North Korea threw President Trump’s planned summit meeting with its leader, Kim Jong-un, into doubt on Wednesday, threatening to call off the landmark encounter if the United States insisted on “unilateral nuclear abandonment.”
The statement, made by the North’s disarmament negotiator, came hours after state media warned that the summit meeting might be canceled to protest a joint military exercise between the United States and South Korea that began this week.
The warnings caught Trump administration officials off guard and set off an internal debate over whether Mr. Kim was merely posturing in advance of the meeting in Singapore next month or was erecting a serious new hurdle.
Sic transit gloria mundi.
And I didn’t even know Gloria was sick. (h/t Mel Brooks)
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is the latest to find himself outside the revolving door of the Trump White House. CIA Director Mike Pompeo will replace Tillerson, according to reports.
Trump treats his White House as a reality TV show. He treats national security as a TV reality show. The number of firings, resignations, etc., of the “best people” is staggering. The number of positions not yet filled, numbering in the hundreds, is very troubling.
The federal government employs 2 million civilian workers nationwide, but many positions at the top of the food chain remain empty a year into the Trump presidency. Of more than 600 key jobs filled by presidential nomination, more than half of them are currently vacant awaiting confirmation or have no nominee.
We are in crisis. Our government is in crisis. Our national security is in crisis. The man at the top thinks he is running a TV reality show.
I must say it again. I have no other explanation. He thinks this is all about him.
Are you talking to portraits of past presidents yet?
You know, Richard Nixon did that.
You say you like Andrew Jackson, that the two of you are BFFs.
But you really should get to know Tricky Dicky, the original Richard “I am not a crook” Nixon.
Are you a liar, Donnie T?
As you laze about The Big Oval, or wander the Residence at night in your bathrobe, are you taking time to smell the paintings? Are you spending time talking to Andrew Jackson, or do you just admire him from afar?
James Comey testified today. For how long will your crew insulate you? For how long will the GOP spew out parseltongue, protecting you from yourself?
Were you really that ill prepared, as Speaker Paul Ryan suggests? Are you just too new at all of this? Are we to believe that James Comey is really to blame because he did not tell you that it was inappropriate for you to meet with him alone? Was it really up to Comey to correct you, sir, when you asked AG Jeff Sessions and Jared to leave The Big Oval so you could spend quality time with Mr. Comey?
Is there anything at all for which you will take responsibility?
How long until a new David Frost interviews you, after you’re, you know, out of office?
Is there a contemporary Dan Aykroyd in your future, sir Trump? Will Alec Baldwin be the ultimate closer for you on SNL?
The classified intelligence that President Trump disclosed in a meeting last week with Russian officials at the White House was provided by Israel, according to a current and a former American official familiar with how the United States obtained the information. The revelation adds a potential diplomatic complication to the episode.
Israel is one of the United States’ most important allies and a major intelligence collector in the Middle East. The revelation that Mr. Trump boasted about some of Israel’s most sensitive information to the Russians could damage the relationship between the two countries. It also raises the possibility that the information could be passed to Iran, Russia’s close ally and Israel’s main threat in the Middle East.
Rudy Giuliani is the favorite to be secretary of state in Donald Trump’s administration, according to a senior Trump official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the source isn’t authorized to speak on the record.
And then this:
The official said there’s no real competition for the job, and it’s the former New York mayor’s if he wants to take it. (emphasis added)
There’s no competition for Secretary of State? Does anyone in the President-Elect’s team actually want to work? Do any of them have a clue what it takes to run a country?
Says he was going to say something terrible about Hillary and her family, but decided not to.
Trump said Clinton does not have a presidential look, Holt said. She’s the first female nominee of a major party.
“I don’t believe Hillary has the stamina. I said ‘the stamina.'”
As soon as he visits 128 countries or spends 11 hours testifying before a congressional committee, “then he can talk about stamina.
Trump wanders again. “We are losing billions and billions of dollars.”
“Words matter when you run for president and they really matter when you are president,” Clinton says. She acknowledges that this campaign has troubled many world leaders.
“Our word is good,” she reassures.
Says Trump never said what his alternative would be to deal with Iran.
Holt: Do you support the current U.S. policy on first use [of nuclear weapons].
Trump says China should “go into” North Korea, Iran has power over North Korea.
Trump: Saudi Arabia and others should be paying us money.
Clinton speaks of Iran. Sanctions were not enough.
