Trump’s Advisers Struggle to Explain Deal He Says He Cut With Xi

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF BLOOMBERG NEWS)

 

Trump’s Advisers Struggle to Explain Deal He Says He Cut With Xi

 Updated on 
  • President hails ‘extraordinary’ dinner with Chinese leader
  • Kudlow says China made ‘commitments’ to ‘presumably implement’

President Donald Trump left his top advisers scrambling on Monday to explain a trade deal he claimed he’d struck with China to reduce tariffs on U.S. cars exported to the country — an agreement that doesn’t exist on paper and hasn’t been confirmed in Beijing.

In the day after Trump announced the deal in a two-sentence Twitter post, the White House provided no additional information. At a briefing in Beijing, a spokesman for the foreign ministry declined to comment on any changes to car tariffs.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

China has agreed to reduce and remove tariffs on cars coming into China from the U.S. Currently the tariff is 40%.

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Questioned about the agreement on Monday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trump’s top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, dialed back expectations and added qualifiers.

Larry Kudlow speaks to members of the media outside the White House.

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

“I’ll call them ‘commitments’ at this point, which are — commitments are not necessarily a trade deal, but it’s stuff that they’re going to look at and presumably implement,” Kudlow told reporters at an official White House briefing that followed TV interviews and informal briefings by him and Mnuchin earlier in the day.

The apparent move on auto tariffs was part of a broader trade truce struck by Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping during a dinner in Buenos Aires on Saturday night. As part of that the U.S. said it had agreed to hold off on raising tariffs Jan. 1 while negotiations took place. Kudlow initially said that the Chinese had 90 days from Jan. 1 to come up with “structural changes” regarding intellectual property protections, forced technology transfer and other issues.

The White House later corrected him to say that the 90 days actually began on Dec. 1, Saturday.

Trump’s tweet, which moved stocks of automobile companies across the globe, followed the dinner at the Group of 20 summit in Argentina. There, all sides agree, the American president agreed to postpone an increase in tariffs on Chinese imports to 25 percent from 10 percent, which was scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, in exchange for negotiations on broader economic disputes.

Steven Mnuchin

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

“I think there is a specific understanding that we are now going to turn the agreement the two presidents had into a real agreement in the next 90 days,” Mnuchin told reporters at the White House on Monday. “I’m taking President Xi at his word, at his commitment to President Trump. But they have to deliver on this.”

He didn’t say precisely what China committed to do.

The uncertainty underscored the risk entailed by Trump’s eagerness to strike deals without nailing down details in advance. The confusion was exacerbated by the absence of a joint statement from the U.S. and China following the dinner. Financial markets were left struggling to digest talks that the White House portrayed as a major victory for the president.

“That’s what happens when you don’t have the detailed negotiations going into the summit” and end up with the “broad swath of a 35,000-foot deal,” said Bonnie Glaser, a China expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “It’s risky. There’s certainly no guarantees that it will produce the outcomes that we want.”

Donald Trump, Xi Jinping, and members of their delegations during their bilateral meeting on Dec. 1.

Photographer: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Photo

Officials in Beijing did not respond to requests for an explanation and neither did the Chinese embassy in Washington.

Trump nevertheless praised himself for the dinner, and abandoned nuance in claiming on Twitter that China had agreed to immediately buy more U.S. farm products, in addition to dropping car tariffs. Mnuchin, in an interview with CNBC on Monday, put a $1.2 trillion price tag on China’s additional trade commitments, but emphasized the details of how they get there still need to be negotiated.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

Farmers will be a a very BIG and FAST beneficiary of our deal with China. They intend to start purchasing agricultural product immediately. We make the finest and cleanest product in the World, and that is what China wants. Farmers, I LOVE YOU!

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China imposed a retaliatory 25 percent tariff on imports of cars from the U.S. over the summer in response to Trump’s own tariffs. That’s added on top of a 15 percent tariff that Beijing charges for imports from the rest of the world, leaving U.S. auto exporters facing a 40 percent levy at the Chinese border.

In his briefing with reporters, Kudlow said he assumed that the Chinese would eventually drop their auto tariffs altogether. Such a change would have to apply to all countries under World Trade Organization rules.

“We don’t yet have a specific agreement on that,” Kudlow said, apparently contradicting Trump’s tweet on the matter. “But I will just tell you, as an involved participant, we expect those tariffs to go to zero.”

Asked why the auto tariffs weren’t mentioned in statements the U.S. and China issued after the dinner, Kudlow inexplicably insisted that they were. “I don’t agree with that,” he said.

