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President Trump's former chief economic adviser Gary Cohn said on CBS's "Face the Nation" Sunday that he thinks the president's tariffs on China "totally" hurt the United States, and that he doesn't believe they have helped achieve a different "outcome" with China.

The exchange:

BRENNAN: Can the president say, 'Look, people may not like my tactics, but I got this done?' Was he ultimately right? Were you wrong?
COHN: They can say that. I don't think we would have gotten to a different outcome. I don't think the tariffs helped us get to any different outcome.
BRENNAN: Did it hurt the U.S.?
COHN: I think it has hurt the U.S. I think it's totally hurt the United States.

Driving the news: President Trump and China signed 'phase-one' of a deal this week meant to ease tensions stemming from a two-year trade war.

  • Axios' Dion Rabouin notes that while the limited agreement will roll back some U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods and see China increase purchases of U.S. goods and services by $200 billion over two years, experts say it leaves more questions than answers.
  • For example, the agreement does not spell out what goods China will buy or how it will reach the targets of $200 billion of increased spending on agriculture, energy, manufacturing and services.

The backdrop: Many speculated that Cohn, who favors free trade and was often at odds with the populist factions of the Trump administration, resigned over Trump's steel and aluminum tariffs. Cohn didn't confirm that's why he left, but told CBS that he "didn't think the steel and aluminum tariffs were helpful to the economy."

  • "We'd accomplished a lot, and at the end of the day, he was going a different direction on some of the trade negotiations than I would have gone," Cohn said.

Go deeper: The "phase one" deal isn't all that it seems

Go deeper

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."

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.

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