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President Trump slammed American allies in Europe on trade, telling Fox News' Maria Bartiromo during an exclusive interview on Sunday morning, "The European Union is possibly as bad as China, just smaller. It's terrible what they do to us."

Why it matters: It's conventional wisdom among economists that the U.S. needs allies' support to take on a powerful — and growing — China.

Trump also said that the White House didn't put restrictions on Chinese companies investing in U.S. tech because he "didn't like pinpointing China" and "they are not the only" country stealing U.S. intellectual property.

"I get along with China. I like the president. President for life, we can call him the king, right? I like the president. I didn't like pinpointing China. I don't think it's fair. They are not the only one. Now, they are bigger and stronger, and frankly they do it more, and they're probably a bigger violator, but it is other countries, too. I wanted to go worldwide ... So you mean China can't do it but other countries can?"

Flashback: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the same thing when it was first reported that the White House was considering restrictions on Chinese firms — a move the Trump administration explicitly proposed in May.

The big picture: Trump punted the issue of Chinese investment restrictions to Congress last week, announcing that he would endorse a bipartisan piece of legislation called FIRRMA, which is intended to strengthen the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, an existing body that reviews foreign investments in the U.S.

Go deeper:

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Trump grants flurry of last-minute pardons

Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty

President Trump issued 73 pardons and commuted the sentences of 70 individuals early Wednesday, 11 hours from leaving office.

Why it matters: It's a last-minute gift to some of the president's loyalists and an evident use of executive power with only hours left of his presidency. Axios reported in December that Trump planned to grant pardons to "every person who ever talked to me."

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Trump revokes ethics order barring former aides from lobbying

Photo: Spencer Platt via Getty

Shortly after pardoning members of Congress and lobbyists convicted on corruption charges, President Trump revoked an executive order barring former officials from lobbying for five years after leaving his administration.

Why it matters: The order, which was signed eight days after he took office, was an attempt to fulfill his campaign promise to "drain the swamp."

  • But with less than 12 hours left in office, Trump has now removed those limitations on his own aides.

Trump pardons former GOP fundraiser Elliott Broidy

President Trump has pardoned Elliott Broidy, a former top Republican fundraiser who pleaded guilty late last year to conspiring to violate foreign lobbying laws as part of a campaign to sway the administration on behalf of Chinese and Malaysian interests.

Why it matters: Broidy was a deputy finance chair for the Republican National Committee early in Trump’s presidency, and attempted to leverage his influence in the Trump administration on behalf of his clients. The president's decision to pardon Broidy represents one last favor for a prominent political ally.