— With assistance by Shannon Pettypiece, Alyza Sebenius, and Jennifer Jacobs

(Updates with White House correcting Kudlow’s remarks, beginning in fifth paragraph.)

To Stop WW3 Do The People Need To Kill This Batch Of The Worlds So Called Leaders?

To Stop WW3 Do The People Need To Kill This Batch Of The Worlds So Called Leaders?

 

Firstoff, because of my personal Christian beliefs I cannot condone killing anyone unless you, your family, your loved ones or your Country are being attacked with deadly force. So, for anyone to walk up to another person and kill them just because you don’t like them as a person, that would make you a murderer. We are told that we are all to pray for our Leaders, executing them is something that is not in the Scriptures. But one may well say, what about other Countries Leaders, is that allowed? Are those other Countries Leaders at war with you or with your Country? That, might be a more difficult question to answer than it seems.  If we believe that another Countries Leaders are at war with your Country, does that mean that the people of that Country are at war with you also? What about the so-called Leaders of your own Country, are they at war with you and your Country’s Constitutional rights? If you believe that they are and you cannot vote them out of positions of power, is it okay to kill them? I know, so many questions, but are there any correct answers?

 

There are many very evil people who are in positions of power all over the world, and that does include here in the U.S., can we the people ever get rid of all of them? Personally I believe that the answer to that question is no we can’t. Here in the U.S. we have evil people scattered throughout both of our Nation’s major political parties, they are not all on one side. I personally believe that there are many Nations of Earth that would love to conquer and or destroy every inch of ground that we call home, yet the same can be said for every Nation on the planet. I personally believe that President Putin of Russia is a very evil human being, I believe that he is a liar, a thief and a mass murderer and that he would love to bring an end to the United States. But, I do not believe that the vast majority of the Russian people are our enemies, I believe that their own President is their biggest enemy. I believe that Kim Jong Un and Xi Jinping would love to blow the U.S. off of the World Map, but I do not believe that the vast majority of their people are our enemies either. Outside of the Nations where Demonic Religious Zealots rule, I do not consider the other people of the world to be each others enemies. Outside of these Zealots, most people of the Earth tend to want the same things, peace, safety, housing, food, good health, electricity and the trash picked up off the streets each week. I believe that it is these ‘Leaders’ that cause all of the people’s ill’s.

 

A simple solution it would seem would be to simply execute these horrible self-serving Leaders and get new ones, better ones installed, but would that really work? Could we simply lock up all of these evil Leaders? Yes, we could, but would that really do us or the World any good? Here in the U.S. if we locked up Donald the Donkey Trump and all of his household except for the First Lady and Barron his 12-year-old son, we would end up having Mike Pence as our President. I have family who lives in his home State of Indiana and I have many readers from Indiana who have told me that in their opinion Pence is even more dangerous than Trump, and that in itself is a rather scary thought. Pence, just like the Republican Party in general have very much proven to be for sale to the highest bidders but do not get me wrong on this issue, I believe just as lowly of the Democratic Party Leadership. Remember in November of 2016 we the people were given the choice of two habitual lying crooks to be our President. One was very smart (Hillary) the other a total idiot (Trump), yet both still very evil. If a Nation replaces their Leaders what are the people going to get in return, more crooks, more liars, more murderers? To me, by my beliefs, all any people of any Nation can do is to pray for worldwide peace and to never ever allow any politicians to ever take away your means of protecting your families. Yet never ever be the aggressor, the murderer, because if you become a murderer, even when it is from murdering an evil Leader, you and the one you murdered will end up in Hell together and that my friend is not winning the battle between good and evil, if you lose your Soul, you lost.

Lost jobs, shrinking growth, and rotting crops-Trump’s trade war is hurting America

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BUSINESS INSIDER)

 

Lost jobs, shrinking growth, and rotting crops — here are the ways Trump’s trade war is hurting America

Trump MAGA hat
President Donald Trump.
 Jae C. Hong/AP Images
  • Eight months on from the opening salvos of President Donald Trump’s trade war, and the real-world impacts are starting to be felt across the globe.
  • Business Insider took a look at some of the companies and industries blaming a downturn on the president’s trade policy.
  • The world’s largest shipping company, American farmers, and small manufacturers are among those that have explicitly blamed tariffs for issues in their businesses.

Eight months on from the opening salvos of President Donald Trump’s trade war, and the real-world impacts are starting to be felt across the globe.

The US, which the trade war was ostensibly launched to protect, looks as if it is likely to be the worst affected, with some forecasters suggesting that as much as 1 percentage point could be knocked off economic growth in the coming years.

