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Was Trump really this honest?

What did Trump get right and what did he get wrong?

Eric Zuesse

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After all of the trumpeting against Donald Trump by the ‘news’ media and by all Democratic politicians and many Republican politicians, about his utter untrustworthiness; and after the loads of exposés that have been published, over decades, documenting Trump’s psychopathic behaviors and business scams; what do we now have, adding to this unsavory if not criminal record by Mr. Trump, in the first criminal indictment, published on October 27th, by the Special Prosecutor, Robert Mueller, who is tasked to nail Trump to some prison cell for crimes committed during his Presidential campaign, after Trump’s having previously racked up already such a lifetime record of alleged (and even some documented) outrages perpetrated by him?

The indictments, of Paul Manafort II and of Richard W. Gates III, make serious charges against these two men, for their allegedly laundering $75 million of income to mainly Manafort during the period from 2006 to 2015. The charges are basically tax-evasion and “a series of false and misleading statements” by them to the U.S. Department of Justice during and after the men’s subsequent work for Trump’s Presidential campaign.

This income had been derived during 2006 to 2015 from what was then the leading political Party in Ukraine, and Paragraph 10 of the Indictment states that this Party, “The Party of Regions was a pro-Russia political party in Ukraine.” Is that legally relevant? Is it criminal in America for a politician in a nation that borders Russia to be “pro-Russia”? (Should it be criminal in Russia for a politician in a nation that borders America to be pro-American?)

It wasn’t criminal in that neighboring country, Ukraine, to be pro-Russian, but is it criminal in America? Did a legal basis exist, during 2005 through 2014, and up till the U.S. coup that overthrew this Partyin 2014, for the U.S. to outlaw this Ukrainian Party, retrospectively, after the U.S. Government had replaced their rule by the rule of one far-right Party, led by Yulia Tymoshenko, and two racist-fascist or ideologically nazi Parties — the Right Sector, and the former Social Nationalist Party of Ukraine — all three of which Parties rabidly hate Russians?

The Party of Regions had been elected to power in Ukraine’s final democratic election (2010) in which the residents in all parts of Ukraine were permitted to vote for or against candidates for Ukrainian national office. That’s what its having been called “The Party of Regions” meant: acceptance, as being part of Ukraine, of the residents in all regions of Ukraine, not discriminating against any, and not blocking any from being able to vote for President and for other national elective offices. What was illegal, anywhere (even in the United States), about that? If nothing, then why does Mueller even mention it, except in order to prejudice jurors?

The Indictment states that this Party “retained MANAFORT, through DMP and then DMI, to advance its interests in Ukraine, including the election of its slate of candidates. In 2010, its candidate for President, Yanukovych, was elected President of Ukraine.” Is that criminal, or is it instead merely prejudicial against the defendants (Manafort and Gates)? Is this Indictment designed to appeal to Americans’ prejudices, or to America’s laws?

Paragraph 11 states: “The European Centre for a Modem Ukraine (the Centre) was created in or about 2012 in Belgium as a mouthpiece for Yanukovych and the Party of Regions. The Centre was used by MANAFORT, GATES, and others in order to lobby and conduct a public relations campaign in the United States and Europe on behalf of the existing Ukraine regime. The Centre effectively ceased to operate upon the downfall of Yanukovych in 2014.”

The last Ukrainian election in which the people in the parts of the country where the main language that was spoken was Russian were allowed to live in peace and to vote in Ukrainian national elections, had produced, according to Mueller, what was, until the coup “the existing regime” — not “the existing Government.” Is the presumption here that the coup-government is “the Ukrainian Government,” but that the democratically elected Government which had preceded the coup-government was instead “the existing Ukraine regime”? It contradicts the history — it contradicts the solidly documented record of what had happened there.

