to have Russia in.' But there seems to be little chance of that happening in the current political environment in Europe, especially with Russian backed forces fighting in Ukraine. During a meeting with Vladimir Putin earlier this week, French President Emmanuel Macron made clear his opposition to such a move proposed by President Trump, arguing that Russia must first address Crimea - and the ongoing proxy war pushed by Russian backed forces inside Ukraine - before any such change is made. 'In effect, the resolution of this conflict is a magic wand that will open the door for Russia to return to the G7 club,' Macron said . With the two leaders seated before reporters, Macron labeled the Ukraine situation an 'irritant' in Russian relations with the West. 'It is obvious that the return to the G8 format and normal relations with the EU requires the settlement of the Ukrainian crisis,' Macron added. Last year, the 2018 meeting of world leaders from the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom, ended in odd fashion, when President Trump suddenly left the meeting early, refusing to endorse a joint communique by the leaders. In order to avoid a dispute along those lines in 2019, Macron has decided there will not be a joint communique issued by the G-7. It will be the first time since the meetings began in the 1970's that the group will not issue a statement of joint goals. White House officials previewing the President's trip said much of his focus at the G-7 will be on free, fair and reciprocal trade, as he has often criticized Canada and the European Union of unfair trade barriers to U.S. exports.
  • Back in their home districts on an extended summer break, the drip-drip sound Democrats hear is not coming from the watering the plants, but rather from the halls of the Congress, where more and more Democratic members of the House are publicly announcing their support for impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump. A flurry of announcements were made on Thursday, as a series of Democrats said they would back an impeachment inquiry by the House Judiciary Committee, bringing the total number to 135 - more than a majority of Democrats in the House. 'I cannot ignore the call to defend our institutions, to safeguard our democratic norms, and to stand up for our democracy,' said Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA) on Thursday afternoon. A few hours earlier, Rep. William Keating of Massachusetts told his Bay State constituents that the Mueller Report left too many unanswered questions about the President, accusing the White House of stonewalling legitimate Congressional oversight. 'No person in America is above the law, including the President of the United States,' said Rep. Lauren Underwood, a freshman Democrat from Illinois. 'I support moving forward with an impeachment inquiry, which will continue to uncover the facts for the American people and hold this president accountable,' said Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM), the fourth ranking Democrat in the House.  'This is not a position I’ve reached lightly,' Lujan said earlier this week. When Democrats left town four weeks ago for their six week summer break, the number of lawmakers endorsing the start of an impeachment idea was nowhere near 100. But it's been creeping up on almost a daily basis - and more lawmakers seem likely to join in the weeks ahead.
  • Unlikely to qualify for the next debate among Democratic candidates for the White House, Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington State told supporters in an email on Wednesday night that he was dropping his bid for the Democratic Party's nomination for President, further thinning the field with just over five months until the first vote is cast. 'I want to share a tough decision with you,' Inslee said to supporters, as he cited his top priority of climate change. 'But I've concluded that my role in that effort will not be as a candidate to be the next president of the United States,' Inslee added. Earlier in the week, Inslee touted that his campaign had hit 130,000 donors - one of the qualifying requirements for the next Democratic debate in Houston. But Inslee had no chance to register at 2 percent or higher in four different polls, leaving him on the sidelines - and off the debate stage. 'As a result, I don't believe we can compete for the attention and exposure needed to have a reasonable shot at the nomination,' Inslee said. Inslee had tried hard to be the loudest voice in the party on climate change, bringing it up in both debates, and doing numerous events on the subject. But the former Congressman, and current Governor, was never able to break out of the lower tier of Democratic candidates. “I want to once again thank everyone who helped in this effort. We have so much to be proud of,” Inslee wrote to his backers.  “Make no mistake, we also have a lot more work to do.” On MSNBC Wednesday night, Inslee said it was clear this was the right choice. “I'm not going to be carrying the ball,” Inslee said in an interview.  “I'm not going to be the President, so I'm withdrawing tonight.”
