The Jolt: Don’t bet the farm on the details of a U.S. - China trade deal

ADVANCE FOR USE WEDNESDAY, JULY 3, 2019, AT 3:01 A.M. EDT AND THEREAFTER - In this Tuesday, June 25, 2019, photo, farmer Matthew Keller walks through one of his pig barns near Kenyon, Minn. When the Trump administration announced a $12 billion aid package for farmers struggling under the financial strain of his trade dispute with China, the payments were capped. But records obtained by The Associated Press under the Freedom of Information Act show that many large farming operations easily found legal ways around the limits to collect big checks. Recipients who spoke to AP defended the payouts, saying they didn't even cover their losses under the trade war and that they were legally entitled to them. Keller, who also grows crops to feed his livestock, said he "definitely appreciated" the $143,820 he collected from the program. It didn't cover all his losses but it helped with his cash flow, he said. He reached the $125,000 cap on his hogs, and the remaining money was for his soybeans and corn. (AP Photo/Jeff Baenen)

Credit: AP Photo/Jeff Baenen

Credit: AP Photo/Jeff Baenen

The Trump administration says it has cut a deal with China that will boost annual U.S. sales of agricultural products to that nation to at least $40 billion – far above the export levels reached before the trade war. The gist from today's Wall Street Journal: Don't bet the farm on it. Says the newspaper:

[I]n nearly two decades of burgeoning American agricultural exports to China since its admission to the World Trade Organization, there has never been a period with the scale of growth foreseen by the deal.

Another reason for skepticism has been the absence of a formal written agreement, which officials say is still in draft form and under review.

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The U.S. House has already convened for a historic day of debate on the impeachment of President Donald Trump. The full chamber has voted to impeach a president only twice before in our government's history, once with Andrew Johnson in 1868, and with Bill Clinton in 1998.

Our WSB Radio colleague Jamie Dupree notes that Clinton was impeached on two articles 21 years ago on Thursday. A vote is anticipated about 7 p.m. – as Trump will be holding a campaign rally in Michigan, a crucial swing state for his re-election bid in 2020.

The most helpful thing we can do this morning is to point you to the highly unusual, six-page letter that Trump sent House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday. We present it with the assumption that, by now, you know that the outrage expressed by the president is more authentic than many of the facts he offers:

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So far as we know, U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, R- Pooler, has never wavered in his opposition to the impeachment of President Trump. So news that Trump had endorsed Carter's re-election campaign was something out of the blue on Tuesday.

The president's post on Twitter came without warning and with no obvious explanation for the president's timing:

"@Buddy_Carter is a BUSINESSMAN first," the president wrote. "He takes care of our Vets and Troops and is leading the fight to SLASH drug prices! Buddy's 100% pro-Wall & 100% pro-jobs. He will KEEP AMERICA GREAT and has my total, Strong Endorsement!"

Carter immediately used the statement in a fundraising pitch.

The Georgia congressman said Tuesday that he believes the endorsement was prompted by his office’s work behind-the-scenes with the White House on the issue of lowering prescription drug costs for seniors.

Trump and Republicans have crafted a bill that they are pushing as an alternative to a proposal Democrats backed in the House. The latter has only a slim chance of passing in the GOP-controlled Senate.

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Staying on the impeachment topic, a few hundred people backing the president's removal showed up to a protest at U.S. Sen. David Perdue's office in Buckhead on Tuesday evening:

December 17, 2019 Atlanta: Hundreds of impeachment activists gather outside the Office of Senator David Perdue at the Terminus business and residential complex as part of the nationwide “Nobody Is Above the Law” rallies on Tuesday, December 17, 2019, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Credit: Curtis Compton

Credit: Curtis Compton

Our colleagues at WSB-TV reported that the crowd grew to about 300 people, who held up signs and cheered as passers-by honked in support.

Similar events, organized by liberal groups like MoveOn.org, were held across the country on Tuesday evening. The organization said there were over 600 protests held in all 50 states.

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Posted earlier this morning: Kelly Loeffler, the Atlanta businesswoman appointed to replace U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson next year, sat down with one of your Insiders and expressed her support for "religious liberty" legislation that many say is intended to allow businesses owned by religious conservatives to discriminate against gays and lesbians.

Loeffler is co-owner of the Atlanta Dream, and the WNBA has opposed such measures as discriminatory. Says Loeffler:

"I bought the Atlanta Dream because I love basketball. I wanted to do something for the city of Atlanta, for the Southeast, for sports. I did not buy the team for political purposes or political statements," she said. "I believe that people of faith should be free to make statements without fear of persecution."

Pressed on whether that meant she supported the legislation, she indicated that she did.

"I think people of faith should be protected," she said. "And we should all be able to act according to our religious beliefs."

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We're picking up word that Bill Carruth, a former chairman of the Paulding County Commission, is seriously looking at the race for the open 14th Congressional District. Carruth is also a former chairman of the state Board of Natural Resources, and was an unsuccessful candidate for the state Senate in 2012.

The crowd of potential candidates includes Paulding school board member Jason Anavitarte, state Sen. Jeff Mullis of Chickamauga and former state Rep. Charlice Byrd of Woodstock.

Marjorie Taylor Greene, formerly a candidate for the 6th District, and state Rep. Colton Moore have already announced bids.

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In endorsement news, Republican Lynn Homrich grabbed the support of Value in Electing Women PAC, a conservative group that aims to increase the number of GOP women elected to federal office.

The group called Homrich, a former Home Depot executive competing in the Seventh District race, a “model of what a candidate for Congress should be.”

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Georgia GOP operative Brandon Howell, a long-time veteran of Sen. David Perdue's office, has started his own digital consulting firm.

Howell, who also worked for Carly Fiorina’s 2016 presidential bid, is the chief executive of Repubclick, a firm that will advise Perdue and other GOP candidates.

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