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Paul Krugman argues that Trump’s spin is nonsense — he’s losing the trade war

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President Donald Trump has declared that he is close to reaching a “Phase One” agreement in negotiations in the trade war with China, a development that would forestall threatened tariff increases and roll back some of the punitive measures already in place. The deal is not yet finished nor released in detail, but Trump and his defenders are already celebrating it as a huge win.

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But economist Paul Krugman warned Thursday: not so fast. In general, there are no winners in a trade war, he said. But there are losers, and in Trump’s war with China, Krugman argued, the U.S. president is undoubtedly a loser.

“That’s certainly how the Chinese see it,” Krugman explained on Twitter. “Trump tried to bully them; they hung tough; and are basically ending up where they started, buying agricultural products while selling us increasingly sophisticated manufactured goods.”

He continued:

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Farmers, Krugman explained, have significantly suffered as a result. Bloomberg reported recently that under the trade war, farm bankruptcies have spiked 24 percent. Even if Trump gets serious concessions from China, he can’t undo that impact on Americans.

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One way Trump has tried to mitigate that impact, though, is by spending billions of government funds to compensate for the damage to farmers that he caused. And as Krugman pointed out, that bailout is significantly larger than the much-discussed auto bailout under President Barack Obama, which was called for because of the effects of the financial crisis, rather than the White House’s recklessness.

“Furthermore, even if we do get a sustained deal — which is still far from certain — the whole episode will have two big long-run costs. First, business uncertainty about capricious policy is here to stay,” Krugman continued. “Second, the Chinese have learned the same lesson North Korea’s Kim learned: Trump talks loudly but carries a small stick, and can be rolled. Trump has made us weak, neither trusted by our allies nor feared by our enemies.”

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But for those hoping this major blunder will hurt Trump politically, Krugman has little consolation.

“Now, Trump may not suffer politically. Elections turn not on how good things are, but on whether they’re perceived as getting better. This actually gives politicians an incentive to do stupid things for a while, then stop around a year before the election. Sound familiar?” he wrote.

 

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Republican Kevin McCarthy gets taken down by former top GOP colleague

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Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was attacked by a former Republican colleague who alleged McCarthy and his fellow members of Congress have allowed the House GOP to become the official shill for the White House.

In a profile for the New York Times, former Oversight Committee Chairman Tom Davis (R-VA) shamed the GOP House for the way that a once-respectable institution has fallen.

“Congress no longer operates as an independent branch of government, but as an appendage of the executive branch,” said Davis. “He is made for that role.”

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Former senator reveals to Maddow how one brave Democrat can reveal key document in impeachment trial

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Near the end of Wednesday's impeachment trial, Chief Justice John Roberts announced that an agreement had been made to allow senators to read supplemental testimony from Vice President Mike Pence aide Jennifer Williams.

The document will remain classified, despite claims that there is no classified material in the document, only evidence that is damning to the president.

"In terms of this document potentially being improperly classified, which is something that has been raised in writing by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and raised on the floor of the Senate tonight by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA)," MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow noted. "Obviously, it was the vice president's office that said it was classified, they are getting publicly criticized for that. If it has been improperly classified and it should be something that the public can see, who adjudicates that?"

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Florida Republican Matt Gaetz admits Trump’s legal defense was ‘like an 8th grade book report’ — only worse

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Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) admitted that President Donald Trump's team of lawyers weren't quite the legal eagles that he thinks they might be, said Politico reporter Andrew Desiderio.

Questioned about his take on the way the case is unfolding in the Senate, Gaetz said that the House presented it like it was going to be on "cable news." For many that may be an insult, but it appears to Gaetz that was a compliment.

Desiderio said that Gaetz then lamented that the White House presented their case more like “an 8th-grade book report.”

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