Read more: Volvo’s $30 billion IPO is officially off, and Trump’s trade war is to blame

On a smaller scale, companies and whole industries are already starting to feel the pinch from the US tariffs, which have raised the price of sending a whole range of goods to the US, increasing costs for the very companies they were designed to protect.

Business Insider decided to take a look at some of the major businesses and industries that have blamed the president’s trade war for a negative impact on their situation.

Shrinking global trade, and hurting shipping companies at the same time

FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: Empty Maersk shipping containers are seen stacked at Peel Ports container terminal in Liverpool, Britain, December 9, 2016. REUTERS/Phil Noble/File Photo
Empty Maersk shipping containers at Peel Ports container terminal in Liverpool.
Thomson Reuters

Maersk, the world’s largest shipping firm, has been particularly explicitabout the threats posed by the tit-for-tat tariffs between the US and China.

In its third-quarter results announcement earlier in November, the Danish giant said global trade was already feeling the effect.

Global container trade continued to lose momentum in the quarter. It has suffered “a much slower pace of growth” this year, rising by 4.2% compared with 5.8% over the same period in 2017, Maersk said.

Trade tariffs may end up stifling global container shipping by as much as 2% in the next two years. The company estimates that those tariffs make up about 2.6% of the global value of traded goods.

Maersk’s warning was not the first time the shipping giant had weighed in on the trade war. CEO Soren Skou said in August, before Trump hitswaths of consumer goods with levies, that the fallout from the tariffs “could easily end up being bigger in the US.”

Farmers forced to leave their crops to rot

FILE PHOTO: A bushel of soybeans are on display in the Monsanto research facility in Creve Coeur, Missouri, U.S., July 28, 2014. REUTERS/Tom Gannam/File Photo
A bushel of soybeans on display in the Monsanto research facility in Creve Coeur, Missouri.
Tom Gannam/Reuters

Perhaps one of the most striking consequences of the trade war is what is happening to some farmers in the US.

For many agricultural goods, particularly soybeans, China is the largest export market for US farmers. That’s changing thanks to Trump’s tariffs, with Chinese importers looking elsewhere for a cheaper supply.

China last year accounted for about 60% of US soybean exports, but such is the lack of demand this year that many farmers are being forced to abandon crops.

Farmers in some US states are being forced into plowing their crops under— effectively burying them under soil in fields — as there is not enough room to store them in storage facilities, and they are unable to sell their products thanks to Chinese tariffs, Reuters reported last week.

All grain depots and silos are almost full, meaning farmers have to find their own storage solutions or allow their crops to rot. Neither option is particularly palatable.

In Louisiana, as much as 15% of this year’s soybean crop has been plowed under or is too damaged to sell, according to data analyzed by Louisiana State University staff and cited by Reuters.

An industry Trump says he wants to help is suffering

tire builderShutterstock

Much of Trump’s reasoning behind the trade war is to reinvigorate the US manufacturing sector, which he said has been ground down by decades of cheaper production in Asia, particularly in China. Early signs, however, suggest the tariffs are doing the opposite and are actively hurting manufacturers.

Manufacturing activity in the US slowed to a six-month low in October,with industry figures citing future protectionism and widespread uncertainty as major reasons for the slowdown.

“For the consumer, the tariffs are for the most part still an abstract idea, but for manufacturers they are real, and a big problem,” Ian Shepherdson, the chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, wrote at the start of November when data from the Institute for Supply Management showed just that.

The ISM, a trade group of purchasing executives, said its index of national factory activity dropped 2.1 percentage points to 57.7 in October from a month earlier. The decline was largely thanks to uncertainty related to tariffs, according to survey respondents.

“Mounting pressure due to pending tariffs,” observed one respondent in the ISM survey. “Bracing for delays in material from China — a rush of orders trying to race tariff implementation is flooding shipping and customs.”

Such a view is corroborated by analysis from the Swiss banking giant UBS, which argued that many new and smaller manufacturers could end up being forced into bankruptcy.

“Brand new firms notoriously have very thin margins and a lack of ability to pass on costs,” Seth Carpenter, UBS’ top US-focused economist, said earlier this month. “Small cost shocks tend to cause large disruptions to new firms. We see some of these new firms failing.”

Many small firms have blamed the trade war for layoffs this year.

For instance, Element Electronics, a TV manufacturer, says it plans to lay off 127 workers from its South Carolina factory as “a result of the new tariffs that were recently and unexpectedly imposed on many goods imported from China.”

