Republican senators lay groundwork for bringing impeachment trial to a close

Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., pauses as he talks to the media outside the Senate chamber during the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump at the Capitol Friday Jan 31, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

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UPDATED 4:45 PM PT — Saturday, February 1, 2020

Republican senators are laying the groundwork for ending the impeachment trial. Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt said there will be no weekend session and senators will return on Monday for four more hours of closing arguments.

Lawmakers will then be able to debate the issues into Tuesday. Blunt added the final vote on the two impeachment articles will take place no later than 4:00p.m. EST on Wednesday.

“We decided the best thing for everyone involved is to come to that certain date, but try to eliminate any pain and suffering,” he said. “As if this hasn’t been painful enough.”

On Twitter, the lawmaker added the Democrats’ case used “two of the weakest articles of impeachment” to make a “half-baked case.”

“House Democrats can’t bring a half-baked case to the Senate and expect us to make something of it,” stated Sen. Blunt. “These are two of the weakest articles of impeachment you could possibly have.”

In this image from video, Senators cast their vote on the motion to allow additional witnesses and evidence to be allowed in the impeachment trial against President Donald Trump in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. The motion failed with a vote of 51-49. (Senate Television via AP)

The announcement came after the Senate voted to block any witness testimonies on Thursday. In a 51 to 49 vote, senators shut down all attempts to introduce more evidence in the case.

Senators Lisa Murkowski and Lamar Alexander, among a few others, were considered key swing votes in the decision. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell previously predicted the outcome of the vote and has since weighed in with a new statement.

“There is no need for the Senate to re-open the investigation, which the House Democratic majority chose to conclude and which the Managers themselves continue to describe as ‘overwhelming’ and ‘beyond any doubt.’ Never in Senate history has this body paused an impeachment trial to pursue additional witnesses with unresolved questions of executive privilege that would require protracted litigation. We have no interest in establishing such a new precedent, particularly for individuals whom the House expressly chose not to pursue.” – Mitch McConnell, U.S. Senator

CONTINUE READING: Senate Votes Against Witnesses, Documents In Trial

Original Article

Senators cope with archaic impeachment rules

In this image from video, House impeachment manager Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., walks to the podium to speak during the impeachment trial against President Donald Trump in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020. (Senate Television via AP)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 6:53 AM PT — Friday, January 24, 2020

As the impeachment trial continues it’s hours-long sessions in the Senate, members of the jury are reportedly bending some of the rules in order to keep their sanity.

One rule, which has been repeatedly dismissed from senators on both sides of the aisle, is staying seated for the duration of arguments. At least 20 seats were reportedly counted as empty during Adam Schiff’s speech Wednesday night. Many senators were seen walking around to stretch their legs, but some reporters alleged many were not even present in the chamber.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Sen. Cory Booker (R-N.J.) were allegedly spotted in their respective party’s cloak rooms on their smart phones amid rules of no phones or devices of any kind on the Senate floor. Other lawmakers were seen still wearing their Apple watches while the proceedings were underway.

Another rule which is being overlooked is only water, milk and candy are allowed during the proceedings. Sen. Elizabeth Warren confirmed to reporters that she snuck in a cup of yogurt.

A former Senate parliamentarian told CNN the practice of consuming milk began in 1966 after one presiding Senate officer said, “Senate rules do not prohibit a senator from sipping milk during his speech.”

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), who is also a doctor, told reporters the milk precedent goes to lawmakers health. He said milk was used as a home remedy for peptic ulcer disease when there was no treatment for the condition back in the 1950’s.

Meanwhile, one Senate lawmaker is taking full advantage of the rule allowing candy. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) set up what he calls “the candy desk.” Toomey’s spokesperson said the candy desk is bipartisan and is even open to independents. “The candy desk” actually dates back to 1965 when former California Republican George Murphy reportedly enjoyed a candy bar now-and-then when it was convenient.

There’s also the unspoken rule of being bored. With no foreign objects allowed during oral arguments, one lawmaker has gone the extra mile to ensure fellow senators stay awake. Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) handed out so-called “fidget spinners” and other toys to his Republican colleagues during Thursdays GOP lunch. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) was later seen twirling a purple spinner at his desk, while distracting other Republicans.

Sen. Richard Burr R-NC., displays a stress ball as he walks to the Senate Chamber prior to the start of the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump at the U.S. Capitol, Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Others are passing the time by either drawing or reading books.

“Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye. All persons are commanded to keep silent on pain of imprisonment, while the Senate of the United States is sitting for the trial of the articles of impeachment.”

