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Inside Trump (Mar 8th, 2018)

President Trump will make an announcement on Thursday afternoon about his proposed steel and aluminum tariffs. Trump tweeted on Thursday morning that he was looking forward to an afternoon meeting with industry executives, and emphasized that he plans to demonstrate "great flexibility and cooperation toward those that are real friends." The President also indicated during a Cabinet meeting on Thursday that he may exempt Australia, Mexico and Canada from the proposal. Unnamed administration officials suggested to USA Today that a signing event would be organized on Thursday for the new regulation, but as of Wednesday night, it was not included in the official White House schedule. – USAT

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White House economic adviser Gary Cohn announced on Tuesday that he plans to resign. Cohn, a free trade Democrat who was seen by some as a bulwark against some of President Trump's more nationalistic policies, heads the National Economic Council. Cohn had lobbied against Trump's proposed steel and aluminum tariffs, and had announced that he might step down if the President followed through on the plans. In a statement, Cohn described his departure as amicable, and said that he was proud of working on “pro-growth economic policies to benefit the American people, in particular the passage of historic tax reform.” – NYT

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On Thursday, President Trump will meet with representatives from the video game industry, and their critics, to discuss the possible impact of games on gun violence. In addition to Entertainment Software Association CEO Mike Gallagher, Entertainment Software Rating Board Patricia Vance, and executives from Bethesda Softworks (makers of the "Fallout" series) and Take-Two Interactive (makers of the "Grand Theft Auto" series), the meeting also includes individuals who have been critical of video game violence. Republican Rep. Vicky Hartzler (MO) first called for regulating violent video games in the aftermath of the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, and Brent Bozell heads up the Media Research Center, a conservative group that looks for evidence of "liberal bias" in media. The White House did not share a full list of participants. The President has suggested that violent video games may be a contributing factor to the problem of gun violence in America's schools following the February 14 mass shooting in Parkland, Florida. – CNN

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According to three unnamed sources, President Trump spoke with witnesses about comments they had made to special counsel Robert Mueller. The New York Times reports that Trump asked White House counsel Donald McGahn to release a statement, denying that he'd been asked to fire Mueller. (McGahn did not end up releasing such a statement, and apparently informed the President that he had been asked to dismiss Mueller.) The Times further alleges, based on accounts from two other, anonymous sources, that Trump asked former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus how his meeting with the special counsel's team had gone, and if they had been "nice." It's currently unclear if these conversations were unlawful, but they could potentially open Trump up to accusations of obstruction of justice or witness tampering. – NYT

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The Trump administration has asked the Chinese government to reduce the trade deficit between the two countries by $100 billion, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. The request was apparently made during a meeting between US trade officials and a top economic adviser to Chinese President Xi Jinping last week, according to unnamed people familiar with the discussion. On Tuesday, however, President Trump tweeted that he had only asked the Chinese to reduce the trade deficit by $1 billion. In the month of January of 2017, the US-China trade deficit was $36 billion, its highest level since 2015. Thus, a reduction of $1 billion per year would represent a change of only 0.3%. – CNBC

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Adult film star Stormy Daniels has filed a civil lawsuit against President Trump in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleging that he never signed the nondisclosure agreement arranged through attorney Michael Cohen. Daniels signed the agreement, using both her stage name and her birth name, Stephanie Clifford, on October 28, 2016, just days before Trump was elected president. Cohen also signed on that same day. But an additional individual known as "David Dennison," identified by Daniels' attorney as Trump, did not sign either the main agreement or a side letter agreement; her team argues that this invalidates the agreement entirely. Daniels alleges that she and the President had an affair that lasted from the summer of 2016 through the year 2017, and that she was paid $130,000 to keep quiet about the details. The suit also alleges that Cohen pressured Daniels to maintain her silence as recently as February of 2018, and that Trump must be aware of Cohen's actions. – NBCNEWS

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