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US Chamber of Commerce warns U.S. demands could torpedo NAFTA talks

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The U.S. Chamber of Commerce urged the Trump administration on Tuesday to moderate its stance in the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, describing some of Washington’s demands as “poison pill proposals” that could doom the talks.

Thomas Donohue, the chamber’s president and chief executive, will raise a red flag about the progress of the negotiations, according to advance excerpts of a speech he was due to make in Mexico City on Tuesday morning.

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The group has argued repeatedly in recent weeks that NAFTA is critical to U.S. industries such as agriculture and manufacturing.

“There are several poison pill proposals still on the table that could doom the entire deal,” Donohue said in remarks to be delivered at an event hosted by AmCham Mexico. “All of these proposals are unnecessary and unacceptable.”

The U.S. Chamber did not specify what the most contentious proposals were in the excerpts of the speech, but a number of thorny issues have been highlighted by the Mexican and Canadian governments and the U.S. private sector in recent weeks.

These include U.S. exploration of imposing national content requirements for some products, not just regional thresholds, within certain sectors of industry, such as carmaking.

Auto makers in Mexico say excessive content requirements could do serious damage to the industry’s competitiveness.

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In addition, U.S. officials have mooted incorporating a sunset clause in NAFTA that would kill it unless it was renegotiated every five years, as well as eliminating a key dispute resolution mechanism, much to the dismay of Canada.

The U.S., Mexico and Canada began renegotiating the 23-year-old trade pact this summer, with a fourth round of talks kicking off this week in Washington.

U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to withdraw from NAFTA if he does not win concessions to reduce a U.S. trade deficit of around $64 billion with Mexico.

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But the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has consistently stressed the pact’s importance.

“The existential threat to the North American Free Trade Agreement is a threat to our partnership, our shared economic vibrancy, and clearly the security and safety of all three nations,” Donohue said.

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In recent months, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has shown a willingness to stand up to the Trump administration’s more extreme proposals, often echoing Mexico’s positions.

“I also want it to be clear that the U.S. business community is committed to Mexico, and no matter what happens, we’re not going anywhere,” Donohue said.

(Reporting by Dave Graham; writing by Julia Love; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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Veteran ex-Trump supporter: ‘Real veterans who remember their oath will support impeachment’

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In an op-ed published in The Times of Israel this Wednesday, an Army veteran who has since renounced his support of President Trump accused the President of being "unpatriotic."

According to David Weisman, "real veterans who remember their oath will support impeachment."

"When I first got into politics, as I have mentioned numerous times, I thought the Republican Party was the party of upholding the Constitution and ethical principles," Wesiman writes. "I took the word of pundits thinking Republicans stood for truth, justice, and the American way. I never questioned their integrity when they condemned President Obama. Why? Because they were religious and it didn’t occur to me they would lie. Years later, if you are aware of my story, I learned that most of the demonizing of President Obama was propaganda. I’ve also learned to read the fine print of the Constitution because there’s more involved than just the right of free speech and the right to bear arms. Lots of nuance to acknowledge."

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WATCH: Trump whines to Turkish president he only takes questions from ‘friendly reporters’

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In a press conference Wednesday with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an, President Donald Trump openly reminded that he only takes questions from people on his side.

"Would you like to pick somebody?" Trump asked Erdo?an after taking a question from the far-right OANN. "A friendly person from Turkey, please. Friendly. Only friendly reporters. There aren’t too many of them around."

Trump has increasingly refused to take questions from reporters who ask him actual questions that he both knows the answer to and will make him look good.

The White House hasn't hosted a "daily press briefing" for 247 days and not at all under the new press secretary, Stephanie Grisham. She has, however, had time to appear on Fox News multiple times to speak for the White House.

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Fox legal analyst: Today was a good day for anyone who wants to shorten the Trump presidency

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As the first public hearings in the House impeachment inquiry against President Trump wrapped up this Wednesday, former assistant US attorney and Fox News contributor Andrew McCarthy said that he originally expected Republicans' "best pitch" to be that the Democrats' impeachment inquiry hasn't demonstrated anything impeachable.

"Instead what they've tried to do is go at this by saying, 'Nothing bad happened, it was perfect,'" McCarthy said, adding that the latter tactic will open them up to an "itemization of a number of irregularities that happened and a lot of very admirable and articulate government witnesses getting on the witness stand to say, 'This shouldn't have happened, that shouldn't have happened, this is a departure from American interests, a departure from American norms.'"

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