Trump Warns N-Korea Has ‘Everything’ To lose Through Hostile Acts

US President Donald Trump addresses the Israeli American Council National Summit 2019 at the Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood, Florida on December 7, 2019. Mandel NGAN / AFP

 

 

President Donald Trump warned Sunday that North Korea’s Kim Jong Un had “everything” to lose through hostility towards the United States after Pyongyang said it had carried out a major new weapons test.

“Kim Jong Un is too smart and has far too much to lose, everything actually, if he acts in a hostile way,” Trump tweeted in response to the unspecified test at the Sohae space launch center.

The announcement of Saturday’s test came just hours after Trump said he would be “surprised” by any hostile action from the North, emphasizing his “very good relationship” with Kim.

Trump and Kim engaged in months of mutual insults and threats of devastation in 2017, sending tensions soaring before a diplomatic rapprochement the following year.

The pair have met three times since June 2018 but with little progress towards denuclearization. Pyongyang has set Washington a December 31 deadline to make new concessions to kickstart stalled talks.

“North Korea, under the leadership of Kim Jong Un, has tremendous economic potential, but it must denuclearize as promised,” Trump tweeted. “NATO, China, Russia, Japan, and the entire world is unified on this issue!”

Writing that Kim had “signed a strong Denuclearization Agreement” at their June 2018 summit in Singapore,” Trump warned: “He does not want to void his special relationship with the President of the United States or interfere with the U.S. Presidential Election in November.”

A spokesman for North Korea’s Academy of the National Defense Science said Saturday’s “very important test” would have an “important effect” on changing the “strategic position” of North Korea, in a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency.

The statement did not provide further details on the test.

A senior US administration official earlier said Washington had seen reports of a test and was “coordinating closely with allies and partners.”

Trump indicated that military action was still possible when he was asked about Pyongyang on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Britain this week.

North Korea fired back that if the United States used military force it would take “prompt corresponding actions at any level.”

UN diplomats fear that North Korea will resume long-range nuclear or ballistic tests if no progress is made soon in talks with the United States.

Sohae, on North Korea’s northwest coast, is ostensibly a facility designed for putting satellites into orbit.

But Pyongyang has carried out several rocket launches there that were condemned by the US and others as disguised long-range ballistic missile tests.

Following the Singapore summit, Trump said Kim had agreed to destroy “a major missile engine testing site” without naming the facility.

Kim then agreed to shutter the Sohae site during a summit last year with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in Pyongyang as part of trust-building measures.

US First Lady Wades Into Impeachment Fight To Defend Teen Son

US President Donald Trump and his wife Melania waves as he arrives on board Airforce 1. LOIC VENANCE / AFP

 

 

US First Lady Melania Trump on Wednesday publicly rebuked a scholar who used her 13-year-old son’s name to make a point during a hearing as part of the impeachment inquiry into the president.

Constitutional law professor Pamela Karlan invoked Barron Trump, the son of Donald and Melania Trump, to demonstrate how the Constitution imposes distinctions between a monarch’s power and that of a president.

“The constitution says there can be no titles of nobility,” Karlan told lawmakers during the House Judiciary Committee’s first hearing on impeachment, which featured four constitutional scholars.

“So while the president can name his son ‘Barron,’ he can’t make him a baron.”

The pun led to chuckles in the congressional hearing room, but Melania Trump made clear it was no laughing matter.

“A minor child deserves privacy and should be kept out of politics,” the first lady tweeted shortly afterwards.

“Pamela Karlan, you should be ashamed of your very angry and obviously biased public pandering, and using a child to do it.”

President Trump retweeted his wife’s message to his 67 million followers.

As the row snowballed, Karlan quickly tried to stem the damage by expressing her regret.

“I want to apologize for what I said earlier about the president’s son,” she told the panel.

“It was wrong of me to do that,” she said, before adding that she also wished “the president would apologize, obviously, for the things that he’s done that’s wrong.”

