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News Wrap: China ‘not nice’ for targeting U.S. farmers with tariffs, says Trump

In our news wrap Monday, President Trump pledged to "make it up" to farmers who could suffer from China's proposed tariffs on pork and soybean imports. Chinese officials blamed the U.S. for escalating trade tensions and said negotiations would be impossible under current circumstances. Also, Trump confirmed his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will take place in May or early June.

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  • William Brangham:

    In the day's other news, President Trump pledged to make it up to farmers who could suffer from China's proposed tariffs on pork and soybean imports. Beijing threatened them in response to planned U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods.

    Today, the president called the farmers great patriots, and acknowledged the hardships they face from China's retaliatory moves.

  • President Donald Trump:

    The farmers will be better off than they ever were. It'll take a little while to get there, but it could be very quick, actually. But I say it's not nice when they hit the farmers specifically because they think that hits me.

  • William Brangham:

    In Beijing, Chinese officials blamed the U.S. for escalating trade tensions, and said negotiations would be impossible under the current circumstances.

    Geng Shuang (through translator): The trade conflicts are unilaterally started by the United States, so the responsibility rests entirely on its side. Its actions have violated international trade rules, dented the multilateral trade system, and breached its own promises as well.

  • William Brangham:

    On Sunday, President Trump predicted China will ultimately ease trade barriers because — quote — "It's the right thing to do."

    President Trump also confirmed today that his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will take place in May or early June. That comes after it was widely reported North Korea confirmed with the White House that it's willing to discuss potential denuclearization. But it's unclear what the North believes that would entail.

    Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban has won a third term, after running on a deeply anti-immigrant platform. The right-wing nationalist leader celebrated his sweeping reelection in Budapest on Sunday. Orban repeatedly criticized the European Unions' more open border policies during his campaign. His ruling party also secured a two-thirds majority in Parliament, and he vowed to unveil legislation cracking down on immigrant rights groups.

    Back in this country, the Congressional Budget Office is projecting that the U.S. budget deficit will top $1 trillion by 2020. Its director, Keith Hall, said the deficit will surge to about $804 billion this year, largely due to President Trump's tax cuts and the newly passed bipartisan spending bill. And, by 2028, the deficit will approach 100 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product.

  • Keith Hall:

    Our forecast beyond 10 years does nothing but show rising debt to GDP ratio.

    And we anticipate within the next decade after that we're going to break the record, under current law, debt to GDP, so we're getting to quite really high levels. And there's really no trend path under current law to fix the problem.

  • William Brangham:

    The CBO's projections assume the tax cuts will expire, as the law is written down, but if Congress extends them, Hall said the deficit would be much larger.

    The teachers strike in Oklahoma has now entered its second week, with no end in sight. Hundreds of educators and their supporters flooded the state capitol for another day, demanding an increase in education funding. The state's two largest school districts, Oklahoma City an Tulsa, have already canceled class for tomorrow as well.

    Bill Cosby returned to a Pennsylvania court today for the retrial of his sexual assault case, this one now occurring in the middle of the MeToo movement. Cosby was heckled by protesters as he walked into the courthouse today. The 80-year-old comedian has pleaded not guilty to three counts of aggravated indecent assault.

    A prosecutor revealed Cosby paid nearly $3.4 million to Andrea Constand, the woman he's charged with sexually assaulting. That amount had previously been confidential.

    On Wall Street today, stocks eased an early rally after news broke about that FBI raid on President Trump's attorney's office. The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 46 points to close at 23979. The Nasdaq rose 35 points, and the S&P 500 added eight.

    And Democratic Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois gave birth to a baby girl today, making her the first ever U.S. senator to give birth while in office. Duckworth is a 50-year-old veteran who lost both her legs in the Iraq War. She's one of only 10 women to give birth while serving in Congress.

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