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Monday, July 15, 2018 was not the first time President Trump had a meeting with President Putin.

They had met at the G20 in 2017:

Also:

The Left and the GOPe in hysterics over Helsinki 2018. Hmm!

Anyway, before going into the Trump-Putin summit, this is what happened beforehand.

The president, first lady and their entourage arrived in Helsinki, Finland, on Sunday, July 15:

Many locals lined the motorcade route:

Jack Posobiec of OAN was also in town to cover the event:

This was the president’s schedule for Monday, July 16:

President Trump renewed his friendship with President Sauli Niinistö, whom he had hosted at the White House on August 28, 2017 (fashion notes here):

There American and Finnish officials had a working breakfast (another video here):

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was an important part of the delegation and was grateful to Finnish officials for their hard work in setting up not only the breakfast meeting but also arrangements for meetings with the Russians. Pompeo met with Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov.

While the presidential motorcade was on its way to the Hilton Helsinki, Putin’s plane was landing. Putin went straight to the Presidential Palace for his meeting with Trump.

Trump’s and Pompeo’s staff met up. Pompeo visited the US embassy.

The Finnish president and first lady escorted their American counterparts into the Presidential Palace, in the eastern part of the city:

The Trumps greeted Putin:

This is where they met:

The Russians and Americans shared a working lunch:

When their meeting ended, the two presidents held a joint press conference (OAN videos here and here), after a member of the press corps had to be escorted out by the Secret Service for holding up a written message about a nuclear weapons ban (videos here and here):

Then, Putin lobbed a few zingers, such as this one:

And this one:

Putin also gave a World Cup football to Trump, which worried Senator Lindsay Graham (R-South Carolina):

Trump said he would give the ball to his 12-year-old son Barron.

Ultimately:

Fox News posted press conference highlights, and the White House has a full transcript, excerpted below, emphases mine:

PRESIDENT PUTIN: (As interpreted.) Distinguished Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen: Negotiations with the President of the United States Donald Trump took place in a frank and businesslike atmosphere. I think we can call it a success and a very fruitful round of negotiations.

We carefully analyzed the current status — the present and the future of the Russia-United States relationship; key issues of the global agenda. It’s quite clear to everyone that the bilateral relationship are going through a complicated stage, and yet those impediments — the current tension, the tense atmosphere — essentially have no solid reason behind it.

The Cold War is a thing of past. The era of acute ideological confrontation of the two countries is a thing of the remote past, is a vestige of the past. The situation in the world changed dramatically …

We’re glad that the Korean Peninsula issue is starting to resolve. To a great extent, it was possible thanks to the personal engagement of President Trump, who opted for dialogue instead of confrontation …

Once again, President Trump mentioned the issue of the so-called interference of Russia when the American elections, and I had to reiterate things I said several times, including during our personal contacts, that the Russian state has never interfered and is not going to interfere into internal American affairs, including the election process

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you. Thank you very much.

Thank you. I have just concluded a meeting with President Putin on a wide range of critical issues for both of our countries. We had direct, open, deeply productive dialogue. It went very well.

Before I begin, I want to thank President Niinistö of Finland for graciously hosting today’s summit. President Putin and I were saying how lovely it was and what a great job they did.

I also want to congratulate Russia and President Putin for having done such an excellent job in hosting the World Cup. It was really one of the best ever and your team also did very well. It was a great job …

But our relationship has never been worse than it is now. However, that changed as of about four hours ago. I really believe that. Nothing would be easier politically than to refuse to meet, to refuse to engage. But that would not accomplish anything. As President, I cannot make decisions on foreign policy in a futile effort to appease partisan critics or the media, or Democrats who want to do nothing but resist and obstruct

During today’s meeting, I addressed directly with President Putin the issue of Russian interference in our elections. I felt this was a message best delivered in person. We spent a great deal of time talking about it, and President Putin may very well want to address it, and very strongly — because he feels very strongly about it, and he has an interesting idea.