For years, members of both political parties have agreed that the minor children of US politicians, particularly presidents, are off-limits.

During the hearing, Republican congressman Matt Gaetz snapped at Karlan, telling her that invoking Trump’s son “does not lend credibility to your argument. It makes you look mean.”

‘Unhinged, petty kook’

The incident quickly brought an onslaught of criticism from corners far beyond the hearing room, as Republicans and members of Trump’s re-election campaign voiced grave disapproval.

“Democrats have disgraced themselves by giving a platform to this unhinged, petty kook,” the campaign wrote on Twitter, while its deputy director of communications, Matt Wolking, called Karlan an “unhinged liberal professor” over the comments.

Lawmakers and Trump administration officials followed suit, echoing scathing assessments of Karlan’s words.

“Democrats are so desperate that one of their biased witnesses is now attacking the President’s 13-year-old son. Absolutely disgraceful,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy wrote on Twitter.

Republican Congressman Markwayne Mullin, meanwhile, called the episode “reprehensible” while Trump Senior Counselor Kellyanne Conway questioned why “Hunter Biden is off-limits but Barron Trump is not?”

The Trump impeachment investigation is looking into pressure Trump placed on Ukraine’s president to investigate 2020 election rival Democrat Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, who served on the board of a Ukrainian gas company.

During a speech Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence told an audience that “one of the Democrats’ witnesses actually used the president and first lady’s 13-year-old son to justify their partisan impeachment. Democrats should be ashamed.”

Melania Trump has taken up the cause of youth wellness in America, and last year launched a public awareness campaign to counter youth cyberbullying and drug use.

Plane Crash Kills Nine, Injures Three In South Dakota

 

A plane crash in the US state of South Dakota killed nine people, including two children, and injured three others on Saturday while a winter storm warning was in place, officials said.

The Pilatus PC-12, a single-engine turboprop plane, crashed shortly after take-off approximately a mile from the Chamberlain airport, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said.

Among the dead was the plane’s pilot, Brule County state’s attorney Theresa Maule Rossow said, adding that a total of 12 people had been on board.

The three survivors had been taken to the hospital in Sioux Falls, she told US media.

The flight left the airport just before noon local time, with a destination of Idaho Falls Regional Airport in the western state of Idaho.

The FAA said investigators were en route to the crash site and that the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) would be in charge of the investigation.

The NTSB tweeted that it was “investigating today’s crash of Pilatus PC-12 near Chamberlain, SD.”

South Dakota is located in the Northern Plains, a region facing blizzard conditions as a storm blows eastward across the United States.

A winter storm warning remains in effect in Brule County until midday Sunday, the National Weather Service said, potentially including blowing snow that “could significantly reduce visibility.”

“The men and women of law enforcement, first responders and medical professionals should be commended in their heroic actions to rescue the victims in extreme weather conditions,” the state’s attorney office said.

Explosion Rocks Texas Chemical Plant

 

An explosion at a chemical plant in Texas early Wednesday sent a large fireball into the sky, media reports said, triggering a mandatory evacuation.

“Please be aware that there is a mandatory evacuation for everyone within a 1/2 mile of the TPC plant in Port Neches,” local fire officials said in a post on the Nederland Volunteer Fire Department’s Facebook page.

Dramatic videos and photos shared on social media showed a massive explosion, with one resident describing waking up to a huge boom and “glass all over us”.

Ryan Mathewson, who lives roughly two minutes from the plant with his family, told AFP: “We woke up to glass all over us and parts of the ceiling caved in, (and) doors blown in.”

The 25-year-old said they were “shook up and scared” following the blast.

County Judge Jeff Branick told local news site KFDM News that there were no injuries reported.

The site of the explosion is believed to be a petrochemical plant roughly 85 miles (135 kilometers) from Houston.

