‘You don’t do these things prior to negotiations,’ ex-diplomat says of US actions against China

A Chinese and U.S. flag at a booth during the first China International Import Expo in Shanghai, taken on taken on November 6, 2018. The latest U.S. actions against Chinese officials and companies don’t “set a good tone” for an upcoming high-level trade talk, a former American ambassador to China said Wednesday. Both announcements came just days ahead of a high-level trade meeting set to take place in Washington on Thursday and Friday. Max Baucus, former U.S. ambassador to China from February 20


A Chinese and U.S. flag at a booth during the first China International Import Expo in Shanghai, taken on taken on November 6, 2018. The latest U.S. actions against Chinese officials and companies don’t “set a good tone” for an upcoming high-level trade talk, a former American ambassador to China said Wednesday. Both announcements came just days ahead of a high-level trade meeting set to take place in Washington on Thursday and Friday. Max Baucus, former U.S. ambassador to China from February 20
‘You don’t do these things prior to negotiations,’ ex-diplomat says of US actions against China Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-10-09  Authors: yen nee lee abigail ng, yen nee lee, abigail ng
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, street, chinese, signs, taken, exdiplomat, prior, things, negotiations, china, tone, told, actions, dont, set, trade


'You don't do these things prior to negotiations,' ex-diplomat says of US actions against China

A Chinese and U.S. flag at a booth during the first China International Import Expo in Shanghai, taken on taken on November 6, 2018.

The latest U.S. actions against Chinese officials and companies don’t “set a good tone” for an upcoming high-level trade talk, a former American ambassador to China said Wednesday.

The Trump administration on Tuesday placed visa restrictions on Chinese officials it “believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, the detention and abuse of” Muslim minorities in China’s northwestern Xinjiang region. That followed a Monday move to blacklist 28 Chinese companies alleged to be involved in surveillance and detention of minority groups in China.

Both announcements came just days ahead of a high-level trade meeting set to take place in Washington on Thursday and Friday.

“You don’t do these things prior to negotiations. It does not set a good tone, that’s tactically. Strategically, all these actions — I think — are causing the Chinese to wonder: ‘What is the US’ real motive here?'” Max Baucus, former U.S. ambassador to China from February 2014 to January 2017, told CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia.”

Baucus, also a former Democratic senator from Montana, said the U.S. actions could simply be posturing ahead of the planned trade talks to get a better deal from China. But, “China will not be bluffed,” he added.

Taimur Baig, chief economist at DBS Group Research, echoed that sentiment. “There are ways of putting pressure — back channel diplomacy, implicit threats and so on, but this is very explicit (and) very noisy,” he told CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia.”

“The … potential loss of face for the Chinese is massive. I can’t imagine anybody rationally expecting a constructive outcome out of this,” he added. Baig also said the timing of the U.S. move “could not be worse” and it would “definitely backfire.”

Beijing, in response to the U.S. blacklist of Chinese firms, said it urges the U.S. to “stop interfering” in its internal affairs and suggested that it would retaliate against the American move.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-10-09  Authors: yen nee lee abigail ng, yen nee lee, abigail ng
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, street, chinese, signs, taken, exdiplomat, prior, things, negotiations, china, tone, told, actions, dont, set, trade


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China wants to track and grade each citizen’s actions — it’s in the testing phase

Since the push to build a social credit system kicked off in earnest five years ago, a few dozen pilot programs have emerged with varying tracking metrics, and consequences for violations. Worries about misuseThe overarching concern, whether or not a social credit system reaches national scale, is the potential for abuse. Especially as technology develops, a social credit system has the potential to be far more invasive, with few checks on its power in authoritarian China. He is a co-author of t


Since the push to build a social credit system kicked off in earnest five years ago, a few dozen pilot programs have emerged with varying tracking metrics, and consequences for violations. Worries about misuseThe overarching concern, whether or not a social credit system reaches national scale, is the potential for abuse. Especially as technology develops, a social credit system has the potential to be far more invasive, with few checks on its power in authoritarian China. He is a co-author of t
China wants to track and grade each citizen’s actions — it’s in the testing phase Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-07-26  Authors: evelyn cheng shirley tay, evelyn cheng, shirley tay
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, wants, month, credit, system, chinese, individuals, country, grade, testing, citizens, social, china, track, scores, peoples, actions, phase


