August 21, 2018 / 12:43 PM / a month ago

Tuesday Morning Briefing

President Trump worries that any statements he provides to Mueller could be a ‘perjury trap’, Microsoft says Russian hackers targeted U.S. conservative think-tanks and Iraq plans to ask U.S. for exemptions on some Iran sanctions.

U.S. President Donald Trump reacts to a question during an interview with Reuters in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S. August 20, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis

Trump

Exclusive: Trump said he was “not thrilled” with the Federal Reserve under his own appointee, Chairman Jerome Powell, for raising interest rates and said the U.S. central bank should do more to help him to boost the economy. In an interview with Reuters, Trump also said he was worried that any statements under oath he provides to Special Counsel Robert Mueller could be used to bring perjury charges against him as part of the probe into Russia’s electoral interference.

It is “very dangerous” for social media companies like Twitter and Facebook to silence voices on their services, Trump said in an interview with Reuters as the social media industry faces mounting scrutiny from Congress to police foreign propaganda.

As new U.S. tariffs on $16 billion of Chinese goods take effect at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, along with retaliatory tariffs from Beijing on an equal amount of U.S. goods, Trump said he does not expect much progress from trade talks with China this week in Washington. Adding that he had “no time frame” for ending the trade dispute with China in an interview with Reuters.

Politics

A plan to close most polling places in a predominantly black Georgia county ahead of November’s elections is drawing opposition from the state’s gubernatorial candidates and voting rights activists, who deem it blatant voter suppression.

Hackers linked to Russia’s government tried to target the websites of two right-wing U.S. think-tanks, suggesting they were broadening their attacks in the build-up to November elections, Microsoft said. 

World

Muslim pilgrims gather on Mount Mercy on the plains of Arafat during the annual haj pilgrimage, outside the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia August 20, 2018. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra

More than 2 million Muslims gathered at Mount Arafat on Monday for a vigil to atone for their sins, and then descended to Muzdalifa to prepare for the final stages of the annual haj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.

Taiwan vowed to fight China’s “increasingly out of control” behavior after Taipei lost another ally to Beijing when El Salvador became the third country to switch allegiances to China this year.

Commentary

With Britain's Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn facing fresh charges of anti-Semitism, columnist John Lloyd writes that it has become more important than ever to examine his beliefs on Zionism, Jews, Israel and Palestine. Corbyn and his supporters "believe that Zionism, the belief in Israel’s creation and existence, should be defeated – which can only mean that Israel itself should cease to exist."

Iran

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is seen in a newly unveiled fighter jet in Tehran, Iran August 21, 2018. Tasnim News Agency/Handout via REUTERS

Iran said it would boost its military might and also unveiled a new fighter jet amid increased tensions with the United States and with regional rivals over conflicts in the Middle East. 

Iraq’s economy is so closely linked to Iran that Baghdad is going to ask Washington for permission to ignore some U.S. sanctions on its neighbor, Iraqi government and central bank officials said.

Business

Critical comments by Trump about the country’s central bank held back some stocks, while the dollar fell for the fourth consecutive day in its worst spell since March.

Rules governing Norway’s $1 trillion wealth fund would allow it to stay on as an investor in Tesla if the electric carmaker goes private, its deputy CEO said.

Foreign-brand automakers with U.S. plants do not support Trump administration rules to raise the amount of local content in North American-made vehicles, a group representing companies including Toyota Motor, Volkswagen and Hyundai Motor has told key U.S. lawmakers. 

Reuters TV

Several big casino operators like MGM, Melco Resorts International and Galaxy are all eyeing a new opportunity on a Japanese man-made island in Osaka, as the country paves the way for casino resorts to open up.

Casino giants go all in for Japan's 'Dream Island'
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