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    President Donald Trump, under pressure to scale back a U.S.-China trade war partly blamed for a global economic slowdown, claimed Monday that the two sides will begin serious negotiations soon. Trump said his trade negotiators had received two 'very good calls' from China Sunday, hours after Trump waffled on whether he regretted the one-upmanship on tariffs Friday. Trump at first seemed to express regret over the escalating trade war, but the White House later said Trump's only regret was that he didn't impose even higher tariffs on China. Trump claimed the Sunday evening conversations were a sign China is serious about making a deal. 'I think we're going to have a deal, because now we're dealing on proper terms. They understand and we understand,' Trump said as he met with Egypt's president on the sidelines of the Group of Seven summit in France. 'This is the first time I've seen them where they really want to make a deal. And I think that's a very positive step,' Trump added. Trump declined to identify those involved in the most recent conversation and whether he is in direct contact with President Xi Jinping. Trump added Monday that the two sides will begin 'talking very seriously,' saying that after the calls he believes the Chinese 'mean business.' A Chinese delegation had been expected to travel to Washington in September to continue talks and that remained the case even after Trump's escalation following China's tariff announcement last Friday. It was unclear if Trump was referring to the previously scheduled talks next month or some other conversations. There was no immediate comment from the Chinese. Trump's optimistic comments on China came as he commented for the first time on the surprise appearance at the G-7 summit by Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, and as the international gathering put Trump's differences with his counterparts on display. World leaders had encouraged Trump all weekend to deescalate the conflict with China, he clashed with French President Emmanuel Macron over new France's digital services tax, and he broke with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in not forcefully condemning North Korea's recent ballistic missile launches. But Trump on Monday claimed the reports of disagreements were overblown, starting with the Zarif visit. Uncharacteristically silent Sunday while Zarif was in France, Trump insisted that Macron had asked his 'approval' before asking Zarif to attend, as he looks to lower tensions in the Persian Gulf. And Trump rejected the assertion by some allies that the invitation to Zarif was somehow an insult. 'I spoke to President Macron yesterday and I knew everything he was doing and I approved whatever he was doing and I thought it was fine,' Trump said of the Zarif talks. He said he thought it was too soon for he and Zarif to meet, but wouldn't say whether any Americans had come in contact with the Iranian. The Iranian government had said they would not meet with any Americans during the 8-hour visit to France. Trump said there could soon be time for a meeting between himself and Iranian officials, but refused to lay out clear steps forward or say if he'd be willing to accede to a plan put forward by Macron to offer Iran some relief from crushing petroleum sanctions in exchange for restarting nuclear talks. He said of the Iran talks, 'It's all very new. They're under a lot of financial stress.' After a breakdown in talks this spring, Trump and Xi agreed in June to resume negotiations. But talks in Shanghai in July ended with no indication of progress. Negotiators talked by phone this month and are due to meet again in Washington next month. Trump last week hiked tariffs on China after China taxed some U.S. imports in retaliation for a previous round of imports levied by Trump. The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged more than 600 points Friday as the latest escalation in the trade war rattled investors. The broad sell-off sent the S&P 500 to its fourth straight weekly loss. Trump also 'ordered' U.S. corporations to find alternatives to doing business in China, and threatened to declare a national emergency to enforce it. Trump softened the threat Sunday, saying he would only consider it if China again responded with raising tariffs on American goods. On Sunday, Trump seemed to express regret over the escalating trade war, which some analysts blame for signs of weakness in the U.S. and global economy. But the White House later said Trump only regretted that he didn't impose even higher tariffs on China.' ___ Follow Zeke Miller and Darlene Superville on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/zekejmiller and http:www.twitter.com/dsupervilleap
  • President Donald Trump is applauding the Louisiana team that claimed its first Little League World Series title, tweeting: 'Congratulations to Louisiana's Champions. See you at the White House!' The team from suburban New Orleans beat Curacao 8-0 to win the title on Sunday. The champions fought their way back through the losers' bracket, winning six games in eight days. They became the first team to win the Little League World Series after dropping their first game since the tournament expanded in 2001. Trump is in France for the Group of Seven summit. His tweet was in response to a shout-out from Louisiana Republican Rep. Steve Scalise, who had suggested a trip to the White House might be in order for the team.
