How December could define Trump

Behind the scenes: China hawks may have more reason to be concerned given that stock futures are way up on the G20 news. In the wake of Buenos Aires, I spoke to two sources familiar with Trump’s thinking on China, and both said they worry he’s too concerned about keeping the stock market buoyant to risk tanking it by hitting China with new tariffs. A stock market boost on Monday could reinforce Trump’s instincts. (Which would suit free traders Larry Kudlow and Steven Mnuchin just fine.)

These hawks worry the Chinese can drag the “dialogue” with the Trump administration beyond the 90 days, delaying action from a president hobbled by looming Democratic subpoenas, a special counsel investigation and a wobbly stock market.

“Everything has got to be seen through the prism of the investigation and needing short-term micro tactical wins,” said one of these concerned hawks. “And that’s why the stock market going up is a win.”

“The whole effort with China has been brought to a grinding halt,” the source argued, comparing the delay to a short-term continuing resolution to kick the government funding fight down the road.