— Michael Stenger, Sergeant at Arms – U.S. Senate

While some of the conduct may be considered petty and small, it is unknown if the Senate sergeant at arms will enforce any of the alleged violations.

RELATED: State attorneys general say Impeachment is ‘legally flawed’

Original Article

Senators cope with archaic impeachment rules

In this image from video, House impeachment manager Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., walks to the podium to speak during the impeachment trial against President Donald Trump in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020. (Senate Television via AP)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 6:53 AM PT — Friday, January 24, 2020

As the impeachment trial continues it’s hours-long sessions in the Senate, members of the jury are reportedly bending some of the rules in order to keep their sanity.

One rule, which has been repeatedly dismissed from senators on both sides of the aisle, is staying seated for the duration of arguments. At least 20 seats were reportedly counted as empty during Adam Schiff’s speech Wednesday night. Many senators were seen walking around to stretch their legs, but some reporters alleged many were not even present in the chamber.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Sen. Cory Booker (R-N.J.) were allegedly spotted in their respective party’s cloak rooms on their smart phones amid rules of no phones or devices of any kind on the Senate floor. Other lawmakers were seen still wearing their Apple watches while the proceedings were underway.

Another rule which is being overlooked is only water, milk and candy are allowed during the proceedings. Sen. Elizabeth Warren confirmed to reporters that she snuck in a cup of yogurt.

A former Senate parliamentarian told CNN the practice of consuming milk began in 1966 after one presiding Senate officer said, “Senate rules do not prohibit a senator from sipping milk during his speech.”

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), who is also a doctor, told reporters the milk precedent goes to lawmakers health. He said milk was used as a home remedy for peptic ulcer disease when there was no treatment for the condition back in the 1950’s.

Meanwhile, one Senate lawmaker is taking full advantage of the rule allowing candy. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) set up what he calls “the candy desk.” Toomey’s spokesperson said the candy desk is bipartisan and is even open to independents. “The candy desk” actually dates back to 1965 when former California Republican George Murphy reportedly enjoyed a candy bar now-and-then when it was convenient.

There’s also the unspoken rule of being bored. With no foreign objects allowed during oral arguments, one lawmaker has gone the extra mile to ensure fellow senators stay awake. Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) handed out so-called “fidget spinners” and other toys to his Republican colleagues during Thursdays GOP lunch. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) was later seen twirling a purple spinner at his desk, while distracting other Republicans.

Sen. Richard Burr R-NC., displays a stress ball as he walks to the Senate Chamber prior to the start of the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump at the U.S. Capitol, Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Others are passing the time by either drawing or reading books.

“Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye. All persons are commanded to keep silent on pain of imprisonment, while the Senate of the United States is sitting for the trial of the articles of impeachment.” — Michael Stenger, Sergeant at Arms – U.S. Senate

While some of the conduct may be considered petty and small, it is unknown if the Senate sergeant at arms will enforce any of the alleged violations.

RELATED: State attorneys general say Impeachment is ‘legally flawed’

Original Article

GOP senators seek records on ‘connection’ between Dem operatives, Ukrainian officials in 2016

closePresident Trump demands 'fast' impeachment in House so there can be a 'fair trial' in the SenateVideo

President Trump demands 'fast' impeachment in House so there can be a 'fair trial' in the Senate

House Democrats move to draft articles of impeachment; reaction and analysis from Fox News contributors Richard Fowler and Rachel Campos-Duffy.

The GOP chairmen of the Senate committees that would be involved in an impeachment trial are seeking records and interviews related to allegations that a Democratic National Committee consultant solicited derogatory information about the Trump campaign from Ukrainian embassy officials ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

In a news release Friday, Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Ron Johnson, R-Wis., Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said they are looking to obtain records and transcribed staff interviews with two individuals reportedly involved in an effort by Ukrainian embassy officials to “undermine” the Trump campaign in the 2016 election.

IN TRUMP IMPEACHMENT TRIAL, SENATE REPUBLICANS COULD TURN TABLES ON DEMS

“To believe that the mainstream media will investigate all things Russia or Ukraine is to hope against hope,” Graham said in a statement Friday. “The hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s emails was done by the Russians and no one else. Whether there’s a connection between Democratic operatives and Ukrainian officials during the 2016 election has yet to be determined.”

He added: “It will only be found by looking. We intend to look.”

