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Trump, top aides talk trade with Apple CEO Tim Cook at White House

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President Donald Trump and two top aides talked about trade issues with Apple Inc chief Tim Cook on Wednesday as the White House prepares to try to avert a trade war with China, a manufacturing hub for the iPhone maker.

Cook, who has urged calm during the recent flare in U.S. trade tensions with China, held private talks with Trump in the Oval Office. He also spoke with the president’s top economic adviser Larry Kudlow and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

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Trump is preparing to send a delegation to China to try to head off a trade war that stands to harm Apple, the world’s largest technology company, and other hardware makers that build products in China.

Trump has threatened a new round of $100 billion in tariffs on Chinese products that could target cellphones, computers and other consumer goods. China retaliated against an initial round of $50 billion in tariffs.

 The meeting, which the White House said had been in the works for a couple of weeks, came the day after Cook sat at Trump’s head table at his first state dinner, held in honor of French President Emmanuel Macron.
A White House official described the meeting as “good” but neither the White House nor Apple provided details of the discussions.

 Trump said earlier on Wednesday that he was looking forward to seeing Cook. “We will be talking about many things, including how the U.S. has been treated unfairly for many years, by many countries, on trade,” he said on Twitter.
Cook also had strong relations with Trump’s predecessor in the White House, Democratic President Barack Obama. He sat at the head table for Obama’s 2015 state dinner honoring Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Cook has been to China at least three times since October, including paying a visit to Xi Jinping.

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‘GOOD GUY’
Cook has become one of Trump’s favorite CEOs to name-check in speeches. This was a surprising turn after a rocky start to their relationship. During his election campaign, Trump urged supporters to boycott Apple and criticized the company for making its products in China.

As president, Trump has called Cook a “good guy” and mentioned him by name at least 10 times during public remarks, including during his speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January and during several high-profile interviews.

The president frequently uses Cook and Apple as an example of how he says his tax cut package is creating jobs because it spurred the company to repatriate earnings it had held overseas.

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Trump has frequently said he would not consider his presidency successful unless Apple builds manufacturing plants in the United States.

Apple has a market capitalization of $835 billion and 123,000 employees, 84,000 of whom are in the United States. The company said in January it plans to spend $30 billion in capital expenditures in the United States over the next five years, $10 billion of that on data centers.

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Apple said its spending will create 20,000 new jobs through hiring at existing campuses in Cupertino and Austin as well as at a planned new campus.

Cook has also developed ties with Trump’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner, both senior advisers at the White House who work on tech training and government IT modernization issues.

His praise for Cook aside, Trump, a Republican, has had a sometimes tense relationship with the U.S. technology industry, based in Democratic strongholds such as California’s Silicon Valley and in Seattle. He has clashed with the tech sector on issues including trade, immigration and the environment.

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Cook has publicly objected to Trump’s decision to end a program protecting from deportation young immigrants who were brought illegally to the United States as children. He was also among business leaders who criticized Trump after the president cast equal blame on white nationalists and anti-racism activists for violence last year in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Reporting by David Shepardson, Roberta Rampton, Jeff Mason and Susan Heavey in Washington and Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Editing by David Gregorio, Jeffrey Benkoe and Frances Kerry


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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Devin Nunes warns of ‘zombie apocalypse’ from homeless people: ‘We let our criminals out’

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Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) suggested on Sunday that homeless people are the "zombie apocalypse" even though they have not seen large numbers of infections during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The situation out here in California with the homeless population is quite dire and that was before the coronavirus," Nunes explained to Fox News. "It's almost like zombie apocalypse. You've seen the pictures."

"I've got several thousand just in my district," he continued. "It's largely due because we let our criminals out. We pass laws that let multiple convicted drug abusers out. Now unfortunately, a lot of these people -- I call it zombie apocalypse because a lot of these people have done drugs for a long period of time. You know, they're just not well."

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‘A mockery of independence’: Trump to nominate White House lawyer to oversee $4.5 trillion coronavirus relief bill

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A late Friday announcement regarding President Donald Trump's nominee to oversee the implementation of the recently-passed $4.5 trillion coronavirus relief bill was regarded by government watchdogs as the president's latest attempt to protect the interests of powerful corporations while Americans are focused on the coronavirus pandemic.

The White House announced that Trump would nominate Brian D. Miller, a special assistant to the president and senior associate counsel in the White House Counsel office, to oversee the prevention of fraud and abuse in the relief program. The law includes minimal relief for the public and what progressives have derided as a $500 billion "slush fund" for corporations, allowing Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to "bail out any corporation he pleases, with almost no conditions," as Patriotic Millionaires chair Morris Pearl wrote last month.

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Louisiana pastor grilled on CNN for plan to pack 27 buses full of worshipers and haul them to church during COVID-19 crisis

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A Louisiana pastor was put on the spot on Sunday morning by CNN's Victor Blackwell for his plan to load up his buses and haul worshipers to his planned Sunday service at a time when the highly-c0ntagious COVID-19 pandemic has claimed thousands of lives throughout the country.

Speaking with the CNN host, Life Tabernacle Church pastor Tony Spell said he was ignoring advice from local officials to not host the service because it would endanger the health of his followers.

Asked whether he planned to go forward despite warnings, the pastor replied, "This morning, yes, sir, 10:00 AM. We will actually run our buses. We have 27 buses that we cover in a 50-mile radius of our city. We bring people into the house of God, feed them natural food and spiritual food and then we go right back into our respective places. It takes us about eight hours to run into service on Sunday morning and then we come back in tonight."

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