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President Donald Trump’s intention to slap tariffs on imports from Mexico starting Monday will primarily hurt Americans, say many experts in economics, political science, and diplomacy.

Trump announced last week he would impose a growing set of tariffs on Mexico to force that country to stem the flow of Central American migrants and asylum seekers trying to enter the U.S. If levied, the tariffs begin on Monday at 5 percent, and increase by 5 percent every month until they total 25 percent — or until Trump is satisfied with Mexico’s border efforts.

At question is an international policy of “country of first asylum,” which says the first country a refugee reaches should be the one to process the asylum request. “For refugees in Central America, Guatemala in particular, it would be Mexico,” said John Caulfield, a retired diplomat with extensive experience in Latin America and now a consultant.

Addressing country of first asylum is “very complicated and technical,” Caulfield said, noting that it is best done through negotiation and planning with other governments.

However, Trump has decided to “punish a country with tariffs to the point that they will change internal policies without any understanding of who bears the burden of the policies,” said Anson Soderberry, a professor of economics at Purdue University who specializes in international trade.

Soderberry refers specifically to the economic trade terms of passthrough and burdens, which delineate where the imposition of the tariffs actually lands and who pays them. Tariffs are a form of consumption tax, like a national sales tax, only on specific goods from particular countries.

In 2018, the U.S. imported $346.5 billion in goods from Mexico, according to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. At even 5 percent, that would be a tax of $17.3 billion. Unless manufacturers in Mexico decide to absorb the costs themselves — which has virtually no chance of happening — the impact will be split among importers, wholesalers, retailers, and consumers, with the burden significantly if not entirely passed on to the latter.

With a tariff of 25 percent, a number that could be seen by October, the tax would be $86.5 billion annually, or $264.36 for every woman, man, and child in the U.S. The impact would be felt most heavily on goods like cars. A $40,000 auto would see a $1,500 price jump with a 5 percent tariff, or $7,500 at 25 percent.

The impact could extend beyond consumer prices and negatively affect jobs. Under NAFTA, a number of industries in the U.S. extend north and south into Canada and Mexico, with work on products split up and parts going back and forth, sometimes multiple times, for different stages of assembly.

“These minor adjustments to supply chain and production are potentially not that distortive,” Soderberry said. “But if it gets to the point that you have to make a big shift and move a plant, then what do you do? Then it can be 10,000 jobs that are lost. That’s a pretty big effect.”

The potential costs in money, jobs, and businesses are immense. So how effective is the tariff strategy? “The current administration seems to believe that tariffs are an all-purpose stick that can be used to beat countries with,” said Douglas Nelson, a professor of economics at Tulane University and an expert in trade. “There’s no obvious direct connection between tariffs and immigration. If those are your goals, there are many more efficient ways of going about those goals.”

“Usually when countries use tariffs, it’s to protect their domestic goods,” said Christina Fattore, associate professor of political science at West Virginia University. Instead, the goal is domestic politics and the 2020 presidential election, with immigration issues attractive to his base, particularly when spun as a reason for job losses. Trump’s policies have so far not returned well-paying manufacturing jobs to swing states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

“Mexico is an easy target for Trump,” Fattore said. “He still thinks he can reach his base by targeting Mexico through not just immigration policy but economic policy. People who don’t have time to do the research are going to believe the president, especially if they voted for him.”

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Who is Robert Mueller, the man behind the report on Trump?

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He’s a Republican born into a wealthy family in New York who attended a tony prep school, graduated an Ivy League university, is known for his trademark suits and hair — and isn’t someone you want to be on the wrong side of.

Robert Swan Mueller III is also the man behind the most highly anticipated document in the country — the special counsel report, submitted to Attorney General William Barr on Friday, on whether Donald Trump’s presidential campaign was involved with Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 election.

Pressure is unlikely to rattle Mueller, 74, who was named special counsel in May 2017. A decorated Vietnam War hero, he was the second longest-serving FBI director in the history of the agency, which he took over one week before the 9/11 terror attacks.

Author Garrett Graff, who has interviewed the media-averse Mueller at length over the years, told The Guardian he is “probably America’s straightest arrow, very by-the-book, very professional.”

FBI Director Robert Mueller testifies during a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.Alex Wong / Getty Images file

In a 2017 speech at his granddaughter’s high school graduation, Mueller exhorted the students to live their lives with “integrity, patience and humility.”

“Whatever we do, we must act with honesty and with integrity, and regardless of your chosen career, you’re only as good as your word,” Mueller told the graduates. “If you are not honest, your reputation will suffer, and once lost a good reputation can never, ever be regained.”

Mueller was born in New York City in 1944, and raised outside of Philadelphia. His father was a World War II Navy veteran and an executive at DuPont.

“A lie was the worst sin” in his household, Mueller once told Graff. “The one thing you didn’t do was to give anything less than the truth to my mother and father.”

He attended Princeton, where he said he was inspired to enlist in the Marines by a classmate who had been killed in the conflict. Mueller’s first attempt to sign up was unsuccessful because of an injured knee. It took him a year to rehab the injury — time he also used to earn a master’s degree in international relations and marry high school sweetheart Ann Standish, a teacher. He was then given the green light to go into officer training at Quantico, Virginia.

His success there got him sent to elite Army Ranger training before he was shipped off to Vietnam as a Marine lieutenant and rifle platoon leader in 1968. He was awarded several commendations, including one for rescuing a wounded Marine under heavy enemy fire, and another for holding his position and fighting on even after he’d been shot through the leg.