We also discussed one of the most critical challenges facing humanity: nuclear proliferation. I provided an update on my meeting last month with Chairman Kim on the denuclearization of North Korea. And after today, I am very sure that President Putin and Russia want very much to end that problem. They’re going to work with us, and I appreciate that commitment …

Q Thank you. Mr. President, you tweeted this morning that it’s U.S. foolishness, stupidity, and the Mueller probe that is responsible for the decline in U.S. relations with Russia. Do you hold Russia at all accountable for anything in particular? And if so, what would you consider them — that they are responsible for?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yes, I do. I hold both countries responsible. I think that the United States has been foolish. I think we’ve all been foolish. We should have had this dialogue a long time ago — a long time, frankly, before I got to office. And I think we’re all to blame …

But I do feel that we have both made some mistakes. I think that the probe is a disaster for our country. I think it’s kept us apart. It’s kept us separated. There was no collusion at all. Everybody knows it. People are being brought out to the fore.

So far, that I know, virtually none of it related to the campaign. And they’re going to have try really hard to find somebody that did relate to the campaign. That was a clean campaign. I beat Hillary Clinton easily. And frankly, we beat her — and I’m not even saying from the standpoint — we won that race. And it’s a shame that there can even be a little bit of a cloud over it.

People know that. People understand it. But the main thing, and we discussed this also, is zero collusion. And it has had a negative impact upon the relationship of the two largest nuclear powers in the world. We have 90 percent of nuclear power between the two countries. It’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous what’s going on with the probe …

PRESIDENT PUTIN: (As interpreted) …

We heard the accusations about the Concord country [sic]. Well, as far as I know, this company hired American lawyers. And the accusations doesn’t — doesn’t have a fighting chance in the American courts. So there’s no evidence when it comes to the actual facts. So we have to be guided by facts and not by rumors.

Now, let’s get back to the issue of these 12 alleged intelligence officers of Russia. I don’t know the full extent of the situation, but President Trump mentioned this issue, and I will look into it

Moreover, we can meet you halfway; we can make another step. We can actually permit official representatives of the United States, including the members of this very commission headed by Mr. Mueller — we can let them into the country and they will be present at this questioning

For instance, we can bring up Mr. Browder in this particular case. Business associates of Mr. Browder have earned over $1.5 billion in Russia. They never paid any taxes, neither in Russia nor in the United States, and yet the money escaped the country. They were transferred to the United States. They sent a huge amount of money — $400 million — as a contribution to the campaign of Hillary Clinton. Well, that’s their personal case. It might have been legal, the contribution itself, but the way the money was earned was illegal

PRESIDENT PUTIN: (As interpreted.) I’d like to add something to this. After all, I was an intelligence officer myself, and I do know how dossiers are made up. Just a second. That’s the first thing.

Now, the second thing: I believe that Russia is a democratic state, and I hope you’re not denying this right to your own country. You’re not denying that United States is a democracy. Do you believe the United States is a democracy? And if so, if it is a democratic state, then the final conclusion in this kind of dispute an only be delivered by a trial by the court, not by the executive — by the law enforcement.

For instance, the Concord company that was brought up is being accused — it’s been accused of interference. But this company does not constitute the Russian State. It does not represent the Russian State. And I brought several examples before.

Well, you have a lot of individuals in the United States — take George Soros, for instance — with multibillion capitals, but it doesn’t make him — his position, his posture — the posture of the United States? No, it does not. Well, it’s the same case. There is the issue of trying a case in the court, and the final say is for the court to deliver.

We’re now talking about the private — the individuals, and not about particular states. And as far as the most recent allegation is concerned about the Russian intelligence officers, we do have an intergovernmental treaty. Please, do send us the request. We will analyze it properly and we’ll send a formal response

Of course, all of this blew up that day and the rest of the week. More on that to follow.

Trump tweeted his thanks to the Finnish president:

And to the people of Helsinki:

That evening, the president and first lady arrived in Washington (another video here):

More on Helsinki 2018 to follow.

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Yesterday’s post covered the Inter-Korean Summit, which took place on April 27, 2018 and resulted in the Panmunjom Declaration between the two nations (great photos here and here).

Today’s looks at the Singapore Summit between the US and North Korea, which took place on Monday, June 12, 2018 at the Capella Hotel, Sentosa Island.

