Besieged at home by critics of his policy of separating undocumented children and parents who cross into the U.S. from Mexico, Donald Trump is seeking to deflect attention onto Europe.
In fact, official figures show crime in Germany fell last year to its lowest since at least 2003. Trump doubled down on his argument at a White House event, saying the U.S. “will not be a migrant camp” and “You look at what’s happening in Europe.”
The White House’s policy is provoking growing concern – and election-year jitters – among fellow Republicans. Lawmakers in both chambers of Congress are crafting legislation to stop the separation of migrant families and the issue’s already reverberating through midterm campaigns.
“Let me be clear,” Florida Governor Rick Scott, who’s running to defeat Democratic incumbent Senator Bill Nelson in November, said in a statement. “I do not favor separating families.”
Trade spat escalates | President Xi Jinping’s administration vowed to retaliate “forcefully” after Trump threatened tariffs on another $200 billion in Chinese imports, with the commerce ministry calling it “extreme pressure and blackmail.” Stocks across Asia fell on concern the dispute between the world’s two largest economies is deepening. Economists warned of widespread collateral damage if the threats are implemented.
Brexit bites | The European Union is flashing code red on the very real chance the U.K. will crash out of the bloc without a deal, Ian Wishart exclusively reports. Belgium is already getting ready by adding drones, dogs and officers to its border force. In London, Prime Minister Theresa May is caught in more Brexit infighting and faces another critical vote with pro-EU Conservative rebels demanding Parliament gets to stop “no-deal” from happening.
Ringing the alarm | Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers told the ECB Forum in Portugal yesterday that developed countries are badly equipped for another recession, both economically and politically, and central banks should be wary of raising interest rates just to stop inflation running slightly hot. The remarks come as the world’s most powerful monetary policy makers start scaling back the extraordinary levels of support they’ve lent their economies since the financial crisis a decade ago.
Anti-China protests | It may boast one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, but an outbreak of unrest across Vietnam reveals bubbling discontent beneath the veneer of positive news. As John Boudreau reports, citizens are rallying against proposed special economic zones they fear will lead to Chinese encroachment, as well as tough cybersecurity legislation, despite the government's best efforts to quash dissent.
The art of timing | Spain’s new prime minister, Pedro Sanchez, came to power this month with a lightning attack that capitalized on a shocking corruption verdict against his political rivals. His minority government has less than a quarter of the lawmakers in parliament, but as Rodrigo Orihuela and Thomas Gualtieri report, the economy is booming again and Sanchez is set to benefit. He’s already retreating from a pledge to call early elections.
What to Watch
- Kim Jong Un was expected to visit China today, on the same day the Pentagon officially suspended a key military exercise with South Korea, underscoring the North Korean leader’s success in rolling back the U.S.-led pressure campaign.
And finally… Israel has charged a former cabinet minister with spying for Iran. Gonen Segev, energy and infrastructure minister in the 1990s, first contacted Iranian embassy officials while living in Nigeria in 2012, and passed on information about energy industry and security sites as well as political and defense officials, the Shin Bet security service alleges. He was once jailed for trying to smuggle 32,000 Ecstasy tablets into Israel and has a conviction for credit card fraud, local media reported.
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