White House On Lockdown After Unidentified Plane Enters Restricted Area

A uniformed Secret Service officer patrols the grounds at the White House in Washington, DC, on November 26, 2019, during an air space violation.
JIM WATSON / AFP

 

The US Air Force scrambled jets Tuesday after reports of an unidentified aircraft in restricted airspace over Washington forced a brief lockdown in the White House.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command said in a statement that its jet fighters “are on-site and responding.”

The plane that allegedly violated the airspace of the US capital city “is not considered hostile at this time,” they said.

Washington airspace restrictions were severely tightened after the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington.

AFP

Ousted Navy Secretary Made Secret Deal With Trump – Pentagon Chief

(FILES) In this file photo taken on June 21, 2019 Navy Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher walks into military court in San Diego, California. SANDY HUFFAKER / AFP

 

The US defense secretary Monday defended the decision to sack his navy secretary, saying he went behind his back to make a deal with the White House over a convicted Navy SEAL’s future.

Mark Esper told reporters Richard Spencer, the Navy’s top civilian, admitted he had gone around Esper and Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley.

Esper and Milley were holding their own discussions with President Donald Trump last week about the SEAL’s case, which caused a rare public split between the Pentagon leadership and the US commander in chief over military justice.

“We were completely caught off guard by this information, and realized that it undermined everything we have been discussing with the president,” Esper said of Spencer’s secret talks.

“We have a chain of command that should be followed and that chain of command must be kept informed,” he said.

“Secretary Spencer broke these rules and thus lost my trust and confidence.”

Spencer was fired on Sunday amid a dispute over whether Edward Gallagher, a Navy SEAL accused of war crimes in a high-profile case but convicted of a lesser offense, should be demoted and expelled from the elite commando force.

Gallagher, a SEAL sniper, and medic, was originally accused of premeditated murder after allegedly stabbing to death a captured, wounded Islamic State fighter in Iraq in May 2017.

After Gallagher went on trial at the beginning of 2019, his case became a cause celebre in conservative media, championed especially by Fox News, and Trump voiced support for him.

In March the president intervened to have him taken out of a Navy jail and placed in a Navy hospital, where he had more freedom.

‘Distracting’

In July, he was acquitted of murder by a military jury, but convicted of having posed for a picture next to the body of a dead Islamic State fighter.

He was demoted and the navy moved to remove his official Trident pin, an insignia that signified he remained a member in good standing of the elite group.

Trump intervened again, to order the trident pin and rank restored, saying he would not be expelled from the force.

“Eddie will retire peacefully with all of the honors that he has earned,” Trump tweeted.

Esper conformed that Spencer had threatened to resign over the case, which military experts said risked undermining confidence in the Pentagon’s system of justice.

But Esper said that while he and Milley sought a resolution with Trump, Spencer, a subordinate to both, had tried to cut his own deal with the White House.

Spencer “was completely forthright in admitting what had been going on,” Esper told reporters Monday.

In a letter to Trump on Sunday, Spencer explained his resistance to the president’s interference in the case.

He wrote that he could not “in good conscience obey an order that I believe violates the sacred oath I took… to support and defend the Constitution.”

He added that his responsibility was “to maintain good order and discipline” throughout the navy’s ranks. “I regard this as deadly seriously business,” he said.

Esper said Monday that the case had dragged on too long and had become “distracting.”

“Eddie Gallagher will retain his Trident as the commander in chief directed, and will retire at the end of this month,” he said.

US Navy Defies Trump, Proceeds In Effort To Expel SEAL

(FILES) In this file photo taken on June 21, 2019 Navy Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher walks into military court in San Diego, California. SANDY HUFFAKER / AFP.

 

The US Navy will proceed in its effort to oust a member of its elite SEAL commando unit, an official said Saturday, defying the wishes of President Donald Trump.

Edward Gallagher had been accused of war crimes in a high-profile case but was found guilty only of a lesser offense. On November 15, Trump reversed the demotion handed down to the 40-year-old under his conviction.

The Navy this week launched a procedure under which a peer review board could strip him and three other members of his unit of their Trident pins — effectively booting them from the SEALs.