China wants to track and grade each citizen's actions — it's in the testing phase

People walk past the Public Credit Information Service Hall in Suzhou, China, on May 6, 2019. Suzhou was one of several places chosen in 2018 by the Chinese government to run a social credit trial, which can reward or punish citizens for their behavior. Qilai Shen | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The Chinese government is forging ahead with official efforts to create a national social credit system, even as several academic analysts doubt whether authorities can ever reach that goal. Beijing affirmed its commitment last month to building out social credit, a plan which has sparked fears that the government will gain overt control over ordinary people’s lives. At its core, the proposed system tries to create a standard for trust by tracking individual actions across Chinese society, and rewarding or punishing accordingly. It’s unclear how fairly such a system could impose penalties on individuals, or how easy it would be to get off blacklists. Still, authorities already claim to have the records of 990 million individuals and 25.91 million enterprises, as the central government runs up against a self-imposed 2020 deadline to formulate a nationwide social credit plan that includes the capital city. Since the push to build a social credit system kicked off in earnest five years ago, a few dozen pilot programs have emerged with varying tracking metrics, and consequences for violations. In many respects, the measures are China’s attempt to manufacture a more law-abiding society in a country where respect for contracts has a far shorter history than that of the U.S. or England. Nevertheless, the trials have sparked concerns.

Worries about misuse

The overarching concern, whether or not a social credit system reaches national scale, is the potential for abuse. China has a far from stellar human rights record. Earlier this month, 22 countries issued a joint statement calling on the world’s most populous nation to “refrain from the arbitrary detention and restrictions on freedom of movement” of ethnic minorities in Xinjiang. The region in the westernmost part of the country is known for intense surveillance and is where the United Nations last year said more than a million people were being held in “counter-extremism centres” and another two million were forced into “re-education camps.” Especially as technology develops, a social credit system has the potential to be far more invasive, with few checks on its power in authoritarian China. Still, the country hasn’t crossed that threshold yet. “At the moment, the negative consequences (e.g., the sticks, not the carrots) are only carefully used, and if, only to those businesses and individuals, who clearly broke a law,” Genia Kostka, professor of Chinese politics at Freie Universitat Berlin (the Free University of Berlin), said in an email. “So the consequences are not huge at the moment,” she said, “but the system is developing fast and more sticks can quickly be added to the system once it is running.” That sentiment was echoed by the Economist Intelligence Unit, which said in a Monday report that “the social credit system is set to become a steadily more important aspect of daily life in China, including while doing business.”

It’s not yet a sure thing

For now, however, it remains to be seen how far-reaching the social credit system will be in practice, or when it will be implemented nationally. In fact, there are some who doubt it will ever realize its stated goals. “The social credit system is such a sprawling endeavor that it may never actually be ‘done’ in any meaningful sense,” said Martin Chorzempa, research fellow, at the Washington-based Peterson Institute For International Economics. He is a co-author of the June 2018 report “China’s Social Credit System: A Mark of Progress or a Threat to Privacy?” “They are years away from having some system that integrates all government data and data from the private sector into a unified nationwide system with a single score, and they may never actually achieve that because of bureaucratic infighting over data and growing privacy concerns, ” Chorzempa said in an email to CNBC last month. Launching social credit in the capital city would be significant for the country, but little has yet been divulged about Beijing’s plans to establish individual scores for permanent residents by the end of 2020, as was announced in November 2018. The major government entities involved in creating the China-wide system, the National Development and Reform Commission and the People’s Bank of China, did not respond to CNBC requests for comment. The Municipality of Beijing also did not respond. Currently, social credit is tied to a handful of disparate initiatives. One is the stringent garbage sorting regime that took effect in Shanghai this month, according to city regulations that were adopted in January. It’s not clear to what extent individual scores will be affected by adherence to the rules, although the Communist Party newspaper People’s Daily noted that in Xiamen, multiple violations of similar waste management statutes land individuals on a so-called blacklist. It was not clear from publicly available resources what that list does. Of various government efforts to track individuals in China, the Supreme People’s Court system of issuing travel restrictions for anyone who defies a court order is the most widely used, the EIU report said. These cases typically involve unpaid debt, and prevent offenders from taking flights or traveling by high-speed rail. Critics say such punishments are not enough to prevent fraudulent behavior, while the consequences would be rather extreme if tied to, say, a few improperly sorted pieces of garbage.

