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White House gets report that could trigger tariffs against imported cars

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The White House received Monday a Commerce Department report on the auto industry that could trigger tariffs against imported cars and intensify tensions with Europe.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has labeled as “frightening” the prospect that European car imports could be declared a national security threat to the United States.

Two people familiar with the matter earlier told AFP that the Commerce Department report has concluded that auto imports pose such a threat.

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As part of his “America First” agenda, US President Donald Trump has already imposed a range of tariffs against allies, as well as China.

“Today, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross formally submitted to President Donald J. Trump the results of the Department of Commerce’s investigation into the effect of imports of automobiles and automobile parts on the national security of the United States,” a Commerce Department statement issued late Sunday said.

It gave no further details. Sunday was the deadline for Ross to file his report.

Trump ordered the investigation in May, and after receiving the report he now has 90 days to decide whether or not to impose tariffs.

Trump has threatened 25 percent duties on European autos, especially targeting Germany, which he says has harmed the American car industry.

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In July, Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker reached a trade truce under which they pledged no new tariffs while negotiations continued.

The White House has already used the national security argument — saying that undermining the American manufacturing base impairs military readiness, among other claims — to impose steep tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

His action drew instant retaliation from the EU, Canada, Mexico and China.

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In 2017 just under half of the 17 million cars sold in the United States were imported, most of them produced in Canada and Mexico. Those two countries have reached a new free trade pact with Washington and are expected to be exempt from any new automobile duties.

German automobile groups last year exported 470,000 cars from Germany to the United States, according to the VDA manufacturers’ federation.

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Aside from economic matters, US-European ties are already upended over Trump’s approach towards Iran and Syria, as well as other issues.


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Columnist drops the hammer on ‘Stalinist’ GOP’ for running a bogus ‘show trial’ to exonerate Trump

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In a brutal column for the Daily Beast, longtime political observer Michael Tomasky went all-in on an attack on Republican senators for turning the impeachment trial of Donald Trump into a "Stalinist show trial" where the outcome is known before it even starts.

Reflecting on the impassioned case laid out by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) over the past three days, Tomasky wondered what it would take to get through to Republicans who seem uninterested in fulfilling their constitutional duties.

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‘Take her out!’ Leaked audio purportedly catches Trump demanding firing of Marie Yovanovitch

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An audio recording that has been reviewed by ABC News purportedly catches President Donald Trump demanding the firing of former American ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.

According to ABC News, the recording was made in April 2018, which was more than a year before Yovanovitch was finally ousted from her position. Additionally, ABC News reports that the recording was made by Igor Fruman, the now-indicted henchman of Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who captured the president's voice during a private dinner where he also met with Fruman's co-conspirator, Lev Parnas.

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Republicans’ phony impeachment outrage can’t conceal their deep-seated anxiety

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When you watch a trial, whether you're on a jury yourself or on the couch in front of the TV, the prosecution's presentation always seems airtight — until you see the defense. So I don't want to say at this stage that the House managers in Donald Trump's Senate impeachment trial have made their case. But seriously, it's hard to see how the president's team can plausibly explain away this behavior. Their only choice will be to admit that all the evidence is true and tell the American people that it was perfect.

This article was originally published at Salon

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