A Twitter Demand and Conflicting Trade Plans

This past Sunday, Trump tweeted a demanded. He insisted that the Justice Department open up an investigation into whether or not the "FBI and or Dept. of Justice infiltrated or or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes - and if any such demands or requests were made by people within the Obama Administration!" The response to Trumps Twitter demand has not been positive, many are describing it as inappropriate and trivial. A request by Trump to have the Dept. of Justice look into the past surveillance of the FBI or the DOJ is entirely legal - should no intent to corrupt or obstruct be found.  The president is granted the power to impact the operations of the Justice Department from his constitutional designation as the Chief Executive of the United States.  In past administrations it would have been typical for the president to hold a conference with the Assistant Attorney General to discuss the proper proceedings when there is suspected campaign interference. Despite the the unofficial call given via twitter, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein did not hesitate to act and within the day ordered the inspector general to investigate. 

The question now becomes how will this demand impact Robert Muller's Russia investigation? Just after Trump insisted on an additional investigation by the Dept. of Justice, Rudy Giuliani told the Associated Press that the investigation could wrap up as early as September 1st. This ended date was wholly dependent on Trump sitting down before Mueller and his team for questioning this July. Giuliani indicated that the entirety of the probe could be concluded in September not just the inquiry of potential obstruction of justice. This would be optimal time for the investigation to wrap up as midterms are fast approaching in November. There has been no official plans for Trump to sit down with Mueller or his team but it seems to be the current legal strategy his attorneys are pursuing. 

Sunday additionally produced mixed messages over trade. There does not seem to be a clear plan on how the United States is going to move forward with Chinese tariffs. According to U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin; "We are putting the trade war on hold. Right now, we have agreed to put the tariffs on hold while we try to execute the framework". Saturday was filled with negotiations between Beijing and Washington trying to establish measures which China would import more energy and agricultural commodities. The entitle talks between the two nations resulted in demand of a $200 billion reduction in China's trade surplus - there was no figure issued from the countries most recent talks.  U.S. trade official, Robert Lighthizer went public with a different perspective of the trade war. Lighthizer believes that, "real structural change is necessary. Nothing less than the future of tens of millions of American jobs is at stake". He understands the importance of the open market to for the U.S. to export with China but sees the next step as resolving issues of forced technology transfers and cyber theft. Larry Kudlow, Director of the United States National Economic Council told CBS "Face the Nation" that it was still too early to be locking down any deal. Kudlow emphasized that there were "structural reforms" which needed attention such as lowering tariffs and non-tariff barriers to allow the United States to boost exports. The next step in brokering a trade deal with China will be to bring in Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to comment on which areas will be significantly increased, including energy, liquefied natural gas, agriculture and manufacturing.