Manafort, Sanctions, and Tariffs

As day six of the manafort trial wraps up, the jury spent the majority of the day hearing testimony from Rick Gates. The defense focused the preliminary portion of their questioning attacking Gate’s credibility.  A pattern of lying emerged when the defense questioned Gates about the plea deal he struck with the Office of the Special Counsel. Gates admitted he had lied to the Special Counsel before taking the plea deal back in February of this year. At first Gates said he had misremembered details of meeting he had with Manafort previously, when Judge Ellis asked Gates to clarify, he stated that he lied to the Special Counsel. When defense counsel, Downing, provided Gates with a list of transactions, he state that he could not remember which were legitimate and which were created to steal funds. Gates did not admit to developing a scheme, nor did he admit to submitting false expense reports to the President's inaugural committee.

Trump’s legal team has said they will announce this week whether or not Trump will sit down with Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team.

Trump issued a statement, via Twitter,  on Monday reinstating sanctions of Iran. "We urge all nations to take such steps to make clear that the Iranian regime faces a choice: either change its threatening, destabilizing behavior and reintegrate with the global economy, or continue down a path of economic isolation." Under the Obama administration sanctions on Iran had been soften with the 2015 nuclear deal. Trump previously reversed the deal back in May and put sections into effect this morning. Additional sanctions will take effect sometime in early November. Trump warned that those who don't wind down their economic ties to Iran "risk severe consequences." Iranian President Hassan Rouhani responded to the sanctions by stating that Iran still can rely on China and Russia to keep its oil and banking sectors afloat.

China is planning to impose tariffs on a majority of its U.S. imports. This a a counter move by China to match the Trump administration’s tariff threats blow-for-blow that is bound to further intensify trade tensions between the world’s two largest economies.

Chinese imports, the State Council, China’s cabinet, on Friday released a list of $60 billion worth of U.S. goods to hit with tariffs, which come on top of the tariffs on $50 billion in American goods on which Beijing already has imposed or said it would impose, bringing the total amount of U.S. products potentially subject to Chinese tariffs to $110 billion—or 85% of U.S. goods entering China last year,

The planned levies, on imports ranging from farm products and machinery to chemicals, range from 5% to 25%. 662 kinds of products including small and medium-size airplanes and computers that could be hit with a 5% duty; nearly 1,000 products including coffee beans and textiles that could be slapped with a 10% duty; another more than 1,000 products such as chemicals and deodorant that could be levied at 20%; some 2,493 products such as meat, wine and liquefied natural gas that could be levied at 25%.

Just this afternoon the Treasury Department announced it that Trump would be imposing  25 percent tariffs on $16 billion worth of Chinese goods. The tariffs will hit multiple industries and target around 280 electronic, plastic, and chemical products, as well as motorcycles and railway cars. The new penalties will go into effect on August 23.