President Obama, John Kerry, she helped, shut down Iran’s nuclear program.
Speaks of Trump’s “cavalier attitude” about nuclear weapons.
“A man who can be provoked by a Tweet should not have his hand anywhere near the nuclear codes.”
Trump keeps naming Sean Hannity as his source.
Trump says that he has much better judgment than Hillary Clinton.
“I think my strongest asset, maybe by far, is my temperament.”
Trump: ISIS formed because of a vacuum formed by Barack Obama and Secretary Clinton.
Trump: “NATO could be obsolete.” Says NATO does not focus on terror.
Hillary speaks of cooperating with Muslims in America, not alienate Muslims and push them away like Trump has done.
Clinton: George W. Bush made the agreement to leave Iraq. The only way we could have stayed would have been to have an agreement with the then-Iraqi government to protect American troops. That did not happen.
Trump: “Had we taken the oil,” there would be no ISIS.
Holt: “How will you prevent home-grown terrorism?”
Trump: Speaks of ISIS.
Clinton: “I have put forth a plan to defeat ISIS.” It does entail going after them online. We must also intensify air attacks against ISIS. Take out their “claim of being a caliphate.”
“We’re hoping to push [ISIS] out of Iraq in a year.”
This would be awesome.
Trump talks about his endorsements.
Now talking about ISIS.
Clinton: We are not going to sit idly by and let state actors go after public and private information.
“I was so shocked when Donald invited Putin to hack into Americans.”
Hillary Clinton speaks on cyber security. There are independent hackers. There also cyber attacks coming from states. “The most recent and troubling of them has been Russia.”
Trump says Clinton treated Obama horribly.
“As far as the lawsuit,” admits he was sued, “we settled with no admission of guilt.”
That just means cash flowed and the other side was silenced.
Clinton: [Trump] has started his race for president on this racist, birther lie.
Clinton: Trump was sued in 1973 because he would not rent to African Americans. “He actually was sued twice by the justice department.”
Talking about a birth certificate. President Obama’s. “I was the one who got him to produce the birth certificate.”
Lester Holt: “The birth certificate was produced in 2009. You continued to speak about it in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and January 2016.”
“I think Donald just criticized me for preparing for this debate. I did. You know what else I did? I’m preparing to be president.”
Again, Lester Holt has lost control. Trump rambles on.
Trump: “In New York City, we had 2,200 murders, and stop and frisk brought it down to 500.”
Hillary: Crime has continued to drop under the current mayor. We have to work with faith communities
Clinton speaking of “implicit bias,” which is a problem for all of us, she says. Police now are having to handle a great deal of mental health problems on the street.
“We’ve got to address the systemic racism in our justice system. We can’t just say ‘law and order.'”
Clinton is glad the federal government is ending private prisons. “I want to end them in the state systems.”
Hillary Clinton bemoans the negative picture Trump paints of the Black community.
“Stop and frisk was found to be unconstitutional,” Hillary says.
Trump bemoans Chicago, “I have property there.”
Holt: “Stop and frisk has been ruled unconstitutional.”
Trump: “No, you’re wrong.” Blames the judge and current mayor.
Trump, “African Americans live in Hell.” Calls for bringing back “stop and frisk.”
Trump: “We need law and order. When I look at Charlotte, NC, a city where I have investments.”
Holt turns to the question of race. “Everyone should be respected by the law,” Clinton says. “And everyone should respect the law.”
Clinton speaks of “brave police officers” who also want reform.
Clinton: “We have to tackle the plague of gun violence.”
No focus. Clinton and Trump go back and forth. Lester Holt again tries to take the reigns.
Trump, “Look, it’s all words. It’s all sound bytes.”
Regarding people who did not get paid, “I took advantage of the laws of the country.”
Hillary speaks of people she’s met who were “stiffed” by Donald Trump.
Trump does not deny the accusation from Clinton, “Maybe he didn’t do a good job and didn’t deserve to be paid.”
Again, Trump speaks. Lester Holt has lost control.
“As far as my tax returns, you don’t learn much from tax returns. You learn from financial disclosures,” Trump said.
Hillary Clinton: Trump’s paid zero in federal taxes. What’s he hiding? “There’s something he’s hiding.”
“Were he ever to get near the White House, what would the conflicts be?”
Clinton, “For 40 years, or 39, everyone running for president has released their tax returns.”
Lester Holt to Trump: “You have not released your tax returns.”