The requests from Grassley, Graham and Johnson come as House Democrats are entering what may be the final phase of their impeachment inquiry ahead of introducing articles of impeachment for a vote. Should the House approve impeachment articles and trigger a trial in the Senate, Republicans plan to turn the tables on Democrats, by looking more closely at issues that House Democrats glossed over during their hearings.

Friday’s requests are a continuation of an inquiry that Grassley launched in 2017 when he was chairman of the Judiciary Committee. Grassley, at the time, was questioning the actions of then-DNC consultant Alexandra Chalupa, which he said seemed to show that she was “simultaneously working on behalf of a foreign government, Ukraine, and on behalf of the DNC and Clinton campaign, in an effort to influence not only the U.S. voting population but U.S. government officials.”

Chalupa has denied the accusations: “For the record: I have never worked for a foreign government. I have never been to Ukraine. I was not an opposition researcher. In 2008, I knew Manafort worked for Putin’s interests in Ukraine. I reported my concerns about him to the NSC in 2014 & sounded the alarm bells in 2016,” Chalupa tweeted last month.

In addition to the interview and records requests, Johnson, Grassley and Graham are requesting “staff-led transcribed interviews” with Chalupa, and Andrii Telizhenko, a political officer within the Ukrainian embassy at the time. Telizhenko reportedly was ordered to assist in an off-the-books investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, which included then-Trump campaign advisor Paul Manafort’s prior business dealings in the region.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., on Friday blasted the latest GOP efforts, saying it "undermines our democracy."

“Putin and his intelligence services disinformation campaign team in Moscow couldn't have cooked up a more useful tool for spreading conjured and baseless conspiracy theories than the one Chairmen Graham, Grassley and Johnson announced today," Schumer said in a statement.

Last month, Johnson and Grassley also requested information from the National Archives and Records Administration regarding meetings that took place in 2016 involving Obama administration officials, Ukrainian government representatives, and Democratic National Committee officials. They also requested Justice Department records related to the FBI’s interactions with Chalupa.

The Republicans emphasized Friday that their interest in Ukraine does not mean they deny Russia's meddling in 2016.

“The senators’ inquiries are unrelated to an uncorroborated theory that Ukraine was also behind the hack of the DNC servers,” the statement from the senators said. “U.S. intelligence officials and Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation found that Russia was responsible for the DNC hack.”

The three senators have also recently requested information related to potential conflicts of interest and political influence by Ukraine, including the natural gas firm Burisma Holdings, which employed former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, on the board. At the time, the elder Biden was running U.S.-Ukraine relations and policy for the Obama administration.

And Graham, last month, alone, wrote a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo requesting the release of any documents related to contacts between Biden and former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, and to a meeting between son Hunter Biden’s business partner and former Secretary of State John Kerry.

This pertains to questions surrounding the elder Biden’s role in pressing for the ouster of a Ukrainian prosecutor who had been investigating the founder of Burisma. Biden denies any wrongdoing, but Republicans have pressed for details throughout the impeachment process, in a bid to show that even though President Trump’s pressure campaign on Kiev triggered the impeachment inquiry, his concern was legitimate.

At the center of the impeachment inquiry, which began in September, is Trump’s July 25 phone call with Kiev. That call prompted the whistleblower complaint to the intelligence community inspector general, and in turn, the impeachment inquiry in the House. Trump challenged the accuracy of the complaint, though the transcript released by the White House did support the core allegations that he pressed for politically related investigations.

The president’s request came after millions in U.S. military aid to Ukraine had been frozen, which Democrats and witnesses have claimed shows a "quid pro quo" arrangement. Trump denies any wrongdoing.

TRUMP THREATENS TO HAVE SCHIFF, BIDENS, PELOSI TESTIFY IN SENATE TRIAL AS HE DARES HOUSE TO IMPEACH

Meanwhile, Trump challenged House Democrats this week to impeach him "fast" so that he can have a "fair trial" in the Senate. He also threatened to seek testimony from the Bidens, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Pelosi, D-Calif., then dramatically called for the House to proceed with drafting articles of impeachment.

"The facts are uncontested. The president abused his power," Pelosi said.

But despite his threats, the president does not, alone, have the power to call witnesses to testify in those proceedings. In the Senate trial, three separate parties have input to how it will play out: Senate Republicans, Senate Democrats and the White House.

A senior Senate Republican aide told Fox News last month that once they receive articles of impeachment, they will begin working on two resolutions — one that governs the timeline of the trial, and the other that sets up witnesses for closed-door depositions, as well as which witnesses will be required to testify on the stand.