Then follow, until Paragraph 25, specific alleged documents that will be produced at trial in order to prove the money-laundering and the lying aimed to hide it. Paragraph 25 states that, “In November 2016 and February 2017, MANAFORT, GATES, and DMI caused false and misleading letters to be submitted to the Department of Justice, which mirrored the false cover story set out above.”

Starting with Paragraph 37 are the “Statutory Allegations” and the numbered criminal “Counts.” All pertain to the alleged money-laundering and the alleged lies in order to cover it up. Then Paragraph 52 states that upon conviction, the men “shall forfeit to the United States any property, real or personal, involved in such offense, and any property traceable to such property,” etc.

Among the cited U.S. criminal laws, and their punishments, which were referenced, were:

18 U.S.C. § 1956(h) (“shall be sentenced to a fine of not more than $500,000 or twice the value of the property involved in the transaction, whichever is greater, or imprisonment for not more than twenty years, or both”)

31 U.S.C. § 5322(b) (“shall be fined not more than $500,000, imprisoned for not more than 10 years, or both”)

22 U.S.C. § 618(a)(2) (“a fine of not more than $10,000 or by imprisonment for not more than five years, or both”)

So, the expectation is that, if neither Manafort nor Gates will testify that Trump colluded with Russia in order to win the U.S. Presidency, then both Manafort and Gates will face perhaps 35 years in prison, or else be pardoned by Trump — which latter pardoning might assist his becoming replaced by either a different Republican in primaries, or else by the Democratic nominee, in 2020 — if Trump’s Presidency even lasts that long.

An editorial at the Strategic Culture Foundation on November 1st was headlined “First Indictment in Russiagate: Special Counsel Not Up to the Task”, and noted that, “Surprising or not, the indictment does not mention neither Trump nor Russia! The story is about Ukraine. Paul Manafort had ties with Ukraine’s Party of Regions, which was considered as a ‘pro-Moscow’ political force. That’s the only ‘Russia connection.’ Everything related to Manafort pertains to the period before he started to work for Donald Trump. And Rick Gates has never had any relation to the incumbent president or his team.”

It goes on to note that: “Manafort’s indictment (Item 22, page 15) states very seriously that Yulia Tymoshenko had served as Ukraine’s President prior to Yanukovych! It takes a few seconds to have a look at the list of Ukraine’s presidents to find out that Yulia Timoshenko has never been the holder of the highest office.” That was actually referencing Paragraph 22 on page 16, but the point being made is accurate: The former FBI chief and now the prestigious Special Counsel chosen in order to replace Trump by Pence, is so incompetent that he permits a historical falsehood that’s documentable even merely by reference to a Wikipedia article, to appear in Mueller’s piece of propaganda for the appointment of the rabid Russia-hater and current Vice President, Mike Pence, to complete Trump’s term-of-office.

Is this the ‘Justice’ system in a democracy, or is it now just a two-bit dictatorship that’s the fading ghost of anything that the United States of America formerly was?

It’s certainly a scandal, at the very top, and, obviously, only fools would believe that a government such as this is a democracy, at all.

So: Was Trump really this honest? Was he so honest, so that the only way he can even be framed enough for him to be forced out of office, is to unleash against him an ‘expert lawyer’ such as Mueller, who obviously isn’t even a competent piranha? In the U.S., as Alan Dershowitz has said, “A grand jury will indict a ham sandwich if the prosecutor wants them to”. But almost all Americans believe that an indictment is itself evidence of a person’s ‘guilt’. That’s the remarkable trust the people in a dictatorship have when the dictatorship is so total that the public trust even an indictment to be the result of some kind of authentic democratic process proving something, instead of the result of an extremely effective system of public mind-control, which it is.

Mueller wasn’t hired because he’s some kind of legal whiz, but because he looks and sounds like a person who isn’t a lawyer but “who plays one on TV” — he’s the caricature of the part. And, in a dictatorship, that’s the type of person who fills the bill, especially for an assignment like this one.