President Trump understands the complexity of negotiations with North Korea, because China controls that country. Graphic below courtesy of The Conservative Treehouse (CTH):

Consider the magnitude of the events of this year, so far. This was Dilbert’s Scott Adams’s take early in April:

After the Inter-Korean Summit, Trump was careful to remember China’s Xi:

After six decades, the Korean War is finally ending. Trump was a little boy when the last shot was fired. Even CNN acknowledged that he’s been instrumental in making it happen, although he humbly tweeted (emphases mine):

KOREAN WAR TO END! The United States, and all of its GREAT people, should be very proud of what is now taking place in Korea!

This was the scene in South Korea after the two Korean leaders met:

Trump spoke with South Korea’s Moon and Japan’s Abe with a view to US talks with North Korea.

Although military-industrial sector stocks dipped, on Monday, April 30, President Moon said that Trump should win the Nobel Peace Prize. From Reuters:

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said U.S. President Donald Trump deserves a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to end the standoff with North Korea over its nuclear weapons program, a South Korean official said on Monday.

“President Trump should win the Nobel Peace Prize. What we need is only peace,” Moon told a meeting of senior secretaries, according to a presidential Blue House official who briefed media.

Conservative commentator Charles Payne took a Twitter poll: 83% agreed with Moon.

As a US trade delegation headed to China, Trump toyed with the idea of holding the US-North Korea summit at Peace House, where the Inter-Korean Summit took place.

On May 3, the South Koreans were still thinking about their president’s words on Trump’s deserving the Nobel Peace Prize:

If only Trump were as highly regarded in his own country …

The following day, North Korea switched to South Korea’s time zone in a significant step towards reunification:

Meanwhile, John Bolton met with South Korea’s national security office director Chung Eui-Yong about the Inter-Korean Summit as well as plans for President Moon’s trip to the White House on May 22.

On May 9, Trump held a cabinet meeting:

On May 10, North Korea released three American hostages. They returned to the United States, where President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump were on hand to greet them and Mike Pompeo, who had secured their release.

The next day Pompeo pledged American help to North Korea, under certain conditions:

Pompeo also met with South Korea’s Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha at the White House that day. She was the one who told CNN’s Christine Amanpour that President Trump deserved much credit for the Inter-Korean Summit.

On May 12, news circulated that North Korea would dismantle its nuclear site on May 23, with rumours that only journalists from selected countries could cover the event. Trump tweeted:

On May 15, a North Korean statement put the Singapore Summit into doubt:

This was Trump’s response:

On May 17, CTH offered this analysis:

President Trump met with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the White House today for a bilateral meeting on EU security and trade issues. During the Oval Office press availability both made remarks but president Trump took the opportunity to have an impromptu presser on other current issues …

It was not coincidental the stompy-feet assertions of Kim Jong-un and the DPRK were timed at the exact moment Chinese Vice-Premier Liu arrived in the U.S. for important trade talks. Once again Chairman Xi Jinping is using his proxy province of N-Korea to leverage economic benefits

POTUS Trump knows exactly what Chairman Xi is doing. Xi is leveraging the N-Korea talks for a better trade outcome.

On May 21, a commemorative coin to mark the Singapore Summit appeared:

President Moon arrived at the White House as scheduled, on May 22. CTH offered this analysis:

An important meeting today in the Oval Office between U.S. President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in. Obviously the primary discussion was over the issues of North Korea nuclear program, and the possible denuclearization summit between President Trump and North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un …

After a second meeting with Chinese Chairman Xi Jinping, the voices behind Chairman Kim Jong-un changed their tone in media presentations and and became more hostile toward the goal of a denuclearization summit. This example showcase Beijing exerting control over the DPRK to gain strategic trade and economic benefits.

Trump and Moon held a press conference. Trump answered a question on trade with China:

… President Xi and I have a great relationship, as President Moon can attest. But there is no deal. We will see what happens. We are discussing deals. We’re discussing various deals. We can do a 301. We can do — where we don’t need China, where we can just say, look, this is what we want, this is what we think is fair. That’s always a possibility if a negotiated deal doesn’t work out.

As I said, we lost $500 billion a year for many years. And then it varied from $100 billion to $500 billion. When you’re losing $500 billion a year, you can’t lose in terms of a negotiation. It’s really easy to win. But I want this to be a great deal for the United States, and I want it to be a very good deal for China, too, if that’s possible. It may not be possible

On May 24, Kim Jong-Un cancelled the Singapore Summit.