One of America’s most iconic brands is slashing 14,000 jobs

general motorsBill Pugliano/Getty Images

General Motors on Monday announced plans to close plants in the US and ax about 14,000 jobs, having previously warned that Trump’s tariffs might force it to do so.

The automaker, which employs about 110,000 workers, said it planned to cut costs by shutting plants in Ohio, Michigan, and elsewhere in North America.

The company did not specifically mention tariffs, instead citing “changing market conditions and customer preferences” among its reasons, but earlier this year GM lowered its profit forecasts for 2018 amid higher steel and aluminum prices caused by new US tariffs. And in June, GM warned that trade tariffs could lead to job losses and lower wages, telling the Commerce Department that higher steel tariffs would affect competitiveness.

Donald Trump: What I am Most Thankful On Thanksgiving is: Myself

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NEWSWEEK)

 

Donald Trump said he was most thankful for himself on Thanksgiving as he spent the holiday weekend at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

The president was on a phone call with members of the media and the military early Thursday morning when one reporter asked him what he was “most thankful for” this year.

“For having a great family and for having made a tremendous difference in this country,” Trump responded. “I made a tremendous difference in the country. This country is so much stronger now than it was when I took office that you won’t believe it.”

The president continued, adding, “And I mean, you see it, but so much stronger that people can’t even believe it. When I see foreign leaders, they say we cannot believe the difference in strength between the United States now and the United States two years ago. Made a lot of progress.”

His response contrasted sharply with that of his Oval Office predecessor, Barack Obama, who said on Wednesday that he was thankful for the future “generation of leaders.”

“I am grateful for the next generation of leaders—the young people who are tolerant, creative, idealistic and doing the work to create the world as it should be. Who understand that hope requires action. From the Obama family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving,” Obama posted on Twitter.

Obama’s comment came after he made a surprise appearance at a Chicago food bank, where he volunteered ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

trump/thanksgiving/phone/call/militaryPresident Donald Trump speaks to military members via teleconference from his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, on November 22. Trump told reporters on the call that he was most thankful for the “tremendous job” he’s doing for the country.MANDEL NGAN/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

On the phone call Thursday morning, Trump also addressed American service members who were spending Thanksgiving at the southern border awaiting the arrival of the migrant caravan. The president has ordered nearly 6,000 troops to the U.S.-Mexico border to prepare for the caravan of asylum-seekers, which Trump claimed, with no evidence, was filled with dangerous gang members, drug dealers and terrorists.

During the holiday call, Trump took the opportunity to slam the federal courts for ruling against his decisions on immigration. He directly referred to the judge who had issued a temporary restraining order blocking the White House from barring immigrants who crossed the border illegally from seeking asylum.

“It’s a terrible thing when judges take over your protective services, when they tell you how to protect your border. It’s a disgrace,” Trump said. He also gave the military permission to use lethal force along the border.

In a video message posted on Twitter, Trump gave tribute to the military members overseas, police officers, first responders and firefighters, saying: “These are brave people, these are great people, these are special people.”

Trump reportedly wanted to order the DOJ to prosecute Comey and Clinton

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BUSINESS INSIDER)

 

Trump reportedly wanted to order the DOJ to prosecute Comey and Clinton

Donald Trump
Trump has repeatedly tried to weaponize the DOJ against his rivals.
 Christian Hartmann/Reuters
  • President Donald Trump reportedly wanted to order the DOJ to prosecute former FBI director James Comey and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
  • Trump only backed down when then White House counsel Don McGahn told him he didn’t have the power to order investigations into his political rivals.
  • The move is the latest in a series of documented efforts in which Trump has tried to use the DOJ as a weapon against his perceived enemies.

President Donald Trump wanted to order the Justice Department to prosecute two of his biggest political rivals but backed down when he was told he didn’t have the authority to do that, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

Trump wanted the DOJ to investigate former FBI director James Comey and former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, according to the report. But when the president floated the idea to then White House counsel Don McGahn in the spring, McGahn is said to have told Trump he couldn’t order the DOJ to conduct investigations.

McGahn reportedly added that Trump could request an investigation, but that the move would likely spark a public outcry and accusations that he was abusing his power.

After The Times’ story broke, CNN reported that Trump also broached the topic of investigating Clinton and Comey with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker.

One source told CNN that Whitaker came prepared to answer questions about what the DOJ was doing on matters related to Clinton, including the Clinton Foundation and the Uranium One deal. The person reportedly added that while Whitaker was trying to capitulate to the president, he did not appear to cross any line.

