Trump Today: President threatens China with more tariffs, calls on Sessions to probe op-ed author
President Donald Trump threatened China with more tariffs on Friday, as he urged his attorney general to uncover the identity of the official who wrote the anonymous New York Times op-ed and said he would have fired Gary Cohn “in two seconds” for taking a memo off his desk.
CHINA TARIFFS AND JAB AT OBAMA
Trump said he was ready to slap tariffs on an extra $267 billion in Chinese goods, on top of an already-proposed $200 billion. His statement, made aboard Air Force One, sent U.S. stocksDJIA, -0.31%skittering lower.
“It’s in the hopper,” Trump said. “We’ll see what happens.”
Read: Trade-war tracker: Here are the new levies, imposed and threatened
Speaking at a fundraising event in Fargo, N.D., Trump attacked former President Barack Obama, who gave a pointed speech Friday in Illinois. “I have to say this to President Obama — if the Dems got in with their agenda in November of almost 2 years ago, instead of having 4.2 up, I believe honestly we’d have 4.2 down,” he said, referring to GDP growth of 4.2% in the second quarter. Trump is helping to raise money for Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer’s Senate campaign against incumbent Democrat Sen. Heidi Heitkamp.
Also see: Obama claims ownership of U.S. economic recovery as he blasts Trump
DIRECTION TO SESSIONS AND THREAT TO DISMISS COHN
Trump told reporters traveling with him that Attorney General Jeff Sessions should investigate the author of the Times op-ed that called Trump amoral and reckless.
“It’s national security,” Trump said. Suppose there’s a high-level meeting on China, Russia or North Korea, Trump told reporters. “I don’t want him in those meetings.”
Trump also addressed a part of Bob Woodward’s book “Fear,” in which former National Economic Council director Cohn is said to have taken papers off the president’s desk to protect trade deals and national security.
See: Gary Cohn took papers from Trump’s desk to protect Nafta, South Korea trade deal, Woodward book says
“Gary Cohn, if he ever took a memo off my desk, I would have fired him in two seconds. He would have been fired so fast,” said Trump.
Also read: Elizabeth Warren suggests invoking 25th Amendment in wake of anonymous anti-Trump op-ed
POTENTIAL MUELLER MEETING
Trump called special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation “really, really unfair” for the upcoming midterm elections and said it would “need to be a fair deal” for him to sit for an interview.
Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani said Thursday night that a deal was near for Trump to provide written answers to questions from Mueller, who is probing the campaign’s ties to Russia. A day earlier Giuliani had characterized the provision of written answers to Mueller questions as “a no-go.”
Also see: Woodward book: Trump flubbed mock Mueller interview
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