Low awareness in China

Despite the many pilot programs and government-run websites such as “Credit China,” the Chinese public so far generally does not know much about the country’s plans for social credit. Dev Lewis, research associate at Digital Asia Hub, said last month that most people he spoke with in Xiamen and Fuzhou did not know such scores existed, and that less than 4% of people in Xiamen had signed up. Lewis’ findings match other recent news reports about how few people in China actually know about a social credit test that is happening in their own city. However, while he noted that more rewards for high scores could improve awareness, other academic research and anecdotes indicate many in the country favor a system that steps up punishments on wrongdoers. “An algorithm with public criteria is more transparent than systems depending on human, possibly corrupt decision making, and it is supposed to supervise officials too,” Peterson Institute’s Chorzempa said. “There is a real problem with lack of rule of law in China that affects everyone, and lets people off (without punishment) when they’ve done terrible things.” The Chinese government’s push to move forward with social credit, and launch a system in Beijing, is part of the powerful State Council’s announcement in 2014 of a “Planning Outline for the Construction of a Social Credit System.” The document called for nationwide, uniform credit information collection, and for the regulations to be established by the year 2020. The council noted e-commerce, logistics and statistics as areas in which to use a credit system to build “social sincerity.” The idea for such a program has a longer history. The first well-known test for a local social credit system in China launched back in 2010 in the rural county of Suining in the province of Jiangsu. As much as modern China has moved toward an increasingly rigid system, the local environment was vastly different just half a century ago. During the decade-long Cultural Revolution that began in the late 1960s, “Mao’s word was the law, like that of the emperors who preceded him,” Weijian Shan, CEO of investment firm PAG, wrote in his 2019 book “Out of the Gobi: My Story of China and America.” “Even now (in the 1980s) that the chaos of the Mao era had ended, laws, policies, and rules were subject to change, sometimes arbitrarily or quite suddenly,” Shan said. “There was a common expression in China at that time: ‘ji hua (a plan) cannot catch up with bian hua (change).’ The resulting uncertainty and risk necessarily led to greater social costs. ”

Testing phase


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-07-26  Authors: evelyn cheng shirley tay, evelyn cheng, shirley tay
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, wants, month, credit, system, chinese, individuals, country, grade, testing, citizens, social, china, track, scores, peoples, actions, phase


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Huawei protests FCC actions to block it in the U.S. on national security grounds

Guests hold umbrellas with Huawei logos at the Songshan Lake New Campus in Dongguan, China, May 31, 2019. China’s Huawei has responded again to actions from the Federal Communications Commission, releasing an ex parte memo further laying out its response to the commission’s efforts to block its equipment on national security grounds. “While Huawei does not agree with the view that Chinese companies pose a threat simply because they are Chinese, Huawei agrees that threats to network security do e


Guests hold umbrellas with Huawei logos at the Songshan Lake New Campus in Dongguan, China, May 31, 2019. China’s Huawei has responded again to actions from the Federal Communications Commission, releasing an ex parte memo further laying out its response to the commission’s efforts to block its equipment on national security grounds. “While Huawei does not agree with the view that Chinese companies pose a threat simply because they are Chinese, Huawei agrees that threats to network security do e
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Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-06-12  Authors: kate fazzini
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, chinese, national, block, actions, umbrellas, grounds, protests, security, view, fcc, approach, vendortovendor, trough, huawei, equipment, cites


Huawei protests FCC actions to block it in the U.S. on national security grounds

Guests hold umbrellas with Huawei logos at the Songshan Lake New Campus in Dongguan, China, May 31, 2019.