Tuesday’s revelation is the latest in a series of documented efforts Trump has made to exert control over the nation’s top law-enforcement agency. The DOJ is meant to be independent of the White House, but Trump has previously shown that he believes it is a political tool to be wielded against his perceived enemies.

In addition to publicly pressuring the DOJ to prosecute his rivals, Trump once reportedly asked advisers why he couldn’t have “my guys” at the “Trump Justice Department” do his bidding.

Trump has long harbored resentment toward both Comey and Clinton. When he ran against the former first lady in the 2016 election, Trump and his surrogates regularly led chants calling to “lock her up” in response to revelations that Clinton used a private email server to conduct government business when she was secretary of state.

He initially backed down after he won the presidency, but Trump soon resumed his calls for her prosecution when Clinton began criticizing him after the election, and as the FBI began investigating his campaign’s contacts with Russia.

Comey, meanwhile, moved into Trump’s crosshairs when he publicly confirmed the existence of the Russia investigation last March, shortly after Trump took office.

Subsequent reporting and congressional testimony revealed that after Trump learned of the investigation, he repeatedly pressured Comey to publicly state he was not personally under investigation, or to drop the probe entirely. When Comey refused, Trump fired him and later publicly stated he ousted the FBI director because of the Russia investigation.

Comey’s firing now makes up the basis of a separate inquiry, overseen by the special counsel Robert Mueller, into whether Trump sought to obstruct justice in the Russia probe.

When Comey began publicly criticizing Trump after his removal, the president called for prosecutors to investigate Comey for leaking classified information to The Times when he had his friend share a memo with the paper that documented some of what Comey believed were his most troubling interactions with the president. The memo did not contain any classified information.

He has also called for Comey and other current and former FBI and DOJ officials to be investigated over their handling of the Clinton email probe during the election.

SEE ALSO: In a ‘self-defeating and self-incriminating’ slipup, Trump just indicated he installed Matthew Whitaker to kill the Russia probe

Trump indicates he trusts Saudi crown prince’s

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF VOX NEWS)

 

Trump indicates he trusts Saudi crown prince’s Khashoggi denials over his own intelligence agency

The president puts blind faith in dictators twice in one Fox News interview.

Fox News screengrab

Time and time again, President Donald Trump seems to side with dictators over his own intelligence community. Take the case of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, with the two most recent examples occurring during a Fox News interview that aired on Sunday.

The New York Times reported on Friday that the CIA has concluded Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman directly ordered the killing of Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul last month.

Although the State Department subsequently released a statement trying to tamp down on the Times’s reporting, the CIA’s reported conclusion serves as the latest, strongest evidence that the crown prince lied to Trump when he repeatedly denied involvement in Khashoggi’s death.

During an interview with Fox News that aired on Sunday, however, Trump indicated he doesn’t necessarily trust his intelligence community over the crown prince’s denials.

Asked by host Chris Wallace if he thinks the crown prince lied to him, Trump suggested nobody can really be sure about anything.

“I don’t know, you know, who can really know?” Trump said. “But I can say this — he’s got many people now that say he had no knowledge.”

Wallace interjected to press Trump, saying, “what if the crown prince, speaking to you, the president of the United States, directly lied to you?” But Trump indicated he’s not particularly bothered by that possibility.

“Well, he told me that he had nothing to do with it,” Trump continued. “He told me that I would say maybe five times at different points, as recently as a few days ago. … Will anybody really know? Will anybody really know?”

Embedded video

Aaron Rupar

@atrupar

Trump says he “doesn’t want to hear the tape” of Khasoggi’s murder b/c “it’s a suffering tape. It’s a terrible tape. I’ve been fully briefed on it”

He adds he’s not sure if Mohammed bin Salman lied to him because “he told me he had nothing to do w/it…will anybody really know?”

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Trump’s comments about the crown prince weren’t the only time during the Fox News interview that he indicated he’s putting blind faith in a dictator.

The president responded to reports North Korea is expanding its missile program by telling Wallace, “Maybe they are, maybe they’re not. I don’t believe that. Could be.” Moments earlier, Trump touted his “very good relationship” with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

Embedded video

Aaron Rupar

@atrupar

TRUMP ON HIS DECISION-MAKING PROCESS: “I don’t think about it. I don’t think about how I make ’em. I make what I consider to be the right decision.”

TRUMP ON REPORTS NORTH KOREA IS EXPANDING NUCLEAR PROGRAM: “Maybe they are, maybe they’re not. I don’t believe that. Could be.”

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Trump’s deference to Kim and the crown prince is reminiscent of the deference he’s shown Russian President Vladimir Putin, who denies meddling in the 2016 American presidential election despite the US intelligence community concluding otherwise.

