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    US Senator Slams Trump’s Probe Into Auto Imports as 'Attempt to Affect Election'

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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US President Donald Trump's decision to lay the groundwork for imposing tariffs on imported automobiles could represent an attempt to influence the outcome of the upcoming Congressional midterm elections, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Robert Corker said in a statement on Thursday.

    “This appears to be either an attempt to affect domestic politics ahead of the election or for some other transactional purpose regarding ongoing trade discussions,” Corker said in the statement.

    Corker's comments come one day after Trump on Wednesday instructed US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to launch an inquiry under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 to determine whether auto imports threaten US national security and should therefore be taxed.

    Corker said there was "no reason to use this provision" of the act now, expressing concern that the president was abusing his powers under Section 232.

    The senator called on the administration to avoid what he called a “dangerous course.”

    The Commerce Department said on Wednesday it would look into the imports of automobiles, including SUVs, light trucks and vans, as well as auto parts after estimating that imports of passenger vehicles grew from 32 percent of cars sold in the United States to 48 percent over the past two decades.

    Media reports have said Trump is considering imposing duties as high as 25 percent.

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    Tags:
    investigation, influence, policy, election, tariffs, imports, auto, US Department of Commerce, Robert Corker, Donald Trump, United States
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