What Now?! – 8/2/19

President Trump said he will impose new tariffs on $300 billion in Chinese imports starting next month, ending brief ceasefire in trade war, the Washington Post reports.

“The 10 percent import penalty will start September 1, a cost that would mean almost all goods sent to the United States from China would face tariffs. The tariffs could push the cost of many consumer products higher in the second half of the year.”

Former Trump economic adviser Gary Cohn told the BBC that President Trump’s trade war with China is backfiring and hurting the U.S. economy.

Said Cohn: “When you build plant equipment, you’re buying steel, you’re buying aluminium, you’re buying imported products and then we put tariffs on those, so literally the tax incentive we gave you with one hand was taken away with the other hand.”

He added: “So we are not seeing the manufacturing job creation.”

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) fiercely defended Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) in the wake of President Trump’s attacks on the Maryland Democrat and the Baltimore-area district he represents, The Hill reports.

“Pelosi, who was born in Baltimore and whose father and brother were both mayors of the city, accused the president of projecting his own ‘insecurity’ on Cummings.”

Said Pelosi: “The president without — and this comes as no surprise — really doesn’t know what he’s talking about. But maybe he could ask his son-in-law, who’s a slumlord.”

Wall Street Journal: “Median household income in the U.S. was $61,372 at the end of 2017… When inflation is taken into account, that is just above the 1999 level. Over a longer stretch—the three decades through 2017—incomes are up 14% in inflation-adjusted terms.”

“Average housing prices, however, swelled 290% over those three decades in inflation-adjusted terms… Average tuition at public four-year colleges went up 311%, adjusted for inflation… And average per capita personal health-care expenditures rose about 51% in real terms over a slightly shorter period, 1990 to 2017.”

Politico: “More than half of House Democrats say they would vote to launch impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump, a crucial threshold that backers say will require Speaker Nancy Pelosi to reconsider her steadfast opposition.”

“Though Pelosi has given no indication that even a majority of Democrats embracing impeachment proceedings would shift her view, supporters of an inquiry argue that crossing the halfway mark among Democrats will be a symbolic boost that could shift the political dynamic.”

“The question is no longer whether the House should vote to proceed with a formal impeachment inquiry. The inquiry has already begun.”

— Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL), announcing his support for an impeachment inquiry in the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

The FBI for the first time has identified fringe conspiracy theories as a domestic terrorist threat, according to a document obtained by Yahoo News.

“The document specifically mentions QAnon, a shadowy network that believes in a deep state conspiracy against President Trump, and Pizzagate, the theory that a pedophile ring including Clinton associates was being run out of the basement of a Washington, D.C., pizza restaurant (which didn’t actually have a basement).”

“The Senate voted 67-28 to pass a $2.7 trillion budget deal Thursday that would suspend the debt ceiling through 2021, sending the package to President Trump’s desk after the House passed it last week,” Axios reports.

“The Congressional Budget Office projected that the national debt would reach ‘unprecedented levels’ in the next 30 years should laws remain the same. It exceeded $22 trillion in February, and the federal deficit has grown 23% this fiscal year.”

Asked by ABC News about special counsel Robert Mueller’s warning that Russia is continuing to interfere with U.S. elections, President Trump responded: “You don’t really believe this. Do you believe this?”

Trump says he did not raise the issue during phone call yesterday with Russian president Vladimir Putin.

President Trump said he may order a blockade of Venezuela, where the U.S. has sought to depose President Nicolas Maduro, Bloomberg reports. A blockade is an act of war.

Fox Nation host Tomi Lahren suggested in a tweet that Sen. Kamala Harris “slept her way to the top” when she had a relationship in the mid-1990s with former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown.

Daily Beast: “Lahren was swiftly condemned for invoking Harris’ personal relationship to dismiss the 2020 candidate’s long record in elected office, rising from San Francisco district attorney to California’s attorney general before being elected to the U.S. Senate. But while the tweet attracted its share of liberal critics, some of Lahren’s own colleagues at Fox News openly expressed disgust at her comments.”

“President Trump’s pick for managing federal lands doesn’t think the federal government should have any,” the Washington Post reports.

“This week, Trump’s Interior Secretary David Bernhardt signed an order making the Wyoming native William Perry Pendley the acting director of the Bureau of Land Management… By placing Pendley in charge of the agency, Bernhardt has installed a longtime crusader for curtailing the federal government’s control of public lands.”

Tax Policy Center: “The US economy grew robustly in late 2017, perhaps partly due to expectations for a coming tax cut (which Congress passed in late December of that year). But the rate of growth peaked in the second quarter of 2018 and has been slowing ever since. Last Friday, the government estimated that, after adjusting for inflation, the economy grew at an annual rate of about 2.1 percent in the second quarter.”

“Indeed, the growth rate in the April to June 2019 period was below the 2.3 percent average annual rate over the past decade.”

“President Trump wants a new deal with Iran to replace the nuclear agreement he pulled out of, and he’s turning to one of his most hawkish confidants to help do it,” the Daily Beast reports.

“Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is working in close coordination with senior Trump administration officials who focus on Middle East policy to find an alternative to the Obama administration’s Iran deal… Part of that effort includes fielding ideas from outside actors, including foreign officials.”

Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ), “who has spoken of her experience being sexually assaulted in the military, said that she does not believe the sexual assault allegation against President Trump’s nominee for vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,” The Hill reports.

“McSally said Tuesday at a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee that she had ‘full confidence’ in Gen. John Hyten, who has been accused by Army Col. Kathryn Spletstoser of unwanted sexual advances, including kissing, hugging and rubbing, in 2017.”

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

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