During his joint news conference with Putin in Helsinki in July, Trump drew an equivalence between Putin’s denials and the work of his own intelligence agencies.

“My people came to me, [Director of National Intelligence] Dan Coats came to me and some others they said they think it’s Russia,” Trump said. “I have President Putin, he just said it’s not Russia. I will say this. I don’t see any reason why it would be.”

Trump’s antipathy to the intelligence community dates back at least to early 2017, when top intelligence officials went public with their conclusion that Russia meddled in the presidential election on Trump’s behalf. The then-president-elect responded to that development by comparing the intelligence community’s tactics to those used by “Nazi Germany.”

Trump Shows His Ignorance And Stupidity In Fox News Interview About North Korea

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF VOX NEWS)

 

Trump made some very scary statements about North Korea in his Fox News interview

It looks like he actually considered war at one point.

President Donald Trump answers questions during his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on June 12, 2018, in Singapore.
 Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Donald Trump just basically admitted that the US was very close to going to war with North Korea last year, and that he doesn’t believe clear intelligence showing Pyongyang is improving its missile program.

He made those comments publicly during his Sunday interview with Fox News’s Chris Wallace — but you likely didn’t hear about it.

Much of the coverage of the interview has centered on Trump’s disparaging comments about a former top Navy SEAL; his defense of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman despite mounting evidence that the royal knew about journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder; and his decision to not attend a Veterans Day ceremony at Arlington Cemetery because he was “extremely busy.”

All of this overshadowed Trump’s North Korea remarks toward the end of the discussion, but they shouldn’t be missed. His statements show how seriously the president considered Pyongyang a threat last year, but also how incredulous he is of pictures — actual pictures — showing the country’s weapons program is getting better.

Trump also left the door open, however slightly, to considering a fight with Pyongyang again despite his repeated expressions of deep skepticism toward war.

Let’s take each comment in turn.

It seems like war with North Korea was seriously on the table

When Wallace asked Trump about the biggest decision he’s had to make as president, he referred to his discussion on North Korea because “we were very close.”

After mentioning his North Korea chat with former President Barack Obama during the transition, the president said, “I think we had a real decision as to which way to go on North Korea. And certainly, at least so far, I’m very happy with the way we went. I have a very good relationship with Kim.”

President Donald Trump sits next to former National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster — who advocated for military options to strike North Korea — on July 18, 2017.
President Donald Trump sits next to former National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster — who advocated for military options to strike North Korea — on July 18, 2017.
 Alex Wong/Getty Images

Trump didn’t say the word “war” in that part, but he didn’t have to. When he says “we were very close,” it’s fairly clear he’s referencing attacking the country to punish it over improving its nuclear arsenal, and he’s made references to how close the US and North Korea came to blows before.

That was seriously considered: Former National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster advocated for military options within the White House, including a limited attack to deter Pyongyang from building more nuclear bombs. But instead, the Trump administration chose another way — the current diplomatic push between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un — in part because Kim wants to reduce US-imposed economic pressure on his country.

It’s good news that both Washington and Pyongyang are currently talking instead of making imminent war plans, as a US-North Korea war could turn into a nuclear conflict that leaves millions of people dead.

But while it’s comforting to know war is off the table for now, it’s not comforting to know that Trump had to think hard about that option. And should diplomacy with North Korea not go as planned, it’s possible Trump will be faced with the same choice.

And here’s the bad news: Diplomacy with North Korea isn’t going well.

Trump doesn’t believe North Korea is improving its weapons programs. It is.

Since Trump’s historic June summit with Kim in Singapore, the two have worked to lower tensions. Kim, essentially, wants the US to stop militarily supporting South Korea and threatening the North, while Trump wants Kim to dismantle his nuclear arsenal.

The problem is, North Korea is only improving its weapons capabilities, not tearing them down. For example, a report last week from the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank, included satellite images showing North Korea had enhanced its ability to launch missiles from a base near South Korea’s border and capital. That comes after credible reports detailing how Pyongyang is continuing to make nuclear weapons, too.

People watch a television broadcast, reporting North Korea’s test-launch of its new missile, at the Seoul Railway Station on November 29, 2017 in South Korea.
People watch a television broadcast, reporting North Korea’s test-launch of its new missile, at the Seoul Railway Station on November 29, 2017, in South Korea.
 Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

Wallace brought up the issue during the interview on Sunday, noting “there’s talk that [North Koreans are] putting up new sites.” Trump quickly deflected.

