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The Latest News about Government and Politics

    China allowed its yuan to sink Monday and U.S. President Donald Trump said the two sides will talk 'very seriously' about a war over trade and technology following tit-for-tat tariff hikes and Trump's threat to order American companies to stop doing business with China. The escalations prompted warnings that the chances of a settlement of the fight that threatens to tip the global economy into recession were disappearing. But at a conference in France, Trump said serious negotiations would begin. 'We are going to start talking very seriously,' Trump said at the meeting of the Group of Seven major economies in Biarritz. He said the Chinese 'mean business.' The yuan declined to 7.1468 to the dollar, a relatively modest change from Friday's low point of 7.0927 but its weakest rate since January 2008. The yuan has lost 6.5% from this year's high on Feb. 28. Chinese leaders have promised to avoid 'competitive devaluation' to hold down export prices in the face of Trump's tariff hikes. But regulators are trying to make the state-set exchange rate more market oriented. That allows investor jitters about the tariff war to push the yuan lower. Trump announced more tariff increases Friday on Chinese goods and said he was ordering American companies to stop dealing with China. He said later he was threatening to use emergency powers under a 1977 law that targets rogue regimes, terrorists and drug traffickers. That came after Beijing announced tariff hikes on $75 billion of American imports in retaliation for earlier U.S. increases. 'This tit-for-tat escalation shows how unlikely a trade deal and de-escalation have become,' Louis Kuijs of Oxford Economics said in a report. Chinese have hardened their position, especially after Trump imposed curbs in May on technology sales to telecom equipment giant Huawei, China's first global tech brand. 'It does not appear likely they will yield in the face of more economic pressure,' UBS economists Tao Wang, Ning Zhang and Jennifer Zhong said in a report. A weaker yuan would help Chinese exporters cope with U.S. hikes tariffs. But it also would hurt China by making it costlier for real estate developers and others to repay billions of dollars in foreign debt. Trump said Friday he would raise planned tariffs on $300 billion of Chinese goods from 10% to 15%. The U.S. Trade Representative said tariffs already imposed on another $250 billion in Chinese imports would rise from 25% to 30% on Oct. 1 following a public comment period. That was in response to Beijing's announcement of tariff increases on $75 billion of American imports. The government said it also would go ahead with penalties on imports of U.S.-made autos and auto parts that were announced last year but suspended while the two sides negotiated. The Chinese government said those increases would take effect in two batches on Sept. 1 and Dec. 15. That matches the timeline for Trump's plan to extend tariff hikes to $300 billion of Chinese imports. The latest U.S. tariff hikes are 'based on irrational arrogance and enthusiasm,' the Communist Party newspaper People's Daily said Sunday. Chinese government spokespeople have appealed to Washington to reach a compromise to end the dispute. Trump has warned that Americans might need to endure economic pain to get long-term results. Negotiators met last month in Shanghai and are due to meet next month in Washington. But they have given no sign of progress. The two sides are deadlocked over how to enforce any deal. China insists Trump's punitive tariffs must be lifted as soon as a deal takes effect. Washington says at least some must stay to make sure Beijing keeps any promises it makes. Chinese exporters have been battered by a plunge in sales to the United States, their biggest and richest foreign market. But Communist leaders are resisting pressure to roll back plans for government-led creation of global competitors in robotics and other technologies. Europe and Japan echo U.S. complaints that Beijing's industrial plans violate its market-opening commitments and are based on stealing or pressuring companies to hand over technology. Some American officials worry they might erode U.S. industrial leadership. The weakness of the yuan, also known as the renminbi, or 'people's money,' is among U.S. grievances against Beijing. American officials complain a weak yuan gives Chinese exporters an unfair price edge in foreign markets and helps swell the massive U.S. trade deficit with China. China's central bank sets the exchange rate each morning and allows the yuan to fluctuate by 2% against the dollar during the day. The central bank can buy or sell currency — or order commercial banks to do so — to dampen price movements. The People's Bank of China allowed the yuan to fall past the politically sensitive level of seven to the dollar early this month. Previously, economists had expected the central bank to put a floor under the currency at that level to avoid spooking financial markets. ___ Miller and Superville reported from Biarritz.
  • Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has told voters in coal-producing Kentucky that it's possible to be a friend of coal miners and a believer in climate change and the need for cleaner energy sources to combat it. In blunt terms rarely heard in Kentucky's political circles, the Vermont senator said Sunday on a stop in Kentucky that bold action is needed to confront the dangers from climate change. That course of action should include turning away from fossil fuels to curb greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming, he said. 'Climate change is real,' Sanders told a crowd of supporters during a speech on Sunday in Louisville. 'Climate change is caused by human activity. And climate change is causing devastating harm in our country and throughout the world.' Sanders said he recognizes that many Kentuckians have long relied on coal mining to support their families. 'So let me be as clear as I can be, coal miners ... are not my enemy,' the senator said. 'Workers in the fossil fuel industry are not my enemy. Climate change is our enemy.' Sanders vowed to help communities tied to coal and other fossil fuel industries in the transition toward clean energy production. The development of wind, solar and other sustainable energy sources will create jobs, as will modernizing the nation's electricity grid, he said. He pledged support for expansion of high-speed broadband service in rural regions. 'Here is my promise as we transition away from fossil fuel: we will not abandon communities that have relied on fossil fuel jobs,' he said. 'We will rebuild those communities.' Republicans made dramatic inroads in Appalachian 'coal country' by tying the coal industry's declines to increased regulations introduced during former Democratic President Barack Obama's tenure. Republican Donald Trump's enthusiasm for coal helped make that region one of his most fervent bases of support as Trump racked up big wins in West Virginia, Kentucky and other states in 2016 en route to winning the presidency. Republican National Committee spokesman Kevin Knoth said Sunday that Sanders' platform would devastate Kentucky in part by eliminating the coal industry. He warned that failure to combat climate change will result in more extreme weather and more suffering. 'Future generations deserve a planet that is healthy and is habitable, and we have the moral responsibility to make sure that they have that kind of planet,' he said.
  • Injecting fresh uncertainty at a time of global economic jitters, President Donald Trump sent mixed messages Sunday on the U.S.-China trade war as leaders at a global summit pushed the unpredictable American president to ease frictions over tariffs and cooperate on other geopolitical challenges. Trump's head-snapping comments at the Group of Seven summit about his escalating trade fight with China — first expressing regret, then amping up tariff threats — represented just the latest manifestation of the hazards of the president's go-it-alone mantra. Allies fault his turbulent trade agenda for contributing to a global economic slowdown. Despite Trump's insistence that reports of U.S. tensions with allies are overblown, fissures between the U.S. and six of the world's other advanced economies were apparent on trade policy, Russia and Iran as the leaders gathered at a picturesque French beach resort. Two days after the U.S. and China traded a fresh round of retaliatory tariffs and Trump threatened to force U.S. businesses to cut ties with China, the president appeared to harbor qualms about the trade war, which has sent financial markets tumbling. Asked during a meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson if he had any second thoughts about escalating the trade conflict, Trump told reporters, 'Yeah. For sure.' He added, 'I have second thoughts about everything.' Hours later, the White House backpedaled. Press secretary Stephanie Grisham issued a statement saying the press had 'greatly misinterpreted' Trump's comments. She said the president only responded 'in the affirmative - because he regrets not raising the tariffs higher.' White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow, who was in the room when Trump spoke and was later interviewed by CBS' 'Face the Nation,' offered his own explanation. Kudlow claimed Trump 'didn't quite hear the question' although reporters asked the president three times whether he had any second thoughts about ramping up the trade war and he responded three times. At first, Trump's admission appeared to mark a rare moment of self-reflection by the famously hardnosed leader. The subsequent explanation fits a pattern of Trump recoiling from statements he believes suggest weakness. Earlier this month, Trump backed off on a threat to place even tougher tariffs on Chinese imports as aides fretted about their impact on the holiday shopping season and growing fears of a recession in the U.S. Trump had hoped to use the summit to rally other leaders to do more to stimulate their economies, as fears rise of a potential slowdown in the U.S. before he stands for reelection in November 2020. Johnson, for his part, praised Trump for America's economic performance — but chided the U.S. leader for his unbending China policy. 'Just to register a faint sheep-like note of our view on the trade war,' he told Trump. 'We're in favor of trade peace.' Trump said he had 'no plans right now' to follow through on his threat of an emergency declaration, but he insisted he would be within his rights to use a 1977 law designed to target rogue regimes, terrorists and drug traffickers as the newest weapon in the clash between the world's two largest economies 'If I want, I could declare a national emergency,' Trump said. He cited China's theft of intellectual property and the large U.S. trade deficit with China, saying 'in many ways that's an emergency.' For all of that, Trump disputed reports of friction with other G-7 leaders, saying he has been 'treated beautifully' since he arrived. The cracks started to emerge moments later after the French government said the leaders had agreed at a Saturday dinner that French President Emanuel Macron would deliver a message to Iran on behalf of the group. Trump denied he had signed off on any such message. 