Trump casts doubt on USMCA, says Pelosi may not have time to sign it

Key Points
  • Trump said he's unsure if House Speaker Pelosi will have a chance to sign the administration's landmark trade accord known as the USMCA.
  • "I don't think they can do any deals," Trump said Wednesday. Later, appearing to reference impeachment proceedings, Trump said Democrats are talking "nonsense."
  • Trump on Wednesday released notes of his now-controversial call with Ukraine's president in which he asked his counterpart to "look into" Joe Biden's son.
President Donald Trump shakes hands with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi as they both attend the 38th Annual National Peace Officers Memorial Service on Capitol Hill in Washington, May 15, 2019.
Carlos Barria | Reuters

President Donald Trump on Wednesday said that he's unsure if House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will have a chance to sign the administration's landmark trade agreement with Mexico and Canada amid a Democrat-led impeachment inquiry.

"I don't know if Nancy Pelosi's going to have any time to sign it," the president said, adding that he believes the House leader is wasting her time on a "manufactured crisis."

Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry on Tuesday as a growing number of Democrats concerned over the president's alleged abuses of power overwhelmed her initial reluctance. The most recent Democratic outcry comes amid accusations that Trump tried to coerce Ukraine's president to investigate the family of former Vice President Joe Biden.

Trump impeachment inquiry means unlikely USMCA will get through: Policy pro

"I don't think they can do any deals," Trump said Wednesday during a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in New York. Later, appearing to reference impeachment proceedings, the president said what all Democrats are talking about is "nonsense."

Trump released on Wednesday notes of his now-controversial call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. In the rough transcript, Trump asks his counterpart "if you can look into" presidential challenger Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden.

"There's a lot of talk about Biden's son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that, so whatever you can do with the attorney general would be great," Trump said in the July 25 call, according to the memo.

Washington policy analysts fear the impeachment inquiry could stall a potential trade deal with China and an already agreed-upon deal with Canada and Mexico. Several brokerages rushed to tell clients on Tuesday and Wednesday that Pelosi's decision to move forward with the inquiry could mire several of Trump's key trade initiatives, including the passage of the U.S.-Mexcio-Canada Agreement and talks with Beijing.

Markets appeared at first relieved by the fact that the memorandum did not appear to show an explicit quid pro quo, though more details about the White House's contact with Ukraine are expected.

Cramer: Democrats 'hope to get to yes' on Trump's North American trade deal

Trump took to Twitter to proclaim his innocence and wrote that Democrats should "apologize" in light of the memo's release.

trump tweet

Some lawmakers, including Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, said China trade talks and the USMCA will continue as planned and won't be affected by the impeachment inquiry.

Meanwhile, House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., reportedly said his committee would "proceed with optimism."

Neal leads the nine-member working group haggling over changes to the deal. "There is no reason, based on what happened yesterday, to think that there's any deterrents that will hold us back," Neal said, according to a Politico report.

— CNBC's Kayla Tausche contributed reporting.