China’s Huawei has responded again to actions from the Federal Communications Commission, releasing an ex parte memo further laying out its response to the commission’s efforts to block its equipment on national security grounds.

“While Huawei does not agree with the view that Chinese companies pose a threat simply because they are Chinese, Huawei agrees that threats to network security do exist, and should be addressed comprehensively trough a holistic approach to supply chain security, not through a vendor-to-vendor approach,” according to the brief.

The company cites comments by government officials that it says appear to indicate the U.S. may have economic motives for the ban, and cites the use of its equipment in other European and North American markets.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-06-12  Authors: kate fazzini
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, chinese, national, block, actions, umbrellas, grounds, protests, security, view, fcc, approach, vendortovendor, trough, huawei, equipment, cites


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China says trade talks can’t continue unless US addresses its ‘wrong actions’

Chinese President Xi Jinping and members of Chinese delegation attend a working dinner with U.S. President Donald Trump after the G20 leaders summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina December 1, 2018. The latest U.S. actions on trade are preventing negotiations with Beijing from proceeding, China’s Commerce Ministry said Thursday. “If the U.S. would like to keep on negotiating it should, with sincerity, adjust its wrong actions. Only then can talks continue,” Ministry of Commerce spokesperson Gao Feng


Chinese President Xi Jinping and members of Chinese delegation attend a working dinner with U.S. President Donald Trump after the G20 leaders summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina December 1, 2018. The latest U.S. actions on trade are preventing negotiations with Beijing from proceeding, China’s Commerce Ministry said Thursday. “If the U.S. would like to keep on negotiating it should, with sincerity, adjust its wrong actions. Only then can talks continue,” Ministry of Commerce spokesperson Gao Feng
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Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-05-23  Authors: evelyn cheng
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, huawei, talks, continue, president, chinese, telecom, wrong, trade, actions, order, cant, addresses, china, unless, ministry, weeks, trump


China says trade talks can't continue unless US addresses its 'wrong actions'

Chinese President Xi Jinping and members of Chinese delegation attend a working dinner with U.S. President Donald Trump after the G20 leaders summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina December 1, 2018.

The latest U.S. actions on trade are preventing negotiations with Beijing from proceeding, China’s Commerce Ministry said Thursday.

“If the U.S. would like to keep on negotiating it should, with sincerity, adjust its wrong actions. Only then can talks continue,” Ministry of Commerce spokesperson Gao Feng said Thursday in Mandarin, according to a CNBC translation.

He did not mention any U.S. actions specifically, but it’s been a tense couple of weeks between the world’s two-largest economies. President Donald Trump unexpectedly announced earlier this month that tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods would increase to 25% from 10% on May 10. In the last two weeks, his administration also put Chinese telecom giant Huawei on a blacklist that prevents it from buying from American companies without U.S. government permission.

Google said Sunday it would cut ties with Huawei in order to comply with the order. But after the U.S. temporarily eased some restrictions on trade for the telecom and smartphone company, Google said Tuesday it plans to work with Huawei over the next 90 days.

“The U.S. … crackdown on Chinese companies not only seriously damages the normal commercial cooperation between both countries, but it also forms a great threat to the security of the global industrial and supply chain,” Gao said. “China is firmly opposed to this. We will closely monitor developments and make adequate preparations.”


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-05-23  Authors: evelyn cheng
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Deepak Chopra: How to stay calm and avoid impulsive actions in a volatile market

The twists and the turns of the stock market may have you itching to make a move, but health and wellness expert Deepak Chopra has some advice: stay calm, don’t panic. “Any investor will tell you that if you get caught up in the melodrama of the fluctuations of the stock market, you’re going to be a loser,” the best-selling author and co-founder of The Chopra Center for Wellbeing, recently told CNBC. “If you want to be a winner, stay in for the long haul, and don’t take unnecessary, impulsive ri


