DC Daily: Trump issues NAFTA warning to Canada

Posted at 9:24 AM, Sep 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-01 12:24:58-04

Here's what's making headlines in the political world on Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018:

(AP) — President Donald Trump warned Canada on Saturday that it "will be out" of a revised North American trade agreement unless it's "fair" to the United States, and he threatened to scrap the current deal should Congress "interfere" with the negotiations.

"There is no political necessity to keep Canada in the new NAFTA deal," Trump said in one of a series of tweets as he visited his Virginia golf club while three former presidents and a range of political dignitaries attended a Washington memorial for John McCain. Trump wasn't invited.

But it's not clear whether the Trump administration has the authority to strike a deal with just Mexico, as it announced Monday, and exclude Canada. Also, Congress must approve any rewrite of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Talks to keep Canada in the trade bloc are to resume this coming week as Washington and Ottawa.

Pelosi losing popularity with Democrats, too

Democratic congressional candidates across the U.S. have backed away from Rep. Nancy Pelosi, including in Democratic strongholds such as California and New York. And Republicans are lobbing similar attacks against them, using the veteran California liberal's name as code for what's supposed to make GOP-leaning and centrist voters nervous about the left, including support for big government — and more recently, a desire to impeach President Donald Trump.

Pelosi, the U.S. House speaker when Democrats controlled the chamber in 2007-11, has been among Republicans' go-to attacks for more than a decade, with consultants from both parties estimating that the GOP has spent tens of millions on ads linking other Democrats to her. The spotlight on her has intensified with former President Barack Obama and 2016 presidential nominee Hillary Clinton no longer front-and-center.

Democrats need to pick up at least 23 new House seats for a majority in the 435-member House. With a narrow majority, a small group of recalcitrant freshmen could leave Pelosi short of the 218 votes necessary to become speaker.

Court filing references Trump-Putin meeting

President Donald Trump "nodded with approval" at the suggestion of a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to a court filing that seeks leniency for a former campaign aide who lied to the FBI.

Lawyers for George Papadopoulos are seeking probation, saying the foreign policy adviser misled agents during a January 2017 interview not to harm an investigation but rather to "save his professional aspirations and preserve a perhaps misguided loyalty to his master."

Papadopoulos is a pivotal figure in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation as the first Trump campaign aide to plead guilty and cooperate with prosecutors. The revelation that he'd been told by a professor during the campaign that Russia had "dirt" on Democrat Hillary Clinton in the form of emails helped trigger the FBI's counterintelligence investigation in July 2016 into potential coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign.