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Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), chair of the Senate Finance Committee. Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) told reporters Wednesday that President Trump should "pull out" of NAFTA if the Democrat-controlled House doesn't support the renegotiated trade deal signed by the U.S., Mexico and Canada last November.

"I hope that they're smart enough not to let that happen."

Between the lines, via Axios' Caitlin Owens: As the new chair of the Senate Finance Committee, Grassley will be responsible for shepherding the deal through the Senate. Withdrawing from NAFTA would be seen as the ultimate way to force the Democrats' hand when it comes to approving the trade deal, but it's a risky move. If Democrats don't fold and there ends up being no trade agreement with Canada and Mexico, the result would be complete economic chaos.

Background: The revised deal, known as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), still has to be approved by Congress and the Canadian and Mexican legislatures.

  • USMCA contains modest changes from NAFTA, but Trump sees it as a major win after promising on the campaign trail to get rid of what he called the "single worst trade deal ever approved."
  • But as the New York Times notes, House Democrats aren't likely to want to "sign off on any deal that does not include significant changes that labor leaders and newly elected progressives are demanding. That could involve reopening negotiations with Mexico, although American and Mexican negotiators have both publicly ruled out that possibility."

Go deeper: Breaking down the rapid NAFTA rebrand

Go deeper

The dark new reality in Congress

National Guard troops keep watch at security fencing. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

This is how bad things are for elected officials and others working in a post-insurrection Congress:

  • Rep. Norma Torres (D-Calif.) said she had a panic attack while grocery shopping back home.
  • Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said police may also have to be at his constituent meetings.
  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) told a podcaster he brought a gun to his office on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 because he anticipated trouble with the proceedings that day.
Off the Rails

Episode 3: Descent into madness

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 3: The conspiracy goes too far. Trump's outside lawyers plot to seize voting machines and spin theories about communists, spies and computer software.

President Trump was sitting in the Oval Office one day in late November when a call came in from lawyer Sidney Powell. "Ugh, Sidney," he told the staff in the room before he picked up. "She's getting a little crazy, isn't she? She's really gotta tone it down. No one believes this stuff. It's just too much."

Convicts turn to D.C. fixers for Trump pardons

Trump confidante Matt Schlapp interviews Jared Kushner last February. Schlapp is seeking a pardon for a biotech executive. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

A flood of convicted criminals has retained lobbyists since November’s presidential election to press President Trump for pardons or commutations before he leaves office.

What we're hearing: Among them is Nickie Lum Davis, a Hawaii woman who pleaded guilty last year to abetting an illicit foreign lobbying campaign on behalf of fugitive Malaysian businessman Jho Low. Trump confidante Matt Schlapp also is seeking a pardon for a former biopharmaceutical executive convicted of fraud less than two months ago.