The minority-leader in the U.S. Senate, Democrat Charles Schumer, said when Mueller was appointed, “Former Director Mueller is exactly the right kind of individual for this job. I now have significantly greater confidence that the investigation will follow the facts wherever they lead.” If they ‘lead’ to Trump, and to Russia, it will apparently be by way of Manafort, Gates, and the last democratically elected government that Ukraine had, which the U.S. Government overthrew by means of a bloody coup, which produced an ongoing ethnic-cleansing campaign (‘civil war’) to get rid of the voters who had enabled the ousted democratically elected President of Ukraine to have been elected.

In addition to the October 27th indictments of Manafort and Gates, there was on October 5th a signed guilty plea by an unpaid but self-inflated volunteer for the Trump campaign, who had solicited from, allegedly, the Russian Government, via a third party, “dirt” that the third party alleged to have somehow acquired against candidate Hillary Clinton, and the “Statement of the Offense” to which he signed included no “dirt” against Donald Trump, and no cooperation with the defendant on the part of Trump’s campaign, other than that the campaign, on one occasion in candidate Trump’s presence, heard this “advisor to the campaign” state in general terms what the third-party informer was seeking to deliver to the campaign.

The defendant, George Papadopoulos, confessed there to having lied to the FBI. What, if anything, the ‘Justice’ Department had agreed to (the other side of this plea-deal) in order to extract these admissions from Papadopoulos, is not known. The confession didn’t allege that the Trump campaign authorized, nor ever accepted, the alleged offer, which Papadopoulos had allegedly midwifed, but which, apparently, aborted, never delivered.

On October 30th, Vanity Fair magazine headlined “MUELLER’S RUSSIAN COLLUSION CASE COMES INTO FOCUS”, and Abigail Tracy reported and linked to the “Statement of the Offense.” Then, on November 1st, that magazine’s Gabriel Sherman bannered “‘YOU CAN’T GO ANY LOWER’: INSIDE THE WEST WING, TRUMP IS APOPLECTIC AS ALLIES FEAR IMPEACHMENT”, and reported that Sherman’s sources inside the White House were panicking (which hardly makes sense) and that “Trump blamed Jared Kushner for his role in decisions, specifically the firings of Mike Flynn and James Comey, that led to Mueller’s appointment, according to a source briefed on the call.” Sherman reported that, “For the first time since the investigation began, the prospect of impeachment is being considered as a realistic outcome and not just a liberal fever dream.” No explanation was provided for that allegedly “realistic outcome” to result from either the Manafort-Gates indictments or the Papadopoulos plea-deal.

Mueller has indicted his two ham-sandwiches, regarding their allegedly hiding and lying about their income from the pre-coup leading political Party in Ukraine, and has gotten an unpaid Trump-campaign volunteer to admit only to his own lying to the FBI about what he himself had done. There is still no testimony against Trump, nor against anyone in his Administration. Is Trump really so honest, that this piranha, Mueller, can’t yet bite even close to this President? Not a big bite — not any bite at all? Really? And the Trump White House now considers impeachment “a realistic outcome” — from this? Maybe some reasonable explanation exists, other than: Trump’s team want to keep their ‘lows’ as low as possible until, late in his term, the shoddiness of the campaign against him becomes undeniable, and so sets him up for a stunning re-election, as the least-disgusting of the Presidential options, from amongst which, the American electorate will be allowed to choose, in 2020.

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Skripal and Khashoggi: A Tale of Two Disappearances

Two disappearances, and two different responses.

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Authored by Finian Cunningham via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


Two disappearances, and two very different responses from Western governments, which illustrates their rank hypocrisy.

When former Russian spy Sergei Skripal went missing in England earlier this year, there was almost immediate punitive action by the British government and its NATO allies against Moscow. By contrast, Western governments are straining with restraint towards Saudi Arabia over the more shocking and provable case of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The outcry by Western governments and media over the Skripal affair was deafening and resulted in Britain, the US and some 28 other countries expelling dozens of Russian diplomats on the back of unsubstantiated British allegations that the Kremlin tried to assassinate an exiled spy with a deadly nerve agent. The Trump administration has further tightened sanctions citing the Skripal incident.

