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US pushing for NAFTA deal as Thursday deadline approaches

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The United States is still pushing for a deal to revise the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the White House said on Wednesday, while a top Mexican official held out the possibility of an agreement in the coming weeks.

President Donald Trump is committed to getting a better agreement with Canada and Mexico, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told Fox News.

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“We still want to see something happen and we’re going to continue in those conversations. They’re ongoing now and we’re pushing forward and hopeful that we can get something done soon,” said Sanders.

U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan has said that the Republican-controlled Congress would need to be notified of a new deal by Thursday to give lawmakers a chance to approve it before a newly elected Congress takes over in January.

Sanders did not address Ryan’s timeline, but said Trump was adamant he would get a deal “that works for America.”

“He’s not going to stop until he gets it,” she added.

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Mexico’s economy minister Ildefonso Guajardo reiterated that Thursday was not a feasible deadline.

“However, I would not rule out at any point, if the participants show the willingness, that we can settle this negotiation at any moment from the close of May onwards, or in June,” the minister told Mexican radio.

Guajardo said it was not yet clear when the ministers from Mexico, Canada and the United States responsible for negotiating NAFTA would meet again.

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Ryan himself told reporters at the U.S. Capitol that Congress cannot begin working on the negotiating law known as “fast track” without a trade deal in hand.

 “The point is, we can’t work a bill unless we have an agreement that’s in writing that we can work on, and that hasn’t occurred yet,” Ryan said.
Chief Mexican NAFTA negotiator Kenneth Smith said that the administration of President Enrique Pena Nieto had a responsibility to keep negotiating until Mexico’s new president, who will be elected on July 1, takes office on Dec. 1.

If a NAFTA deal is not reached before the election, Mexico’s negotiators will work closely with the incoming government’s transition team, Smith told Mexican radio.

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U.S. Representative Kevin Brady, the chairman of the tax and trade-focused House Ways and Means Committee, said there was probably little room to go past the Thursday deadline for a deal and still get a new NAFTA approved by year end.

 Leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is leading polls to win the Mexican presidential race. His pick for economy minister, Graciela Marquez, has said his administration would be willing to accept a deal struck before the election.
Additional reporting by David Ljunggren in Ottawa, Frank Jack Daniel, Anthony Esposito and Dave Graham in Mexico City; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and James Dalgleish


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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Trump has figured out how to get taxpayers to renovate one of his golf courses: MSNBC panel

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President Donald Trump has figured out how to have taxpayers pay to renovate his Trump National Doral Miami golf course, according to an analysis by MSNBC's Stephanie Ruhle.

"Before setting himself on fire on Ukraine yesterday, Mick Mulvaney came into the White House briefing room to break to the nation the fact the that the Trump Doral golf resort turns out to be -- in his estimation, organically, just sitting there -- the best possible place to have a G-7 Summit of world leaders," MSNBC's Brian Williams reported. "That was provision number one. There’s no better place that we can find. Number two was, the president will not profit from said G-7."

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Bill Maher reveals plan to ‘bribe’ Trump with one billion dollars — for him to leave office

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The Constitution has two mechanisms to remove President Donald Trump from office prior to his term ending on January 20, 2021: impeachment and the 25th Amendment.

HBO "Real Time" host Bill Maher noted that Trump could also choose to resign.

Maher waved around a $1 million check that he said he would give to Trump to quit.

He said he also knew 1,000 people who would do the same -- which would land Trump over $1 billion.

Maher said even poor people would pawn their wedding rings to add to the pot.

Watch:

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Trump can’t fire Mulvaney because nobody else wants to be his chief of staff: report

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White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney will likely stay on at the White House despite his public confession of a quid pro quo in the Ukraine scandal at the center of the impeachment inquiry, The New York Times reported Friday.

"But Mr. Mulvaney’s job has been anything but normal since the news conference on Thursday at which he seemingly undermined the Trump administration’s strategy for avoiding impeachment by acknowledging that Mr. Trump had sought a quid pro quo for providing Ukraine with American aid," the newspaper reported. "In the chaotic aftermath, the president’s Republican allies are questioning Mr. Mulvaney’s savvy and intelligence even as the Trump campaign is defiantly turning one of his lines from the news conference into a T-shirt."

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