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Sen. Lindsey Graham said on "Fox News Sunday" that he sees "China's hands all over" North Korea's latest statement calling the U.S. push for complete denuclearization "regrettable." He added, “If I were President Trump, I would not let China use North Korea to back me off of the trade dispute. We've got more bullets than they do when it comes to trade.”

The big picture: Kim Jong-un has kept China updated on developments in his talks with the United States, visiting Beijing three times in the past few months to meet President Xi Jinping. And China's influence with North Korea is crucial leverage against Washington amid an escalating trade war.

Yes, but: North Korea's pivot was predicted by dozens of experts who said to watch for Kim to dial back vague promises of denuclearization after his summit in Singapore with President Trump.

Graham's full quote:

"I see China's hands all over this. We are in a fight with China. We buy $500 billion worth of goods from the Chinese; they buy $100 billion from us. They cheat, and President Trump wants to change the economic relationship with China, so if I were President Trump, I would not let China use North Korea to back me off of the trade dispute. We've got more bullets than they do when it comes to trade. We sell them $100 billion; they sell us $500 billion. We can hurt them more than they'll hurt us, and all we're looking for is for them to stop cheating when it comes to trade. There is no doubt in my mind that it's the Chinese pulling the North Koreans back."

Go deeper

34 mins ago - Politics & Policy

McConnell drops filibuster demand, paving way for power-sharing deal

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (R) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell attend a joint session of Congress. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has abandoned his demand that Democrats state, in writing, that they would not abandon the legislative filibuster.

Between the lines: McConnell was never going to agree to a 50-50 power sharing deal without putting up a fight over keeping the 60-vote threshold. But the minority leader ultimately caved after it became clear that delaying the organizing resolution was no longer feasible.

2 hours ago - Technology

Scoop: Google won't donate to members of Congress who voted against election results

Sen. Ted Cruz led the group of Republicans who opposed certifying the results. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Google will not make contributions from its political action committee this cycle to any member of Congress who voted against certifying the results of the presidential election, following the deadly Capitol riot.

Why it matters: Several major businesses paused or pulled political donations following the events of Jan. 6, when pro-Trump rioters, riled up by former President Trump, stormed the Capitol on the day it was to certify the election results.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Minority Mitch still setting Senate agenda

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Chuck Schumer may be majority leader, yet in many ways, Mitch McConnell is still running the Senate show — and his counterpart is about done with it.

Why it matters: McConnell rolled over Democrats unapologetically, and kept tight control over his fellow Republicans, while in the majority. But he's showing equal skill as minority leader, using political jiujitsu to convert a perceived weakness into strength.