“I’m under a routine audit and I will release them” as soon as the audit is over.
Dancing away from the question, now talking about a trade deficit.
Holt presses Trump on his taxes. Trump says he gets audited often by the IRS.
Trump goes after Clinton again. “We are in a big, fat, ugly bubble.”
Lester Holt has lost control of the debate. Clinton speaks of the “Trump loophole,” “Trumped up trickle down” economics.
“I don’t think top-down works in America,” Clinton says.
Hillary speaking of her record. Donald Trump keeps squinting.
The moderator, Lester Holt has already lost control of the debate.
Hillary is keeping her cool. Donald Trump is speaking to Hillary.
The debate is on. Donald Trump is wandering, drinking water already. Hillary’s best take-away so far? “Trump Dump Trickle Down Economics.
The GOP government shutdown just hit home for a close friend.
His son, a laborer who lives in a so-called "Right To Work" state, was out of work. He had been let go from his previous job because he became injured outside of work. Rather than give him a month to heal, which is all he needed, his employer at the time just let him go. Tried to tell him that he was doing him a favor. That he could collect unemployment, as opposed to making nothing for the 30 days or so he would need to heal.
And his employer knew that this lad had only worked for him for five months, therefore not qualifying for unemployment. And, it turns out, this employer has done this to other workers, letting them go in the fifth month of employment, so the employer has to pay neither benefits nor unemployment.
This is what the GOP refers to as "Right To Work," the myth that, forbidding unions from requiring workers to join a union when they get a job, workers now can be "free" of union dues and work, because, dammit, they have the right to work.
In reality, it means states full of workers, like my friend’s son, who have no union protection, no unions who negotiated fair working conditions. None of that. Not at all.
And employers can be as ruthless as the nasty members of the GOP, some of the meanest pols we’ve seen since just before the Great Depression, when robber barons ruled, and pols danced to their commands.
So my friend’s son applied for another job. Went through the entire interview process. Passed every background check, drug test — paid for by the hiring company — and was given his "new employee" packet.
And, on what was supposed to be his first day of work, was told that the company could not start him, because of the government shutdown.
Because of the government shutdown, the company was not certain that some contracts would be upheld.
That’s not what they told him at first. But, after he pressed them, they admitted this was, in fact, the case. The government shutdown.
The damn GOP government shutdown.
His son says it was evident the company was scrambling. Some news from on high had reached the blue collar workers, and the company, and American company, was being downsized.
These inglorious GOP members of Congress have got to go.
All of them.
They claim that this shutdown is the fault of the Democrats and the Democratic President who "refuse to negotiate.
Never before has a minority party linked controversial legislative demands with a threat to shut down the government or imperil the global economy. But House Republicans would have you believe otherwise.
In an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal this morning, Rep. Paul Ryan writes that president Obama “says he ‘will not negotiate’ on the debt ceiling. He claims that such negotiations would be unprecedented. But many presidents have negotiated on the debt ceiling—including him. ”
Ryan was referring to a speech given in September before the Business Roundtable — an association of CEOs of large US companies — in which the president said, “You have never seen in the history of the United States the debt ceiling or the threat of not raising the debt ceiling being used to extort a president or a governing party, and trying to force issues that have nothing to do with the budget and have nothing to do with the debt.”
Ryan continued: “He’s refusing to talk, even though the federal government is about to hit the debt ceiling. That’s a shame — because this doesn’t have to be another crisis. It could be a breakthrough.”
But that’s spin: Negotiating would set a dangerous precedent, because Obama’s right that this time really is different. Here are three reasons why.
A Navy SEAL team targeted a senior leader of the Shabab militant group in a raid on his seaside villa in the Somali town of Baraawe on Saturday, American officials said, in response to a deadly attack on a Nairobi shopping mall for which the group had claimed responsibility.
The SEAL team stealthily approached the beachfront house by sea, firing on the unidentified target in a predawn gunbattle that was the most significant raid by American troops on Somali soil since commandos killed Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, a Qaeda mastermind, near the same town four years ago.
The Shabab leader was believed to have been killed in the firefight, but the SEALS were forced to withdraw before that could be confirmed, a senior American official said. Such operations by American forces are rare because they carry a high risk, and indicate that the target was considered a high priority. Baraawe, a small port town south of Mogadishu, the Somali capital, is known as a gathering place for the Shabab’s foreign fighters.