  • A day after embracing the idea of a possible payroll tax cut to get more money in the hands of consumers and avoid any signs of an economic downturn, President Donald Trump reversed course on  Wednesday and said he would not pursue tax cuts, instead turning up the pressure on the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates in order to spur new economic growth. 'I'm not looking at a tax cut now, we don't need it - we have a strong economy,' the President told reporters at the White House on Wednesday before leaving for events in Kentucky. Mr. Trump specifically said he would not entertain the idea right now of indexing capital gains taxes - saying that skews to the benefit of more wealthy Americans - and would not be pressing for a payroll tax cut, something President Obama did in 2011 and 2012 as a way to help with growth. With the idea of tax cuts evidently off the table, the President instead tried to shift the burden of any economic difficulties onto the Federal Reserve, again using his bully pulpit to press the Fed to lower interest rates, complaining that interest rate hikes in 2017 and 2018 had held back on growth. 'He raised interest rates too fast, too furious,' Mr. Trump said of Federal Reserve Chair Jay Powell. “The Federal Reserve has let us down,” the President added. New notes released by the Fed on Wednesday afternoon showed members were divided on the best course for interest rates - with some wanting larger cuts as a way to spur economic growth, and insulate the U.S. from the threat of any slowdown. Some GOP lawmakers have urged the President to push for a new round of tax cuts, worried that the billions being collected in new tariffs levied by Mr. Trump have offset the benefits of Mr. Trump's 2017 tax cut package.
  • Hours after scrapping a planned state visit to Denmark in early September because Danish leaders refused to consider plans to have the United States buy the island of Greenland, President Donald Trump on Wednesday called the statements of the Prime Minister of Denmark 'nasty,' saying she had offended all Americans. 'I thought it was not a nice statement, the way she blew me off, because she's blowing off the United States,' the President said. 'She's not talking to me, she's talking to the United States of America,' Mr. Trump told reporters on the South Lawn of the White House. 'You don't talk to the United States that way,' as the President repeatedly threw transatlantic elbows at Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen. “I thought that the Prime Minister's statement that it (the sale of Greenland) was an absurd idea, was nasty,' Mr. Trump added. In Denmark, the Prime Minister did not return the President's verbal jabs, as she told reporters the visit would have been an opportunity to further broaden Danish relations with the U.S. Government. 'It was an opportunity I think to celebrate Denmark's close relationship with the U.S.,' Frederiksen said. The Queen of Denmark had invited the President and First Lady for a two day state visit in early September.
  • President Donald Trump's assertion that his 25 percent tariff on imported steel has helped to reinvigorate and rescue the American steel industry took a hit this week, as U.S. Steel told the state of Michigan that the company was laying off workers at one of its mills, with more layoffs envisioned after the end of September. But those moves by U.S. Steel paint a starkly different message from what the President has been saying. 'Those steel mills - U.S. Steel and all of them, all of them - they're expanding all over the place,' the President said last week during a visit to Pennsylvania. But in papers filed with the state of Michigan by U.S. Steel, a different picture emerges. 'The purpose of this letter is to notify you of layoffs,' U.S. Steel wrote to the Michigan Workforce Development Agency. The letter detailed the layoff of 27 part-time workers on July 21, with another 23 layoffs on August 4, with more layoffs likely to 'occur before the end of September.' 'It is anticipated that further layoffs are likely to commence on September 30, 2019 and may continue periodically thereafter based on market conditions,' the U.S. Steel communique states. Last week during a stop outside Pittsburgh, President Trump said the steel business was going downhill before his tariffs. 'Your business was dead,' Mr. Trump said bluntly. 'I don't want to be overly crude. Your business was dead.' But U.S. Steel has seen its stock price drop by over half, as the price of steel has dropped as well. 'A week ago, President Trump said his tariffs — one of the largest middle class tax hikes in history — saved the steel industry,' said 2020 Democratic Presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke. In June, U.S. Steel said it would idle one blast furnace in Michigan, and one in Gary, Indiana, citing falling steel prices and sluggish sales. 'Our economy is doing fantastically,' President Trump said on Tuesday in the Oval Office - but maybe not for those getting pink slips in the steel industry.
