Trouble at Home, Trouble Abroad for Trump

Kathleen Hunter

(Bloomberg) -- Want to receive this post in your inbox every day? Sign up for the Balance of Power newsletter, and follow Bloomberg Politics on Twitter and Facebook for more.

A trip across the Atlantic has only served to highlight how isolated Donald Trump has become.

This week’s NATO summit in London was an opportunity for the U.S. president to divert attention from the accelerating impeachment inquiry he faces in Washington.

But the gathering so far has emphasized tensions with some world leaders and his continued struggle to fulfill his trade promises.

Trump, who campaigned in 2016 on a vow to negotiate a more advantageous trade deal with China, hinted yesterday that such an agreement might have to wait until after next year’s election.

It all amounts to a missed opportunity for a U.S. president poised to fly home today with the House Judiciary Committee in the midst of a hearing aimed at laying the groundwork for drawing up articles of impeachment against him.

House Intelligence Committee Democrats yesterday released their findings that the president abused his office by pressuring Ukraine’s government to deliver a political favor, then sought to hide his conduct and obstruct a congressional investigation.

However Trump retains a key ally: Republican lawmakers. Their support stems from Trump’s resilient backing among his voter base. As long as he has that, he might weather the various storms.

Global Headlines

A testy day in the country | NATO leaders are meeting outside London as what should be a celebration of 70 years of the military alliance turns into a debate about its future role. Trump and France’s Emmanuel Macron had a tense exchange yesterday over Macron’s branding of NATO as “brain dead,” and several leaders were caught on camera gossiping about Trump’s penchant for lengthy rambles to reporters.

You can keep up here with our rolling coverage of the meeting.

Click here for an explanation on Trump’s sudden transformation into a champion of NATO.

Ignore the noise | The U.S. and China are moving closer to a trade deal before a scheduled tariff increase on Dec. 15 despite tensions over Hong Kong and Xinjiang, Jenny Leonard and Niu Shuping report. China earlier threatened retaliation after the U.S. House passed a bill that would sanction officials over human-rights abuses against Muslims in the western Xinjiang region. Outstanding issues include how to guarantee China’s purchases of U.S. agricultural goods and exactly which tariffs to roll back. Deja vu | Almost nine years after a Tunisian street vendor set himself alight, kicking off the Arab uprisings, another youth in the same impoverished region has followed suit. As Tarek El-Tablawy and Jihen Laghmari explain, the subsequent protests pose the first major test for President Kais Saied, a political novice who was elected in a landslide in October with promises to fulfill the goals of the 2011 revolt but who also inherited a deeply troubled economy.Go slow | Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s economic reforms are stuttering less than a year after he took office, with proposals on jobs, taxes and the civil service stuck in parliament. As Martha Beck and Simone Iglesias report, lawmakers say Bolsonaro has failed to put his political muscle behind the changes and, with regional elections due next year, the window for action is closing.

Click here for a look at the drivers of recent unrest across South America.

Climate shrug | Indifference to global warming in the Kremlin is putting the world’s biggest energy exporter at risk of being left behind by the global transition away from fossil fuels. Rather than embrace cleaner energy, Russia is introducing bigger tax breaks for oil exploration and boosting coal production. As Natasha Doff writes, that approach could set the country up for big losses if the shift away from oil is faster than expected.

What to Watch

Mexico is considering a U.S. proposal to remove protections for biologic drugs from a renegotiated Nafta trade deal, a plan that could help clear a hurdle to an agreement and deal a blow to brand-name pharmaceutical companies. In ending her sinking White House campaign, Democrat Kamala Harris may be trying to maximize her potential as a vice presidential candidate. Tune in at 6:15 p.m. eastern time for Bloomberg TV's exclusive interview with Democratic candidate Elizabeth Warren. The ouster of Antti Rinne as Finnish prime minister yesterday was another worrying sign for the establishment forces trying to hold the European Union steady amid rising nationalism.

Tell us how we’re doing or what we’re missing at balancepower@bloomberg.net.

And finally ... Inside a fortress-like megafarm outside Beijing, pink-and-black pigs are being bred with a gene for regulating heat to buffer them against northern China’s freezing winters — just one of dozens of genetic experiments in the country. But while the quest used to be for better-tasting, stronger, faster-growing animals, a devastating global outbreak of African swine fever has scientists scrambling to keep hogs alive.

 

--With assistance from Michael Gunn, Natasha Doff, Daniel Ten Kate and Karl Maier.

To contact the author of this story: Kathleen Hunter in London at khunter9@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rosalind Mathieson at rmathieson3@bloomberg.net, Ruth Pollard

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.