Trump responded in writing. The last two paragraphs are absolutely brilliant — and personal. The AP said that national security adviser John Bolton dictated the text of the letter:

CTH had this take:

Ultimately the decision to withdraw is an outcome of changes in posture initiated strategically by China and Chairman Xi Jinping. China hoping to leverage a U.S. trade outcome by playing the strings on DPRK Chairman Kim Jong-un.

The timing of the meetings between China and DPRK, mirrors the changes in posture by the DPRK and reflects a transparency. Communist Beijing is engaging with the Trump administration in traditional dragon-mode their zero-sum outlook. In response, President Trump drops the Panda approach and confronts the manipulation directly.

Likely President Trump will immediately increase sanction enforcement and reposition again for a pending naval blockade.

Earlier that day, North Korea blew up its nuclear test site. No inspectors were present, and the White House said that was the reason for Trump’s letter:

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he received no North Korean response to earlier requests about setting up meetings during the summit. From the Daily Mail:

The North Korean government completely ignored the Trump administration’s efforts to nail down details of a planned June 12 nuclear arms summit in Singapore, effectively disappearing in the middle of pre-meeting protocol negotiations.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had met personally in April with Kim Jong-un in Pyongyang, sketching out the contours of the face-to-face that President Donald Trump canceled Thursday morning.

In testimony during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, Pompeo said there was no chance of ‘a successful outcome,’ in some part because Kim’s team was AWOL when it counted.

‘Over the past many days we have endeavored to do what Chairman Kim and I had agreed, [which] was to put teams, preparation teams together, to begin to work to prepare for the summit,’ he told senators. ‘And we had received no response to our inquiries from them.’

By May 25, the talks were on again, with a North Korean statement. CTH reported:

Within minutes of President Trump withdrawing from the June 12th summit, Beijing realized all of their trade leverage was just wiped out. Playing deceptive panda isn’t going to work this time …

This is a battle, a massive economic battle, between U.S. President Trump and Chinese Chairman Xi. Period.

Whenever this geopolitical economic trade confrontation is resolved; that’s when Chairman Xi will instruct Chairman Kim to take the knee. Not a moment before.

Until the U.S. -vs- China economic confrontation is solved, Xi will continue to use the DPRK threat as his principle leverage in the negotiations.

CTHTheLastRefuge — had more on Twitter. From May 25:

Kim’s back in Beijing for next set of instructions. LOOK=>: “A high-ranking North Korean official appears to be visiting Beijing, a source with knowledge of the matter said Thursday, as the country has been bolstering ties with China.”…

Finally, at least one media outlet — Fox News — understood:

By May 26:

On May 27, CTH reported:

President Trump has announced via Twitter the U.S. advance team has arrived in North Korea to position for a possible June 12th summit between President Trump and North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un.

Yesterday South Korean Prime Minister Moon Jae-in and North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un held an impromptu summit/meeting in the DPRK to display their unified smiles.

Trump gave a bit more detail:

We have put a great team together for our talks with North Korea. Meetings are currently taking place concerning Summit, and more. Kim Yong Chol, the Vice Chairman of North Korea, heading now to New York. Solid response to my letter, thank you!

On May 29, Kim Yong Chol flew to Beijing first, then on to New York. Pompeo was his host:

On June 1, Kim Yong Chol went to the White House to meet with President Trump and deliver a large, mysterious envelope:

Kim Yong Chol arrived in North Korea on June 3. Interestingly, North Korea replaced their top three military officials the same day.

On June 5, Trump was looking forward to the Singapore Summit. On June 7, he tweeted that he was looking forward to meeting his ‘good friend’, Japan’s Shinzo Abe, at the G7 to discuss trade and North Korea.

Trump left the G7 early for the Singapore Summit:

Air Force One landed in Crete for refuelling. Meanwhile, Air China provided Kim Jong Un with an Airbus A330 to get him to Singapore. Kim received a cordial welcome when he arrived (motorcade photo here).

China sent best wishes:

Pompeo was already conducting preliminary meetings:

The White House issued a statement saying that discussions were going very well indeed, ‘more quickly than expected’.