READ ALSO: US Vice President Visits Troops In Iraq

A rankled Trump declared on Twitter on Thursday that “The Navy will NOT be taking away Warfighter and Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher’s Trident Pin.”

On Saturday, however, a senior Pentagon official who requested anonymity in order to speak freely said the “peer review board is proceeding.”

Whether Gallagher can remain in the unit or not will be determined by a panel of Navy SEAL officers that is set to convene in December.

The move came as multiple US news outlets reported that Navy Secretary Richard Spencer had threatened to resign over the affair, a claim he sharply denied.

“Contrary to popular belief, I am still here. I did not threaten to resign,” Spencer said, speaking at a forum in Halifax, Canada.

The US Navy chief said he did not consider Trump’s tweet to be a formal order.

“I need a formal order to act,” Spencer told reporters on the sidelines of the forum.

According to the US Constitution, the president is the commander-in-chief of the country’s armed forces.

Gallagher, a 15-year Navy SEAL, had been accused in the stabbing death of a wounded Islamic State prisoner in Iraq in 2017, attempted murder of other civilians and obstruction of justice.

In July, he was acquitted of charges related to those accusations, but was convicted of a lesser charge — posing with the slain fighter’s body in a group picture with other SEALs.

As a result, he was demoted one rank, from chief petty officer to petty officer first class.

Gallagher’s case had been championed by Fox News, which the president follows closely.

Two Decades Of School Mass Shootings In The US

 

Two students were shot dead and another three wounded when a classmate opened fire at their California high school, the latest in the United States’ relentless cycle of school mass shootings.

Here are America’s deadliest classroom gun massacres in the last two decades.

Columbine High School (1999)

Two teenagers from Columbine, Colorado, armed with an assortment of weapons and homemade bombs, went on a rampage at their local high school.

Twelve students and a teacher were killed during the April 20 massacre. Another 24 people were wounded.

Columbine, whose name has become synonymous with school shootings, is one of the first — and still among the deadliest — such shootings in the United States.

Virginia Tech (2007)

A South Korean student at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute opened fire on the Blacksburg, Virginia campus, killing 32 students and professors before committing suicide.

Thirty-three people were wounded.

The gunman had apparently idolized the Columbine shooters, referring to them as “martyrs” in a video, part of a hate-filled manifesto he mailed to police during the shooting.

Sandy Hook Elementary School (2012)

A 20-year-old man with a history of mental health issues killed his mother in Newtown, Connecticut, on December 14 before blasting his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Twenty children, aged six and seven, were shot dead, as well as six adults. The shooter then committed suicide.

The parents of Sandy Hook victims have led numerous campaigns to toughen gun control laws, but their efforts have largely failed.

Some conspiracy theorists insist the massacre was a government hoax, claiming the shooting involved “actors” in a plot to discredit the gun lobby.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (2018)

On February 14, a 19-year-old former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who was expelled for disciplinary reasons returned to the Parkland, Florida school and opened fire.

He killed 14 students and three adult staff.

Stoneman Douglas students have become crusaders against gun violence under the banner “March for Our Lives,” lobbying for tougher gun control laws and organizing protests and rallies.

Their campaign has taken off on social media, mobilizing hundreds of thousands of young Americans.

Santa Fe High School (2018)

Ten people, including eight students, were killed when a 17-year-old student armed with a shotgun and a revolver opened fire on his classmates in rural Santa Fe, Texas.

Classes had just started on the morning of May 18 when the shooting began.

Following the tragedy Texas Governor Greg Abbott unveiled 40 recommendations, mainly focused on increasing armed security on school campuses and stepping up mental health screenings to identify troubled children.

Gun ownership can be a point of pride for many Texans, and even some Santa Fe High School students spoke out against linking the shooting to the need for better gun control.

