Quick Takes: How China’s President Xi Will Outmaneuver Trump

* On Thursday, Trump will host a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Evan Osnos reports on how he is very likely to be out maneuvered.

In anticipation of the summit, Evan Medeiros, an Asia expert at the Eurasia Group, observed that “many in China believe Trump is a ‘paper tiger’ whose focus on short-term gains can be manipulated.” Having concluded that Trump cannot back up his rhetoric, Xi has little reason to accede to Trump’s demands, which include getting China to put more pressure on North Korea to curb its nuclear program. The visitors from Beijing also know that, at some point, Trump will attempt a splashy display of confrontation. But Beijing is not overly concerned. Let Trump tweet; Xi is playing a longer game.

The guy with the attention span of a two year old (to be generous) will always be easily manipulated by an opponent who plays the long game.

* German Lopez provides a little bit of recent history:

Under President Barack Obama, the Justice Department took on more civil rights investigations of local police departments than Obama’s two predecessors — including President Bill Clinton, who signed the law in the 1990s allowing these types of investigations by the Justice Department. In total, the Obama Justice Department investigated nearly two dozen police departments, from Baltimore to Ferguson, Missouri, to Chicago — all areas where police abuses made national headlines.

The findings were often horrifying.

That is the backdrop for a recent announcement from Attorney General Sessions.

A new memo by the Trump administration makes it official: The US Department of Justice is putting police reform on hold.

The March 31 memo, published by the Washington Post, instructs Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s top two deputies to “immediately review” reform agreements — known as “consent decrees” — reached with police departments across the country after Justice Department investigations found that these departments routinely violated their residents’ civil rights. The memo argues that the review is necessary to, among other things, ensure public safety comes first and to “help promote officer safety, officer morale, and public respect for their work.”…

Given that Trump and Sessions both support a “tough on crime” approach to criminal justice, that could mean that the Justice Department will now take a more tolerant approach to police abuses and a less tolerant view of police reforms than the Obama administration did. In fact, the Trump administration might even try to revoke the Obama-era reform plans altogether.

* Michael Grunwald writes, “For Trump, NAFTA Could Be the Next Obamacare.”

For all the furor over Trump’s futile efforts to get his party to fall in line [on Obamacare repeal], his basic challenge was that Obamacare wasn’t really horrific, and his sugary promises to replace it with something awesome for everyone weren’t really realistic.

The administration’s draft letter on renegotiating NAFTA reflects similar challenges. For example, Trump has complained that one of the biggest deficiencies of the deal is its failure to address currency issues, but not one of the letter’s 49 goals for improving it mentions currency issues. There was also nothing about requiring the new NAFTA to reduce U.S. trade deficits, something White House trade adviser Peter Navarro had suggested would be necessary in any U.S. trade deal.

Instead, the letter suggests that the overarching purpose of the renegotiations should merely be modernizing NAFTA to deal with issues that didn’t exist when it went into effect, and strengthening it to reflect the standards in more recent U.S. trade deals. “For example, digital trade was in its infancy in 1994,” the letter says. “Labor and environment were an afterthought to the Agreement.” The eight-page draft also cites intellectual property rights, state-owned enterprises, and trade in services as areas where NAFTA ought to be updated to reflect 21st-century realities.

Well, guess what? After years of intense negotiations, the Obama administration already finalized a deal in which Canada and Mexico accepted new protections for digital trade, tougher labor and environmental safeguards, stronger intellectual property rules, new limits on state-owned enterprises, and freer trade in services like law, consulting, accounting and wealth management where U.S. firms tend to excel. But that deal was the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Asia-oriented trade agreement that Trump scuttled on his third day in office.

Just as we got Obamacare Lite, we’re likely to see Trump attempt to negotiate TPP Lite. But I doubt Mexico and Canada will buy it any more than the American public did.

* A powerful point is made with a graph and fewer than 140 characters.

* For Trump, lying isn’t a bug, it’s a feature.

During a town hall with business leaders, Trump said that his administration aimed to significantly cut back on “90, 95 percent of” regulations on unspecified industries, “and still have the same kind of protection.”

“And we want safety,” he said. “And we want environmental – we want environmental protection. I mean, I have won awards on environmental protection. I’m a big believer, believe it or not.”

Environmental awards…really?

The Post subsequently found little evidence to support Trump’s claims in media reports over the past 10 years. Several large environmental groups similarly found no evidence of Trump’s multiple environmental awards, according to the same report.

* Finally, Rebecca Traister has a great profile of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. Just go read the whole thing about this rising star in the Democratic Party.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.