  • With the Prime Minister of Denmark making it clear that she was not interested in selling Greenland to the United States, labeling the idea 'absurd,' President Donald Trump said Tuesday night that he would cancel his scheduled visit to the NATO ally in early September. 'Denmark is a very special country with incredible people, but based on Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen’s comments, that she would have no interest in discussing the purchase of Greenland, I will be postponing our meeting,' the President tweeted on Tuesday evening. In interviews this week, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen had made clear that Greenland was not for sale, even as she welcomed the idea of closer relations between Denmark and the United States. But that wasn't enough for President Trump. On Sunday, President Trump had downplayed the issue as he returned to the White House. 'It’s not number one on the burner, I can tell you that,' the President told reporters when asked about the idea of buying Greenland. The decision obviously came as a surprise to U.S. diplomats in Denmark, as the U.S. Ambassador had put out a tweet a few hours earlier about the President's scheduled state visit. The President and First Lady had been invited by the Queen of Denmark earlier this summer for a two day state visit. Democrats mocked the President for canceling his stop in Denmark. “Embarrassing,” said Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA). 'What a shame when Greenland could be covered with sand traps, water holes and lots of beautiful putting greens,' said Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA), referring to the President's golfing.

The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • At least three people are dead and one child is injured after a shooting at a South Florida home, multiple news outlets are reporting, >> Read more trending news  Please return for updates.
  • Identity theft may have entered the final frontier if accusations from a woman against an astronaut are true. Summer Worden, a former Air Force intelligence officer living in Kansas, was married to astronaut Anne McClain for four years. Now the two are in the middle of a yearlong divorce and parenting dispute. Worden filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, accusing McClain of identity theft and unauthorized access to the bank account while she was on board the International Space Station, according to The New York Times. Through her lawyer, McClain admitted she had accessed the bank account from space on a computer system registered to NASA, the Times reported. McClain, who returned to Earth in June after her six-month mission, took an under-oath interview with NASA's Office of Inspector General last week, the newspaper reported.  McClain's lawyer, Rusty Hardin, told the Times that 'she strenuously denies that she did anything improper.' He added that McClain is cooperating with the investigation and that she used the same password to access the account as she has throughout their relationship. NASA officials told the Times they were unaware of any crimes committed on the space station. The fight from space might be the first case, but Mark Sundahl, director of the Global Space Law Center at Cleveland State University, said it probably will not be the last one. “The more we go out there and spend time out there, all the things we do here are going to happen in space,” Sundahl told the Times.
  • The Orlando Police Department said the University of Florida's band director was grabbed and pushed to the ground after the football game against the Miami Hurricanes on Saturday night. Police said Director Jay Watkins was walking back to the buses when a Hurricanes fan began pushing her way through the band.  He attempted to stop the woman, but he was grabbed from behind and pushed to the ground, according to police. Watkins was treated by a paramedic for cuts and scrapes to his head and elbow before he boarded the bus to go home. Police said Watkins did not want to press charges, but did ask the incident to be documented. This is a developing story. Check back for more details.
  • A 911 call led to the arrest of a Pennsylvania woman after police said they found her son home alone surrounded by drugs. >> Read more trending news  Police said Leslie Brown, 29, of Penn Hills, called them from a Family Dollar in Lincoln-Lemington saying her son was missing and she had lost sight of him in the store. Employees told WPXI-TV that she was frantic and that they searched every aisle and back room. Police said the child was never in the store with her but was at home alone surrounded by heroin. When police went to the home, they said the boy answered the door and police immediately saw bundles of heroin and stamp bags right next to where the child said he watched TV. Police said the boy told them: 'It's Mommy's medicine. She makes it sometimes.'  Brown admitted to making and selling heroin as her only source of income, according to police. Police said they found drugs in her home and car marked 'Power trip,' 'Panda,' 'Say hello to my little friend,' and 'Playboy.'  Brown was taken into custody and charged with endangering the welfare of children and nearly a half-dozen drug charges. Police said the child is safe and now with his grandparents.
