Good morning! Here are the top three stories to start your day:
1: Trade Deficit Skyrockets
The Commerce Department reported on Wednesday that the United States posted a $891.2 billion trade deficit in merchandise last year — the largest in the nation’s history.
During the campaign, then-candidate Donald Trump campaigned on using tariffs to either limit the amount of imports to the United States or increase the purchase of U.S. goods overseas.
President Trump signed into law a sweeping tax cut and embarked on a deregulation campaign which helped fuel the economy, but the decision by the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates strengthened the value of the dollar overseas, making it more expensive to buy American goods.
2: Michael Cohen Lied About Seeking a Presidential Pardon
The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that President Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, lied during his Congressional hearing last week when he said he had never sought a presidential pardon.
Last week, Cohen told the House Oversight Committee that “I have never asked for, nor would I accept, a pardon from President Trump.”
The Journal reports that Cohen’s lawyer, Lanny Davis, admitted that his client directed one of his lawyers to inquire about a presidential pardon:
“During that time period, he directed his attorney to explore possibilities of a pardon at one point with Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani as well as other lawyers advising President Trump.”
3: Huawei Sues U.S.
Chinese telecom giant, Huawei, filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government on Wednesday claiming that Congress violated the Constitution last year when it banned federal agencies from using its products.
Last year, Congress banned federal agencies from using Huawei’s products over concerns that the company’s devices could be used to spy on Americans.
Huawei claims that move violated the Constitution, saying it was illegally signaled out for punishment without being found guilty.
At a press conference in China, Huawei officials explained their lawsuit:
“The U.S. Congress has repeatedly failed to produce any evidence to support its restrictions on Huawei products. After exhausting all other means to allay the doubts of some U.S. lawmakers, we are left with no choice but to challenge the law in court.”