'No, I haven't discussed that,' he told reporters during a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Administration officials said Trump was noncommittal when the leaders discussed the subject of a message to Iran during a conversation about Iran's nuclear program. For several months, Macron has assumed a lead role in trying to save the 2015 nuclear accord, which has been unraveling since Trump pulled the U.S. out of the agreement. The French went even further Sunday, inviting Iranian Foreign Minister Jawad Zarif to Biarritz in a bid to open talks meant on lowering tensions. Trump curtly told reporters he had 'no comment' on Zarif's presence. Officials said the White House was not aware in advance of the invitation to Zarif — a further indication of Trump's diminished role. Trump also faced opposition from European leaders over his stated desire to find a way to re-admit Russia to the G-7 before next year's meeting of the world leaders, which will be held in the United States. Russian President Vladimir Putin was expelled from the former G-7 in 2015 following Moscow's invasion of Ukraine. And, sitting feet away from Abe, Trump declined to forcefully condemn North Korea's flouting of international sanctions with a recent burst of short-range ballistic missile tests, calling them 'much more standard' missiles. Abe views them as a critical security threat. Trump told reporters: 'We're in the world of missiles, folks, whether you like it or not.' ___ Follow Darlene Superville and Zeke Miller on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dsupervillap and http://www.twitter.com/ZekeJMiller
  • Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on Sunday branded Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as an obstructionist for blocking Democratic efforts to reduce gun violence, bolster election security and raise the federal minimum wage. In a speech to cheering supporters in Louisville, Sanders challenged McConnell in his home state to 'have the guts' to debate those bills. Accusing McConnell of defending the interests of wealthy campaign donors, Sanders also challenged his Kentucky colleague to 'listen to the pain' of his constituents struggling to get by on low-wage jobs. By lashing out at McConnell, the Vermont senator took aim at the most powerful Republican in Congress and the second biggest target for national Democrats, behind President Donald Trump. The president easily carried Kentucky in 2016 and remains popular in the state. But in Sanders' hard-hitting speech, Trump briefly took a back seat to the longtime Kentucky senator. 'Sen. McConnell, it is time for you to end your obstruction,' Sanders said. 'It is time for the Senate to do its job and vote.' McConnell has attached himself to Trump in positioning himself for his 2020 reelection bid. The senator has vowed to bury the House Democrats' agenda and live up to the nickname that he's embraced — the 'Grim Reaper.' Sanders touted Democratic measures to raise the federal minimum wage for the first time in a decade, to $15 an hour, to enhance gun safety laws and to beef up protection for election systems from outside interference. He said efforts to deal with health care, criminal justice, immigration and the 'rigged' tax system have been stymied in the Senate. 'Today I say to Sen. McConnell, if you want to vote against any of that legislation, that's fine,' Sanders said. 'You have the right to come back to Kentucky and tell the people why you voted the way you did. But you don't have the right to stop democracy in the United States Senate. You don't have the right to prevent debate and votes on the most important issues facing the working people of this country. Stop your cowardice. Have the guts to debate the issues.' He also challenged McConnell to allow a Senate debate on environmental legislation meant to curb climate change. Three weeks after mass shootings in Texas and Ohio, Sanders urged McConnell to 'listen to what the American people want' and not allow the National Rifle Association 'to dictate gun policy in this country.' Congress is on a summer recess, but McConnell has asked Senate committee chairmen to review possible gun bills for consideration when lawmakers return in September. McConnell has defended efforts to stymie Russian interference in U.S. elections, saying he helped steer more than $300 million to states to enhance voting systems before the 2018 election. Some of Sanders' harshest criticism came while making a pitch for a federal minimum wage increase. He called on McConnell to 'stop turning your back' on constituents struggling with low-wage jobs. 'Today here in Louisville, I say to Sen. McConnell, stop worrying about your billionaire friends,' Sanders said. 'They're doing just fine. And start worrying about the working families of your state and around this country who are struggling to keep their heads above water.' Ahead of Sanders' visit to Kentucky, McConnell's office referred to a recent op-ed by the senator that denounced the agenda of progressives. The Republican leader referred to the Green New Deal — the sweeping Democratic proposal to combat climate change — and 'Medicare for All' as 'job-killing' and 'dangerous' ideas. 'They would raise your taxes and give the federal government vast control over your life,' he wrote. 'That's why President Trump and I are fighting hard to stop them. As long as I'm Senate majority leader, these socialist schemes will never become law.' While McConnell's office didn't immediately weigh in on Sanders' speech Sunday, other Republicans came to the senator's defense. 'Bernie Sanders is running on a platform which would devastate Kentucky: skyrocketing taxes on families and businesses, the elimination of its coal industry and throwing millions off their current health insurance plan,' Republican National Committee spokesman Kevin Knoth said in a statement. The tongue lashing from Sanders is part of a turbulent August congressional recess for McConnell. He was heckled at the start of the month at his home state's annual 'Fancy Farm' political picnic and seemed stung by a nickname his detractors hung on him, 'Moscow Mitch.' The day after the picnic, McConnell fractured his shoulder when he fell at his Louisville home, an injury that later required surgery. Protesters gathered outside his house to demand Senate action on stronger gun laws. The protest became so profanity-laced that Twitter temporarily shut down his account for posting video of them online.