London’s case against Moscow has been marked by wild speculation and ropey innuendo. No verifiable evidence of what actually happened to Sergei Skripal (67) and his daughter Yulia has been presented by the British authorities. Their claim that President Vladimir Putin sanctioned a hit squad armed with nerve poison relies on sheer conjecture.

All we know for sure is that the Skripals have been disappeared from public contact by the British authorities for more than seven months, since the mysterious incident of alleged poisoning in Salisbury on March 4.

Russian authorities and family relatives have been steadfastly refused any contact by London with the Skripal pair, despite more than 60 official requests from Moscow in accordance with international law and in spite of the fact that Yulia is a citizen of the Russian Federation with consular rights.

It is an outrage that based on such thin ice of “evidence”, the British have built an edifice of censure against Moscow, rallying an international campaign of further sanctions and diplomatic expulsions.

Now contrast that strenuous reaction, indeed hyper over-reaction, with how Britain, the US, France, Canada and other Western governments are ever-so slowly responding to Saudi Arabia over the Khashoggi case.

After nearly two weeks since Jamal Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, the Saudi regime is this week finally admitting he was killed on their premises – albeit, they claim, in a “botched interrogation”.

Turkish and American intelligence had earlier claimed that Khashoggi was tortured and murdered on the Saudi premises by a 15-member hit squad sent from Riyadh.

Even more grisly, it is claimed that Khashoggi’s body was hacked up with a bone saw by the killers, his remains secreted out of the consulate building in boxes, and flown back to Saudi Arabia on board two private jets connected to the Saudi royal family.

What’s more, the Turks and Americans claim that the whole barbaric plot to murder Khashoggi was on the orders of senior Saudi rulers, implicating Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The latest twist out of Riyadh, is an attempt to scapegoat “rogue killers” and whitewash the House of Saudi from culpability.

The fact that 59-year-old Khashoggi was a legal US resident and a columnist for the Washington Post has no doubt given his case such prominent coverage in Western news media. Thousands of other victims of Saudi vengeance are routinely ignored in the West.

Nevertheless, despite the horrific and damning case against the Saudi monarchy, the response from the Trump administration, Britain and others has been abject.

President Trump has blustered that there “will be severe consequences” for the Saudi regime if it is proven culpable in the murder of Khashoggi. Trump quickly qualified, however, saying that billion-dollar arms deals with the oil-rich kingdom will not be cancelled. Now Trump appears to be joining in a cover-up by spinning the story that the Khashoggi killing was done by “rogue killers”.

Britain, France and Germany this week issued a joint statement calling for “a credible investigation” into the disappearance. But other than “tough-sounding” rhetoric, none of the European states have indicated any specific sanctions, such as weapons contracts being revoked or diplomatic expulsions.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was “concerned” by the gruesome claims about Khashoggi’s killing, but he reiterated that Ottawa would not be scrapping a $15 billion sale of combat vehicles to Riyadh.

The Saudi rulers have even threatened retaliatory measures if sanctions are imposed by Western governments.

Saudi denials of official culpability seem to be a brazen flouting of all reason and circumstantial evidence that Khashoggi was indeed murdered in the consulate building on senior Saudi orders.

This week a glitzy international investor conference in Saudi Arabia is being boycotted by top business figures, including the World Bank chief, Jim Yong Kim, JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon and Britain’s venture capitalist Richard Branson. Global firms like Ford and Uber have pulled out, as have various media sponsors, such as CNN, the New York Times and Financial Times. Withdrawal from the event was in response to the Khashoggi affair.

A growing bipartisan chorus of US Senators, including Bob Corker, Marco Rubio, Lindsey Graham and Chris Murphy, have called for the cancellation of American arms sales to Saudi Arabia, as well as for an overhaul of the strategic partnership between the two countries.

Still, Trump has rebuffed calls for punitive response. He has said that American jobs and profits depend on the Saudi weapons market. Some 20 per cent of all US arms sales are estimated to go to the House of Saud.

The New York Times this week headlined: “In Trump’s Saudi Bargain, the Bottom Line Proudly Stands Out”.

The Trump White House will be represented at the investment conference in Saudi Arabia this week – dubbed “Davos in the Desert” by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. He said he was attending in spite of the grave allegations against the Saudi rulers.

Surely the point here is the unseemly indulgence by Western governments of Saudi Arabia and its so-called “reforming” Crown Prince. It is remarkable how much credulity Washington, London, Paris, Ottawa and others are affording the Saudi despots who, most likely, have been caught redhanded in a barbarous murder.

Yet, when it comes to Russia and outlandish, unproven claims that the Kremlin carried out a bizarre poison-assassination plot, all these same Western governments abandon all reason and decorum to pile sanctions on Russia based on lurid, hollow speculation. The blatant hypocrisy demolishes any pretense of integrity or principle.

Here is another connection between the Skripal and Khashoggi affairs. The Saudis no doubt took note of the way Britain’s rulers have shown absolute disregard and contempt for international law in their de facto abduction of Sergei and Yulia Skripal. If the British can get away with that gross violation, then the Saudis probably thought that nobody would care too much if they disappeared Jamal Khashoggi.

Grotesquely, the way things are shaping up in terms of hypocritical lack of action by the Americans, British and others towards the Saudi despots, the latter might just get away with murder. Not so Russia. The Russians are not allowed to get away with even an absurd fantasy.

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US-China trade war heats up as surplus hits record $34 Billion (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 136.

Alex Christoforou

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According to a report by the AFP, China’s trade surplus with the United States ballooned to a record $34.1 billion in September, despite a raft of US tariffs, official data showed Friday, adding fuel to the fire of a worsening trade war.

Relations between the world’s two largest economies have soured sharply this year, with US President Donald Trump vowing on Thursday to inflict economic pain on China if it does not blink.
The two countries imposed new tariffs on a massive amount of each other’s goods mid-September, with the US targeting $200 billion in Chinese imports and Beijing firing back at $60 billion worth of US goods.

“China-US trade friction has caused trouble and pounded our foreign trade development,” customs spokesman Li Kuiwen told reporters Friday.

But China’s trade surplus with the US grew 10 percent in September from a record $31 billion in August, according to China’s customs administration. It was a 22 percent jump from the same month last year.

China’s exports to the US rose to $46.7 billion while imports slumped to $12.6 billion.

China’s overall trade — what it buys and sells with all countries including the US — logged a $31.7 billion surplus, as exports rose faster than imports.

Exports jumped 14.5 percent for September on-year, beating forecasts from analysts polled by Bloomberg News, while imports rose 14.3 percent on-year.

While the data showed China’s trade remained strong for the month, analysts forecast the trade war will start to hurt in coming months.

China’s export jump for the month suggests exporters were shipping goods early to beat the latest tariffs, said ANZ’s China economist Betty Wang, citing the bounce in electrical machinery exports, much of which faced the looming duties.

“We will watch for downside risks to China’s exports” in the fourth quarter, Wang said.

Analysts say a sharp depreciation of the yuan has also helped China weather the tariffs by making its exports cheaper.

“The big picture is the Chinese exports have so far held up well in the face of escalating trade tensions and cooling global growth, most likely thanks to the competitiveness boost provided by a weaker renminbi (yuan),” said Julian Evans-Pritchard, China economist at Capital Economics.

“With global growth likely to cool further in the coming quarters and US tariffs set to become more punishing, the recent resilience of exports is unlikely to be sustained,” he said.

