President Trump on Tuesday indicated it was no coincidence that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi unveiled two articles of impeachment against him on the same day that she announced support for the renegotiated trade deal among the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
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He called the trade deal, known as the U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement (USMCA), a "silver lining" of the impeachment proceedings. Pelosi made the announcements very close to one another on Tuesday morning.
“The reason they announced it on the same day, one hour later … it’s a huge deal and it plays down the impeachment because they’re embarrassed by the impeachment,” Trump told supporters during a rally in Hershey, Pennsylvania. “The silver lining of impeachment and this witch hunt – that’s the reason they approved USMCA, so that’s okay with me because they approved it and they’re very happy to have it.”
Trump said the deal was waiting on Pelosi’s desk for approval for “too long,” though Democrats have said they were ironing out a few sticking points before they would support it.
On Tuesday, Pelosi said the trade agreement was “much better than NAFTA” during a press conference.
However, despite the movement in the House, the Senate is not fast-tracking the bill and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) cited the pending impeachment proceedings. "We will not be doing USMCA in the Senate between now and next week," he said at a news conference on Capitol Hill. "That will happen, in all likelihood, right after the trial is finished in the Senate."
The deal calls for 75 percent of automobile components to be manufactured in the U.S., Canada and Mexico to qualify for duty-free treatment. It also has provisions that are perceived to be favorable to the U.S. agriculture sector, like greater access to neighboring markets.
Peter Navarro, assistant to the president for manufacturing and trade policy and director of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy, said on Tuesday that approval from both the House and Senate “can (and should) be done before the holiday break.”
The deal must also be ratified by Canada and Mexico.
Meanwhile, House Democrats unveiled two articles of impeachment against Trump on Tuesday – abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
Trump said he “wouldn’t lose too much sleep over it,” indicating the impeachment charges were an underhanded attempt by the Democrats to gain favor in the 2020 election. He also called it the “lightest, weakest impeachment” in history, referring to it as “impeachment-lite.”
If the charges are approved in the House, they would be sent to the Republican-controlled Senate.