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The aide suggested that Republican senators – like Graham, Johnson, and Grassley – could be attempting to help “shape” the witness list and the trial in their recent attempts to obtain documents and information from the administration and companies related to Hunter Biden.

Original Article

Dem senators demand docs related to reported Trump request for Barr news conference on Ukraine

closeTrump pushes back on report Barr denied request for press conference clearing him on Ukraine, calls it 'fake news'Video

Trump pushes back on report Barr denied request for press conference clearing him on Ukraine, calls it 'fake news'

President Trump denies the story that Attorney General Barr shot down his request to have him hold a press conference clearing him of any wrong doing in his phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Democratic senators, including Kamala Harris, demanded Friday that the Department of Justice hand over documents related to a reported attempt by President Trump to get Attorney General William Barr to hold a news conference declaring he hadn’t broken any laws in his July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Sens. Harris, D-Calif., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., sent a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to Barr after The Washington Post reported that Trump made the request around Sept. 25, when the administration released a transcript of the call.

TRUMP PUSHES BACK ON REPORT BARR DENIED REQUEST FOR PRESS CONFERENCE CLEARING HIM ON UKRAINE

The outlet reported that Trump has told associates he wished Barr would have held the news conference, amid the escalating House impeachment probe surrounding the call. The Wall Street Journal also reported that Trump's desire for a public announcement from Barr was discussed among White House officials, who in turn relayed that desire to the Justice Department. However, the outlet reported that it couldn't be determined how hard Trump had pressed for a news conference — or the reason for Barr's denial.

“These reports raise serious concerns about the president’s perception of the Justice Department as a partisan political instrument and his willingness to use the power of federal law enforcement in pursuit of his own objectives,” the senators wrote in the request.

“We submit this FOIA request in order to obtain communications, documents, and other information related to the president’s reported request that you hold a news conference to clear him of wrongdoing during his call with the Ukrainian president,” the request said.

Kamala Harris on Trump: Dude gotta goVideo

House Democrats claim that the call, in which Trump urged Zelensky to “look into” allegations about former Vice President Joe Biden and alleged Ukraine interference in the 2016 presidential election, was part of a quid pro quo involving the withholding of U.S. military aid that was temporarily blocked by the White House. Trump has denied a quid quo pro while the Ukrainians have said there was no pressure from the White House.

Trump has also pushed back on the reports.

“Bill Barr did not decline my request to talk about Ukraine,” he tweeted Thursday morning. “The story was a Fake Washington Post con job with an 'anonymous' source that doesn’t exist. Just read the Transcript. The Justice Department already ruled that the call was good. We don’t have freedom of the press!”

Trump then tweeted a more robust denial: "The degenerate Washington Post MADE UP the story about me asking Bill Barr to hold a news conference. Never happened, and there were no sources!" This, after he tweeted earlier calling the story “totally untrue and just another FAKE NEWS story with anonymous sources that don’t exist.”

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The request from the senators calls for all memos and correspondence involving Barr, Deputy Attorney General Jeffery Rosen or the immediate office of the attorney general since August 14 as well as phrases including “Ukraine,” “Zelensky,” “transcript,” “journalists” and “news conference.”

“If President Trump’s passionate assertion that such reports are ‘pure fiction’ and ‘Fake News’ is indeed correct, then the Department of Justice should have no problem in expeditiously processing our request,” the senators wrote.

Fox News' Jason Donner contributed to this report.

Original Article

Jeff Sessions endorsed by slew of GOP senators, amid effort to make peace with Trump

closeJeff Sessions announces run for Senate on 'Tucker Carlson Tonight'Video

Jeff Sessions announces run for Senate on 'Tucker Carlson Tonight'

Jeff Sessions sits down for his first interview since stepping down as attorney general.

EXCLUSIVE — Numerous Republican senators are throwing their support behind former colleague Jeff Sessions the day after he made a last-minute entrance into Alabama’s Senate race and are encouraging conservatives to do the same, as Sessions works to make peace with President Trump.

Fox News has learned that Alabama’s senior senator, Richard Shelby, is circulating an “open letter to conservatives” signed by at least 11 Republican senators who are endorsing Sessions’ candidacy. Sessions served in the Senate from 1997 to 2017 until he joined the Trump administration as attorney general.

SESSIONS TRIES TO RECONCILE WITH TRUMP IN FIRST CAMPAIGN AD: 'HE HAS MY STRONG SUPPORT'

“Each of us has served in the United States Senate with Jeff Sessions,” the letter, obtained by Fox News, states. “We have seen him work diligently in the public eye and behind closed doors, when things were both good and bad, under stress and in success.”