According to Bloomberg US President Donald Trump’s new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement isn’t that different from the North American Free Trade Agreement that it replaced. But hidden in the bowels of the new trade deal is a clause, Article 32.10, that could have a far-reaching impact. The new agreement requires member states to get approval from the other members if they initiate trade negotiations with a so-called non-market economy. In practice, “non-market” almost certainly means China. If, for example, Canada begins trade talks with China, it has to show the full text of the proposed agreement to the U.S. and Mexico — and if either the U.S. or Mexico doesn’t like what it sees, it can unilaterally kick Canada out of the USMCA.

Although it seems unlikely that the clause would be invoked, it will almost certainly exert a chilling effect on Canada and Mexico’s trade relations with China. Forced to choose between a gargantuan economy across the Pacific and another one next door, both of the U.S.’s neighbors are almost certain to pick the latter.

This is just another part of Trump’s general trade waragainst China. It’s a good sign that Trump realizes that unilateral U.S. efforts alone won’t be enough to force China to make concessions on issues like currency valuation, intellectual-property protection and industrial subsidies. China’s export markets are much too diverse:

If Trump cuts the U.S. off from trade with China, the likeliest outcome is that China simply steps up its exports to other markets. That would bind the rest of the world more closely to China and weaken the global influence of the U.S. China’s economy would take a small but temporary hit, while the U.S. would see its position as the economic center of the world slip into memory.

Instead, to take on China, Trump needs a gang. And that gang has to be much bigger than just North America. But most countries in Europe and East Asia probably can’t be bullied into choosing between the U.S. and China. — their ties to the U.S. are not as strong as those of Mexico and Canada. Countries such as South Korea, Germany, India and Japan will need carrots as well as sticks if they’re going to join a U.S.-led united trade front against China.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the escalating trade war between the United States and China, and the record trade surplus that positions China with a bit more leverage than Trump anticipated.

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Via Zerohedge Trump Threatens China With More Tariffs, Does Not Seek Economic “Depression”

US equity futures dipped in the red after President Trump threatened to impose a third round of tariffs on China and warned that Chinese meddling in U.S. politics was a “bigger problem” than Russian involvement in the 2016 election.

During the same interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes”, in which Trump threatened to impose sanctions against Saudi Arabia if the Saudis are found to have killed WaPo reported Khashoggi, and which sent Saudi stock plunging, Trump said he “might,” impose a new round of tariffs on China, adding that while he has “great chemistry” with Chinese President Xi Jinping, and noting that Xi “wants to negotiate”, he doesn’t “know that that’s necessarily going to continue.” Asked if American products have become more expensive due to tariffs on China, Trump said that “so far, that hasn’t turned out to be the case.”

“They can retaliate, but they can’t, they don’t have enough ammunition to retaliate,” Trump says, “We do $100 billion with them. They do $531 billion with us.”

Trump was also asked if he wants to push China’s economy into a depression to which the US president said “no” before comparing the country’s stock-market losses since the tariffs first launched to those in 1929, the start of the Great Depression in the U.S.

“I want them to negotiate a fair deal with us. I want them to open their markets like our markets are open,” Trump said in the interview that aired Sunday. So far, the U.S. has imposed three rounds of tariffs on Chinese imports totaling $250 billion, prompting China to retaliate against U.S. products. The president previously has threatened to hit virtually all Chinese imports with duties.

Asked about his relationship with Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin’s alleged efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election, Trump quickly turned back to China. “They meddled,” he said of Russia, “but I think China meddled too.”

“I think China meddled also. And I think, frankly, China … is a bigger problem,” Trump said, as interviewer Lesley Stahl interrupted him for “diverting” from a discussion of Russia.

Shortly before an audacious speech by Mike Pence last weekend, in which the US vice president effectively declared a new cold war on Beijing (see “Russell Napier: Mike Pence Announces Cold War II”), Trump made similar accusations during a speech at the United Nations last month, which his aides substantiated by pointing to long-term Chinese influence campaigns and an advertising section in the Des Moines Register warning farmers about the potential effects of Trump’s tariffs.

