McConnell urges Trump to voice support for Hong Kong protesters
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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSherrod Brown backs new North American trade deal: 'This will be the first trade agreement I've ever voted for' McConnell: Bevin pardons 'completely inappropriate' House panel to hold hearing, vote on Trump's new NAFTA proposal MORE (R-Ky.) is calling on President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrats ask if they have reason to worry about UK result Trump scramble to rack up accomplishments gives conservatives heartburn Seven years after Sandy Hook, the politics of guns has changed 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 RischOvernight Defense: House passes compromise defense bill | Turkey sanctions advance in Senate over Trump objections | Top general says military won't be 'raping, burning and pillaging' after Trump pardons Legislation to protect electric grid from cyberattacks added to massive defense bill Lankford to be named next Senate Ethics chairman MORE (R-Idaho) and Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioWhite House makes push for paid family leave and child care reform Tom Hanks weighs in on primary: 'Anybody can become president' GOP senator blocks bill aimed at preventing Russia election meddling 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 PompeoKobach has lead in Kansas Senate race unless Pompeo enters: report The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by AdvaMed — House panel delays impeachment vote until Friday Senate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial 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.