Five Key Moments In Trump Impeachment Hearing, Day 1

US President Donald Trump talks to the media on the South Lawn upon his return to the White House by Marine One, in Washington, DC, November 3, 2019, after returning from a trip to New York. Olivier Douliery / AFP

 

During hours of detailed and at times dramatic public testimony Wednesday, two star witnesses shed light on US President Donald Trump’s pressure on Ukraine at the heart of the impeachment inquiry against him.

American viewers finally heard firsthand from key figures in the Ukraine scandal, beginning with Washington’s top envoy to Kiev William Taylor, and deputy assistant secretary of state George Kent.

Here are five key moments in the nationally televised impeachment hearing:

New revelations

A crucial surprise came when Taylor revealed a phone call between Trump and another diplomat occurred one day after the president’s controversial July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Taylor said his staffer was with Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland and overheard Trump on the call “asking Ambassador Sondland about the investigations” of Democratic rival Joe Biden.

The staffer asked Sondland what Trump thought about Ukraine. “Ambassador Sondland responded that President Trump cared more about the investigations of Biden, which (Trump lawyer Rudy) Giuliani was pressing for,” than about Ukraine itself, Taylor added.

The revelation is important because it highlights Trump’s knowledge about the effort to get Kiev to probe the Bidens and deflates a Trump defense that he “hardly” knows Sondland, as he said last week.

Republican attacks

Republicans accused the witnesses of being out-of-touch bureaucrats too removed from Trump’s inner circle to speak authoritatively about what happened, or to know the president’s intentions.

Trump loyalist Jim Jordan, aggressively questioning Taylor, sought to paint a muddled picture of Ukrainian-related discussions, including Taylor’s communications with Sondland.

“We’ve got six people having four conversations in one sentence,” Jordan told Taylor, referring to closed-door testimony by Sondland, “and you told me this is where you got your clear understanding?”

The intelligence panel’s top Republican Devin Nunes meanwhile attempted to discredit the Democratic effort as “nothing more than an impeachment process in search of a crime.”

Biden wrongdoing? ‘None’

In his call with Zelensky, Trump urged his counterpart to “look into” possible wrongdoing by Biden, whose son Hunter was on the board of Ukrainian energy company Burisma when his father was vice president.

Republicans have used that talking point to suggest the Bidens were involved in corruption. No such evidence has emerged.

When the Democratic counsel asked Kent whether there were any facts to support those allegations, Kent replied, “None whatsoever,” adding that Biden acted in accordance with official US policy.

Kent did say he raised concerns with Biden’s staff that his son’s status with Burisma “could create the perception of a conflict of interest.”

‘Irregular’ channel

Taylor spoke of an irregular channel, set up by Giuliani, that “undercut” official US policy with Ukraine while seeking to help the president politically.

Washington officially supported Ukraine receiving military aid, in particular to counter Russian aggression, but the witnesses warned that Giuliani was seeking to condition such aid with Kiev launching politically motivated investigations.

“I began to sense that the two decision-making channels — the regular and irregular — were at odds,” Taylor said.

He also said he told the administration that “withholding security assistance in exchange for help with a domestic political campaign… would be crazy.”

Ukraine’s challenges

Often overlooked in the impeachment drama is the security situation in Ukraine, which is facing off against Russia’s military. Kiev also accuses the Kremlin of supporting pro-Moscow rebels.

Taylor reminded lawmakers and viewers that “even as we sit here today,” Ukraine is under daily attack from Russia-backed forces.

Just last week, he added, he visited the front lines on a day that a Ukrainian soldier was killed.

Had the military aid been frozen, it would have severely weakened Zelensky in negotiations with Russia and on the battlefield, Taylor said.

Impeachment: The Allegations Against US President Donald Trump

US President Donald Trump talks to the media on the South Lawn upon his return to the White House by Marine One, in Washington, DC, November 3, 2019, after returning from a trip to New York. Olivier Douliery / AFP

 

The impeachment investigation of President Donald Trump in the US House of Representatives moves to public hearings on Wednesday.

