'Start Here': Trump downplays recession fears, Hong Kong protesters defy Beijing

It's Monday, Aug. 19, 2019. Let's start here.

1. 'I don't see a recession'

The White House is insisting the U.S. economy remains strong despite warnings of a possible recession that have rattled investors already concerned about stalled trade talks with China.

"I don't see a recession," President Donald Trump told reporters on Sunday, adding that the U.S. has the "strongest economy by far in the world" and tariffs on Chinese imports "have caused nothing, in my opinion, or certainly very little."

Democratic presidential candidates spent the weekend taking shots at Trump's trade policies and the economy, one of the president's biggest selling points on the campaign trail. And despite the White House downplaying fears of an economic downturn, it could have implications for his base in 2020, ABC News' Rachel Scott tells us.

"When I talk to voters in different states ... they always tell me that they support him because of what he does for the economy," she says on "Start Here." "When you take that away, the question is, What's the sticking point for these supporters now?"

2. 'Consequences are enormous'

Defying threats from the Chinese government and police orders to not march, pro-democracy protesters filled the streets of Hong Kong on Sunday in another massive demonstration.

Organizers said an estimated 1.7 million people braved a rainstorm for the largely peaceful protest as the threat of Chinese military intervention loomed across the border in Shenzhen.

A spokesman for the Hong Kong government said in a statement that it was "most important to restore social order as soon as possible."

"China has made it clear," ABC News Senior Foreign Correspondent Ian Pannell reports from Hong Kong, "that if the Hong Kong authorities can't deal with this, then it has solutions, it has the power to do so, but the consequences are enormous of doing that."

3. Domestic terror concerns

As the U.S. remains on edge in the wake of the massacres in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, two men were arrested over the weekend for allegedly making separate domestic terror threats.

An Ohio man, who police said participated in the 2017 Charlottesville, Virginia, protests, was arrested for allegedly making mass-shooting threats toward a Jewish community center in New Middletown. And in Florida, according to police, a man was charged with allegedly making threats to commit a mass shooting in a series of text messages.

Law enforcement officials are concerned about the rise of targeted violence, as well as an increase in public displays from far-right groups, according to John Cohen, a former Department of Homeland Security official and ABC News consultant.

"These people who used to live in the shadows are now coming out publicly," Cohen says. "They're engaging in public protests, but they're also engaging in acts of violence and furtherance of this white supremacist ideology."

"Start Here," ABC News' flagship podcast, offers a straightforward look at the day's top stories in 20 minutes. Listen for free every weekday on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeartRadio, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn or the ABC News app. Follow @StartHereABC on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for exclusive content and show updates.


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Doff your cap:

This morning we tip our cap to an opposing Little League World Series team whose players tipped their caps to a former Kentucky player who died two years ago at the age of 10.

Mason Goodnight, whose father Jef still coaches the team, died from a rare form of laryngitis, The Associated Press reported.

To honor Mason, the team carries and hangs in the dugout during games his No. 11 jersey. Before playing a team from Rhode Island on Saturday, players from that team walked over and touched that jersey to pay their respects.

"We're so fortunate to be here, and we went over to his jersey and I prayed, and then I gave his dad a handshake," Lucas Tanous, an 11-year-old Rhode Island player, told ESPN. "It's just so sad, but we all touched his jersey because I bet he was such a nice kid."
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