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Mexico dispatches team to DC negotiate tariff solution, as Trump demands illegal immigration remedy

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Mexico dispatches team to DC negotiate tariff solution, as Trump demands illegal immigration remedy

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador dispatched his foreign relations secretary to Washington on Friday, as the country scrambles to negotiate a solution with the United States following President Trump’s surprise move this week to slap tariffs on Mexico in the hopes it would remedy the illegal immigration surge at the U.S.-Mexico border.

The president on Thursday announced the new tariffs, which are slated to go into effect on June 10. Trump said that a new five percent tariff would be placed on all Mexican imports to pressure the country to do more to help crack down on the surge of migrants trying to cross the U.S. Southern border. Trump warned, though, that the tariff percentage would gradually increase up to 25 percent “until the illegal immigration problem is remedied.”

“Mexico has taken advantage of the United States for decades. Because of the Dems, our Immigration Laws are BAD. Mexico makes a FORTUNE from the U.S., have for decades, they can easily fix this problem. Time for them to finally do what must be done!” Trump tweeted Friday morning.

TRUMP ANNOUNCES ESCALATING TARIFFS AGAINST MEXICO, STARTING AT 5 PERCENT UNTIL ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS ‘STOP’ 

Fox News learned that the tariffs, on all goods by land, sea, and air from Mexico will hike to 10 percent on July 1.

“If Mexico still has not taken action to dramatically reduce or eliminate the number of illegal aliens crossing its territory into the United States, Tariffs will be increased to 15 percent on August 1, 2019, to 20 percent on September 1, 2019, and to 25 percent on October 1, 2019,” Trump said in a statement released later by the White House on Thursday. “Tariffs will permanently remain at the 25 percent level unless and until Mexico substantially stops the illegal inflow of aliens coming through its territory.”

White House officials told Fox News that Mexico would need to step up security efforts on the border, target transcontinental smugglers, crack down on illicit bus lines and align with the U.S. on a workable asylum policy. Mexico could use certain so-called choke points on the Southern Border to curb illegal migration sharply, according to the sources.

But Obrador responded in a letter late Thursday, telling Trump that “social problems are not solved with duties or coercive measures,” and said that the United States has a history of being a nation of immigrants.

“The Statute of Liberty is not an empty symbol,” he wrote.

The situation could complicate the legislative passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), sent to Congress by the White House on Thursday, which has aimed broadly to limit tariffs among the three countries.

However, the White House told Fox News it saw the matters as entirely distinct and did not anticipate complications for the USMCA.

But the president was hit with pushback from several Republican senators Friday, criticizing the new tariffs.

“Trade policy and border security are separate issues. This is a misuse of presidential tariff authority and counter to congressional intent,” Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said in a statement Friday, warning that “following through on this threat would seriously jeopardize passage of USMCA, a central campaign pledge of President Trump’s and what could be a big victory for the country.”

Grassley urged the president to “consider alternatives,” such as “imposing a fee on the billions of dollars of remittances that annually leave the United States to Mexico”—something Grassley said “will only encourage illegal immigration.”

“I support nearly every one of President Trump’s immigration policies, but this is not one of them,” Grassley said.

OVER 1,000 ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS APPREHENDED IN EL PASO SECTOR, LARGEST GROUP EVER AT A SINGLE TIME, SOURCES SAY

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, also slammed the president’s decision, asking him to “reconsider.”

“If the president goes through with this, I’m afraid progress to get this trade agreement across the finish line will be stifled,” Ernst said in a statement. “While I support the need for comprehensive border security and a permanent fix to illegal immigration, this isn’t the right path forward.”

But Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who has been a reliable ally for the president throughout his administration on a range of issues, supported the move.

“I support President Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on Mexico until they up their game to help us with our border disaster,” Graham tweeted. “The illegal flows from Central America must stop and Mexico needs to do more.”

Meanwhile, the president blasted Democrats for not being open to stricter policies at the border.

“Hard to believe that with the Crisis on the Border, the Dems won’t do the quick and easy fix. Would solve the problem but they want Open Borders, which equals crime!” Trump tweeted Friday.

Fox News’ Gregg Re, John Roberts, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Pelosi flexes muscle over party in impeachment debate, but ‘dam’ could collapse

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Pelosi flexes muscle over party in impeachment debate, but ‘dam’ could collapse

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has wielded her power to quash a faction of Democrats rallying for President Trump’s impeachment, but frustrated members within the party say the president is one misstep away from “that dam collapsing,” according to a Sunday report.

