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Senate will not ‘poke the bear’ Trump by passing tariff measure

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U.S. Senator Bob Corker accused his fellow Republicans of being afraid to stand up to President Donald Trump on Tuesday, as his legislation to block the president’s ability to impose tariffs on national security grounds hit a roadblock in Congress.

“‘We might poke the bear’ is the language I have been hearing in the hallways,” Corker said in an emotional Senate speech. “The president might get upset with us as United States senators if we vote on the Corker amendment, so we’re going to do everything we can to block it.”

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Corker and other lawmakers – Democrats as well as some of Trump’s fellow Republicans – introduced the measure last week after the president’s recent announcement that he was considering tariffs on automobiles, after imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum, citing national security concerns.

Trump, who campaigned on a pledge to negotiate better trade deals to bring back U.S. manufacturing jobs, has pursued aggressive measures against trading partners from China to Canada, Mexico and U.S. allies in Europe.

This has worried some lawmakers who strongly back principles of free trade, warning that Trump could trigger a trade war that would destabilize the economy and ultimately hurt American workers.

Corker’s amendment would have pared back Trump’s authority under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 to impose tariffs on national security grounds without obtaining Congress’ consent.

Its backers had hoped for a Senate vote as soon as this week by including the legislation as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for 2019, or NDAA, a sweeping defense policy bill that Congress passes every year.

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But Senator James Inhofe, the Republican who is managing debate on the defense bill, blocked the amendment as inappropriate for the legislation, preventing a vote.

Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; editing by Jonathan Oatis

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GOP leader McCarthy swats aside Fiona Hill’s national security testimony debunking his Ukraine conspiracy theory

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On Thursday, during one of the final scheduled impeachment hearings this week, National Security Council official Fiona Hill demolished President Donald Trump's conspiracy theory that Ukraine, rather than Russia, meddled in the 2016 election, calling it a "fictional narrative" and noting that it originated with the Kremlin itself.

But in conversation with reporters, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) flatly disbelieved Hill's testimony, and insisted he still held onto the theory.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told me that he was not going to lose any GOP votes during impeachment.

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Environmental justice advocates blast Trump EPA for ‘dangerous’ rollback of chemical disaster rule

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"Safety requirements at these facilities should be stepped up, not rolled back. But this is what we've come to expect from the Trump EPA."

Environmental justice groups condemned the Trump administration Thursday for catering to the chemical industry after the Environmental Protection Agency finalized a rollback of Obama-era disaster prevention measures that were implemented to protect workers at and residents of communities with chemical plants.

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Trump’s personal interests have directly undermined national security and election integrity: CNN correspondent

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On Thursday's edition of CNN's "The Situation Room," correspondent Jim Sciutto broke down a key takeaway from the impeachment hearings.

"We are one year away — less than a year away from the next election, three years after Russia, with consequence, interfered, meddled in the 2016 election," said Sciutto. "One thing is clear from everybody who testified, the president of the United States never expressed any interest in defending the U.S. against that kind of interference. What he did, he was interested in a whole lot of other stuff that undermines that goal of defending U.S. elections from Russian interference, one of which Fiona Hill highlighted there, presenting an alternate explanation, a false one it was Ukraine that somehow hacked the DNC server, not Russia."

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