  • Police are investigating after a 12-year-old boy was found shot at a Georgia elementary school. >> Read more trending news  The Rockdale County Sheriff's Office said deputies responded around 6:30 p.m. Friday to a person shot at Peek's Chapel Elementary School.  Deputies found a 12-year-old boy with a gunshot wound. He was taken to a local hospital, where he is in the intensive care unit but stable. His identity hasn't been released.  A 15-year-old has been charged with aggravated assault and aggravated battery. The teen's identity has not been released.  WSB-TV investigative reporter Nicole Carr was in Rockdale County, digging into how the shooting could have happened. The school district released a statement saying no students or staff were on campus at the time of the shooting:  'We are deeply concerned about the incident that occurred after hours on the property of Peek's Chapel Elementary Friday night. At this time, our thoughts and prayers are with the young man who was injured. Again, this occurred after hours when no students or staff were on campus. We will assist law enforcement as needed during their investigation.' Carr learned, however, that the campus was open to the public when the shooting happened because the school grounds and basketball court are open on evenings and weekends.  Carr spoke to a neighbor, who said the basketball court was full of young people as the helicopter took off with the injured child.  Another neighbor who has a grandson at the school, Angela Glenn, said enough is enough.  'I'm just worried about these kids,' Glenn said. 'First of all, how are they getting their hands on guns so easily, you know?

Washington Insider

  • While Democrats still have over 20 major candidates competing for their party's nomination, the small 2020 GOP field has not created any concerns for the re-election campaign of President Donald Trump, as a former Tea Party Congressman announced this weekend he would take on Trump for the GOP nomination. 'He must not be re-elected,' Tea Party lawmakers turned conservative radio talk show host Joe Walsh wrote on Twitter Sunday night about President Trump. But a quick look back at Walsh's time in Congress, his attacks on President Barack Obama, and his recent change to hard-line Trump opponent didn't exactly leave political experts feeling like this was the start of something bad for Mr. Trump. On the ABC News program, 'This Week,' Walsh acknowledged that he was at the tip of the spear for Republicans in terms of pushing the party more and more to the right - creating an opening for President Trump. Also challenging the President is a former Governor of Massachusetts, William Weld - the Vice Presidential nominee of the Libertarian Party in 2016 - who has not moved the political meter against Mr. Trump. If one is looking to compare Weld, Walsh and any other GOP candidates, for a similar historical moment in modern Presidential politics, maybe you could look at 1968 when challenges built against President Lyndon B. Johnson, or in 1980, when Ted Kennedy took on President Jimmy Carter. But the difference is obvious right away - Walsh and Weld are not big names right now. Eugene McCarthy and Robert Kennedy were big names taking on LBJ. Ted Kennedy damaged Carter so much that it made Ronald Reagan's campaign that much easier. While President Trump has very strong approval ratings from Republican voters, his policies have certainly caused concerns among some in the GOP - like on tariffs - where President Trump has suddenly turned the party of free trade into the party of protectionism. 'The tariffs are attacks on the American people,' said ex-Rep. Dave McIntosh (R-IN), who now heads the conservative group Club for Growth, though McIntosh made clear he wasn't going to abandoning the President any time soon. Business groups - once a super reliable source of support for the GOP - are also increasingly going public with their concerns about the President's extra tariffs on China. 'Tariffs hurt retail,' said Matthew Shay, the head of the National Retail Federation. 'It's impossible for businesses to plan for the future in this type of environment,' the group said over the weekend. Other groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce fully support more aggressive American treatment of unfair trade practices by the Chinese - but they are worried the President's tariffs aren't the right answer. 'While we share the President’s frustration, we believe that continued, constructive engagement is the right way forward,' the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said in a statement. But there's certainly been no rush to throw Mr. Trump overboard, no matter the policy differences.