  • Joe Walsh, a former Illinois congressman and tea party favorite turned radio talk show host, announced a challenge Sunday to President Donald Trump for the Republican nomination in 2020, saying the incumbent is unfit for office and must be denied a second term. 'He's nuts. He's erratic. He's cruel. He stokes bigotry. He's incompetent. He doesn't know what he's doing,' Walsh told ABC's 'This Week.' The longshot portrayed himself as a legitimate alternative in party where he said many are opposed to Trump but are 'scared to death' of saying so publicly. His campaign slogan: 'Be brave.' Polls shows Trump is backed by most Republican voters, and the lone rival already in the race is former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, the 2016 Libertarian Party vice presidential nominee who is regarded as fiscally conservative but socially liberal. Undeterred from pressing ahead with his candidacy, Walsh said, 'I think this thing ... will catch on like wildfire.' The former Trump booster added: 'I'm a conservative. And I think there's a decent chance to present to Republican voters a conservative without all the baggage.' The one-word response from Trump's campaign to Walsh's entry: 'Whatever.' Walsh narrowly won a House seat from suburban Chicago in the 2010 tea party wave but lost a 2012 reelection bid and has since hosted a radio talk show. He has a history of inflammatory statements regarding Muslims and others and declared just before the 2016 election that if Trump lost, 'I'm grabbing my musket.' But he has since soured on Trump, criticizing the president over growth of the federal deficit and writing in a New York Times column that the president was 'a racial arsonist who encourages bigotry and xenophobia to rouse his base.' The road ahead for any Republican primary challenger will be difficult. In recent months, Trump's allies have taken over state parties that control primary elections in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and elsewhere. State party leaders sometimes pay lip service to the notion that they would welcome a primary challenger, as their state party rules usually require, but they are already working to ensure Trump's reelection. South Carolina Republicans have gone so far as to discuss canceling their state's GOP primary altogether if a legitimate primary challenge emerges to eliminate the threat. At the same time, polling consistently shows that Trump has the solid backing of an overwhelming majority of Republican voters. An Associated Press-NORC poll conducted this month found that 78% of Republicans approve of Trump's job performance. That number has been hovering around 80% even as repeated scandals have rocked his presidency. 'Look, this isn't easy to do. ... I'm opening up my life to tweets and attacks. Everything I've said and tweeted now, Trump's going to go after, and his bullies are going to go after,' Walsh said. Asked whether he was prepared for that, Walsh replied: 'Yes, I'm ready for it.' Weld, in an interview on NBC's 'Meet the Press,' said he was 'thrilled' that Walsh was in the race and that Mark Sanford, a former South Carolina governor and congressman, was considering joining them, leading to a 'more robust conversation.' 'Who knows? The networks might even cover Republican primary debates,' Weld said. Walsh, 57, rode a wave of anti-President Barack Obama sentiment to a 300-vote victory over a Democratic incumbent in the 2010 election. He made a name for himself in Washington as a cable news fixture who was highly disparaging of Obama. Walsh was criticized for saying that the Democratic Party's 'game' is to make Latinos dependent on government just like 'they got African Americans dependent upon government.' At another point, he said radical Muslims are in the U.S. 'trying to kill Americans every week,' including in Chicago's suburbs. He lost his 2012 reelection bid by more than 20,000 votes to Democrat Tammy Duckworth, who was elected to the U.S. Senate four years later. Walsh told Obama to 'watch out' on Twitter in July 2016 after five police officers were killed in Dallas. Just days before Trump's 2016 win over Hillary Clinton, Walsh tweeted: 'On November 8th, I'm voting for Trump. On November 9th, if Trump loses, I'm grabbing my musket. You in?' Walsh later said on Twitter that he was referring to 'acts of civil disobedience.' On Sunday, Walsh said he apologized for past divisive comments. 'I helped create Trump. There's no doubt about that, the personal, ugly politics. I regret that. And I'm sorry for that,' he said. ___ Davies reported from Indianapolis. AP National Political Writer Steve Peoples in New York contributed to this report.
