What We're Watching: Trump's motives, Hong Kong drama, big birthday surprise

What We're Watching: Trump's motives, Hong Kong drama, big birthday surprise

Trump's Added Motivation to Win – The US criminal code sets the federal statute of limitations on obstruction of justice at five years. That appears to mean that if Donald Trump wins reelection next November, he will have presidential immunity from prosecution until it's too late ever to indict him for alleged crimes detailed in the report from former special counsel Robert Mueller. Legal experts can weigh in on the possibility of an asterisk here, but it certainly looks like voters, those who back Trump and those who want him out, will be asked to weigh this factor as they go to the polls next year.

Hong Kong – The drama in the streets of Hong Kong has become even more frightening in recent days. This week, we saw thugs armed with clubs attacking defenseless protesters. After video surfaced of a pro-government lawmaker shaking hands with some of these suspected gang members, demonstrators trashed his office. That legislator then posted social media death threats against a pro-democracy political rival. Officials in Beijing have now explicitly warned that they can send Chinese army troops into Hong Kong, and protesters say they won't be intimidated and that demonstrations will continue. In short, the stakes in Hong Kong are rising, and the escalation of promises and threats continues.

Uganda – A 37 year-old Ugandan pop star, opposition lawmaker, and self-proclaimed "Ghetto President" named Bobi Wine announced this week that he will run for president in 2021 against Yoweri Museveni, the man who has held power in Uganda since Wine was four years old. The singer, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, was arrested for treason last year, and he claims (credibly) that he was tortured while in custody. There's a lot that could go wrong here.

Alexander Kliment – Signal's own Alex Kliment is celebrating a big birthday today. We won't throw out a number, but let's call it the "gateway to early middle age." We're watching to see how Alex, creator of Puppet Regime, marks the occasion, because he's one of the funniest and most creative people in the universe, and because he's our friend. #SignalSalute

What We're Ignoring

French "perverts in the bushes" – We admit it…we only read the headline: "Perverts in bushes are ruining nude zone in Paris park, say naturists." We're ignoring this story because we just don't want to know any more about that.

Carbon has a bad rep, but did you know it's a building block of life? As atoms evolved, carbon trapped in CO2 was freed, giving way to the creation of complex molecules that use photosynthesis to convert carbon to food. Soon after, plants, herbivores, and carnivores began populating the earth and the cycle of life began.

Learn more about how carbon created life on Earth in the second episode of Eni's Story of CO2 series.

As we enter the homestretch of the US presidential election — which is set to be the most contentious, and possibly contested, in generations — Americans are also voting on 35 seats up for grabs in a battle for the control of the Senate. The 100-member body is currently held 53-47 by the Republican Party, but many individual races are wide open, and the Democrats are confident they can flip the upper chamber of Congress.

Either way, the result will have a profound impact not only on domestic policy, but also on US foreign relations and other issues with global reach. Here are a few areas where what US senators decide reverberates well beyond American shores.

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In a special GZERO Media livestream on global response and recovery amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Eurasia Group & GZERO Media president Ian Bremmer discussed the difference between Europe's unified approach to economic stimulus and the deeply divided and political nature of the current conversation in the US. While initial stimulus support was bipartisan, there is little chance of Democrats and Republicans coming together again ahead of the November 3 presidential election. "It's red state versus blue state. President Trump's saying that coronavirus isn't so bad if you take the blue states out. He's president of the blue states, you can't take the blue states out," Bremmer told moderator Susan Glasser of The New Yorker.

GZERO Media caught up with Japan's Permanent Representative to the UN Kimihiro Ishikane during the 2020 UN General Assembly. In an interview with Eurasia Group Vice Chairman Gerald Butts, Ishikane talked about pandemic response, and how it has impacted the broader picture of US-China relations. Regarding a global fissure potentially caused by the world's two biggest economies, Ishikane said: "China is not like the former Soviet Union. Our system is completely intertwined, and I don't think we can completely decouple our economy and neither is that desirable." He also discussed the legacy of Shinzo Abe, Japan's longest-serving prime minister, who stepped down recently due to health complications.

The world's two biggest economic powers threaten to create a "big rupture" in geopolitics, but "we are not there yet," UN Secretary-General António Guterres tells Ian Bremmer. In an interview for GZERO World, the leader of the world's best-known multilateral organization discusses the risks involved as the US and China grow further apart on key issues.

Watch the episode: UN Secretary-General António Guterres: Why we still need the United Nations

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