Start Here: Hong Kong airport chaos continues, as Trumps China tariffs are delayed
It’s Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019. Let’s start here.
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1. ‘Worse before it gets better’
Chaos erupted again at Hong Kong International Airport on Tuesday as thousands of pro-democracy protesters occupied the terminal, sparking mass cancellations and violent clashes with police.
“It certainly feels like it’s going to get worse before it gets better,” reports ABC News’ Karson Yiu, who was at the airport. “I think both sides are engaged in the war of attrition, and escalation for that matter.”
The Chinese government alleged that the protests were approaching “terrorism” as video emerged on Chinese state media that showed military forces assembling near the Hong Kong border for what were referred to as drills.
The ramped-up rhetoric, Yiu says on “Start Here,” is Beijing signaling to the police in Hong Kong “to use any tactics they deem necessary to end this weekly cycle of chaos.”
2. ‘We’ve delayed it’
The U.S. has delayed until Dec. 15 a 10% tariff on $300 billion of Chinese imports, including cell phones and laptops and toys, that had been set to take effect next month.
“We’ve delayed it so they won’t be relevant to the Christmas shopping season,” President Donald Trump told reporters on Tuesday.
Wall Street rebounded on the news, but the Trump administration’s tough talk and backtrack could affect ongoing trade negotiations, according to ABC News Chief Business and Economics Correspondent Rebecca Jarvis.
“We may have given up some of our leverage here,” Jarvis says, “because we’ve shown China that we are willing to shift without any major concessions on their part.”
3. ‘Other people’
Amid an uproar over accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein’s apparent suicide behind bars, Attorney General William Barr has ordered the warden to be pulled from the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan and temporarily reassigned.
Two guards on duty the night Epstein died also were placed on leave by the Bureau of Prisons. Sources said both were working overtime and reportedly did not follow protocol that required checking on Epstein every 30 minutes.
As investigators continue examining the circumstances surrounding Epstein’s death, law enforcement officials continue their own investigation into Epstein’s alleged crimes. The FBI and NYPD raided Epstein’s island home in the U.S. Virgin Islands, looking for evidence of the wealthy financier’s inner circle, sources told ABC News.
“What they might be looking for at this point clearly has to do with other people besides Epstein,” ABC News’ James Hill says on the podcast.
4. 2020 foresight
The vast Democratic field of presidential candidates could be cut down significantly when the third primary debate, hosted by ABC News in partnership with Univison, comes around in September, based on the strict polling and donor thresholds. In the meantime, some of the lower-polling hopefuls are being urged to consider other offices.
“Democrats are still focused on their big victories in 2018,” ABC News’ Adam Kelsey says. “We saw them pick up 40 seats in the House of Representatives, a number of governors’ mansions, and they’re really focused now on trying to win back the Senate.”
Colorado and Texas are among the Senate races Democrats are eyeing for current presidential candidates. Former Gov. John Hickenlooper could emerge as a front-runner to face off against Republican Sen. Cory Gardner, and in Texas, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke or Julian Castro could potentially take on Republican Sen. John Cornyn. Last weekend, the Houston Chronicle’s Editorial Board called on O’Rourke to switch contests.
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