  • The Latest on President Donald Trump at the Group of Seven summit. (all times local): 12:25 a.m. President Donald Trump will have a partner at a news conference to mark the conclusion of a gathering of world leaders. The White House says French President Emmanuel Macron will join Trump at Monday's question-and-answer session with reporters to mark the end of the annual Group of Seven summit. France holds the G-7 presidency and leaders have been meeting since Saturday in the seaside town of Biarritz, in southwestern France. The other G-7 members are Britain, Germany, Japan, Italy and Canada. The group is made up of the world's wealthiest democracies. ___ 3:45 p.m. White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow says President Donald Trump is not having second thoughts about hiking tariffs on China, a move that further escalated the trade war that is rattling financial markets worldwide. Trump, at an economic summit in France, seemed to say Sunday that he had second thoughts about fueling the trade war with China. But Kudlow says the only second thought the president had was that he didn't raise the tariffs higher than he did. Last week, Beijing slapped new tariffs on $75 billion in American goods. Kudlow says China's retaliatory action was a 'moderate action' and Trump took a 'measured, proportionate' action in response by increasing tariffs by 5 percentage points on Chinese goods. ___ 3:30 p.m. President Donald Trump says that the U.S. and Japan have agreed in principle on a new trade agreement. Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are discussing the proposed pact as part of the annual Group of Seven summit taking place Sunday. Trump said the two sides have agreed on every point and hope to sign the agreement next month. The two leaders are not going into many details of the pact, but the U.S. is seeking to increase agricultural exports to Japan such as beef, pork and corn. Trump says Japan is expected to make large purchases of corn as part of the agreement. Abe says there is still some work left to do, but says the proposal would have 'immense positive impacts' on the economies of both the U.S. and Japan. The Trump administration is looking to highlight progress on trade amid tensions with China. ___ 1:20 p.m. The White House says President Donald Trump's only regret in escalating the trade war with China was in not being more aggressive. Press secretary Stephanie Grisham says Trump was 'greatly misinterpreted' earlier Sunday when he was asked if he had any second thoughts about escalating the trade war with China. Trump responded to reporters 'Yeah. For sure,' adding he has 'second thoughts about everything.' But Grisham says 'President Trump responded in the affirmative — because he regrets not raising the tariffs higher.' Trump is facing pressure from allies at the Group of Seven summit in France to reduce, not escalate, tensions with China due to the softening global economy. ____ 12:50 p.m. President Donald Trump says he'll probably meet again with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to discuss Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program. The two met in Singapore and Hanoi and had a brief chat recently at the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea. When asked at the G-7 summit in France about meeting Kim again, Trump said Sunday: 'Probably have one more.' The U.S. and North Korea haven't reached an agreement for Kim to give up his nuclear weapons in exchange for an easing of economic sanctions. North Korea said Sunday that Kim supervised a test-firing of a 'newly developed super-large multiple rocket launcher' — another demonstration of its expanding weapons arsenal. Trump says he's not happy about the tests. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he believes the North's recent tests violate U.N. resolutions. ___ 12:30 p.m. President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau are discussing the new North American free trade agreement as they meet on the sidelines of the Group of Seven summit in France. The two countries and Mexico agreed last year to modify the existing accord with what they termed the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA. All three nation's legislatures must first approve the long-sought modernization of the 1990s trade agreement before it can go into effect. Trump says the trade relationship between the U.S. and Canada will be significantly expanded when USMCA is completed. He adds, 'I think it's a very special agreement.' Securing approval for USMCA in Congress is Trump's top legislative priority for the year. Democrats are seeking changes designed to ensure the enforcement of the pact's labor and environmental standards. ___ 11:50 a.m. President Donald Trump is disputing statements by the French government that the Group of Seven nations agreed to empower French President Emmanuel Macron to send a message on behalf of the advanced democracies to Iran. Asked if he signed onto the message, Trump told reporters, 'I haven't discussed that.' The French presidency said earlier Sunday that the leaders of the G-7 countries agreed to allow French President Emmanuel Macron to address a message to Iran in their name and to hold talks with Iranian officials. No details were provided on the message but the French presidency said the goal is to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons and avoid further escalating tensions in the Middle East. Trump says during a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo that he's not stopping any leader from talking with Iran, noting Abe's recent outreach. He says: 'If they want to talk, they can talk.' ___ 9:00 a.m. President Donald Trump says he has confidence in new British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to carry out Brexit talks with the European Union. Speaking to reporters during their first meeting since Johnson's elevation to the post, Trump says of Johnson and the talks: 'He needs no advice. He's the right man for the job.' Johnson faces what he called 'tough talks' in the weeks and months ahead with the EU as they hurtle toward a no-deal exit in October. He joked to Trump that 'you're on message there.' Trump also appeared to speak disapprovingly of Theresa May, Johnson's predecessor, saying approvingly that the new prime minister is 'a different person.' Trump frequently criticized May's handling of the talks. Trump promised that he and Johnson would work out 'a very big trade deal' between their two nations once the United Kingdom leaves the EU. ____ 8:45 a.m. President Donald Trump says he has 'second thoughts about everything' when asked if he regrets escalating a trade war with China. Trump tells reporters at the Group of Seven summit that 'we're getting along well right now with China' despite dueling barrages of tariffs issued Friday and a new threat to try to force U.S. businesses to leave China. Trump appeared to be trying to de-escalate tensions with China over concerns that a global economic slowdown could be spreading to the U.S. Trump was meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has said one of his messages to Trump was to de-escalate the trade war. During their breakfast meeting he advocated for free trade, saying the U.K. has benefited from it for over 200 years. ____ 8:30 a.m. President Donald Trump says it's 'possible' he will invite Russia to rejoin the annual meeting of the world's advanced economies when he hosts the summit next year. Speaking at the Group of Seven summit in France during a breakfast meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Trump says he's considering inviting Russian President Vladimir Putin. Russia was a member of what was then the Group of Eight, but was expelled by the majority of the other countries in 2014 over its invasion of Ukraine. European nations have insisted that Russia first comply with the Minsk Accords before it is allowed to rejoin. Trump has not said under what criteria he'd re-invite Putin. ___ 8:00 a.m. President Donald Trump is disputing reports that he faces a tense reception from world leaders at the Group of Seven summit in France. In a Sunday morning tweet Trump says 'the Leaders are getting along very well.' Trump is trying to use the summit to convince global leaders to do more to address a global economic slowdown, as fears rise it could soon affect the U.S. ahead of his re-election. But his counterparts, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, whom he is set to meet Sunday, are trying to convince him to back off his trade war with China and other countries, which they see as contributing to the economic weakening. Trump tweets that 'our Country, economically, is doing great — the talk of the world!