  • China allowed its yuan to sink Monday and U.S. President Donald Trump said the two sides will talk 'very seriously' about their 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 Trump, speaking at the Group of Seven meeting of major economies in France, said serious negotiations would begin. 'We are going to start talking very seriously,' Trump said. He said the Chinese 'mean business.' Trump gave no details. Negotiators already were scheduled to meet next month in Washington following talks in Shanghai in July that ended with no signs of progress. The Chinese central bank allowed the yuan to decline to 7.1468 to the dollar in tightly controlled trading. It was 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 help exporters 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 and its impact on Chinese economic growth to push the yuan lower. On Friday, Trump announced more tariff increases 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 leaders 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. The American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai appealed to both sides to avoid further penalties and reach a settlement. 'This is not a market from which American companies can withdraw,' the chamber president, Ker Gibbs, said in a statement. 'Further escalation accomplishes nothing,' said Gibbs. 'The U.S. and China should put their energy into negotiation, not further retaliation.' A weaker yuan would help exporters but make it more expensive for real estate developers and other Chinese companies 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 Chinese 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 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. A foreign ministry spokesman warned Beijing would 'safeguard its legitimate rights' if Trump's latest increase goes ahead. 'Threats and intimidation won't work on us,' said Geng Shuang. 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 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 advantage and helps swell the 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. ___ 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.
  • A lawyer for former U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman denied on Sunday accusations leveled in a lawsuit that the New York Democrat is a sexual 'predator' who violated a teenager at a Boy Scout camp five decades ago. In a suit filed this month in state Supreme Court in Manhattan, Ackerman is accused of abusing a then-17-year-old — identified only as 'John Doe' — while Ackerman was a director at the Ten Mile River Camp near Narrowsburg, in upstate New York. Ackerman was 23 at the time. 'In over 30 years of public service, there has never been any accusation of this kind or indeed of any wrongdoing in the Congressman's career,' attorney Oscar Michelen said in an emailed statement. He added his client would 'vigorously' fight the charges and seek to get the case dismissed. In late 1966, according to the suit, Ackerman lured the teen into his car so he could drive him to an abandoned road, where he 'attempted to force Mr. Doe to perform oral sex on him and forcefully performed oral sex on Mr. Doe.' The suit, which seeks unspecified damages, says the plaintiff has suffered 'serious and severe psychological injuries and emotional distress, mental anguish, embarrassment and humiliation.' A local chapter of the Boy Scouts of America is also named as a defendant based on a claim that it failed 'to take any steps to keep the dangerous predator away from the young men of the camp.' In a statement Sunday, the Boy Scouts said a check of a database used to screen volunteers found no record of any allegation against Ackerman. 'Had the national organization been made aware of credible allegations against Mr. Ackerman, we would have acted to remove him from scouting,' it said. The suit is among hundreds filed against a variety of defendants, including the Boy Scouts, since New York's recent enactment of the Child Victims Act. The law opened a one-year window for sex abuse suits previously barred by the state's statute of limitations. Ackerman, a 15-term Democrat who represented parts of Queens and Long Island, announced his retirement from Congress in 2012.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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 Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • According to a recent Gallup poll, socialism in the United States is on the rise, especially with young people. Figures show that 58% of Americans ages 18 to 34 think socialism is good for the country, however, Morgan Zegers is setting out to change their minds. She recently founded a nonprofit organization called Young Americans Against Socialism, with the goal of using social media to expose the “failures of socialism” and make capitalism 'cool again.' Zegers doesn't feel there is any difference between “socialism” and “democratic socialism,' and says the education system is failing to inform young people on the effects of real socialism. Mobile users see video here.
  • 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  According to the South Florida Sun Sentinel, the shooting occurred Sunday night in a gated community in Pembroke Pines. There, authorities discovered 'multiple deceased victims, seemingly from gunshot wounds,' according to a news release from Pembroke Pines police. Authorities said a man at the home killed the victims, who were family members, and threatened to kill himself, the newspaper reported. Although police have not officially said how many people were killed, both the Sun Sentinel and WTVJ are reporting that three people have died. A child also suffered injuries but is expected to recover, the outlets reported. Read more here.
  • 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.

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.