The twists and the turns of the stock market may have you itching to make a move, but health and wellness expert Deepak Chopra has some advice: stay calm, don’t panic. “Any investor will tell you that if you get caught up in the melodrama of the fluctuations of the stock market, you’re going to be a loser,” the best-selling author and co-founder of The Chopra Center for Wellbeing, recently told CNBC. “If you want to be a winner, stay in for the long haul, and don’t take unnecessary, impulsive ri
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Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-05-14  Authors: michelle fox louise connelly, michelle fox, louise connelly
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, youthese, stock, actions, avoid, impulsive, volatile, calm, worst, youre, winner, zen, chopra, stay, deepak, dont, market


Deepak Chopra: How to stay calm and avoid impulsive actions in a volatile market

The twists and the turns of the stock market may have you itching to make a move, but health and wellness expert Deepak Chopra has some advice: stay calm, don’t panic.

“Any investor will tell you that if you get caught up in the melodrama of the fluctuations of the stock market, you’re going to be a loser,” the best-selling author and co-founder of The Chopra Center for Wellbeing, recently told CNBC.

“If you want to be a winner, stay in for the long haul, and don’t take unnecessary, impulsive risks and actions.”

More from Invest in You:

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From a new home to medical care, here are some important savings goals

Market volatility has been rearing its head of late, with jittery traders selling on concerns about an escalating trade war with China. On Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down more than 600 points, its worst day since January.

Finding your zen amid the turbulence may be easier said than done.

Chopra, whose books include “Creating Affluence” and “The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success,” is the master of mindfulness and meditation. He has a number of tips for not losing your cool.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-05-14  Authors: michelle fox louise connelly, michelle fox, louise connelly
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Not being financially literate could cost you a bundle

You don’t know what you don’t know. Scrambling to pay bills or struggling with credit card debt is just the tip of the iceberg. Can you manage your own finances successfully if you don’t understand the relationship between bond prices and interest rates? Ric Edelman, founder of Edelman Financial Engines, says the answer isn’t that clear-cut. “Yes, your actions matter more than your attitude,” Edelman said.


You don’t know what you don’t know. Scrambling to pay bills or struggling with credit card debt is just the tip of the iceberg. Can you manage your own finances successfully if you don’t understand the relationship between bond prices and interest rates? Ric Edelman, founder of Edelman Financial Engines, says the answer isn’t that clear-cut. “Yes, your actions matter more than your attitude,” Edelman said.
Not being financially literate could cost you a bundle Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-04-25  Authors: jill cornfield, martin-dm, getty images, -ric edelman, founder of edelman financial engines
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, dont, edelman, bundle, actions, tip, attitude, financial, cost, financially, successfully, struggling, literate, thats, understand


Not being financially literate could cost you a bundle

You don’t know what you don’t know.

And that’s the whole problem with financial literacy. Scrambling to pay bills or struggling with credit card debt is just the tip of the iceberg.

Can you manage your own finances successfully if you don’t understand the relationship between bond prices and interest rates?

Ric Edelman, founder of Edelman Financial Engines, says the answer isn’t that clear-cut.

“Yes, your actions matter more than your attitude,” Edelman said. “But your attitude often colors your actions.”


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-04-25  Authors: jill cornfield, martin-dm, getty images, -ric edelman, founder of edelman financial engines
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, dont, edelman, bundle, actions, tip, attitude, financial, cost, financially, successfully, struggling, literate, thats, understand


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US politics: Romney says Trump causes dismay around the world

Mitt Romney, the former Republican presidential candidate and incoming U.S. senator from Utah, sharply criticized President Donald Trump and suggested the U.S. leader had caused dismay around the world. In a Washington Post essay published on Tuesday evening, Romney criticized a number of Trump’s actions in December. During the 2016 presidential campaign, Romney excoriated Trump as a “fraud” who was “playing the American public for suckers.” Trump responded that Romney had “choked like a dog” in


Mitt Romney, the former Republican presidential candidate and incoming U.S. senator from Utah, sharply criticized President Donald Trump and suggested the U.S. leader had caused dismay around the world. In a Washington Post essay published on Tuesday evening, Romney criticized a number of Trump’s actions in December. During the 2016 presidential campaign, Romney excoriated Trump as a “fraud” who was “playing the American public for suckers.” Trump responded that Romney had “choked like a dog” in
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US politics: Romney says Trump causes dismay around the world

Mitt Romney, the former Republican presidential candidate and incoming U.S. senator from Utah, sharply criticized President Donald Trump and suggested the U.S. leader had caused dismay around the world.