Since reassuming leadership over the house, Pelosi has thwarted her party’s liberal wing from going forward with impeachment proceedings, encouraging them to instead focus on other issues like health care.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., reflects on President Donald Trump's statement that he would accept assistance from a foreign power. 

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., reflects on President Donald Trump’s statement that he would accept assistance from a foreign power. 
(AP)

“I don’t think there’s anything more divisive we can do than to impeach a president of the United States, and so you have to handle it with great care,” Pelosi told CNN on Sunday. “It has to be about the truth and the facts to take you to whatever decision has to be there.”

Some lawmakers say their deference to Pelosi is out of respect for the speaker’s political expertise, and agree that impeachment would do more harm than good.

NANCY PELOSI TOLD DEMS SHE WANTS TO SEE TRUMP ‘IN PRISON’: REPORT

“She is the single smartest strategist that we’ve ever had…People are not wanting to second guess her because she’s been right on so many fronts,” Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., told the Washington Post.

But other Democratic lawmakers, like Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., admit they toe the party line out of fear.

“One, you want to be a team player and support the leader’s position, but secondly you’re worried about your own self and…what can happen if you don’t follow along,” Schrader told the paper.

Some argue that President Trump’s defiance of congressional investigators will eventually break the divide between moderate Democrats and its liberal wing.

TRUMP APPEARS TO HAVE INADVERTENTLY INFUSED DEMOCRATIC INVESTIGATIONS AFTER ABC INTERVIEW

Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, D-Va., described Pelosi’s hold over Democrats as “fragile” because “we’re kind of one event, one piece of explosive testimony, one action by Trump away from that dam collapsing.”

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The Democrats’ pro-impeachment camp howled this week after Trump said in an interview with ABC that he’d be willing to listen if a foreign government had dirt on an opponent. Yet despite the familiar refrain of impeachment, Pelosi didn’t budge an inch on impeachment after Trump’s comments.

Fox News’ Chad Pergram contributed to this report.

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Trump asks Mulvaney to leave Oval Office for coughing during ABC interview

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Trump asks Mulvaney to leave Oval Office for coughing during ABC interview

President Trump was apparently so perturbed by his chief of staff coughing during an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos in the Oval Office last week, that he asked his staffer to leave the room, according to a transcript from the station.

Trump had been asked a question about his tax returns when someone off camera – identified as Mulvaney – reportedly begins coughing.

“I hope they get it, because it’s a fantastic financial statement,” Trump said Stephanopoulos amid apparent coughing before saying: “And let’s do that over, he’s coughing in the middle of my answer.”

TRUMP SAYS HE WOULD ‘WANT TO HEAR’ DIRT ON 2020 RIVALS FROM FOREIGN GOVERNMENTS, SUGGESTS HE WOULDN’T CONTACT FBI

“I don’t like that, you know, I don’t like that,” Trump reportedly said of Mulvaney’s coughing. “If you’re going to couch, please leave the room. You just can’t, you just can’t cough. Boy oh boy.”

“Your chief of staff,” Stephanopoulos reportedly clarified.

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The interview, which was broadcast Sunday, proceeded with Trump saying although he wanted people to see his “phenomenal” financial statement, it’s “not up to me, it’s up to my lawyers.”

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Buttigieg says he won’t be first gay president, ‘almost certain’ we’ve had others

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Buttigieg says he won't be first gay president, 'almost certain' we've had others

Mayor Pete Buttigieg doesn’t believe he’ll be the first gay president if elected in 2020.

“I would imagine we’ve probably had excellent presidents who were gay — we just didn’t know which ones,” he told “Axios on HBO.”

“I mean, statistically, it’s almost certain.”

FILE: Democratic presidential candidate Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks at a grassroots event on Friday, June 14, 2019, in Alexandria, Va.

FILE: Democratic presidential candidate Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks at a grassroots event on Friday, June 14, 2019, in Alexandria, Va.
(AP)

Asked if he possibly knew which commander-in-chief was playing for the other team, the Democratic hopeful said: “My gaydar even doesn’t work that well in the present, let alone retroactively. But one can only assume that’s the case.”

BUTTIGIEG SAYS TRUMP USING JUSTICE DEPARTMENT AS ‘HIS OWN PERSONAL LAW FIRM’

Buttigieg — who is mayor of South Bend, Ind. — has been rising in the polls as of late. He would be the first openly gay presidential candidate, if nominated next next year.

The 37-year-old has been asked in the past about the possibility of there ever being a gay president, with BuzzFeed posing the question back in March.

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“My gaydar is not great to begin with and definitely doesn’t work over long stretches of time,” he repeated. “I think we’ll just have to let the historians figure that out.”

To read more from The New York Post, click here

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