News & Politics

The Morning Briefing: Trump Meets Kim Jong-Un, Larry Kudlow, and Much, Much More

President Donald Trump walks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Sentosa Island, Tuesday, June 12, 2018, in Singapore. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Good Tuesday morning!

Trump makes history.

For the very first time, a United States President and a North Korean dictator met face to face. There’s video.

Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un shook hands and stood together in front of a wall of American and North Korean flags.

NPR News Asia correspondent Elise Hu reported early remarks. “We will have a terrific relationship, no doubt,” Trump declared. Kim replied, “Past practices and prejudices were obstacles on our way forward, but we overcame all of them and are here today.”

There are reasons to be hopeful and reasons to be skeptical.

On the one hand, Kim Jong-un is a murderous dictator who essentially masquerades as a god to his people. He reportedly runs slave labor camps where deserters are beaten and worked to death. Some women who have temporarily escaped to China were snatched up and impregnated by Chinese men, only to be sent back and beaten in the stomach to ensure a miscarriage.

On the other hand, this summit represents Trump achieving the unthinkable. As recently as early this year, liberals predicted that the president’s aggressive tweets toward Kim would spark World War III. Instead, the two leaders are standing face-to-face for a summit in Singapore. Take that, Overton Window!

Larry Kudlow’s heart attack.

In other White House news, economic advisor Larry Kudlow had a heart attack Monday night and was rushed to Walter Reed Medical Center. President Trump himself broke the news on Twitter.

“Our Great Larry Kudlow, who has been working so hard on trade and the economy, has just suffered a heart attack,” the president tweeted. “He is now in Walter Reed Medical Center.”

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders later reported that Kudlow’s doctors described the incident as a “very mild heart attack.” The advisor “is currently in good condition … and his doctors expect he will make a full and speedy recovery,” Sanders added.

Kudlow made headlines on Sunday when he defended President Trump’s decision to pull out of the G7 communique after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced retaliatory tariffs in response to U.S. tariffs on steel. Trump cited Canada’s longstanding tariffs on dairy, arguing that the U.S. was merely ensuring fair trade. Kudlow declared that Trudeau “really kind of stabbed us in the back,” as Trudeau’s announcement came while Trump was flying to the summit with Kim Jong-un.

Kudlow served as an economic adviser to former President Ronald Reagan and condemned Trump’s tariffs when he was a CNBC contributor before working with the White House.

We pray he makes a speedy recovery.

Senators undermine Trump deal with Chinese company.

Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) announced Monday that the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) would include a provision keeping in place the U.S. Commerce Department’s penalties on Chinese company ZTE for violating U.S. sanctions against Iran and North Korea.

Last week, the Trump administration announced that it had reached a deal to lift penalties against ZTE in exchange for the company paying a $1 billion fine and embedding a U.S.-selected compliance team in the firm, The Hill reported.

In addition to reinstating the Commerce Department penalties on ZTE, the Schumer-Van Hollen-Cotton-Rubio amendment would also ban government agencies from buying or leasing telecommunications equipment and services from Chinese telecom firms Huawei and ZTE, and ban the government from providing loans to or subsidizing either company.

“Pleased the amendment I introduced with [Chris Van Hollen] & [Chuck Schumer] is included in the NDAA,” Tom Cotton tweeted. “The threat Huawei & ZTE pose to our national security is too great to ignore. This amendment will help keep Americans’ private info out of the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.”

Schumer, the Senate minority leader, directly emphasized the amendment as a rebuke to Trump. “By including this provision to undo the ZTE deal in the defense bill, the Senate is saying loudly and in a bipartisan fashion that [Donald Trump] is dead wrong to back off on ZTE,” Schumer tweeted.

It is rather ironic to see the Senate pushing back against Trump for refusing to be tough enough on a Chinese company. The president’s diplomatic efforts with ZTE may have been too effective for his own good.

Photo of the Day.

On June 12, 1931, “Scarface” Al Capone was indicted on 5,000 counts of prohibition and perjury. While prohibition is a black mark on America’s record, Capone’s capture and bust is still very worth celebrating.

Al Capone, Chicago branch of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Other morsels.

Judicial Watch: Federal Court Orders DOJ to Provide More Details on Search for Obama-Era Communications with John Podesta and Clinton Campaign

6 Big Questions About What Comes After the Trump-Kim Meeting

Why America’s Incivility Is A National Security Threat

These Are the 2020 Democrats Who’ve Already Met with Obama

DCCC Donor Partnered With Foreign Fund Accused of Embezzling Billions

Kerry: I Would Caution Democrats Against Impeaching President Trump

UK Police Shut Down Popular Gun Channel on YouTube, Branding it a ‘Forum of Extremism’

From Tolerance to Celebration: How Corporations Impose Sexual Orthodoxy

I Went to DC’s Gay Pride Parade. Here Are 9 Things I Saw.

Bill Clinton: Norms of ‘What You Can Do to Someone Against Their Will’ Have Changed

How Trump Made Diplomacy Great Again

‘The Past Worked as Fetters on Our Limbs,’ Kim Declares as He Meets Trump

Canada Isn’t the Enemy

De Blasio’s Plan to Destroy New York’s Best Schools