The Hill's Morning Report - Trump says US-China trade talks to resume, hails potential trade with Japan, UK




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President TrumpDonald John TrumpWatergate prosecutor says that Sondland testimony was 'tipping point' for Trump In private moment with Trump, Justice Kennedy pushed for Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination: book Obama: 'Everybody needs to chill out' about differences between 2020 candidates MORE will depart the Group of Seven (G-7) summit in France later today hailing momentum with Japan to complete a major trade pact and asserting today that China contacted U.S. officials overnight seeking to return to the negotiating table.


“China called last night our top trade people and said, ‘let’s get back to the table’, so we’ll be getting back to the table, and I think they want to do something,” Trump said on the sidelines of the G-7.


China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said he had no info about any phone calls to the United States, as cited by Trump, adding, “I can tell you clearly that I haven’t heard of such a thing,” Bloomberg reported. Shuang said Beijing is willing to resolve its trade dispute with the United States through “calm negotiations” and opposes the escalation of the conflict (Reuters).


Trump’s Twitter account seized on news reports of Shuang’s comments and lauded President Xi Jinping as “a great leader & representing a great country,” posting those thoughts while he apparently was in the midst of a bilateral discussion with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.


The president is expected to take questions later today at a news conference at the conclusion of the annual gathering (C-SPAN live coverage at 9:30 a.m. ET).


Heads of leading industrialized economies who met for three days in the seaside town of Biarritz in southern France share the U.S. view that China poses a hazard to world trading rules and intellectual property, but express wariness that Trump’s style of punishing Beijing with escalating tariffs, as announced on Friday, will result in fairer, more transparent practices by China.


Instead, worries are evident in European capitals that the tug-of-war between the world’s two largest economies could draw U.S. allies into a global economic recession.


The president told reporters on Sunday that he had some second thoughts about raising tariffs on Chinese products, but his spokeswoman later said Trump had been misinterpreted although he answered the question three times as journalists worked to ensure they understood his meaning. Press secretary Stephanie GrishamStephanie GrishamDiplomat testifies he heard Trump ask about 'investigation' Obama photographer mocks Trump's handwritten notes with images of predecessor's writings Media needs to stop wild speculations about Trump's health MORE issued a statement on Sunday asserting the president meant to convey that his regret was in not increasing tariffs more.


Trump used a bilateral discussion on Sunday over breakfast with new Prime Minister Boris Johnson of the United Kingdom, whom he lavishly praised, to strengthen ties between the two governments and pledge a negotiated trade agreement with Great Britain soon after it exits the European Union in October.


"We're going to do a very big trade deal, bigger than we've ever had with the U.K.," Trump said. "And now at some point they won't have the obstacle, they won't have the anchor around their ankle, because that's what they have" (BBC).


The president’s confidence about a swift trade deal was interpreted as beneficial to Johnson, who said while in France that an orderly transition as Great Britain splits from the EU on Oct. 31 now looked “touch and go.” The prime minister, responding to Trump’s enthusiasm for a bilateral agreement with Britain, added that such a negotiation with the United States would likely take longer than a year to complete.


Whenever such a deal is inked, it would also need to be ratified by Congress. Both Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOvernight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Deal on defense bill proves elusive | Hill, Holmes offer damaging testimony | Trump vows to block Navy from ousting officer from SEALs On The Money: Trump signs short-term spending bill to avoid shutdown | Pelosi casts doubt on USMCA deal in 2019 | California high court strikes down law targeting Trump tax returns Wasserman Schultz makes bid for House Appropriations Committee gavel MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTrump signs short-term spending bill to avert shutdown Senators urge Trump to suspend Huawei license approvals Tensions rise in Senate's legislative 'graveyard' MORE (D-N.Y.) said this month they will oppose any post-Brexit U.K.-U.S. trade deal that might put at risk Northern Ireland's peaceful status quo with Ireland (The Hill). 


The Associated Press: On U.S.-China impasse, Nobody understands where the president is coming from.”


