The Week on Planet Trump: POTUS Confronts China on Trade and Iran on Nuclear Deal
Monday: Moon Suggests Peace Prize for POTUS
Congratulated for an apparent breakthrough in relations between South Korea and North Korea, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said, "It's President Trump who should receive the Nobel Prize."
The remark follows Friday's historic summit between Moon and North Korea's Kim Jong Un, in which the two leaders agreed to work toward eliminating nuclear weapons and reaching a permanent peace deal on the Korean Peninsula — aspirations that the pair embraced without going into detail about how to achieve them.
Moon and Trump spoke by phone Saturday to discuss the recent summit and Kim's pledge of unity and peace. The White House said they "agreed that the unprecedented pressure" put on North Korea by international sanctions "led to this significant moment."
In recent months, Trump has gone from engaging in a war of words with Kim to planning to hold a summit with the dictator — a meeting that is expected to take place within weeks. Before that encounter takes place, Trump also plans to meet with Moon.
Elise Hu, NPR
Tuesday: China Seeks Trade Truce
President Donald Trump said a delegation to China will fix what he believes should have been addressed "years ago."
"Delegation heading to China to begin talks on the Massive Trade Deficit that has been created with our Country," he wrote in a tweet on Tuesday morning. "Very much like North Korea, this should have been fixed years ago, not now."
He added, "Same with other countries and NAFTA...but it will all get done."
The delegation -- which includes Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin -- will travel to China as the Trump administration inches closer to imposing a round of tariffs on $50 billion in imports from China. Some economists view the threat of tariffs as a bargaining tool to compel China to make concessions in trade discussions.
Chinese officials are likely to propose terms such as agreeing to buy more U.S. products to reduce the trade deficit and to cut a 25 percent tariff on foreign vehicles, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Aimee Picchi, CBS News
Wednesday: Mueller Probe Risks Constitutional Crisis
The Russia investigation may now lead to a question that has triggered legal debate for more than four decades: Can prosecutors subpoena a sitting president to testify before a grand jury?
The simple answer: No one knows for sure.
While different lawyers take different positions, they say that — if Special Counsel Robert Mueller seeks to compel President Trump's testimony via subpoena in the Russia case — the issue would likely be litigated all the way to the top.
"I think everybody would agree, regardless of their position, that it would ultimately be resolved by the Supreme Court," said Ryan Goodman, law professor at New York University and editor-in-chief of the website Just Security.
Goodman said he believes president can be compelled to testify, citing the Supreme Court's decision in 1974 compelling President Richard Nixon to turn over White House tape recordings related to the Watergate investigation.
Dave Jackson, USA Today
Thursday: Prosecutors Monitored White House Calls
Federal investigators have monitored the phone lines of Michael Cohen, the longtime personal lawyer for President Donald Trump who is under investigation for a payment he made to an adult film star who alleged she had an affair with Trump, according to multiple senior officials and individuals with knowledge of the legal proceedings involving Cohen.
At least one phone call between a phone line associated with Cohen and the White House was logged, the person said.
Two sources close to Trump's attorney, Rudolph Giuliani, say he learned that days after the raid the president had made a call to Cohen, and told Trump never to call again out of concern the call was being recorded by prosecutors.
Giuliani is also described as having warned Trump that Cohen is likely to flip on him, something Trump pushed back on, telling Giuliani that he has known Cohen for years and expects him to be loyal, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the conversations.
Tom Winter and Julia Ainsley, NBC News
Friday: Hondurans Stripped of Refuge
The cruelty of the Trump administration continues. Friday, it announced that it was ending Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Hondurans. Honduran TPS holders will have until January 2020 before their protections expire, giving them 18 months to leave the country or be at risk for deportation. According to a statement, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen "carefully considered conditions on the ground" before reaching the decision.
While not unexpected, this decision reflects the Trump administration's callous disregard for the lives of immigrants. It ignores the harsh realities that Honduran TPS holders could face if they return to their homeland. Not only will it probably increase the size of our undocumented population, but the decision will upend the lives of tens of thousands of people who are legally living, working, and raising their families in this country.
Honduran nationals in the United States received TPS in 1998, after Hurricane Mitch devastated Honduras and left it lacking basic infrastructure, sanitation services and safe water supplies. The country is still struggling with gang violence, poverty, and a breakdown of civil order; Honduras regularly makes lists of the world's most dangerous nations.
Raul A. Reyes, CNN
Saturday: NRA Speech Spreads Fake News on UK
President Donald Trump told the NRA convention on Friday that knife crime in London has gotten so bar, one hospital was like “war zone.” But the doctor who may have inspired that comment says the President missed the point entirely.
FBI crime data also shows London had a lower murder rate than every major American city in 2017 – in most cases, far lower.
Dr. Martin Griffiths, a trauma surgeon at London’s Barts Health NHS Trust, in April said colleagues who had served in the military likened the hospital’s daily case load — including an influx of children who were victims of violent crime — to that seen at Camp Bastion Hospital, in Afghanistan.
Trump appeared to repurpose that comment while speaking to 8,000 NRA members in Dallas on Friday, referring to the prevalence of knife violence in the U.K., despite the nation’s strict gun laws. Most guns were banned there in 1997.
“They don’t have guns. They have knives and instead there’s blood all over the floors of this hospital,” Trump said. “They say it’s as bad as a military war zone hospital … knives, knives, knives. London hasn’t been used to that. They’re getting used to that. It’s pretty tough.”
Jamie Ducharme, Time
Sunday: Rouhani Threatens Retaliation
President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday Iran had plans to respond to any move by U.S. President Donald Trump on the 2015 nuclear agreement and the United States would regret a decision to exit the accord.
Trump has said unless European allies rectify "flaws" in Tehran's nuclear agreement with world powers by May 12 he will refuse to extend U.S. sanctions relief for Iran.
"We have plans to resist any decision by Trump on the nuclear accord," Rouhani said in a speech carried live by state television.
Britain, France and Germany remain committed to the nuclear accord but, in an effort to keep Washington in it, want to open talks on Iran's ballistic missile program, its nuclear activities beyond 2025 - when key provisions of the deal expire - and its role in Middle East crises such as Syria and Yemen.
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