In a Washington Post essay published on Tuesday evening, Romney criticized a number of Trump’s actions in December.

“The appointment of senior persons of lesser experience, the abandonment of allies who fight beside us, and the president’s thoughtless claim that America has long been a ‘sucker’ in world affairs all defined his presidency down,” he wrote.

He added that “Trump’s words and actions have caused dismay around the world.”

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Romney suggested that “on balance, (Trump’s) conduct over the past two years … is evidence that the president has not risen to the mantle of the office.”

Romney is staking out an independent position two days before he takes office on Thursday. It is unclear whether Trump will face a serious challenge in 2020 to securing the Republican Party’s presidential nomination.

Trump last February endorsed Romney’s run for a Senate seat in Utah.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Romney excoriated Trump as a “fraud” who was “playing the American public for suckers.” Trump responded that Romney had “choked like a dog” in his unsuccessful 2012 campaign against Democratic President Barack Obama.

Despite Romney’s prior criticism, after Trump won the presidency in November 2016, he briefly considered tapping Romney as secretary of state.

In his essay on Tuesday, Romney said he “will speak out against significant statements or actions that are divisive, racist, sexist, anti-immigrant, dishonest or destructive to democratic institutions.”

Romney has strongly defended press freedom and challenged Trump’s repeated attacks on some news outlets as an “enemy of the people.”

“The media is essential to our Republic, to our freedom, to the cause of freedom abroad, and to our national security. It is very much our friend,” Romney wrote in an essay in November.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-01-02
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Comey resists closed-door Congress interview on FBI actions

Former FBI chief James Comey said Thursday he will resist a subpoena to appear before a congressional committee Dec. 3 unless that happens publicly because House Republicans will distort anything he says behind closed doors. Some Republicans have argued that Justice officials were conspiring against Trump’s election when Comey ran the bureau and they have interviewed multiple current and former Justice officials behind closed doors in an effort to prove their point. Democrats say Republicans are


Former FBI chief James Comey said Thursday he will resist a subpoena to appear before a congressional committee Dec. 3 unless that happens publicly because House Republicans will distort anything he says behind closed doors. Some Republicans have argued that Justice officials were conspiring against Trump’s election when Comey ran the bureau and they have interviewed multiple current and former Justice officials behind closed doors in an effort to prove their point. Democrats say Republicans are
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Comey resists closed-door Congress interview on FBI actions

Former FBI chief James Comey said Thursday he will resist a subpoena to appear before a congressional committee Dec. 3 unless that happens publicly because House Republicans will distort anything he says behind closed doors.

“I’m still happy to sit in the light and answer all questions,” he tweeted.

The House Judiciary Committee chairman, Rep. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, subpoenaed Comey as part of an investigation into FBI decisions made during the 2016 election, when Democrat Hillary Clinton was cleared in a probe into her email use and agents opened an investigation into Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia.

Some Republicans have argued that Justice officials were conspiring against Trump’s election when Comey ran the bureau and they have interviewed multiple current and former Justice officials behind closed doors in an effort to prove their point. Democrats say Republicans are trying to discredit special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation before they lose control of the House in January.

Comey, who was fired by Trump, tweeted of House Republicans: “I’ve seen enough of their selective leaking and distortion. Let’s have a hearing and invite everyone to see.”

His lawyer, David Kelley, said in a statement that Comey “will resist in court this abuse of process.”


