McConnell urges Trump to voice support for Hong Kong protesters
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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden takes victory lap after Senate passes coronavirus relief package GOP votes in unison against COVID-19 relief bill Senate approves sweeping coronavirus measure in partisan vote MORE (R-Ky.) is calling on President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden to sign executive order aimed at increasing voting access Albany Times Union editorial board calls for Cuomo's resignation Advocates warn restrictive voting bills could end Georgia's record turnout MORE to publicly voice support for protesters in Hong Kong amid escalating tensions with the Chinese government.

“I would encourage this president, who has seen Chinese behavior for what it is with a clarity that others have lacked, not to shy away from speaking out on Hong Kong himself. The world should hear from him directly that the United States stands with these brave men and women," McConnell said from the Senate floor on Monday.

McConnell added that the administration should also "make Hong Kong’s autonomy a key topic within our bilateral diplomacy" with Beijing, and use an on-the-book sanctions law to slap financial penalties on "individuals responsible for egregious human rights abuses." 

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McConnell's comments follow rising violence in Hong Kong, including reports over the weekend that police officials have threatened to use lethal ammunition if protesters do not leave the campus of Hong Kong Polytechnic University amid a standoff. The Associated Press reported on Monday that riot police had trapped hundreds of protesters on the campus.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jim RischJim Elroy RischMurkowski votes with Senate panel to advance Haaland nomination 11 GOP senators slam Biden pick for health secretary: 'No meaningful experience' Biden to redirect .4M in aid to Myanmar, sanction key military figures MORE (R-Idaho) and Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioGOP votes in unison against COVID-19 relief bill Hillicon Valley: YouTube to restore Trump's account | House-passed election bill takes aim at foreign interference | Senators introduce legislation to create international tech partnerships Senators introduce bill creating technology partnerships to compete with China MORE (Fla.), a senior GOP member of the committee, have publicly urged McConnell to pass Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which would slap sanctions on individuals who commit human rights abuses within Hong Kong. 

McConnelll added on Monday that while he supports "additional legislation," the Trump administration doesn't "need to wait for new laws to act further. There are already significant tools at the administration’s disposal, and I strongly encourage them to use them." 

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoIt will be Vice (or) President Harris against Gov. DeSantis in 2024 — bet on it DeSantis, Pence tied in 2024 Republican poll Pompeo not ruling out 2024 White House bid MORE said late last week that all options are on the table for U.S. intervention in Hong Kong if China uses military action against demonstrators.

“I just never foreclose any possibility for how President Trump might think about how we should appropriately respond,” he said.