The Hill: White House says Trump pressing ahead with China.


The Hill: Trump says U.S. and Japan agree “in principle” to bilateral trade deal.


Reuters: At G-7, French, U.S. officials strike draft compromise on French digital tax.


The New York Times: Trump sent contradictory signals on China trade war.


The Washington Post: Trump expressed regret about escalating China trade war, then the White House clarified his meaning.


The Washington Post analysis: Trump: “I have second thoughts about everything.”


The Wall Street Journal: Trump gambles that trade war will pay off in 2020. 


The Hill: Foreign policy setbacks cloud Trump’s 2020 pitch to voters.


More from G-7 early today … Trump accepts Merkel’s invitation to visit Germany but says September “too soon” … Trump says 2020 G-7 likely to take place in Miami and proposes one of his properties, the Doral, as location … Trump says no decision has been made about Russia’s presence at 2020 summit … Trump did not attend today’s G-7 working session with fellow leaders about climate change, biodiversity and oceans. 





POLITICS & CAMPAIGNS: Former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) announced Sunday that he is launching a primary challenge against the president in 2020, making him the second Republican to do so as others weigh jumping in despite Trump’s high marks with GOP voters. 


Walsh, a former conservative congressman and pro-Trump voice, warned that the president is unfit for office and cannot be elected to a second term. He is attempting to position himself as a legitimate non-Trump choice for the GOP, which he says is filled with many who are “scared to death” of opposing Trump publicly. 


“He’s nuts. He’s erratic. He’s cruel. He stokes bigotry. He’s incompetent. He doesn’t know what he’s doing,” Walsh told ABC’s “This Week,” adding that he realizes the arduous road ahead. 


“Look, this isn’t easy to do. ... I’m opening up my life to tweets and attacks. Everything I’ve said and tweeted now, Trump’s going to go after and his bullies are going to go after,” Walsh said.


In recent years, as the former Tea Party lawmaker noted, Walsh has been an outspoken voice on Twitter, an issue that has already cropped up in his nascent campaign. In the past, Walsh has espoused birtherism and made disparaging remarks about Muslims. In one episode, Walsh vowed he would be “grabbing my musket” if Trump lost to Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocratic strategist laments 'low bar' for Biden debate performance Wasserman Schultz makes bid for House Appropriations Committee gavel Trump to hold campaign rally in Pennsylvania next month MORE in 2016 (The Associated Press).


Aaron Blake: Joe Walsh is primarying Trump. He brings tons of very Trumpian baggage.


While Walsh’s bid will garner attention from the media, he is unlikely to move the marker against Trump in a GOP primary bid. The GOP has moved to protect Trump from any primary bid, with some states discussing canceling their primary contests in an effort to coalesce around the incumbent president. 


Outside of Walsh and former Massachusetts Gov. William WeldWilliam (Bill) WeldMichigan GOP attempting to have Trump be only Republican candidate on ballot Weld files to run in GOP presidential primary in New Hampshire The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump demands Bidens testify MORE (R) — who said he is “thrilled” by Walsh’s announcement — former Rep. Mark SanfordMark SanfordThe Hill's Campaign Report: Late bids surprise 2020 Democratic field Michigan GOP attempting to have Trump be only Republican candidate on ballot Weld files to run in GOP presidential primary in New Hampshire MORE (R-S.C.) is expected to announce his plans for a possible primary bid by Labor Day. Additionally, former Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeLindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight Kelly, McSally virtually tied in Arizona Senate race: poll The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Nareit — White House cheers Republicans for storming impeachment hearing MORE (R-Ariz.) and former Ohio Gov. John Kasich continue to talk to donors and those making overtures about possible bids (The Washington Post). 


Paul Kane: Cindy McCain wants to bring civility back to politics. Is it too late?





> Dem field dwindles: The Democratic presidential field is facing its first real winnowing as more than half a dozen candidates face the increasingly real possibility that they could be left out of the next primary debate. 