“Maybe they are. Maybe they’re not. I don’t believe that. I don’t. And, you know, could. And which is — if it — if that’s the way it goes, that’s the way it goes. You know, I go with the way we have to go,” the president said.

So Trump doesn’t currently agree with the available intelligence that North Korea is gaining strength while it engages in talks with the US. And while it’s unclear how he feels about secret intelligence he’s privy to, it’s possible he’d come to the same conclusion.

It’s “the policy of denuclearization by denial and delusion,” Vipin Narang, a nuclear expert at MIT, told me. “Hear no evil, see no evil.”

There is, however, some logic behind Trump’s decision to make that statement.

If he admits North Korea deceived him, it would make him look weak in the midst of negotiations and he would have to start curtailing the diplomatic initiative. If that were the case, it’s chilling to think about what Trump — who has expressed deep reservations about war before — means when he says, “I go with the way we have to go.”

Are The People Of The U.S. Habitual Liars?

Are The People Of The U.S. Habitual Liars?

 

How do you feel about being lied to? How about when your child or even one of your parents lie to you face to face? Have you ever had your spouse look at you from a foot or two away, look at you eye to eye, at lie to you? I could have asked if you have ever been lied to before but I believe that this question would be unnecessary, we all have, many times throughout or lives. I was born in 1956 in the mountains of the southeast United States, back then people were much more trustworthy and trusting than most people are today. Back in the 60’s people would go to town and leave their outside doors standing open. People would leave their keys in their car ignition and women would leave their purses sitting in the front seat of their car. People would even go to bed at night and leave their outside doors unlocked or even standing open. I left my parents home in 1973 and I never once had a house key, my parents both worked and they would leave the doors unlocked and go to work for the day. You may ask, what has trust got to do with lying? Think about that question for a moment? The vast extreme amount of the time a liar is a thief and a thief is a liar, if nothing else they will lie about the things they have stolen. Either way it makes for a very low quality human being.

 

I remember the days where a person’s word meant everything because if a person’s was considered to be worthless, the person was considered to be worthless. I know that there is not much to me as far as this world of today would consider as being valuable. I am just a broken down old man and I have few worldly possessions that would be valued highly by a bank. Yet one thing I have been trying to hold fast to is my word, I have made it a point to be fully honest on everything I write or speak. I used to be that (at least in small towns) if you went to a store and wanted to buy a new washer and dryer but didn’t have all the money to pay for it at the time, you paid as much down as you could, you shook the hand of the store manager/owner telling them what terms you could afford to pay them back and you would be given the item to take home. But your word had to mean something, your family name had to mean something in the town.

 

How do you feel when you call a person or a company on the phone, or in person, and you are telling them the total and complete truth yet it is obvious that they do not believe you? How does that make you feel? Have you dealt with them before and lied? No, could it be that these people are very used to be lied to all day long everyday? Trust, trust in the word of people has become worthless. When your dealing with a lawyer, even your own lawyer do you notice how they don’t really listen to you because they just figure that you are lying to them? Could it be because they are habitual liars themselves? After all, aren’t Lawyers by trade habitual liars, just like Politicians and used car dealers, or the VA? People who are around me know this one thing, I will not ever lie to them nor try to miss lead them. Like I said earlier, if my word or your word is not honest and true, I or you are of little true value. Donald Trump proves one point in my argument. A person can be worth billions of dollars and even be the President of a Country but if you can not believe the words that come out of their mouth they are of no more worth than a pig with rabies rolling around in a pile of puke. I would rather be poor and have my word trusted by those who deal with me than to be someone like Mr. Trump. But, that is just me, how do you feel on this issue?

Retired 3 Star General Calls Trump’s Comments “Jackassery”

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NEWSWEEK)

(THE COWARD DON-KEY TRUMP SHOWING HIS MILITARY IGNORANCE ONCE AGAIN)

The war of words continues between President Donald Trump and former military top brass who are themselves no strangers to conflict.

In his latest broadside, Donald Trump derided retired Admiral William McRaven as a “Hillary Clinton fan” who should have been quicker to capture Osama bin Laden.

McRaven, a retired Navy SEAL, oversaw the 2011 operation that killed bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan. But this did not impress Trump, who told Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday: “It would have been nicer to get Osama bin Laden a lot sooner.”

GettyImages-78565284Maj. Gen. Mark P. Hertling pictured in December 2007 during a press conference about al-Qaeda at the heavily fortified Green Zone area in Baghdad, Iraq. He has accused Donald Trump of ‘jackassery’ over the president’s criticism of his ex-colleague William McRaven. WATHIQ KHUZAIE /GETTY IMAGES

Major General Mark Hertling, a retired three-star general who served with McRaven, defended his former colleague and told CNN that the president’s comments were “disrespectful.”

