Tuesday morning news: August 27, 2019


President Trump voices optimism on a trade war truce with China » Stocks rallied on Wall Street Monday after President Trump expressed renewed optimism about talks to end the trade war with China. 

The president said his trade negotiators had received two “very good calls” from China on Sunday. And he added that the two sides will start talking seriously about a compromise when negotiators meet again next month in Washington.

TRUMP: I think they very much want to make a deal, and the longer they wait the harder it is to put it back, if it can be put back at all. So I believe they want to do a deal. The tariffs have hit them very hard. 

On Friday, China and the United States announced new retaliatory tariffs. And Trump tweeted that U.S. companies were—quote “hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China.” 

The president said that was a threat to use the 1977 International Emergency Economic Powers Act against China. But he would have to declare a national emergency in the trade war first. 


U.S., Japanese leaders leave G7 with trade deal “in principle” » Meantime, President Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe left the G7 summit in France on Monday with an agreement “in principle” on a new trade deal. 

Nothing’s in writing just yet. Abe said negotiators are still working to hammer out the final language. 

But President Trump said it’s a deal Abe can’t refuse. He noted that the current tariff on Japanese auto imports is two-and-a-half percent—with plenty of room to raise the duties. 

TRUMP: Now if I want to put tariffs on those cars I’d make so much money for this country your head would spin. So, yeah, he’s going to make the deal. I feel pretty certain about that. 

Trump said as part of a new trade deal, Japan would buy “hundreds of millions of dollars of corn.”

Kansas Senator Pat Roberts, who chairs the Agriculture Committee, called the handshake agreement good news. 

He said “U.S. farmers and ranchers currently face a disadvantage in Japan relative to other countries in the Trans-Pacific Partnership.” He said the deal should help U.S. producers compete. 


Oklahoma judge rules against drugmaker in opioid case » An Oklahoma judge on Monday found that Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiaries helped fuel the state’s opioid crisis. 

BALKMAN: Defendants caused an opioid crisis that is evidenced by increased rates of addiction, overdose deaths, and neonatal abstinence syndrome in Oklahoma. 

Cleveland County District Judge Thad Balkman ordered the consumer products giant to pay $572 million to clean up the problem.

But the judge said his ruling does not mean case closed

BALKMAN: I still have jurisdiction over this case, and there are possibilities, probably certainties, that I will be asked to rule on other matters in this case. 

His ruling could help shape negotiations over roughly 1,500 similar lawsuits consolidated before a federal judge in Ohio.

Oklahoma had reached settlements with two other pharmaceutical companies totaling more than $300 million.

The state argued that the companies launched misleading marketing campaigns that overstated the effectiveness of the drugs while downplaying the risk of addiction. 

Opioid overdoses killed nearly 5,000 people in Oklahoma between 2007 and 2017.


Nineteen states, D.C. sue over Trump admin immigration rule change » Nineteen states and the District of Columbia sued on Monday to stop the Trump administration from changing rules related to the 1997 Flores agreement. 

The change would scrap limits to how long the government can detain migrant children. That would allow officials to hold migrant families together until courts decide their cases. 

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced the lawsuit yesterday…

BECERRA: We wish to protect children. We wish to protect them from irreparable harm, which may be caused by this unlawful detention. 

Becerra is leading the effort, along with Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey. Both are Democrats.

The Flores agreement says the government generally should not hold migrant children longer than 20 days. The administration wants to remove court oversight and that 20-day restriction. 

A judge must OK the proposed changes.


Weinstein pleads not guilty to new indictment » Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein faced a judge in a Manhattan courtroom Monday and pleaded not guilty to a new indictment. It includes charges of predatory sexual assault. 

That as prosecutors pushed to open the door for an actress to join other accusers testifying against Weinstein in a rape and sexual assault trial. But the change to the case caused the Judge James Burke to delay the start of the trial until January.

It was scheduled to start in two weeks, but defense lawyers asked for more time to respond to the revised charges. 

Attorney Gloria Allred represents multiple women accusing Weinstein of assault. She said the delay was unnecessary. 

ALLRED: I think it’s important for all witnesses who may have relevant information to be permitted to testify. So my question is why are they so afraid. 

But Weinstein attorney Donna Rotunno called the indictment a “desperate” attempt to salvage the case.

ROTUNNO: We are going to file motions to dismiss this new indictment, and we believe we will be successful. 

Weinstein is currently free on $1 million bail. He has denied all sexual assault allegations.


(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan) Harvey Weinstein, center, leaves court, Monday, Aug. 26, 2019 in New York. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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