Trump is threatened with removal from office over allegations that he abused his powers and broke the law by pressuring Ukraine to supply damaging information on rival Democrats and possible 2020 presidential election challenger Joe Biden.

The evidence covers a series of events from April 2019 when Zelensky was elected, and both sides sought to reboot Washington-Kiev relations. Zelensky sought aid and a meeting with the US leader; Trump sought “investigations.”

Giuliani machinations

Trump gave the Ukraine leader a congratulatory phone call on April 19. Days later, Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani said online and in public that the US wanted Ukraine to investigate Burisma, the energy company on whose board Biden’s son Hunter served for five years until April 2019.

Giuliani also called for an investigation into a debunked conspiracy theory that Ukraine helped the Democrats against Trump in the 2016 election.

“Explain to me why Biden shouldn’t be investigated if his son got millions from a Russian loving crooked Ukrainian oligarch while He was VP and point man for Ukraine,” Giuliani tweeted on May 10.

Giuliani’s immediate impact was in getting Trump to remove US ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, who had resisted Giuliani’s involvement in Ukraine policy.

Another result: Trump told Vice President Mike Pence not to attend Zelensky’s May 14 inauguration, sending Energy Secretary Rick Perry instead. According to a whistleblower complaint in August, that downgrade was meant to signal to the new government that Trump wanted the investigations.

July 10 meeting

In a July 10 meeting in the office of White House National Security Advisor John Bolton, Gordon Sondland, the US ambassador to the European Union, told Ukrainian officials that a high profile meeting they sought between Zelensky and Trump was contingent on “investigations in the energy sector” and later referenced “Burisma”.

Sondland told the Ukrainians the alleged quid pro quo was authorized by Trump’s right-hand man, acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.

“We have an agreement with the chief of staff for a meeting if these investigations in the energy sector start,” Sondland told the Ukrainians, according to witnesses.

Bolton, who objected to the linkage, immediately cut the meeting short, but Sondland continued to make the point in a subsequent meeting, witnesses said.

Aid suspension

On July 19 Mulvaney, who also heads the White House budget office, froze a military aid package for Ukraine worth $391 million dollars. He told budget officials it was at the order of Trump, but did not explain the reason. But in October Mulvaney told reporters it was linked to investigations, and said there was nothing wrong with the quid pro quo.

July 25 phone call

On July 25 Trump spoke again by phone with Zelensky. According to a rough summary of the call released by the White House, he made clear he wanted Ukraine to open the investigations, and hinted at the linkage with assistance and a face-to-face meeting.

“I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it,” Trump said.

Trump made direct reference to the story that Ukraine interferred in the 2016 election helping rival Democrats.

“I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation,” Trump said. “It’s very important that you do it if that’s possible.”

Trump added that “There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son… A lot of people want to find out about that,” he said, proposing Kiev cooperate with US Attorney General Bill Barr.

“The United States has been very, very good to Ukraine. I wouldn’t say that it’s reciprocal necessarily because things are happening that are not good but the United States has been very, very good to Ukraine.”

Text messages

After the July 25 call, Sondland pressed on Kiev the need for investigations. Text messages between Sondland and other US diplomats show he was focused on Trump’s insistence on “the deliverable” — the investigations as a quid pro quo for the military aid.

“I think potus (Trump) really wants the deliverable,” he wrote on August 9.

In August he helped arrange a prepared statement for Zelensky to deliver that would satisfy Trump.

The statement, according to a August 13 text, was to read: “We intend to initiate and complete a transparent and unbiased investigation of all available facts and episodes, including those involving Burisma and the 2016 US elections, which in turn will prevent the recurrence of this problem in the future.”

Seeing that, Sondland wrote: “Perfect.”

That statement was never delivered. On September 1 Sondland told Zelensky advisor Andriy Yermak that military aid would not be released until Kiev signalled the investigations into Biden and 2016.