He said: “We can never become immune to this kind of narrative, to this kind of ‘jackassery’.

“I don’t need to defend Bill McCraven. He’s a good friend of mine, he’s a true patriot, a hero, we both have served during the same period of time and under multiple presidents from both parties.

“We serve in the military the Constitution of the United States. We don’t serve an individual, that’s what makes our military different from all the other militaries in the world. So this comment by the president was disrespectful, it was demoralizing, it was shallow, and it was unprofessional,” he told CNN presenter Ana Cabrera on Sunday.

Hertling’s comments were then backed in the same discussion by David Gergen, the former presidential adviser to Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton.

“It shows a certain amount of ignorance over how hard it was to catch bin Laden,” said Gergen, referring to Trump’s comments. “That was a wonderful moment in American history.”

“To go after the man who was right there central to that moment seems to me particularly unseemly, especially from a president who in France didn’t go to that cemetery because he said the Secret Service wouldn’t let him. Well, every other head of state went,” he said, referring to Trump’s no-show during a World War I armistice commemoration at a cemetery where thousands of Americans were buried.

In August, McRaven wrote in The Washington Post that Trump had “embarrassed us in the eyes of our children, humiliated us on the world stage and, worst of all, divided us as a nation.”

McRaven said in a speech at the University of Texas that Trump’s criticism of the media was the “the greatest threat to democracy” in his lifetime.

When asked if it was “out of line” for such a distinguished military man as McRaven to criticize the commander-in-chief, Hertling told CNN: “I agree with everything Bill McCraven said. I go back to the fact that the military pledges allegiance to the constitution of the United States.

“When the president call the press the ‘fake news’, when he disparages our allies, when he does things that counter our security, someone needs to speak up and Bill McCraven certainly has the platform to do that.”

This story has been updated to include a further quote from Major General Mark Hertling.

Trump says ‘good time’ for a government shutdown if no money for border wall

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Trump says ‘good time’ for a government shutdown if no money for border wall

Washington (CNN) President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House Saturday that this would be a “good time” for a government shutdown if he doesn’t get funding from Congress for his border wall.

“I think probably, if I was ever going to do a shutdown over border security, when you look at the caravans, when you look at the mess, when you look at the people coming in, this would be a very good time to do a shutdown,” Trump said.
Trump added, however, that he didn’t think a shutdown would “be necessary, because I think the Democrats will come to their senses.”
Congress averted a government shutdown in September by passing a massive spending bill to fund a large portion of the government. The package did not, however, include money for Trump’s border wall, and Congress passed a shorter-term spending bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security, among other agencies, until December 7.
With the midterm elections now over, Congress is anticipating returning to a battle over funding for Trump’s promised border wall before the December deadline. Since most of the government is funded, Congress will be trying to avoid a partial shutdown.
Last month, House Speaker Paul Ryan predicted a “big fight” over border security on the horizon, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the GOP is “committed” to working to secure the funding the President wants for his signature campaign pledge.
Congress allocated $1.6 billion for border security in a spending bill enacted in March.
At a White House event in August, Trump said he was looking for about $5 billion for the wall to cover this fiscal year, which some Democrats have already said they would vote against.

Military border mission

Trump also said Saturday that the US military will remain at the US-Mexico border “as long as necessary,” suggesting that the 5,900 troops deployed to the border could stay there past December 15, the scheduled end of the mission.
The President also touted the “tremendous military force” assigned to the border mission in Texas, Arizona and California, lauding the troops for building “great fences.”
“They built great fences. They built a very powerful fence, a different kind of a fence, but very powerful. The fence is fully manned,” he said.
On Tuesday, CNN reported that the troops are expected to finish their assigned task of reinforcing border crossing points, largely with barbed wire, in the coming days. After that, it’s unclear what additional orders they will be given other than putting up more wire, two defense officials told CNN.
Trump ordered the troops to the border to deter a caravan of migrants making its way through Mexico from seeking asylum in the US. Trump has called the caravan a threat and has alleged that gang leaders and criminals are among the migrants.
A senior administration official told CNN that the use of troops at the border is “a paper tiger.”
“A total joke,” the official said. “Of limited operational utility, and a waste of our troops’ time. (Defense Secretary James) Mattis knows it. (Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen) Nielsen knows it. (White House Chief of staff John Kelly)knows it. But that battle was lost with the President. He was hell-bent on troops.”
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