In the last week, three candidates — former Colorado Gov. John HickenlooperJohn Hickenlooper2020 hopes rise for gun control groups after Virginia elections Krystal Ball dismisses Rahm Emanuel's 'Medicare for All' criticism as a 'corporatist mantra' Trump says remark about Colorado border wall was made 'kiddingly' MORE, Washington Gov. Jay InsleeJay Robert InsleeO'Rourke ends presidential bid Sunrise Movement organizer: Sanders, Warren boast strongest climate change plans Overnight Energy: Farmers say EPA reneged on ethanol deal | EPA scrubs senators' quotes from controversial ethanol announcement | Perry unsure if he'll comply with subpoena | John Kerry criticizes lack of climate talk at debate MORE and Rep. Seth MoultonSeth MoultonPardoning war crimes dishonors the military The Hill's Morning Report - Fallout from day one of Trump impeachment hearing We still owe LGBT veterans for their patriotism and service MORE (D-Mass.) — exited the race after acknowledging they all faced long odds toward the nomination, especially as each anticipated exclusion from next month’s televised Democratic primary debate. 


However, the three contenders who expected to be shut out of the Houston event are by no means alone; eight other candidates are in similar situations. They are nowhere close to qualifying for the third primary debate in September and are faced with increasingly daunting polling and fundraising gaps between themselves and the field’s top-tier contenders. Some Democrats are eager for the field to shrink, believing that it’s past time for focus to fall on the top contenders and that the massive field has had a freezing effect on voters, who are faced with too many options (The Hill).


Dan Balz: These are frustrating days for governors seeking the presidency.


The Wall Street Journal: Long-shot Democratic candidates shake off debate disappointment. 


Stephanie Saul, The New York Times: The education of Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenKamala Harris receives new Iowa endorsements after debate performance Warren speech in Georgia interrupted by pro-charter school protesters Hillicon Valley: Senators ask Trump to halt Huawei licenses | Warren criticizes Zuckerberg over secret dinner with Trump | Senior DHS cyber official to leave | Dems offer bill on Libra oversight MORE (D-Mass.).


> Youth vote: Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenKamala Harris receives new Iowa endorsements after debate performance Watergate prosecutor says that Sondland testimony was 'tipping point' for Trump Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Deal on defense bill proves elusive | Hill, Holmes offer damaging testimony | Trump vows to block Navy from ousting officer from SEALs MORE is facing a millennial problem. Biden continues to sit atop polls in the Democratic primary; however, strategists and political observers say he needs to do better with younger voters if he wants to win the nomination. 


According to the Pew Research Center, while Biden is polling strongly with voters over 50, he is struggling to lure young voters ages 18 to 29 to his campaign, as he attracts only 7 percent support from the group. Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersKamala Harris receives new Iowa endorsements after debate performance Wasserman Schultz makes bid for House Appropriations Committee gavel Overnight Health Care: Crunch time for Congress on surprise medical bills | CDC confirms 47 vaping-related deaths | Massachusetts passes flavored tobacco, vaping products ban MORE (I-Vt.) continues to poll well with the demographic, pulling 24 percent, while Warren, a top challenger for the nomination, wins 18 percent support (The Hill). 


"If he wants to reactivate the Obama coalition that helped Obama win two elections, he won't be able to do it without younger voters," one Democratic strategist said. "There's just no way around that."


Niall Stanage: Democratic field boils down to four-horse race.


The Hill: Sanders, Warren back major shift to fight drug overdoses.


Politico: Senate battleground Dems shun “Medicare for All.”


Elsewhere in politics … Warren held a campaign rally on Monday night in Seattle before 15,000 attendees , likely the largest of her campaign. The rally came only days after a crowd of 12,000 attended her rally in St. Paul, Minn. (Bloomberg).


