On The Money: Trump claims Hong Kong 'obliterated' without his action | Xi says China not afraid to 'fight back' | Tlaib offers bill to repeal 'opportunity zones

On The Money: Trump claims Hong Kong 'obliterated' without his action | Xi says China not afraid to 'fight back' | Tlaib offers bill to repeal 'opportunity zones
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THE BIG DEAL: Trump claims Hong Kong 'would have been obliterated' without his actions – President TrumpDonald John TrumpKaine: Obama called Trump a 'fascist' during 2016 campaign Kaine: GOP senators should 'at least' treat Trump trial with seriousness of traffic court Louise Linton, wife of Mnuchin, deletes Instagram post in support of Greta Thunberg MORE on Friday claimed that Hong Kong "would have been obliterated" if he did not use it as leverage in trade negotiations with China.

The president offered the comments as he refused to commit to signing a bill overwhelmingly approved by Congress this week that would impose sanctions on people who commit human rights violations in Hong Kong, where pro-democracy protesters have been demonstrating for months. The Hill’s Brett Samuels tells us more here.

  • The president said during an interview with "Fox & Friends" that he supports the protesters in Hong Kong who have clashed with law enforcement over the last several months, but made clear that the demonstrations are part of ongoing trade talks with Beijing.

  • “That’s a complicating factor," Trump said of the protests in response to a question about the legislation.

  • "And if it weren’t for me, Hong Kong would have been obliterated in 14 minutes. [Chinese President Xi Jinping] has got a million soldiers standing outside of Hong Kong that aren’t going in only because I ask him please don’t do that, you’d be making a big mistake. It’s going to have a tremendous negative impact on the trade deal."

Conflict with Congress: 

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  • The House on Wednesday voted nearly unanimously to pass the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, one day after the Senate approved the bill by unanimous consent. Both chambers passed the legislation with a veto-proof majority.

  • Trump indicated he's supportive of the protesters but hoped to balance it with his talks with Xi.

"We have to stand with Hong Kong, but I'm also standing with President Xi," Trump said. "He's a friend of mine. He's an incredible guy. We have to stand, but I'd like to see them work it out."

"But I stand with Hong Kong, I stand with freedom... but we also are in the process of making the largest trade deal in history," he added. "And if we could do that it would be great."

Reactions:

  • “President Xi and the Chinese Communist Party cannot silence the United States Congress. In case they aren’t familiar with how our Constitution works, the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act passed the House and Senate by overwhelming veto-proof majorities and it will become law,” said Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). 

LEADING THE DAY

Chinese President Xi: Beijing wants trade deal, but not afraid to 'fight back' – Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday said that while China still wanted to work toward a trade deal with the United States, it wouldn't be afraid to “fight back" against the U.S., CNBC reports.

“As we always said we don’t want to start the trade war but we are not afraid,” Xi told a U.S. business delegation. “When necessary we will fight back but we have been working actively to try not to have a trade war."

“We want to work for a Phase 1 agreement on the basis of mutual respect and equality," Xi added.

The U.S. delegation included several former U.S. officials, including former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson.

Tlaib introduces bill to repeal 'opportunity zones' Rep. Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibSanders wants one-on-one fight with Biden Democrats press Trump administration to stop DNA collection from detained migrants Jayapal: 'We will end up with another Donald Trump' if the US doesn't elect a progressive MORE (D-Mich.) on Friday introduced legislation to repeal the "opportunity zone" program created by President Trump's tax law, as the program has received increased scrutiny from lawmakers.

The opportunity zone portion of the 2017 tax law provides capital gains tax breaks to investors who make investments in designated economically-distressed areas. Democrats have become increasingly concerned about opportunity zones in recent weeks amid news reports that have focused on how wealthy people are benefiting from the program.

“The American people have been scammed by Opportunity Zones,” Tlaib, a prominent freshman progressive lawmaker, said in a news release. “Opportunity Zones were supposed to help uplift low-income communities and those living in poverty, but instead we are seeing them benefit billionaires and their luxury projects. The Hill’s Naomi Jagoda explains.

GOOD TO KNOW

  • The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Friday voted unanimously to bar U.S. telecommunications companies from using FCC funds to purchase equipment from companies posing national security threats, including Chinese telecom groups Huawei and ZTE.

  • Shares of companies connected to the marijuana industry soared Thursday following a House Committee’s vote the previous day to pass a bill that effectively legalizes marijuana on a federal level.

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ODDS AND ENDS

  • Environmental groups filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration Friday to challenge a recent decision that would limit California and 13 other states from regulating their own vehicle emissions standards.

  • President Trump on Friday said he will “soon” be releasing a plan to allow the U.S. to import prescription drugs from abroad.