McConnell urges Trump to voice support for Hong Kong protesters
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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellFeinstein to step down as top Democrat on Judiciary Committee Voters want a strong economy and leadership, Democrats should listen On The Money: Biden to nominate Yellen for Treasury secretary | 'COVID cliff' looms | Democrats face pressure to back smaller stimulus MORE (R-Ky.) is calling on President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden team wants to understand Trump effort to 'hollow out government agencies' Trump's remaking of the judicial system Overnight Defense: Trump transgender ban 'inflicts concrete harms,' study says | China objects to US admiral's Taiwan visit 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 RischGOP senator congratulates Biden, says Trump should accept results Barrasso to seek top spot on Energy and Natural Resources Committee Risch wins reelection in Idaho MORE (R-Idaho) and Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioDemocrats brush off calls for Biden to play hardball on Cabinet picks GOP senator congratulates Biden, says Trump should accept results GOP lawmaker patience runs thin with Trump tactics 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 PompeoOvernight Defense: Trump transgender ban 'inflicts concrete harms,' study says | China objects to US admiral's Taiwan visit King of Jordan becomes first Arab leader to speak with President-elect Biden Central Asia is changing: the Biden administration should pay close attention 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.