The letter is signed by Shelby, Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe, Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts, Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi, Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo, Georgia Sen. Johnny Isakson, Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt, Arkansas Sen. John Boozman, Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson and Nebraska Sen. Deb Fischer.

“We know Jeff’s character and his temperament,” the letter reads. “We know his commitment to his principles. We know he is a man of his word. And we know he is devoted to serving the people of Alabama.

It adds: “We believe Jeff Sessions has more to offer his country, and we believe the United States Senate will be better with his experience and leadership.”

Senators endorse Jeff Sessions by Fox News on Scribd

During a Thursday appearance on Fox News' "Tucker Carlson Tonight," Sessions announced plans to enter the race. Sessions, who resigned from the Justice Department a year ago amid public attacks from the president, was one of Trump’s most loyal and trusted advisers before their relationship soured over his recusal from the Russia investigation.

A major question hanging over Sessions’ entrance into the race is whether Trump — who has remained popular in Alabama — would take steps to thwart his bid.

But so far, Trump has not publicly attacked Sessions since he entered the race. Asked by reporters about Sessions on Friday, the president noted how Sessions had said “nice” things about him in his campaign announcement. He said he won’t campaign against Sessions but acknowledged the former attorney general will have “tough competition” in the GOP primary to take on incumbent Sen. Doug Jones, a Democrat.

Among the other Republicans running: U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne, former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville, former Alabama Supreme Court chief justice Roy Moore, Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill, businessman Stanley Adair and state Rep. Arnold Mooney.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Some of those rivals are going after Sessions by relitigating his history with Trump, portraying him as not sufficiently pro-Trump. “Alabama deserves a senator who will stand with the president and won’t run away and hide from the fight," Byrne said in a statement.

Tuberville went even further, tweeting, “As AG, he failed the President at his point of greatest need.” Tuberville's campaign released an ad Thursday highlighting Trump’s past comments calling Sessions a “total disaster” and “embarrassment” to Alabama.

The senators, though, in Friday’s letter vouched for him. Shelby said Sessions is “well-suited to return to his role as United States Senator for the state of Alabama, where I served with him for more than 20 years.” Inhofe said “we need him back in the Senate.” Barrasso said Sessions “was unflinching ‘America First’ before it was cool.”

Original Article

GOP senators urge Trump to get tough on Chinese intellectual property theft

closeUS-China reach partial trade dealVideo

US-China reach partial trade deal

Heritage Foundation Asia policy analyst Riley Walters says he expects negotiations will get harder as the Trump administration continues to work out a trade deal with China in phases.

Two senior Republican senators sent a letter to President Trump this week urging him to take a tougher stance against China on intellectual property theft and Chinese wireless companies’ refusal to pay licensing fees to U.S. technology developers.

Sens. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., and Roger Wicker, R-Miss., argue that the Chinese companies’ failure to pay for licensing fees allows them to use “the billions of dollars they owe” to outpace both U.S. and European wireless companies in developing future wireless networks and standards.

“If Chinese companies are allowed to remove the profit incentive for standards-based wireless research with repercussions, we will soon face the globally undesirable reality that the only companies conducting this research will be those in non-market economies that do not share our values or have our best interest in mind,” the two Republican lawmakers said in the letter to Trump, which was obtained by Fox News.

TRUMP STANDS FIRM ON CHINA TRADE WAR AS TALKS POISED TO RESUME, SAYS CRITICS 'DON'T HAVE THE GUTS'

Inhofe and Wicker complained that China is able to export products ranging from mobile phones to televisions to the U.S. even though the companies do not have the proper licenses for the technology.

“We must change the ability for Chinese companies to access the U.S. market while simultaneously eroding the ability of U.S. and other Western market-based companies to maintain their leading role in the research and development of advanced wireless technology,” the senators said.

When can 'phase two' of the US-China trade deal be expected to be done?Video

Leading technology firms in both the U.S. and Europe – like Qualcomm, InterDigital, Nokia and Ericsson – research and develop technology used to define global specifications for network technology used on smartphones. Major smartphone makers, such as Apple and Samsung, pay licensing fees to InterDigital and other firms in order to use those specifications in their products.

As Chinese tech firms such as Huawei and ZTE gained prominence, they made use of patent-protected specifications without paying the required royalties, violating the intellectual property of western firms.