North Korea’s state media was also positive:

Here’s the historic handshake between Trump and Kim (a photo here of the room beforehand):

This composite video of the two leaders at the summit marks pivotal, historic moments for both countries and the world:

Trump and Kim met privately. This is what happened on the way:

They also made brief statements:

They took a walk after lunch:

Bilateral meetings also took place:

This is worth noting:

Talks went so well that Trump was able to leave Singapore earlier than expected.

Who would have expected these results only a few months ago?

Kim also pledged to finally return the remains of Americans who died in the Korean War.

Ultimately:

Incidentally, here is a bit more about the large, mysterious letter Kim Yong Chol delivered to the president on June 1. On June 11, just before the Singapore Summit began, the Straits Times reported:

According to South Korean daily Joongang Ilbo, citing a source in Singapore, Mr Kim has invited Mr Trump to North Korea to hold a second summit in July.

The invitation was in a letter written by Mr Kim to Mr Trump and hand delivered by Mr Kim’s right-hand man, General Kim Yong Chol, to the White House on June 1.

While Mr Trump has not revealed what was written in the letter, he seemed happy to get it. He told reporters then it was “a very nice letter” and “a very interesting letter”.

Although Trump flew back to Washington after the Singapore Summit, Pompeo’s work was far from over:

In closing, the impact of the Singapore Summit was not lost on the world.

In India:

In Los Angeles:

Amazingly, in North Korea:

This is a very exciting time for not only North Korea, South Korea, Asia and the United States — but also for the world.

It will be interesting to see how North Korea develops, particularly since the nation is sitting on trillions of dollars of mineral resources.

Post-Summit analysis to follow next week.

The Singapore Summit took place in June 2018.

Before then, the historic Inter-Korean Summit took place on April 27.

How far things progressed over the past six months!

This post covers the events and negotiations that led to the Inter-Korean Summit.

On December 28, 2017, President Trump tweeted his disappointment that China was ‘allowing oil to go into North Korea’.

Who can forget this tweet from the New Year in 2018?

Four days later:

A week later, Trump rightly took the Wall Street Journal to task for misquoting him:

… I said “I’d have a good relationship with Kim Jong Un,” a big difference. Fortunately we now record conversations with reporters…

Then he began consulting with geopolitical veterans, including Henry Kissinger:

On March 5, Reuters reported (emphases mine):

Feeling the pressure of sanctions, North Korea seems “sincere” in its apparent willingness to halt nuclear tests if it held denuclearization talks with the United States, President Donald Trump said on Tuesday as U.S., South Korean and Japanese officials voiced skepticism about any discussions …

Word of possible talks was delivered by a South Korean delegation on its return from a first-ever meeting with North Korean leader Kim in Pyongyang on Monday.

The following day, the AP reported that talks between North and South Korea would be scheduled for April:

Chung Eui-yong, the South Korean official who spoke after participating in talks with Kim in Pyongyang, also said the North Korean dictator had agreed to meet with South Korea’s president at a border village in late April.

North Korea didn’t announce what South Korea on Tuesday described as agreements between the rivals. But the North’s state media earlier reported Kim had “openhearted” talks with South Korean envoys, expressed his willingness to “vigorously advance” North-South relations and made a “satisfactory” agreement on the inter-Korean summit talks.

On March 7, the AP featured a timeline article on progress, including this:

South Korea also said North Korea has agreed to halt tests of nuclear weapons and missiles if it holds talks with the United States on denuclearization.

The Conservative Treehouse (CTH) said that this had been in the works since at least August 2017 — when Charlottesville occurred — and that other countries, particularly China, were involved:

All of this was generally under-reported and took place months before President Trump arrived in Asia last year.  The U.S. media was busy pushing racism and Charlottesville narratives.  More importantly this quiet activity took place while President Trump directed US Trade Rep Robert Lighthizer to begin a section 301 trade investigation (Intellectual Property theft) into China.

President Trump was ramping up the economic pressure on Chinese President Xi Jinping; but more specifically Lighthizer’s action was targeting Beijing’s command and control economy along with the behavior of North Korea.

China -vs- U.S. moves have been taking place in Europe, Russia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Cuba, Venezuela, India, Libya as well as Mexico, Canada and ASEAN nations.  When dragon puts a footprint in Mexico, eagle puts a footprint in Vietnam.   When eagle puts a print in India, dragon puts a print in Pakistan…. this has been going on for well over a year, well beyond the media horizon, and almost no-one’s paying attention.