INTERNATIONAL: Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif departed the G-7 setting on Sunday after a five-hour visit at French President Emmanuel Macron’s invitation. Meetings today about Iran’s nuclear ambitions are also planned before the summit concludes, according to a French official. Macron is playing a lead role in trying to salvage the 2015 nuclear accord, which has been unraveling since Trump pulled the U.S. out of the agreement last year. In Biarritz, Zarif met with Macron and French, German and British diplomats and attended an unprogrammed gathering in Biarritz’s city hall (The New York Times).  


Reuters: Iran says it will not negotiate missile work, wants to export more oil.


> Israel: Israel said Sunday that it stopped the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) from launching "killer drone" strikes from Syria when its aircraft struck Iranian Quds Force operatives and Shiite militias as they prepared attacks in recent days. Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, an Israeli military spokesman, told reporters “a number of attack drones,” each armed with explosives, were to have been launched simultaneously at targets in northern Israel on Thursday before the plan was thwarted (Reuters) ... The Lebanese and Palestinians reported on Monday that Israel struck a Palestinian base in eastern Lebanon along the border with Syria on Monday, raising tensions after two Israeli drones crashed in Hezbollah territory in southern Beirut (The Associated Press). 


> North Korea: Supervised by leader Kim Jong UnKim Jong UnTrump must regain his advantage over Xi Jinping and Kim Jong Un As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Harris accuses Trump of being 'punked' by North Korea MORE, the North Koreans tested a “super-large” rocket launcher on Saturday, another example of the country’s expanding weapons arsenal as it looks to boost its leverage ahead of a potential nuclear talks with the U.S. (The Associated Press). When asked about the test on Sunday, Trump said that he was “not happy” about the launch, but argued it wasn’t in violation of an agreement between the two sides. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe broke with the president’s remarks, saying the missile launch by the North Koreans “clearly violates the relevant U.N. Security Council resolution” (CNBC). 


> Russia: Russia launched the world's first floating nuclear reactor and sent it across the Arctic on Friday despite warnings from environmentalists that it will pose serious risks to the region, labeling it a potential “Chernobyl on ice” and a “nuclear Titanic.” The Akademik Lomonosov departed the Arctic port of Murmansk as it makes the 3,000-mile voyage to northeastern Siberia (AFP).


> Brazil: Brazilian warplanes are dumping water on the Amazon rainforest as parts of the forest burn in the state of Rondonia in a bid to stop the blaze that threatens the area. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has authorized military operations in seven states to combat raging fires in the Amazon in response to local governments looking for assistance to put out the fire, a spokeswoman for his office said (Reuters). Bolsonaro, however, has come under fire for his lack of urgency in response to the fires after initially dismissing the hundreds of blazes and questioning the genesis of the fires, having wondered if activist groups were behind them in an effort to damage the credibility of his government (The Associated Press).

The Morning Report is created by journalists Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver. We want to hear from you! Email: and We invite you to share The Hill’s reporting and newsletters, and encourage others to SUBSCRIBE!


What would John McCainJohn Sidney McCainFormer McCain adviser warns Democrats of going left: A 'sociopath' will always 'beat a socialist' Budowsky: Trump destroying GOP in 2018, '19, '20 Conservative group cuts ties with Michelle Malkin MORE do? by Richard Fontaine, opinion contributor, The Hill. 


Census could reveal electoral extinction of the Republicans, by Kristin Tate, opinion contributor, The Hill. 


Hill.TV’s “Rising” at 9 a.m. ET features an interview with Sanders, who sat down with host Krystal Ball following his Sunday rally in Louisville, Ky.; former Rep. John DelaneyJohn Kevin Delaney2020 primary debate guide: Everything you need to know ahead of the November forum Poll: Biden holds 20-point lead in South Carolina Deval Patrick: a short runway, but potential to get airborne MORE (D-Md.) to discuss the 2020 campaign and his decision to stay in the presidential race; and Liz Harrington, national spokesperson for the Republican National Committee, to talk about GOP fundraising numbers. Find Hill.TV programming at or on YouTube at 10 a.m.