The Trump administration has made the defense of U.S. intellectual property rights, including protections against forced technology transfer for companies seeking to conduct business in China, a priority in ongoing trade talks with Beijing. A trade war between the two countries has roiled the international market for months, straining companies and consumers on both sides.

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP'S 'SECOND THOUGHTS' ON CHINA TRADE WAR 'GREATLY MISINTERPRETED'

“Intellectual property has always been the number one issue mentioned at these trade talks,” a leading technology firm executive who asked not to be named told Fox News. “The U.S. would like to see some benchmarks put back in place.”

Trump said last Thursday that the U.S. and China are working to secure a new site to sign a tentative trade truce and the location will be announced soon.

Economic and political impact of President Trump's trade agendaVideo

U.S. and Chinese negotiators wanted to finalize the deal in time for Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping to sign it at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Chile in mid-November. But Chile announced last week that it was canceling the event due to ongoing mass demonstrations.

U.S. and Chinese officials are trying to settle details of the modest trade deal that sidesteps some of the biggest issues dividing the countries.

The world's two biggest economies have wrangled for more than 15 months over U.S. allegations that China steals technology, forces businesses to hand over trade secrets and unfairly subsidizes its technology companies in an aggressive drive to supplant American technological dominance.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Washington and Beijing have imposed tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of each other's goods in a trade fight that has slowed global economic growth.

What does President Trump's phase one trade deal with China mean for the average American?Video

On Oct. 11, the sides reached a tentative cease-fire that reassured jittery financial markets. Trump agreed to suspend plans to raise tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese imports, and China agreed to buy American farm products. The Trump administration says the Chinese also agreed to do more to protect intellectual property rights.

But nothing was signed Oct. 11, and few details have emerged on the terms of the so-called "phase one" agreement. Chinese leaders have been reluctant to agree to the substantive changes that Washington wants to see. Doing so would likely require scaling back their aspirations to make China a leader in advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence and driverless cars.

Fox Business Network’s Thomas Barrabi and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Original Article

GOP senators introduce bill to move several federal agencies away from Washington

closeBureau of Land Management relocating to ColoradoVideo

Bureau of Land Management relocating to Colorado

Two Republican senators have introduced a bill that would relocate several federal agencies out of the Washington, D.C., Beltway to economically distressed areas in an effort to boost local economies across the country.

The bill, titled the "Helping Infrastructure Restore the Economy (HIRE) Act," is sponsored by Republican Sens. Josh Hawley of Missouri and Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee. Hawley cited plans by the Bureau of Land Management to move portions of the agency to Colorado and Missouri for his support for relocating parts of the federal government.

“Every year Americans’ hard-earned tax dollars fund federal agencies that are mainly located in the D.C. bubble," he said in a news release announcing the bill. "That’s a big part of the problem with Washington: they’re too removed from the rest of America. The HIRE Act will move policymakers directly into the communities they serve, creating thousands of jobs for local communities and saving taxpayers billions of dollars along the way.”

United States Department of Agriculture Jamie L. Whitten federal building entrance sign. Sens Josh Hawley, R-Mo., and Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., have introduced legislation that would relocate some federal agencies away from Washington.

United States Department of Agriculture Jamie L. Whitten federal building entrance sign. Sens Josh Hawley, R-Mo., and Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., have introduced legislation that would relocate some federal agencies away from Washington.

Blackburn said the series of moves would "enable Americans across the country to have greater access to good jobs."

Under the bill, 10 agencies would be required to relocate 90 percent of staffers. The Department of Agriculture would move to Hawley's home state of Missouri and Blackburn's Tennessee would be home to the Department of Education.

Health and Human Services would relocate to Indiana, the Department of the Interior to New Mexico, the Department of Transportation to Michigan, Commerce to Pennsylvania, Veterans Affairs to South Carolina, Energy to Kentucky, Labor to West Virginia and Housing and Urban Development to Ohio.

Hawley touted the plan as a savings to taxpayers.

"Moving agencies also is cheaper long term. Lease costs typically are less outside D.C.," the release states.

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Hawley has been an avid supporter of moving the Department of Agriculture headquarters to Kansas City, Mo., a move that has proved difficult after massive resignations at USDA’s Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture following news of the planned relocation.

Critics argue moving the USDA and BLM would weaken the agencies and reduce their influence with lawmakers. This fall, 27 top BLM officials will move to its Grand Junction, Colo., headquarter while hundreds of staffers will be spread out across the West.

A few dozen will remain in Washington. The Trump administration argues the move makes sense since 99 percent of the land the agency is responsible for is located west of the Mississippi River.

Original Article