Robert S. Mueller III in his Marines uniform circa 1967.National Archives via Getty Images

“Although seriously wounded during the fire­fight, he resolutely maintained his position and, ably directing the fire of his platoon, was instrumental in defeating the North Vietnamese Army force,” the Navy commendation read.

He left the Marines after being placed on desk duty following his combat tour, but still considers those three years the most important of his life.

“The lessons I learned as a Marine have stayed with me for more than 40 years,” he told his granddaughter’s class. “The value of teamwork, sacrifice, discipline — life lessons I could not have learned in quite the same way elsewhere.”

Mueller became a prosecutor in 1976 after graduating law school and doing a brief stint in private practice.

He rose through the ranks at U.S. attorney’s offices in California and Boston before landing at the Justice Department, where he was involved in high-profile prosecutions of the bombers in the 1988 Pan Am Flight 103 attack over Lockerbie, Scotland, and of the mob boss John Gotti.

He was nominated as FBI director by President George W. Bush, and unanimously confirmed by the Senate.

He was sworn in on Sept. 4, 2001 — one week before the country was hit with the deadliest terror attack in history, coordinated passenger jetliner attacks that killed thousands in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.

Mueller said in a briefing in the days after the attack that Bush asked him, “What is the FBI doing to prevent the next terrorist attack?”

“That was the question that was asked on that day that I did not have an answer to,” Mueller recalled in a 2014 speech. And he said he made it the FBI’s main mission.

“No longer could our metric be the number of arrests, number of indictments, number of convictions,” he said. “It was answering that one question.”

Then Assistant Attorney General Robert Mueller points to a photo of the reconstructed wreckage of Pan Am Flight 103, which exploded over Lockerbie Scotland, in 1988, killing 270 people.Barry Thumma / AP file

There has not been a large-scale terrorist attack in the country since.

Mueller and then-acting Attorney General James Comey nearly quit their jobs in protest in 2004, when White House officials quietly reauthorized a secret post-9/11 domestic surveillance program against the recommendations of the Justice Department. The pair took their concerns directly to Bush, who ordered the program restructured, Comey later told the Senate.

Mueller’s 10-year term was extended for two years by President Barack Obama and a unanimous Senate vote. He was succeeded by Comey and returned to private practice as a partner at the law firm of WilmerHale in Washington, D.C. Among his clients in the reported $3.4 million a year job were Facebook, Apple and the National Football League.

He continued living at the longtime Georgetown home he shares with his wife of 52 years. They have two grown daughters and three grandchildren.

Trump fired Comey on May 9, 2017, and told NBC News’ Lester Holt two days later that he’d done so in part because of his frustration over the Russia investigation.

On May 16, Trump interviewed Mueller about coming back to his old job. A day later, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein named Mueller as special counsel in charge of the Russia probe.

While Trump has belittled Mueller as “a conflicted prosecutor gone rogue” who’s running a “witch hunt” of an investigation, Mueller and his team have not responded publicly to the president’s criticisms.

He once told Graff the importance with which he views self-control.

“I’ve always made my bed and I’ve always shaved, even in Vietnam in the jungle. You’ve put money in the bank in terms of discipline,” Mueller told him. “Once you think about it — do it.”

Mueller felt Vietnam had prepared him for anything.

“You see a lot, and every day after is a blessing,” he said in 2008. “A lot is going to come your way, but it’s not going to be the same intensity.”



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Boris Johnson 'to get Brexit done' as he's made PM – Goldman Sachs raises No Deal to 20%

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BORIS JOHNSON triumphed in the Tory leadership contest and was crowned next Conservative leader by an overwhelming majority of party members.

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Nadler says Mueller should ignore DOJ ‘cover-up’ efforts on testimony

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House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., said on Tuesday that former special counsel Robert Mueller should ignore Justice Department attempts to stifle his highly anticipated congressional testimony, referring to their efforts as “part of a cover-up.”

On Monday, Associate Deputy Attorney General Bradley Weinscheimer wrote a letter instructing Mueller not to provide any testimony regarding the redacted portions of his report. Mueller had already said he would not go beyond the content contained within his more than 440-page report during his public testimony.

The letter also stated that “any testimony must remain within the boundaries of your public report because matters within the scope of your investigation were covered by executive privilege.”

Nadler told CNN Tuesday that he didn’t believe that letter was an impediment to Mueller’s testimony, adding that the instruction to do so is “a part of the cover-up of the administration to keep information away from the American people.”

“But I think it’s not going to have a real impact,” he said.

Asked if Mueller must comply with the letter, Nadler said the former special counsel does not.

“He doesn’t work for them,” Nadler said. “And that letter asks things that are beyond the power of the agency to ask even if he still worked there.”

Mueller will testify Wednesday in separate sessions before the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees. In May, Mueller said if he were to testify before Congress that “testimony from this office would not go beyond our report.”

“We chose those words carefully, and the work speaks for itself,” he added. “The report is my testimony. I would not provide information beyond that which is already public in any appearance before Congress.”

A spokesman for Mueller, Jim Popkin, told NBC News on Monday that the former special counsel will give a brief opening statement before offering the entire report as his full statement for the record.

A Democratic House Intelligence Committee aide told NBC News last week that Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., does not “subscribe” to the belief that Mueller is required to “stay within the four corners” of the report.

But a Democratic House Judiciary aide also told NBC News last week that even if Mueller doesn’t go beyond the report, “we think that limitation … can be worked through because there really is such strong language throughout the report even if they didn’t bring it all together in a way that connects it all, to the to the ultimate conclusion.”



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