The House gets back to work on Sept. 4 to begin consideration of legislation to respond to mass shootings.


The Senate returns to Washington on Sept. 9. 


The president is in France, where his day began with a bilateral meeting at 8:30 a.m. with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. He met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at 11:30 a.m. local time. Trump skipped the G-7 working session on climate, biodiversity and oceans at 10 a.m. He was to meet with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and participate in a G-7 working lunch on digital transformation, followed by the closing session of the summit. Trump is scheduled to participate in a joint press conference with Macron around 3:30 p.m. (9:30 a.m. ET). Trump and first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpHillicon Valley: Senators ask Trump to halt Huawei licenses | Warren criticizes Zuckerberg over secret dinner with Trump | Senior DHS cyber official to leave | Dems offer bill on Libra oversight Trump visits Dover Air Force Base to receive troop remains Trump awards Jon Voight, others National Medal of Arts MORE will depart France at 6:05 p.m. and arrive back at the White House tonight. 


Vice President Pence travels today to Anderson, S.C., to visit Sargent Metal Fabricators and speak at 4:30 p.m. about the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. In the evening, Pence will deliver a keynote speech at the Faith & Freedom BBQ, an annual political gathering of conservatives, at 6 p.m. in Anderson before returning to Washington. Rep. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanDiplomat seen rolling his eyes amid testy impeachment exchange with Jordan Live coverage: Impeachment spotlight shifts to Fiona Hill, David Holmes House GOP wants Senate Republicans to do more on impeachment MORE (R-Ohio), former chairman of the House Freedom Caucus,  will also be a featured speaker at the South Carolina barbecue.


Blasting hurricanes:  Trump reportedly spoke “multiple times” with senior administration officials about the possibility of bombing hurricanes before they reach the United States using nuclear weapons, Axios reported Sunday. Trump tweeted early Monday that he has never talked about this possibility …Meanwhile, the National Hurricane Center said Sunday that Tropical Storm Dorian could intensify to near hurricane strength over the eastern Caribbean Sea by Tuesday (CBS News).


Animal kingdom:  Ocean predators found their defenders on Sunday in Geneva as international representatives at a conference devoted to a treaty that protects wildlife voted to add safeguards for mako sharks to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. Japan and the United States, each with commercial interests in mind, voted in opposition (National Geographic).  


State Watch: Public pressure to enact new hate crimes legislation at the state level has emerged in Arkansas, Georgia and South Carolina, propelled by threats perceived from hate groups, white supremacists and militias (The Associated Press). … The Chicago Police Department unveiled a new and controversial online tool drawn from public records that allows the public to look up who has been arrested on gun-related charges and whether they have posted bail (The Associated Press) … A high-stakes election to determine who controls the state legislature in Virginia in November is set to get even more heated as both sides of the gun control debate pour money and resources to reshape the nearly evenly split legislature after a spate of mass shootings across the United States (The Hill).


Little League World Series: Louisiana defeated Curacao to take home the Little League World Series title on Sunday in Williamsport, Pa. The 8-0 win by the youngsters from River Ridge, La., earned the first Little League World Series title for Louisiana behind a two-hit shutout by pitcher Egan Prather and three RBI from Marshall Louque. The team’s performance was not only the first title for the state, but it also marked the farthest a team from Louisiana has advanced in the annual tournament (





And finally …  The classic 1939 musical film, “The Wizard of Oz” celebrated its 80th anniversary on Sunday, with reflections on the ruby slippers, Judy Garland, the Wicked Witch and dialogue we recognize decade after decade (CNN). 


“Follow the yellow brick road.”


“There’s no place like home.”


“I’ll get you, my pretty.” 


“Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore.”


But there was one particular tribute that caught our attention: Nurses at Pittsburgh’s West Penn Hospital dressed four newborns in handmade costumes to honor the iconic movie (and its characters) (ABC News). Let’s face it: We all need a little baby cuteness on a Monday morning!