Good Wednesday morning. Here are some of the stories making news in Washington and politics today.
• The United States has emerged as a nation with highest tariff rate among developed countries, including China. Initially seen as a short-term strategy to force other countries to drop their trade barriers, President Trump’s tariffs increasingly look like a more permanent economic tool.
• As Mr. Trump has struggled to explain his dealings with China, he has continued to argue that a Democratic president would handle things worse. The main target of his criticism has been Joe Biden, much to the chagrin of G.O.P. strategists and to the benefit of Mr. Biden’s election campaign.
• As the Trump administration draws up war plans and accuses Iran of threatening American troops and interests, allies of the United States are skeptical that this is any different from the usual tug of war between the two countries, leaving the prospect of domestic and international support in flux.
• The House Intelligence Committee is investigating whether lawyers tied to Mr. Trump and his family — including Michael D. Cohen — helped obstruct the panel’s inquiry into Russian election interference by shaping false testimony.
• After an intraparty standoff, Donald Trump Jr. and a Republican-controlled Senate Intelligence Committee reached a deal for the younger Mr. Trump to sit for a private, time-limited interview with senators.
• A court case examining an attempt by a personal lawyer for Mr. Trump to block a congressional subpoena seeking years of financial records from Mr. Trump’s accounting firm is an early test of the president’s vow to stymie all subpoenas, and could be the start of a fight over congressional oversight.
• The federal prosecutor tapped to scrutinize the origins of the Russia investigation, John H. Durham, is conducting only a review for now and has not opened any criminal inquiry, meaning that he does not have the power to subpoena documents and cannot compel witnesses to testify.
• A review of the Nation Rifle Association’s tax records by The New York Times shows that the powerful lobbying group has increasingly relied on cash infusions and other transactions involving its charitable arm — at least $206 million worth since 2010.
• Democrats are moving aggressively to defend their majority in the House in 2020, and rushing to protect the seats they hold in districts that supported the president in 2016.
• The number of Democratic presidential candidates has hit 22: Gov. Steve Bullock of Montana joined the race, vowing to elevate the issue of campaign finance and, more implicitly, to make Democrats competitive again across the country’s interior.
• Elizabeth Warren said that she would not participate in a Fox News town hall as some other Democratic candidates have, calling the media outlet “a hate-for-profit racket” that seeks to turn Americans against each other.
• Tensions between Mr. Biden and other Democrats over his stance on climate change have escalated, after Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez lashed out at “middle ground” approaches to the issue in a thinly veiled criticism of the former vice president.
Today’s On Politics briefing was compiled by Margaret Kramer in New York.
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