  • The Democratic National Committee on Saturday quashed a push from climate activists and some national party members who want a 2020 presidential primary debate devoted exclusively to the climate crisis. The national party committee voted 222-137 at its summer meeting in San Francisco against a resolution that effectively would have rolled back debate rules set by Chairman Tom Perez and freed presidential candidates to participate in a climate-only debate. The move drew rebukes from the Sunrise Movement and other activists who say the party leadership is ignoring young voters' priorities. 'The Democratic Party needs the energy and motivation of young people to win in 2020,' said Evan Weber, Sunrise Movement political director. 'The energy around this issue has been incredibly clear, yet Tom Perez keeps shooting the party in the foot by rejecting that energy and turning it away.' Perez has said throughout the primary campaign that he opposes making any of the party's official debates revolve around a single issue. Perez said this week in San Francisco that he wants the widest possible audiences for primetime debates, with voters getting to see candidates address a full range of issues. And he'd barred candidates from participating in any non-party event where candidates would appear on the same stage at the same time. An influential party committee had voted Thursday effectively to 'encourage' candidates to ignore that rule. The vote Saturday by the full party committee struck down that language. Perez has encouraged candidates to participate in issue-specific forums that don't involve multiple candidates being on the same stage together. CNN, for example, has planned a climate forum in September, with at least 10 candidates expected to appear individually and discuss climate policy in-depth. Powerful organizations such as the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO already have hosted such events focused on their policy priorities. Perez aides also noted this week that he's gotten requests from different interest groups requesting full-fledged debates on civil rights, guns, poverty and issues affecting older Americans. The wrangling this week came in the wake of Washington Gov. Jay Inslee ending his presidential bid that he'd hinged on a pledge to make climate action the nation's top priority. Inslee was able to attract more than 130,000 individual donors — the mark the DNC set as one qualifying metric for the September debate stage. But Inslee was well shy of an additional requirement to hit 2% support in at least four national or early nominating state polls from reputable pollsters. Inslee had repeatedly called on Perez to dedicate a DNC-sponsored debate to climate action. ---- Follow Barrow on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BillBarrowAP
  • Oregon's criminal justice system would be 'overwhelmed' if the U.S. Supreme Court rules in an upcoming case that nonunanimous jury verdicts are unconstitutional, the state's attorney general has told the court. Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said in an amicus brief on Friday that if the U.S. Supreme Court finds nonunanimous juries unconstitutional, it could invalidate hundreds or even thousands of convictions in Oregon. Oregon is the only state in America allowing 11-1 or 10-2 jury verdicts in criminal trials, except first-degree murder convictions. Critics say Rosenblum is defending a system that should be abandoned, as voters in Louisiana, the only other state that permitted nonunanimous verdicts, did in 2018. 'The state's brief presents a parade of horribles that may or may not come to pass. However, that is not a reason to continue a practice rooted in racial and ethnic discrimination,' said Marc Brown, a public defender in Oregon whose clients include ones appealing nonunanimous guilty verdicts. The decision by Louisiana voters was not retroactive, and took effect on Jan. 1. The U.S. Supreme Court this fall will hear a case of Evangelisto Ramos, a Louisiana man convicted by a nonunanimous jury in 2016 of second-degree murder of a woman in New Orleans. Ramos is serving a life sentence with no chance of parole. Michael Kron, special counsel to Oregon's attorney general, said that if the Supreme Court rules in favor of Ramos, it would be reversing its 1972 ruling that the U.S. Constitution does not bar states from allowing non-unanimous verdicts. Rosenblum told the Supreme Court that if it overturns that ruling and decides that nonunanimous juries are unconstitutional, Oregon's criminal justice system will be glutted. 'Such a ruling would automatically require retrial in many hundreds, if not thousands, of cases on direct review,' Rosenblum told the court. Even convictions that were unanimous could be called into question, because a judge instructing jurors that they could reach a nonunanimous decision could be grounds for an appeal. 'In many cases, particularly the older cases, retrial will likely be impossible because of the impact that the passage of time will have on the prosecution's case as witnesses disappear, memories fade, and evidence is lost,' the attorney general wrote. Several Oregon lawmakers recently sponsored a resolution calling for a ballot measure to repeal an amendment to the state constitution allowing nonunanimous verdicts. The resolution unanimously passed the House, but died in Senate as it dealt with a walkout by Republican members in the final days of the legislative session. The decision by Oregon voters in 1934 to allow split-jury verdicts was fueled by white supremacy and anti-minority sentiment. One newspaper said immigrants from southern and eastern Europe had made the requirement for unanimous verdicts 'unwieldy and unsatisfactory.' Rosenblum said she supports a repeal, noting the jury rule's links to racism and anti-Semitism. But she said such a change should be for cases 'going forward,' not retroactively. Aliza Kaplan, a professor at Portland's Lewis & Clark Law School who has campaigned to eliminate nonunanimous jury verdicts, said only dozens -- not hundreds -- of cases would be affected by a Supreme Court ruling in favor of Ramos. 