Cautious optimism in US-China trade war; 2020 Dems endure 'Hunger Games'; Epstein accusers to speak out

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New optimism in US-China trade war felt on Wall Street, Asian markets
Asian shares traded mostly higher on Tuesday, following a rally on Wall Street. Traders are cautiously optimistic again about the potential for progress in the costly trade war between the U.S. and China. Japan's benchmark Nikkei rose 1.2 percent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose at first but reversed course and was down nearly 0.2 percent and China's Shanghai Composite was up 1.1 percent. U.S. equity futures were searching for direction Tuesday morning.

Monday's rally on Wall Street got its start early after President Trump said his negotiators had received encouraging calls from China on Sunday, though China's foreign ministry denied knowledge of any such calls. At the end of the G-7 summit, the president stood firm and defended his handling of the trade war with China and said his approach was seeing results.

Struggling 2020 Democrats fume at DNC over debate criteria crackdown
With the deadline to qualify for next month’s third round of Democratic presidential debates closing in, the Democratic National Committee is facing an angry chorus of criticism from the candidates not likely to make the cut. At issue is the DNC’s criteria for the contenders to take part in the prime-time showdown, including contributions from 130,000 individual donors and reaching at least 2 percent in four qualifying polls. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado were among the candidates complaining about the DNC's process.

While the criticism is not new, this time around the national party committee is specifically being attacked over the dearth of qualifying polls. Critics say this is unfairly preventing candidates close to qualifying from actually making the stage. Bullock, who also needs a miracle to qualify by the end-of-Wednesday deadline, argued that “these DNC debate rules have turned this primary into the ‘The Hunger Games’ — each step of this seems to be all about getting donors.”

Epstein accusers expected to speak at hearing
Up to 30 of Jeffrey Epstein's alleged victims could take a judge up on his invitation to speak at a hearing Tuesday. U.S. District Judge Richard Berman, who presided over the sex trafficking case prosecutors brought against Epstein, scheduled the hearing after prosecutors asked that he toss charges against Epstein because of his death. Epstein, a previously convicted sex offender, died Aug. 10, his death ruled a suicide as he apparently killed himself rather than face sex trafficking charges. Berman said he would give prosecutors, Epstein's lawyers and any alleged victims a chance to speak.

Since the hearing was scheduled, it was revealed that Epstein signed a will just two days before his suicide putting over $577 million in assets into a trust fund. The will, filed in the Virgin Islands where Epstein maintained a residence, was expected to make it more difficult for dozens of accusers to collect damages. Tuesday's hearing comes amid a report that video footage from at least one camera in the hallway outside Epstein's jail cell is too flawed to be of any value for investigators.

Johnson & Johnson ordered to pay $572M in opioid case, setting up more trials and possible legal settlements
An Oklahoma judge found Johnson & Johnson and Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies liable for stoking the opioid crisis in the state and said the company must pay $572 million, far less the $17 billion that the state was seeking. Judge Thad Balkman, of Cleveland County District Court in Norman, Oklahoma, is the first judge to rule in the opioid cases brought to trial by thousands of state and local governments against opioid manufacturers and distributors. His precedent-setting ruling was being closely watched as 2,000 other pending suits await to be heard before a federal judge in Ohio in October. J&J said it plans to appeal Balkman's ruling and that the decision was "flawed."

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - AUGUST 26: Miley Cyrus performs onstage during the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards at Prudential Center on August 26, 2019 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by John Shearer/Getty Images)

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - AUGUST 26: Miley Cyrus performs onstage during the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards at Prudential Center on August 26, 2019 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by John Shearer/Getty Images)

Miley Cyrus stuns at MTV VMAs with emotional first performance since Hemsworth split
Miley Cyrus made a huge statement during an emotional performance at the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards. The pop star took the stage Monday evening at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. to perform her latest single “Slide Away,” which many believe to be about her 10-year relationship with estranged husband, actor Liam Hemsworth.

Taylor Swift accepts the video of the year award for "You Need to Calm Down" at the MTV Video Music Awards at the Prudential Center on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019, in Newark, N.J. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)

Taylor Swift accepts the video of the year award for "You Need to Calm Down" at the MTV Video Music Awards at the Prudential Center on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019, in Newark, N.J. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)

Cyrus wasn't the only star making a statement at the VMAs. Taylor Swift called out the White House after she won the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards' top prize — video of the year — for her LGBTQ pride anthem, "You Need To Calm Down." Click here for the list of winners at the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards.

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SOME PARTING WORDS

Sean Hannity sounded off on a new survey that claims millennials don't value patriotism as much as previous generations. "Younger Americans feel less and less patriotic, and they're also turning towards socialism," he said.

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Fox News First is compiled by Fox News' Bryan Robinson. Thank you for joining us! Enjoy your day! We'll see you in your inbox first thing Wednesday morning.