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2018-11-22  Authors: brendan smialowski, afp, getty images
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Challenges to Trump’s acting attorney general could mean problems for Mueller

Matthew Whitaker’s appointment as acting attorney general could mean trouble for special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, but not necessarily in the way President Donald Trump’s critics expect. As acting attorney general, Whitaker is tasked with approving any major investigative steps Mueller takes, such as obtaining subpoenas or indictments. It is not clear when the legal challenges to Whitaker will be resolved. The special counsel’s office wrote in its brief that Whitaker’s appointment h


Matthew Whitaker’s appointment as acting attorney general could mean trouble for special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, but not necessarily in the way President Donald Trump’s critics expect. As acting attorney general, Whitaker is tasked with approving any major investigative steps Mueller takes, such as obtaining subpoenas or indictments. It is not clear when the legal challenges to Whitaker will be resolved. The special counsel’s office wrote in its brief that Whitaker’s appointment h
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Challenges to Trump's acting attorney general could mean problems for Mueller

Matthew Whitaker’s appointment as acting attorney general could mean trouble for special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, but not necessarily in the way President Donald Trump’s critics expect.

Legal challenges against the appointment have piled up in the two weeks since Trump forced out Jeff Sessions and named Whitaker to lead the Justice Department, including one case that’s already before the Supreme Court. If Whitaker is found to have been improperly appointed, the spillover effect could invalidate any official decisions he made while in his role – including decisions related to Mueller.

As acting attorney general, Whitaker is tasked with approving any major investigative steps Mueller takes, such as obtaining subpoenas or indictments.

While it is hard to know at the moment how closely Whitaker may involve himself in the inquiry, Mueller’s prosecutors have told a judge they sought approval from their previous overseer, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, for “every key step” of their investigation into former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort.

The legal challenges, even if they are unlikely to succeed in court, will give Mueller some pause before he takes any major actions, said Joe Moreno, a former federal prosecutor who is now a partner in Cadwalader’s white collar defense and investigations group.

“Mueller will not want anything he does second-guessed because [Whitaker’s] authority may be questioned,” Moreno said in an email.

It is not clear when the legal challenges to Whitaker will be resolved.

Tom Goldstein, a prominent Washington lawyer, urged the Supreme Court on Friday to take up the issue of Whitaker’s appointment immediately, citing the difficulty of “unwinding” all of the decisions that Whitaker makes while in his role. Those decisions would include approving subpoenas or indictments, or even firing the special counsel, Goldstein told CNBC.

The other challenges could take longer. In a case brought by the state of Maryland, which is also represented by Goldstein, a district court in the state has scheduled arguments for late 2019, and has not indicated when it plans to make a ruling. Goldstein has sought a preliminary injunction in the case that would bar Whitaker from carrying out his official duties.

Attorneys representing a client in an immigration case before the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals have filed for a similar preliminary injunction. The government has until Dec. 10 to respond to their claim.

On Monday, Senate Democrats Mazie Hirono, Richard Blumenthal and Sheldon Whitehouse brought their own case challenging the constitutionality of Whitaker’s appointment. That case, the latest, is likely to run into technical hurdles about standing and possible remedies, legal experts say.

Critics have called on Whitaker to resign from his oversight role, citing his previous criticism of Mueller’s investigation and his close ties to Sam Clovis, a witness in the investigation. Whitaker has said there was “no collusion” between the Trump team and Russia, an echo of Trump and his attorneys’ own language.

Mueller’s prosecutors broached the topic of Whitaker’s effect on the probe in a court filing Monday. A panel of judges in Washington is overseeing a case brought by a target of the probe, Andrew Miller, who was held in contempt after failing to comply with grand jury subpoenas obtained by Mueller in May and June.

The special counsel’s office wrote in its brief that Whitaker’s appointment had “no effect” on the grand jury subpoenas issued to Miller. But, they wrote, that was because the subpoenas were issued before Whitaker was appointed. Any “new” challenges should be argued in a different venue, they wrote.

A spokesman for the special counsel declined to comment. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

To be sure, there are ways that Mueller can go about inoculating himself from challenges to future actions. For instance, Mueller could obtain approvals from both Whitaker and Rosenstein. But it may not be politically viable for Whitaker to do so if it is perceived to be in response to questions about his legitimacy.

In a statement, the Justice Department said Whitaker’s appointment “is lawful and comports with the Federal Vacancies Reform Act, the Appointments Clause of the U.S. Constitution, Supreme Court precedent, past Department of Justice opinions, and actions of U.S. Presidents, both Republican and Democrat.”

