Mark Mobius: A different outcome in Mueller report could have emboldened China in US trade war

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The Chinese government would have taken a tougher stance on trade with the U.S. if it thought Robert Mueller’s investigation was any real risk to Donald Trump‘s presidency, veteran fund manager Mark Mobius told CNBC on Monday.

China “probably has done all the numbers and they realize it would be very difficult to impeach the president,” the co-founder of Mobius Capital Partners said on “Squawk Box.”

“If there was a possibility of him being impeached, then of course there would be a different situation” on trade.

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Attorney General William Barr on Sunday released a summary of Mueller’s findings in the Russia investigation and Trump’s 2016 campaign. Barr said Mueller did not find sufficient evidence to establish that Trump committed obstruction of justice, or that his campaign coordinated with Russia’s efforts to influence the election. U.S. stock futures initially rose after the news but struggled during Monday’s session to hold those gains.

The conclusion of Muller’s investigation lifts a cloud that has loomed over Trump’s presidency. In response to the findings, Trump took a victory lap on Twitter, saying, “No Collusion, No Obstruction, Complete and Total EXONERATION. KEEP AMERICA GREAT!”

Barr specifically noted that Mueller did not exonerate Trump.

Mueller’s report comes amid a high stakes economic battle between China and the U.S., which initially centered on the American trade deficit with China.

The White House said the president is sending U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to Beijing on Thursday to continue U.S. talks with China as the two sides approach the finish line on a deal.

Mobius, who has more than four decades of experience in emerging markets, said he doesn’t expect Mueller’s findings to have an impact on Trump. Mobius has previous said he agreed with Trump “completely” when it comes to China and its trade deficit with the U.S.

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