Meanwhile, in a rare U.S. television appearance, China’s ambassador to the U.S. said Beijing has no choice but to respond to what he described as a trade war started by the U.S.

“We never wanted a trade war, but if somebody started a trade war against us, we have to respond and defend our own interests,” said China’s Ambassador Cui Tiankai.

Cui also dismissed as “groundless” the abovementioned suggestion by Vice President Mike Pence that China has orchestrated an effort to meddle in U.S. domestic affairs. Pence escalated the rhetoric in a speech Oct. 4, saying Beijing has created a “a whole-of-government approach” to sway American public opinion, including spies, tariffs, coercive measures and a propaganda campaign.

Pence’s comments were some of the most critical about China by a high-ranking U.S. official in recent memory. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo got a lecture when he visited Beijing days later, about U.S. actions that were termed “completely out of line.” The tough words followed months of increases tit-for-tat tariffs imposed by Washington and Beijing that have ballooned to cover hundreds of billions of dollars in bilateral trade.

During a recent interview with National Public Radio, Cui said the U.S. has “not sufficiently” dealt in good faith with the Chinese on trade matters, saying “the U.S. position keeps changing all the time so we don’t know exactly what the U.S. would want as priorities.”

Meanwhile, White House economic director Larry Kudlow said on “Fox News Sunday” that President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping will “probably meet” at the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires in late November. “There’s plans and discussions and agendas” being discussed, he said. So far, talks with China on trade have been “unsatisfactory,” Kudlow said. “We’ve made our asks” on allegations of intellectual property theft and forced technology transfers, he added. “We have to have reciprocity.”

Addressing the upcoming meeting, Cui said he was present at two previous meetings of Xi and Trump, and that top-level communication “played a key role, an irreplaceable role, in guiding the relationship forward.” Despite current tensions the two have a “good working relationship,” he said.

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BREAKING: Explosion in Crimea, Russia kills many, injuring dozens, terrorism suspected

According to preliminary information, the incident was caused by a gas explosion at a college facility in Kerch, Crimea.

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“We are clarifying the information at the moment. Preliminary figures are 50 injured and 10 dead. Eight ambulance crews are working at the site and air medical services are involved,” the press-service for the Crimean Ministry of Health stated.

Medics announced that at least 50 people were injured in the explosion in Kerch and 25 have already been taken to local hospital with moderate wounds, according to Sputnik.

Local news outlets reported that earlier in the day, students at the college heard a blast and windows of the building were shattered.

Putin Orders that Assistance Be Provided to Victims of Blast in Kerch – Kremlin Spokesman

“The president has instructed the Ministry of Health and the rescue services to take emergency measures to assist victims of this explosion, if necessary, to ensure the urgent transportation of seriously wounded patients to leading medical institutions of Russia, whether in Moscow or other cities,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitriy Peskov said.

The president also expressed his condolences to all those affected by the tragic incident.

Manhunt Underway in Kerch as FSB Specialists Investigate Site of Explosion – National Anti-Terrorist Committee

The site of the blast that rocked a city college in Kerch is being examined by FSB bomb disposal experts and law enforcement agencies are searching for clues that might lead to the arrest of the perpetrators, the National Anti Terrorism Committee said in a statement.

“Acting on orders from the head of the NAC’s local headquarters, FSB, Interior Ministry, Russian Guards and Emergency Ministry units have arrived at the site. The territory around the college has been cordoned off and the people inside the building evacuated… Mine-disposal experts are working at the site and law enforcement specialists are investigating,” the statement said.

Terrorist Act Considered as Possible Cause of Blast in Kerch – Kremlin Spokesman

“The tragic news that comes from Kerch. Explosion. The president was informed … The data on those killed and the number of injured is constantly updated,” Peskov told reporters.

“[The version of a terrorist attack] is being considered,” he said.

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