US House To Vote Thursday On Trump Impeachment Procedures

 

The US House of Representatives will vote Thursday on a resolution that formalizes the path forward in the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, including upcoming public hearings, a senior Democratic aide said.

The measure will “lay out the next steps for the inquiry,” the aide told AFP Monday after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi informed fellow Democrats about the plan, which appears aimed at pushing back against Trump and Republicans who have argued an impeachment proceeding lacks authorization without a full floor vote.

“This resolution establishes the procedure for hearings that are open to the American people… outlines procedures to transfer evidence to the Judiciary Committee as it considers potential articles of impeachment, and sets forth due process rights for the President and his Counsel,” Pelosi wrote in her letter to lawmakers.

US Imposes Tariffs On EU Goods, Targeting Airbus, Wine And Whisky

 

The United States imposed tariffs on a record $7.5-billion worth of European Union goods on Friday, despite threats of retaliation, with Airbus, French wine and Scottish whiskies among the high-profile targets.

The tariffs, which took effect just after midnight in Washington (0401 GMT), came after talks between European officials and US trade representatives failed to win a last-minute reprieve.

The WTO-endorsed onslaught from US President Donald Trump also comes as Washington is mired in a trade war with China and could risk destabilising the global economy further.

In the line of fire are civilian aircraft from Britain, France, Germany and Spain — the countries that formed Airbus — which will now cost 10 percent more when imported to the US.

But the tariffs also target consumer products such as French wine, which Trump had vowed to attack in recent months. Wine from France, Spain and Germany will now face 25 percent tariffs.

Speaking in Washington hours before the tariffs were due to come into effect, France’s Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire warned the move would have serious repercussions.

“Europe is ready to retaliate, in the framework of course of the WTO,” he told reporters shortly after meeting with US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund annual meetings.

“These decisions would have very negative consequences both from an economic and a political point of view.”

Le Maire was due to meet US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer later on Friday.

He also warned the US against starting another front in its trade conflicts and again called for a negotiated solution.

At a time when the global economy is slowing, “I think that our responsibility is to do our best to avoid that kind of conflict,” Le Maire said.

The Europeans have long advocated negotiation over conflict and they themselves will be able to impose tariffs next year to punish the United States for subsidising Boeing.

But EU officials had already offered in July to call a truce on subsidies for planemakers, in which both sides would admit fault and agree to curtail state aid — to no avail. The two sides have been involved in a row over the subsidies for 15 years.

The tariffs kick in just days after the United States was given the formal go-ahead by the World Trade Organization.

As recently as Wednesday, Trump singled out the Europeans for being unfair with the US on trade, but said his door was open to negotiate a settlement.

‘Very hard’

The Europeans fear above all that Trump will impose heavy duties on imports of European cars around mid-November.

This would be a serious blow for the German automotive sector in particular, even if giants such as Volkswagen or BMW also manufacture in the United States.

“Our products are very hard to bring in (to Europe)” when Europeans easily import their cars into the United States, Trump said.

The Airbus-Boeing row is just one of several issues stoking transatlantic tensions that quickly descended into acrimony when Trump took office in 2017.

Trump embraced a protectionist agenda, slapping import duties on steel and aluminium from the EU and other allies, while also threatening tariffs on cars.

Trade groups in Europe such as winemakers, German tool manufacturers and whisky producers in Scotland have kept a clamour of protest, demanding Washington reverse tack.

The US leader and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker agreed in July 2018 to a ceasefire in the conflict to hold trade talks that have so far led nowhere.

The epic legal battle between Airbus and Boeing at the World Trade Organization began in 2004 when Washington accused Britain, France, Germany and Spain of providing illegal subsidies and grants to support the production of a range of Airbus products.

A year later, the EU alleged that Boeing had received $19.1 billion worth of prohibited subsidies from 1989 to 2006 from various branches of the US government.

The two cases were then tangled up in a legal quagmire, with each side being given partial vindication after a long series of appeals and counter appeals.