McConnell urges Trump to voice support for Hong Kong protesters
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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMomentum growing among Republicans for Supreme Court vote before Election Day Trump expects to nominate woman to replace Ginsburg next week Video of Lindsey Graham arguing against nominating a Supreme Court justice in an election year goes viral MORE (R-Ky.) is calling on President TrumpDonald John TrumpUS reimposes UN sanctions on Iran amid increasing tensions Jeff Flake: Republicans 'should hold the same position' on SCOTUS vacancy as 2016 Trump supporters chant 'Fill that seat' at North Carolina rally 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 RischJames (Jim) Elroy RischWhy the US should rely more on strategy, not sanctions Davis: The Hall of Shame for GOP senators who remain silent on Donald Trump Senators blast Turkey's move to convert Hagia Sophia back into a mosque MORE (R-Idaho) and Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioSunday shows preview: Justice Ginsburg dies, sparking partisan battle over vacancy before election Florida senators pushing to keep Daylight Savings Time during pandemic Hillicon Valley: DOJ indicts Chinese, Malaysian hackers accused of targeting over 100 organizations | GOP senators raise concerns over Oracle-TikTok deal | QAnon awareness jumps in new poll 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 PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoUS reimposes UN sanctions on Iran amid increasing tensions Sunday shows preview: Justice Ginsburg dies, sparking partisan battle over vacancy before election Trump steps up Iran fight in final election stretch 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.