BEIJING – The prospects for a preliminary breakthrough in the U.S.-China trade war improved Thursday after each side agreed to reduce some punitive tariffs on the other's goods, though the full extent of the rollback wasn't clear.
A Chinese spokesman announced the development Thursday as talks on ending the trade war progressed, and it triggered a rally in U.S. stock markets.
A U.S. private sector analyst with knowledge of the talks said there are still deliberations in the White House about how far to roll back the duties and what steps China must take before the reductions would occur. The analyst spoke on condition of anonymity.
Fake asylum court dates uncovered
Asylum-seekers who have finished their court cases are being sent back to Mexico with documents that contain fraudulent future court dates, keeping some migrants south of the border indefinitely, records show.
Under the Migrant Protection Protocols policy, asylum-seekers with cases in the United States have to wait in Mexico until those cases are resolved. The Mexican government agreed to accept only migrants with future court dates scheduled.
However, records obtained by the San Diego Union-Tribune show that on at least 14 occasions, Customs and Border Protection agents in California and Texas gave migrants who had already concluded their court cases documents with fraudulent future court dates written on them and sent the migrants back to Mexico anyway.
Homeland Security and Custom and Border Protection did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Sessions files for US Senate run
Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Thursday he wants to reclaim his old Senate seat from Alabama, where he's been a conservative icon and dominant vote-getter since the 1990s.
But it's already clear that President Donald Trump's enmity toward him, along with an established field of competitors, means he'll have to battle his way to the Republican nomination. And early indications are that he may not have robust help from former GOP Senate colleagues, either.
Illegal entry not criminal: Sanders
Bernie Sanders is adding his support to a call by some of his fellow presidential hopefuls for decriminalizing illegal border crossings, a proposal that's further exposing deep ideological divides in the Democratic primary.
The Vermont senator released a detailed immigration policy proposal on Thursday, writing, “Unauthorized presence in the United States is a civil, not a criminal, offense.”
He vowed to repeal existing statutes that put “border crossings on par with other forms of immigration violations, such as overstaying a visa.”
Steyer Iowa aide made overtures
A top aide to Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer in Iowa privately offered campaign contributions to local politicians in exchange for endorsing his White House bid, according to multiple people with direct knowledge of the conversations.
The overtures from Pat Murphy, a former state House speaker who is a top adviser on Steyer's Iowa campaign, aren't illegal – though payments for endorsements would violate campaign finance laws if not disclosed.
There's no evidence that any Iowans accepted the offer or received contributions from Steyer's campaign as compensation for their backing.
Pence adds Trump name to ballot
Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday added President Donald Trump's name to the Republican primary ballot in New Hampshire, the state where he achieved his first victory of the 2016 campaign.
Accompanied by Republican Gov. Chris Sununu, Pence signed the paperwork and paid the $1,000 filing fee at the secretary of state's office while supporters chanted “Four more years!” in the hallway.
In New Hampshire, Trump is expected to face at least three challengers: former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford and former Illinois Rep. Joe Walsh.
Bloomberg mulls jumping into race
Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire former mayor of New York City, is opening the door to a 2020 Democratic presidential campaign, warning that the current field of candidates is ill equipped to defeat President Donald Trump.
Bloomberg, who initially ruled out a 2020 run, has not made a final decision on whether to jump into the race. The 77-year-old has spent the past few weeks talking with prominent Democrats about the state of the 2020 field.
In a statement Thursday, Bloomberg adviser Howard Wolfson said the former mayor believes Trump “represents an unprecedented threat to our nation” and must be defeated.