'The attorney general has an opportunity to be on the correct side of history and champion getting rid of nonunanimous juries,' Kaplan said in a telephone interview. 'Instead, she chooses to support a policy that we all know, and that she acknowledges, comes from our racist history.' Brown, the public defender, said he doubts a Supreme Court ruling would create a crisis for the state's judicial system. Oregon's appeals courts would determine its retroactive application 'by applying well known legal standards.'  'Our courts are certainly up to that task,' he said. ___ Follow Andrew Selsky on Twitter at https://twitter.com/andrewselsky
  • President Donald Trump is threatening to use the emergency authority granted by a powerful but obscure federal law to make good on his tweeted 'order' to U.S. businesses to cut ties in China amid a spiraling trade war between the two nations. China's announcement Friday that it was raising tariffs on $75 billion in U.S. imports sent Trump into a rage and White House aides scrambling for a response. Trump fired off on Twitter, declaring American companies 'are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China.' He later clarified that he was threatening to make use of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act in the trade war, raising questions about the wisdom and propriety of making the 1977 act used to target rogue regimes, terrorists and drug traffickers the newest weapon in the clash between the world's largest economies. It would mark the latest grasp of authority by Trump, who has claimed widespread powers not sought by his predecessors despite his own past criticism of their use of executive powers. 'For all of the Fake News Reporters that don't have a clue as to what the law is relative to Presidential powers, China, etc., try looking at the Emergency Economic Powers Act of 1977,' Trump tweeted late Friday. 'Case closed!' The act gives presidents wide berth in regulating international commerce during times of declared national emergencies. Trump threatened to use those powers earlier this year to place tariffs on imports from Mexico in a bid to force the U.S. neighbor to do more to address illegal crossings at their shared border. It was not immediately clear how Trump could use the act to force American businesses to move their manufacturing out of China and to the U.S, and Trump's threat appeared premature — as he has not declared an emergency with respect to China. 'If I want, I could declare a national emergency,' Trump told reporters Sunday during a breakfast meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. He cited China's theft of intellectual property and the large U.S. trade deficit with China, saying 'in many ways that's an emergency.' But he added, 'I have no plans right now.' Even without the emergency threat, Trump's retaliatory action Friday — further raising tariffs on Chinese exports to the U.S. — had already sparked widespread outrage from the business community. 'It's impossible for businesses to plan for the future in this type of environment,' David French, senior vice president for government relations at the National Retail Federation, said in a statement. The Consumer Technology Association called the escalating tariffs 'the worst economic mistake since the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of 1930 — a decision that catapulted our country into the Great Depression.' And trade association CompTIA stressed the logistical strain that would follow if companies were forced to shift operations out of China, saying it would take months for most companies. 'Any forced immediate action would result in chaos,' CEO Todd Thibodeaux said in emailed comments. The frequent tariff fluctuations are making it hard to plan and are casting uncertainty on some investments, said Peter Bragdon, executive vice president and chief administration officer of Columbia Sportswear. 'There's no way for anyone to plan around chaos and incoherence,' he said. Columbia manufactures in more than 20 countries, including China. This diversification helps shield the company from some fluctuations, but China is an important base for serving Chinese customers as well as those in other countries, Bragdon said. The company plans to continue doing business there. 'We follow the rule of law, not the rule of Twitter,' he said. Presidents have often used the act to impose economic sanctions to further U.S. foreign policy and national security goals. Initially, the targets were foreign states or their governments, but over the years the act has been increasingly used to punish individuals, groups and non-state actors, such as terrorists. Some of the sanctions have affected U.S. businesses by prohibiting Americans from doing business with those targeted. The act also was used to block new investment in Burma in 1997. Congress has never attempted to end a national emergency invoking the law, which would require a joint resolution. Congressional lawmakers did vote earlier this year to disapprove of Trump's declared emergency along the U.S.-Mexico border, only to see Trump veto the resolution. China's Commerce Ministry issued a statement Saturday condemning Trump's threat, saying, 'This kind of unilateral, bullying trade protectionism and maximum pressure go against the consensus reached by the two countries' heads of state, violate the principles of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, and seriously damage the multilateral trading system and normal international trade order.' ___ Associated Press Technology Writer Rachel Lerman in San Francisco and Darlene Superville contributed to this report.
