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Live Blog

Here is your live blog for the day.

I disagree that President Trump taking Kim Jong Un at his word on Otto Warmbier is unpresidential "boosterism." What's more,  I'm not sure why it's considered stupid to refrain from accusing the NORK leader of murder on the world stage while in the midst of negotiations for unilateral nuclear disarmament.

And here's a thought no one seems to have considered: Maybe, just maybe, Kim Jong Un didn't know that Warmbier was tortured in prison.

There is a lot of mystery surrounding the death of Otto Warmbier. And a long investigative piece on Otto's death in Post Magazine last October does not support claims that the 22-year-old was beaten to death.

According to Michael Flueckiger, the director of the medical team that helped rescue Warmbier: “The staff at Friendship Hospital said they received Otto the morning after the trial, and that when he came in he was unresponsive.” He said, “They had to resuscitate him, then give him oxygen and put him on a ventilator, or he would die.”

Joseph Yun, the negotiator who helped free Otto, said:  “The doctors were clear that he had been brought to the hospital within a day of his trial, and that he had been in that same room until I saw him.”

That means -- whatever happened to him -- it happened very quickly. And despite what most people think, there's actually no evidence that he was beaten to death.

But the Trump administration allowed the narrative that he was tortured to death to spread:

For all the unknowns, one certainty is that the Trump administration allowed the narrative that Otto had been repeatedly beaten to spread, long after it was clear those intelligence reports were almost certainly wrong. That the reports suggested that Otto had been beaten repeatedly when there was not time for that showed they were unreliable. The lack of physical evidence of beatings was widely publicised. The administration was informed of the correct timeline, and it was well known among government officials who worked on the case. And both the senior-level American officials and the congressional staffer confirm that the government never shared with them definitive evidence that Otto had been beaten.

A senior-level American official who reviewed the reports told journalist Doug Bock Clark: “In general, the intel reports were wrong, as the medical examinations have shown. They were apparently not even correct about where Otto was or when he was beaten, for God’s sake. Likely, the reports were just hearsay. Someone heard third or fourth-hand that Otto was sick, and that person decided he was beaten. The North Koreans have never tortured a white guy physically. Never.”

According to Michael Madden, a North Korean analyst who tracks its leadership, the minister who was responsible for Warmbier "was demoted and eventually disappeared" and "the guards on whose watch Otto was injured were likely sent to prison."

It seems counterintuitive, I know, but it's possible the president of the United States knows more about this than we do.

 

YOUR PJMEDIA LIVE BLOG OPEN THREAD

You know what to do.

Burgergate. It's a thing.

 

I remember Van Jones having a near meltdown on CNN in 2016 on Election Night... this had to be hard for him say.

But first, please tell us more about your enduring support for Nicolás Maduro.

Look, I understand Trump's statement was just his typical (and not always very presidential) boosterism. And it certainly wasn't quite up there (down there?) with Madeline Albright's NorKo Happy Dance. But it was still a stupid thing to say.

FLASHBACK:

U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright dances along with a North Korean school children at a kindergarten in Pyongyang Monday October 23, 2000. Albright visited the school to talk about World Food Program's food aid to to North Korea and to donate school supplies. Albright, who arrived in Pyongyang Monday for her two-day visit, is the highest level U.S. official to visit North Korea in 50 years and paves the way for a possible trip by American President Bill Clinton later in the year.(AP Photo/Chien-min Chung)

EXCLUSIVE: Gambino mob heir predicts Michael Cohen will get WHACKED in prison because 'inmates love Trump and hate rats.'

Is it true? Who knows. But it's certainly provocative.

An heir to the Gambino crime family has issued a stark warning to Michael Cohen, predicting that President Donald Trump's former personal attorney may face retaliation behind bars over his Congressional testimony.

'A message for Michael Cohen: He better keep his mouth shut,' Giovanni Gambino told DailyMail.com on Wednesday morning, blasting Trump's former fixer shortly before he publicly testified.

Giovanni, the 43-year-old son of late Sicilian mob boss Francesco 'Ciccio' Gambino and cousin to infamous crime boss Carlo Gambino, speculated that Cohen's withering testimony could have harsh consequences.

'Inmates love Trump, and hate rats. If he wants to get out alive, he better keep his mouth shut about Trump,' Giovanni said.

Cohen is due to report to federal prison in May. He has been sentenced to serve three years after pleading guilty to campaign finance violations, tax fraud, bank fraud and lying to Congress.

Cohen is not, to put it mildly, a good guy. But he was sentenced to three years, and should be allowed to do his time -- and that's it.

Shot:

Chaser:

The virtue signalers have a lot of nerve attacking Trump over Otto Warmbier. He's the president who brought him home a few months into his administration after the Obama administration dithered for a full year.

When Trump learned that Otto was in a hospital in an unconscious condition, he insisted that his newly appointed U.S. special representative for North Korea policy, Joseph Yun, rush to Pyongyang and bring him home immediately.

The North Koreans were unilaterally informed that an American plane would soon land in Pyongyang and that US diplomats and doctors would disembark. According to a State Department official involved in the case, but not authorised to speak on the record, the president was very invested in bringing Otto home: “Listening to him deliberate on this, he sounded to me a lot more like a dad.” But “we were very scared”, for though the North Koreans eventually said the plane would be able to land, no one knew what kind of welcome the Americans would receive on the ground.

Trump knows better than anyone what happened to Otto Warmbier. Now he's trying to prevent future horrors from happening. If that means he gives the North Korean dictator the benefit of doubt in the midst of sensitive negotiations, I think most people are okay with that.

Maybe the media would be more impressed if he'd sent him pallets full of cash.

CNBC poo-poos 2.9 percent GDP growth in 2018 because it's not the 3.0 percent (or higher) GDP growth Trump promised.

What the article doesn't tell you is that Trump is outperforming his predecessor.

Over the course of eight years, Barack Obama never got higher than 2.9 percent, and he only got that (once) and his average annual GDP over his two terms was 2.23 percent — compared to Trump's average for two years of 2.55 percent. What was Obama's average GDP growth for his first two years? I'm glad you asked -- it was .05 percent.

James O'Keefe is at it again.