Good Thursday morning.
Here is what's on President Trump's agenda today:
- The president departs Vietnam to return to Washington, D.C.
Trump leaves North Korea negotiations early, no deal
President Trump and Kim Jong Un were unable to reach an agreement and the president has left Vietnam early. The media and pundit class were concerned that Trump would lower our standards for denuclearizing and make a deal because he's a big dummy who wants to yap about his negotiation skills. Not so much.
"Sometimes you have to walk," Trump told reporters after two days of meeting with Kim, but he said he hoped that U.S. and North Korean negotiators would keep talking.
Trump said he was not willing to accept Kim's demand that the United States end all economic sanctions on North Korea before it committed to a specific denuclearization plan.
"It was about the sanctions," he said. "We couldn't give up all the sanctions"
Despite the impasse, Trump continued to praise Kim, calling him "quite a guy and quite a character," and saying that there still was a lot of "warmth" in his relationship with a man many regard as a brutal dictator.
Good for Trump. Two issues still on the table after the summit are formally ending the Korean War and establishing a liaison's office in each other's capital cities. Trump left with those matters unresolved.
The Cohen circus
I watched most of this clown show. What a travesty, especially holding the Trump-hostile Oversight hearing with prison-bound liar Michael Cohen while the president was overseas negotiating with North Korea. If there was any doubt that the Democrats do not care about America, it should have been lifted after yesterday. Whether or not you "like" the president, he still represents America and he was overseas trying to negotiate with a hostile regime. Shame on the Democrats for this.
There weren't any bombshells. Cohen is a known liar who is going to jail, partly for lying. The real purpose of this hearing was to get some morsels out of Cohen that would provide cover for the Democrats to call out more people like the Trump kids and to create more spectacles before the committee. This "investigation" began as a look at the RUSSIANS' influence on the election but it was always an investigation into Trump and the Trump orbit to find some crimes. It is fundamentally un-American to do that, at least it used to be. "Show me the man and I'll show you the crime."
Cohen produced a check and claimed it was reimbursement for paying off a hooker, but we don't know if that is true since Cohen is a liar. Even so, it's not illegal to pay a blackmailer. And, by the way, why isn't the blackmailer in legal trouble? Blackmail is illegal.
Cohen said Trump is a racist and told some stories about his racism, but in order to believe them, we'd have to believe someone who is a liar.
Cohen said that Roger Stone called Trump to tell him he had just talked to Julian Assange and that WikiLeaks was going to dump damaging info on Hillary. We already know that Stone never spoke to Assange, that Stone is a well-known exaggerator, and that WikiLeaks hyped up that they were going to drop some political bombs in advance of doing so. If Trump was "colluding" with RUSSIA, why would Stone need to call and tell him about the WikiLeaks drop? Wouldn't he have already known from his RUSSIAN cohorts?
Cohen says that Don Jr. slithered into Trump's office at some point in June 2016 to tell his father that "a meeting had been set up," which Cohen interpreted to refer to the RUSSIAN Trump Tower honey pot operation that included dossier creators and Fusion GPS's RUSSIAN clients. Are we supposed to believe the only meeting Don Jr. would tell his father about was the infamous Trump Tower meeting? Please.
My takeaway from this is "get used to it" because this is the new normal for the next two years. And if you voted for a Democrat as your representative in 2016, know that they won't be busy working on the issues important to you, they will busy exacting revenge on Trump for wining the presidency.
Never forget that Cohen's lawyer is Clinton pal Lanny Davis, who orchestrated this entire spectacle. Cohen returns to testify again today, but this time it is behind closed doors.
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Of course it "resurfaces" Clip of Meadows saying send Obama back to 'Kenya or wherever' resurfaces after clash with Tlaib
Any black woman not in step with the Democrat agenda is a prop, yes? Rashida Tlaib berates Mark Meadows for using black woman as ‘a prop’ at hearing
India and Pakistan are having a really big fight right now
Trouble is a-brewin' The media is too busy covering the freakazoids on the House Oversight Committee and chasing Trump around the globe to try and embarrass him as he tries to negotiate a deal with the NorKs.
India and Pakistan exchanged gunfire through the night into Thursday morning in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, a day after Islamabad said it shot down two Indian warplanes and captured a pilot.
And it is serious.
World powers have called on the nations to de-escalate the tensions gripping the contested region since a Feb. 14 suicide car bombing killed over 40 Indian paramilitary personnel. India responded with an airstrike Tuesday inside Pakistan, the first such raid since the two nations’ 1971 war over territory that later became Bangladesh.
The situation escalated with Wednesday’s aerial skirmish, which saw Pakistan say it shot down two Indian aircraft, one of which crashed in Pakistan-held part of Kashmir and the other in India-controlled Kashmir.
Historical picture of the day:
What a fighter she is! Selma Blair talks about MS diagnosis
And that's all I've got, now go beat back the angry mob!
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.