The Office of Legal Counsel signed off on Whitaker’s appointment in a 20-page legal memo earlier this month.

Mueller’s use of a grand jury could also bolster his legal case against any future challenges.

Willy Jay, a former assistant to the solicitor general and a partner at the law firm Goodwin Procter, said that “there are an awful lot of things that generally cannot be litigated after an indictment.”

“The grand jury returns the indictment, it is not the attorney general,” Jay said. “Once the grand jury returns the indictment, things that go into that cannot be second guessed.”

Jay also pointed to the de facto officer doctrine, under which actions taken by official can be upheld even if it is later discovered that they were improperly appointed. But that would not necessarily apply if the target of a subpoena or indictment challenges Whitaker’s appointment at their first opportunity to do so.

A case from 2016 involving actions taken by the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau could be instructive.

The case arose after the Supreme Court ruled that Richard Cordray, the first head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, was improperly appointed by President Barack Obama in 2012. Obama re-appointed Cordray in 2013, after which Cordray retroactively affirmed the actions he had taken while he had been improperly serving.

A federal appeals court in California upheld decisions Cordray had made before his renomination. The Supreme Court, however, has never said that the courts can retroactively bless the decisions of an official appointed unconstitutionally, Jay said.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2018-11-20  Authors: tucker higgins, chip somodevilla, getty images
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, attorney, whitaker, problems, court, actions, general, acting, challenges, appointment, supreme, decisions, trumps, legal, whitakers, mueller, case, mean


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Trump says he backs pre-existing conditions coverage-his actions say no

President Donald Trump’s promise to protect pre-existing conditions coverage, perhaps the most popular Affordable Care Act provision, rings hollow. By doing so, the Trump administration tacitly supported the suit, which could roll back Obamacare’s coverage guarantees for people with pre-existing conditions if it succeeds. As Democrats try to flip control of the House, candidates across the country have attacked the GOP for threatening coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. Amid the br


President Donald Trump’s promise to protect pre-existing conditions coverage, perhaps the most popular Affordable Care Act provision, rings hollow. By doing so, the Trump administration tacitly supported the suit, which could roll back Obamacare’s coverage guarantees for people with pre-existing conditions if it succeeds. As Democrats try to flip control of the House, candidates across the country have attacked the GOP for threatening coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. Amid the br
Trump says he backs pre-existing conditions coverage-his actions say no Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2018-10-19  Authors: jacob pramuk, saul loeb, afp, getty images, jordan malter
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, actions, trump, preexisting, say, repeal, republicans, provision, suit, protect, obamacares, coverage, president, coveragehis, conditions, backs


Trump says he backs pre-existing conditions coverage-his actions say no

President Donald Trump’s promise to protect pre-existing conditions coverage, perhaps the most popular Affordable Care Act provision, rings hollow. That’s because his administration is backing a lawsuit that would scrap it.

As Republicans face midterm election pressure from an energized Democratic base over their efforts to repeal Obamacare, the president tweeted Thursday that “all Republicans support people with pre-existing conditions” or “will after I speak to them” if they do not already. He added that “I am in total support.”

His administration’s actions suggest otherwise. The Justice Department has declined to defend the health care law in court against a suit from 20 GOP-led states challenging Obamacare’s constitutionality. They argue the rest of the law does not hold up after Republicans rolled back its individual mandate provision last year. By doing so, the Trump administration tacitly supported the suit, which could roll back Obamacare’s coverage guarantees for people with pre-existing conditions if it succeeds.

As Democrats try to flip control of the House, candidates across the country have attacked the GOP for threatening coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. Amid the broadsides, Republican lawmakers who have pushed to repeal Obamacare for years are pledging to protect the provision. The GOP has good reason for its sudden shift on the issue: about a quarter of Americans do not want pre-existing conditions protections to be reversed, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey earlier this year.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2018-10-19  Authors: jacob pramuk, saul loeb, afp, getty images, jordan malter
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, actions, trump, preexisting, say, repeal, republicans, provision, suit, protect, obamacares, coverage, president, coveragehis, conditions, backs


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