In any interesting twist, President Trump has announced that he may personally testify in his impeachment probe. Trump has indicated he is interested in the idea of being able to set the record straight himself. He says “Even though I did nothing wrong, and don’t like giving credibility to this No Due Process Hoax, I like the idea & will, in order to get Congress focused again, strongly consider it!”. Trump’s comments came at the urging of House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s request for him to testify. The president could testify via writing or in-person.
FINSUM: We doubt this will happen (Trump’s lawyers would probably be remiss in letting him testify in person), but it is an interesting turn. Imagine the media frenzy!
It might seem a bit of an over-exaggeration at this moment, but it is not too far-fetched. Hong Kong is continuing to devolve into ever more violent and disruptive protesting, and the pictures and developments seem to indicate that the situation might be devolving into a kind of disorganized civil war. Protesters have taken siege of the university in the city and the City’s security forces attempted unsuccessfully to forcefully take it back this morning.
FINSUM: What is the mainland going to do here? Things are getting worse and worse.
It has an air of inevitability now that it has happened. President Trump has requested the Supreme Court to block a subpoena that is seeking to obtain his tax returns. The effort is coming from New York, which previously scored a victory in New York courts. Trump’s argument, which he is seeking the Supreme Court to affirm, is that a sitting president is immune from all stages of prosecution. “If the president were prosecuted, the steward of all the people would be hijacked from his duties by an official of few (or none) of them … We are hopeful that the Supreme Court will grant review in this significant constitutional case and reverse the dangerous and damaging decision of the appeals court”, says an attorney for Trump.
FINSUM: Two angles occur here—either Trump does have something to hide, or he is an incredibly sharp political strategist. Consider the scenario of Trump battling to block the release, him ultimately losing, and then prosecutors finding nothing suspicious in his returns. Nothing would prove his witch hunt argument more strongly. It would be a brilliant strategy.
Trump went on the record yesterday telling investors that the US and China were close to finalizing a trade deal. Markets were unconvinced. Speaking at the Economic Club of New York yesterday, Trump said “We’re close to a significant phase-one trade deal with China … It could happen soon, but we will only accept a deal if it’s good for the U.S. and our workers and our companies”. Markets held ground after the comments, but ultimately fell back as Trump offered little evidence to back up the comments of a deal being “close”.
FINSUM: In our view of this situation, a deal is never close to being done, it is perpetually on the edge of falling apart and only truly done when it is signed.
Hong Kong police have warned that the city is on the brink of collapse. A police shooting of a protester on Monday has sparked a huge wave of renewed protests that have blocked roadways and caused chaos. “Over the past two days, our society has been pushed to the brink of a total breakdown as rioters went on a rampage”. The protests have turned increasingly violent in recent days as 128 were hospitalized with injuries on Monday.
FINSUM: This has no end in sight, and with tension increasing, so too are the odds that it somehow becomes wrapped up in the US-China trade war.
In what comes as a very encouraging sign in the trade war, Washington is considering dropping some tariffs on Beijing as part of an effort to close a deal with China. The Trump administration is reportedly debating whether to drop $112 bn worth of tariffs. That said, the White House would be expecting something in return. The potential cut in tariffs follows the cancellation of a new $250 bn+ tariff package.
FINSUM: Both sides making concessions is the key to a solid deal. We find this encouraging.