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Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

The U.S.-China trade talks this week were constructive, though as expected there were no big breakthroughs, sources tell me.

What's next: Soon after the Lunar Year holiday, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will lead a delegation to China to continue the discussions. President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are likely to meet later this month when Trump is expected to travel to Asia for the second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

In a meeting in the Oval office, Vice Premier Liu He delivered an artful letter from Xi that Trump called "beautiful." Among the highlights of Xi's letter, per the White House transcript:

"As I often say, I feel we have known each other for a long time, ever since we first met.  I cherish the good working relations and personal friendship with you.  I enjoy our meetings and phone calls in which we could talk about anything.  It falls to us to work together and accomplish things meaningful for the people of our two countries and the world at large."

My thought bubble: Of course the Chinese want another Trump-Xi meeting. They know they can not trust any agreement that is not made directly with the U.S. president, and they believe that if they can get a face-to-face meeting with Trump, they will probably end up with a more favorable deal for China.

  • As I wrote in last week's newsletter, this will continue to be a grind, but I still believe Xi is very motivated to make a deal as the trade war is one more risk he does not want right now.
  • More importantly, I hear he is very concerned about the push from some U.S. officials towards "decoupling" and so views a deal as a way to blunt those forces even as the U.S.-China competition heats up across multiple dimensions.

The big question: When they meet, will Xi make a last-minute request to release Meng Wanzhou and settle the Huawei indictments with a fine? It worked for Xi in the ZTE debacle.

Go deeper:

  • Read the White House's statement regarding the China talks.
  • Check out the official Xinhua readout on those same talks.

Go deeper

Rep. Rice demands Cuomo resign after third woman accuses him of misconduct

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo during a February news conference in New York City. Photo: Seth Wenig/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.) on Monday evening called for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) to resign, after a third woman accused him of inappropriate behavior.

Driving the news: Anna Ruch told the New York Times Monday that Cuomo asked to kiss her at a New York City wedding reception in September 2019.

Scoop: Inside the GOP's plan to retake the House

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images

House Republicans will reclaim their majority in 2022 by offering candidates who are women, minorities or veterans, a memo obtained by Axios says.

Why it matters: The document, drafted by a super PAC blessed by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, names top Democrats to target — Jared Golden of Maine, Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania and Ron Kind of Wisconsin — and the type of Republican candidates to beat them.

55 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Trump talked out of early Ohio endorsement

Jane Timken at a 2017 Trump rally. Photo: Kyle Mazza/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Donald Trump had to be talked out of making an early endorsement in Ohio's 2022 U.S. Senate race, a sign of his eagerness to reengage politically, people familiar with the conversations tell Axios.

What we're hearing: The former president discussed endorsing former state GOP chair Jane Timken last week during a meeting at Mar-a-Lago with RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, but top advisers — including Donald Trump Jr. — urged him to wait.

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