  • The Latest on President Donald Trump (all times local): 8:05 p.m. President Donald Trump is dining with world leaders attending the annual Group of Seven summit in France. The opening event of the meeting of the world's richest democracies is being held at the Biarritz lighthouse with its commanding views of the Bay of Biscay. Foreign policy and security issues are set to be on the agenda for what is being billed as an informal dinner. The French presidency has chosen five local chefs, all with Michelin stars, to prepare meals featuring local Basque cuisine for the summit. --- 7:45 p.m. President Donald Trump French and French President Emmanuel Macron discussed economic and trade issues, as well as security challenges, during their private lunch ahead of the Group of Seven summit in Biarritz. The White House says they 'discussed the importance of promoting free and fair trade, reducing trade barriers, taxation, and regulation, and ensuring freedom of navigation and commerce as pillars of global economic growth.' Earlier Macron's office said he raised a proposal with Trump to bring the U.S. and Iran back to the negotiating table over the latter's nuclear program — a notion that only garnered passing mention by the White House. The U.S. readout of Saturday's meeting says only that they 'also addressed security challenges of mutual concern, particularly the ongoing crisis in Libya, growing instability in the Sahel region, and tensions in the Persian Gulf.' ___ 5:30 p.m. President Donald Trump may be in France for an international summit, but his mind is on news coverage at home after he referred to himself as 'the chosen one' and pointed to the sky when discussing a spiraling trade war with China. Trump is tweeting that he was 'being sarcastic, and just having fun.' His comments before boarding Marine One this past week were met by laughs from some of the assembled press members. Trump is attacking news outlets 'who covered it as serious news & me thinking of myself as the Messiah.' He adds: 'No more trust!' Trump is in Biarritz, France, for the Group of Seven summit. ___ 2:25 p.m. President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron (eh-mahn-yoo-EHL' mah-KROHN') held a private lunch before the start of the Group of Seven summit in Biarritz. Macron, who's hosting the summit, said the leaders are discussing 'a lot of crisis' around the world, including Libya, Iran and Russia, as well as trade policy and climate change. Trump said the two leaders 'actually have a lot in common' and a 'special relationship.' He adds, 'We'll accomplish a lot this weekend and I look forward to it.' Asked if he would follow through on his threat to place tariffs on French wines in retaliation for France's digital services tax, Trump was noncommittal, saying only that 'I love French wine.' ___ 1:05 p.m. President Donald Trump has arrived in France for a summit with world leaders. The Group of Seven meeting in Biarritz comes amid anxieties over a global economic slowdown and the president's escalating trade war with China. Air Force One arrived in the seaside resort town on Saturday afternoon. The two-day summit is taking place at one of the most unpredictable moments in Trump's tenure, with his public comments and decision-making increasingly erratic and acerbic of late. Trump faces a wary reception from fellow world leaders. He's opened new points of tension with allies on trade, Iran and Russia. The summit is scheduled to kick off with a dinner Saturday night. The summit is expected to focus on economic issues and climate change, among other topics. ___ 7:05 a.m. President Donald Trump heads into a summit with global economic powers confronting the consequences of his preference for going it alone in a polarized nation and an interconnected world. The Group of Seven nations are gathering in a French beach resort town at one of the most unpredictable moments in Trump's tenure, with his public comments and decision-making increasingly erratic and acerbic of late. Trump faces an icy reception on the world stage, where many challenges await. With fears of a financial downturn spreading, Trump has ridiculed Germany for its economic travails. But he may well need German leader Angela Merkel (AHN'-geh-lah MEHR'-kuhl) and others to help blunt the force of China's newly aggressive tariffs on U.S. goods.

The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • 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?
  • Officials are investigating after an explicit video was shared “inadvertently and unknowingly” from a Mississippi teacher’s phone, authorities said. >> Read more trending news  According to a statement from Horn Lake police, the department received information regarding the video Wednesday.  DeSoto County Schools are conducting an investigation into the video, which reportedly showed explicit content of a teacher in the district. Police said if there was a “criminal element regarding the release of the video,” Horn Lake officers will then initiate a full investigation. School officials have not identified the teacher who was seen in the video, and the contents of the video have not been released at this time. The school district did confirm to WHBQ that the teacher involved is no longer an employee there. Again, officials told WHBQ that the video was shared without the teacher’s knowledge.

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.