The Week on Planet Trump: European Tourist Battles with NATO, Brexit and the EU
Monday: SCOTUS Pick Threatens Russia Inquiry
His views on executive power may continue to worry liberals as the Robert Mueller investigation unfolds. In a 1998 Georgetown Law Journal article titled, “The President and the Independent Counsel,” written shortly after his service to Starr, Kavanaugh wrote that the independent counsel should be appointed by the president and approved by Congress, not by a panel of judges, to shore up the position’s constitutionality. This would have somewhat weakened the position’s independence relative to the executive; the independent counsel statute has since lapsed and the position no longer exists.
Further, he wrote that, “Congress should establish that the President can be indicted only after he leaves office voluntarily or is impeached by the House of Representatives and convicted and removed by the Senate” and that Congress should bar the President from claiming executive privilege and refusing to divulge information in criminal cases, except as a matter of national security.
Dylan Matthews, Vox
Tuesday: China Trade War Expands
The Trump administration on Tuesday released a list of 10 percent tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods, making good on the president’s recent threats to escalate a broadening trade war with Beijing.
“The $200 billion figure we're looking at is roughly equal to their exports to us,” a senior administration official said.
Some of the products on the list facing tariffs are from Made in China 2025 sectors, the official said. Made in China 2025 is a strategic plan to make China a leader in key global industries, including technology.
When compiling the list of goods, the U.S. Trade Representative took into account what could cause disruptions to China's economy.
The official said the administration has been extremely clear to China in terms of its concerns about trade, but China has been unresponsive.
The list of new sanctions follows warnings by Trump that he may implement tariffs on at least $500 billion in Chinese goods should Beijing retaliate against the $34 billion in U.S. tariffs that kicked in Friday.
Despite the president's threats, China implemented retaliatory tariffs on the U.S. shortly after the $34 billion went into effect last week.
Chloe Aiello, CNBC
Wednesday: NATO Pressured on Spending
President Trump escalated his campaign of criticism against European allies on Wednesday, accusing Germany of being “captive to Russia” and demanding that all NATO members double their military spending targets.
On the first of two days of meetings with NATO leaders, Mr. Trump stopped short of any substantive breaks with the alliance, reaching agreement on a plan to improve military readiness and signing on to a joint statement that emphasized burden-sharing and harshly criticized Russia.
Behind closed doors, Mr. Trump suggested that NATO allies increase their military budgets not to the 2 percent of their economies that they have pledged to work toward within the next six years, but to 4 percent — a steep increase that is inconceivable for many member countries. Later, he took to Twitter to demand that member countries get to 2 percent “IMMEDIATELY, not by 2025.”
Julie Hirschfield Davis, The New York Times
Thursday: May’s Brexit Wrecked
President Trump on Thursday said United Kingdom Prime Minister Theresa May’s “soft” Brexit plan would “kill” any future trade deal between the U.S. and U.K.
“If they do a deal like that, we would be dealing with the European Union instead of dealing with the U.K., so it will probably kill the deal,” Trump said in a wide-ranging interview with the conservative British newspaper paper, The Sun, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch, a close ally of the president's. Murdoch also controls Fox News Network, the president's favorite TV channel.
Trump, who has been a vocal supporter of Brexit, went on to call the state of Brexit negotiations “very unfortunate,” attacking May’s "soft" approach, which includes continued close trade and financial ties with the European Union (EU).
Brexit Secretary David Davis and Foreign Minister Boris Johnson resigned last week, each citing frustrations with May’s proposal to create a “UK-EU free trade area.”
Trump told The Sun that he thought Johnson would make a “great prime minister.”
Emily Birnbaum, The Hill
Friday: Britain Protests Liar-in-Chief
President Donald Trump wrapped up the official portion of his United Kingdom visit Friday, during which he had falsely denied criticizing his host, met with the Queen and maneuvered around a huge protest against his presence.
Trump ended up denying that he criticized British Prime Minister Theresa May, the day after a British tabloid published an interview with him in which he did just that. He dismissed the interview, conducted by a Rupert Murdoch-owned publication, as "fake news" saying it didn't include his comments praising May.
Trump also said Friday he apologized to May for the interview, though it appears his apology was about the paper's omission of his comments praising her, not his criticism.
Trump also lamented immigration in Europe during his news conference, saying "it has been very bad for Europe."
He warned European leaders to "better watch themselves" because he believes immigration is "changing the culture" of their societies.
Jeremy Diamond, CNN
Saturday: Obama Blamed for Cyberattack
President Donald Trump blamed his predecessor Saturday for not doing more to prevent and punish Russia's cyber attack on Democratic email servers in an attempt to influence the 2016 presidential election.
"The stories you heard about the 12 Russians yesterday took place during the Obama Administration, not the Trump Administration," Trump tweeted, his first response to the indictments of Russian intelligence officers in the hacking scheme.
That indictment, unsealed Friday, accuses the Russian operatives of a far-ranging plot to disrupt the democratic process by stealing tens of thousands of emails from Democratic party officials and Clinton campaign operatives, and then leaking them via a website called DCLeaks.
Those leaked emails became the source for countless news stories portraying Clinton in unflattering terms as she engaged in a hard-fought campaign with Trump.
Gregory Korte, USA Today
Sunday: EU an Adversary
Coming off a contentious NATO summit and a trip to the U.K. in which he seemed to undercut the government of America's closest ally, President Trump took aim at another Western institution just days before his high-stakes meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In an interview with "CBS Evening News" anchor Jeff Glor in Scotland on Saturday, President Trump named the European Union -- comprising some of America's oldest allies -- when asked to identify his "biggest foe globally right now."
"Well, I think we have a lot of foes. I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us in trade. Now, you wouldn't think of the European Union, but they're a foe. Russia is foe in certain respects. China is a foe economically, certainly they are a foe. But that doesn't mean they are bad. It doesn't mean anything. It means that they are competitive," Mr. Trump said at his golf club in Turnberry, Scotland.
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