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Trump to sign orders to renegotiate NAFTA, pull out of TPP: NBC

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U.S. President Donald Trump could sign an executive order as early as Monday intended to renegotiate the free trade agreement between the United States, Canada and Mexico, NBC News reported, citing an unidentified White House official.

In addition to wanting to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the new Republican president also intends to sign an executive order pulling out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), NBC reported.

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Trump, who was sworn in as the 45th U.S. president on Friday, targeted both trade pacts during his White House campaign.

Officials were not immediately available to confirm the report to Reuters. Trump’s official schedule includes a 10:30 a.m. EST (1530 GMT) signing of executive orders in the Oval Office.

The president said on Sunday he planned talks soon with the leaders of Canada and Mexico to begin renegotiating NAFTA.

“We will be starting negotiations having to do with NAFTA,” Trump said at a swearing-in ceremony for his top White House advisers. “We are going to start renegotiating on NAFTA, on immigration and on security at the border.”

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Trump said during the campaign he wanted to secure more favorable terms for the United States in the NAFTA pact.

NAFTA, which took effect in 1994, and other trade deals became lightning rods for voter anger in the U.S. industrial heartland states that swept Trump to victory.

CNN reported the first executive action Trump intended to sign was to pull out of the TPP, the trade agreement among 11 Pacific Rim countries that Democratic President Barack Obama strongly backed but was never ratified by the Republican-controlled Congress.

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(Reporting by Roberta Rampton and Ayesha Rascoe; Writing by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Jeffrey Benkoe)


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Elections 2016

Betsy DeVos, Ben Carson send anti-trans signals to Trump’s evangelical base

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While Trump grabs headlines, his Cabinet members quietly use transphobia to shore up white evangelical support

The white evangelical vote is almost certainly a lock for Donald Trump in 2020, but it appears the president is taking no chances of losing this critical voting block. One major part of that strategy appears to be quietly deploying his Cabinet members, especially those associated with the Christian right, to generate stories highlighting the Trump administration's overt bigotry toward trans people, and its eagerness to deprive trans Americans of basic rights.

Just this week, both Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson snagged coverage by making community visits that were ostensibly for noble purposes, but were clearly meant to signal to Christian right voters their hostility to trans rights.

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Elections 2016

Intelligence official directly contradicts Trump administration’s excuses for suppressing whistleblower

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A top official in the intelligence community has disputed the factual basis for the Trump administration’s suppression of a whistleblower complaint believed to regard the potential misconduct of the president himself, a new letter released Thursday revealed.

The letter was made public by House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA). He is locked into a fierce and potentially explosive dispute with an array of forces within the administration to obtain the complaint, which was made through proper channels by an intelligence official last month to the community’s inspector general. Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson determined that the complaint was “credible” and “urgent,” and subsequent reporting from the Washington Post found that it concerns a “promise” made by Trump in communication with a foreign leader.

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Longtime GOP strategist explains why his party is getting crushed in the war of ideas

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Republican strategist Stuart Stevens on Wednesday warned the GOP that Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) might not be a pushover candidate against President Donald Trump in 2020.

Writing on Twitter, Stevens admitted that he had "no idea" if Warren would beat Trump next year, but he did say that "Trump and supporters are destroying [the] credibility of any center-right argument" thanks to Trump's "corrupt and unstable" governance.

When one of Stevens' followers said that Warren would not be able to fulfill her promises just by taxing the wealthy, he countered that this idea is still more popular than anything Republicans are championing.

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