On March 9, BT.com reported that Trump and Kim were to meet in May:

North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump plan to meet in May for nuclear disarmament talks …

It would have been an unthinkable suggestion just a few months ago, when the insults were at their peak — Mr Trump was a “senile dotard” and Mr Kim was “Little Rocket Man”.

Trump officials had received a briefing in Washington from the South Koreans beforehand.

Even normally critical media pundits acknowledged that Trump’s ‘madman approach’ to North Korea was working.

The South Koreans issued an affirmative statement. The South China Morning Post reported:

South Korea’s national security adviser Chung Eui-yong made the announcement of Kim’s offer in Washington on Thursday (Friday morning Hong Kong time).

Chung said Kim was “committed to denuclearisation” and would refrain from any further nuclear and missile tests.

He said Kim wanted to meet Trump as “soon as possible” and that Trump said “he would meet Kim Jong-un by May to achieve permanent denuclearisation” of the Korean peninsula.

The White House posted Chung Eui-yong’s full statement, including this:

Kim pledged that North Korea will refrain from any further nuclear or missile tests. He understands that the routine joint military exercises between the Republic of Korea and the United States must continue

The Republic of Korea, along with the United States, Japan, and our many partners around the world remain fully and resolutely committed to the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Along with President Trump, we are optimistic about continuing a diplomatic process to test the possibility of a peaceful resolution.

The Republic of Korea, the United States, and our partners stand together in insisting that we not repeat the mistakes of the past, and that the pressure will continue until North Korea matches its words with concrete actions.

A video of his announcement can be found here.

That Sunday, March 11, the news shows were abuzz with analysis of the upcoming US-North Korea talks, including perspectives from John Bolton and Mike Pompeo.

Even the anti-Trump Independent in the UK had praise for the American president:

… during a recent, daily grumble about The Donald, I got thinking; if you look past the ridiculous Twitter pronouncements, and the President’s general veneer – what has he actually done? How bad has the 45th President of the United States actually been for the country?

The answer, it might surprise you, is not that bad at all.

Stock market up, unemployment down. After plateauing for much of 2015 and 2016, numbers of manufacturing jobs have been on the rise since Trump’s inauguration …

On foreign policy, he’s been brash and unpredictable, but successful. He can’t take full credit for the defeat of Isis in their traditional strongholds, but they have been defeated. He can’t take full credit for defusing tensions with North Korea – but under President Trump, Kim Jong-un is becoming more receptive to talks with South Korea, and even sent a team to the Winter Olympics. His “quirky” style of diplomacy has led to, in the past few days, talk on the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula and the closest thing to a peaceful North Korea we’ve seen in years. On Friday it was even announced that Trump will be meeting with Kim Jong-un

On Wednesday, March 14, news emerged that North Korea was involved with Syria. The Washington Free Beacon reported:

Regional reports have begun to surface indicating North Korea has neared completion of the construction of an underground military base located near Qardaha in Syria, the hometown of embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“According to … satellite images and a military source the underground facility has been under construction for seven years, started by the beginning if the Syrian revolution in March 2011,” Zaman Al Wasl, a Syrian news outlet, reported earlier this month. “The high level of secrecy and tight guard in the North Korean base raise speculations whether it’s a nuclear facility or overseas depot for North Korean weapons.”

U.S. officials told the Washington Free Beacon they are monitoring these reports and efforts by North Korea to help Assad rebuild Syria’s chemical weapons factories.

“We are aware of reports regarding possible DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] assistance to Syria to rebuild its chemical weapons capabilities,” a State Department official, speaking on background, told the Free Beacon. “We take these allegations very seriously and we are working assiduously to prevent the Assad regime from obtaining material and equipment to support its chemical weapons program.”

The Trump administration has been engaged in efforts to counter North Korea’s proliferation in Syria, particularly its efforts to supply Assad with chemical weapons.

On Friday, March 23, Legal Insurrection reported that Trump signed the Omnibus Bill with North Korea — and Iran — in mind:

Why the need for government funding for at least 6 months? That could have waited for another short term funding bill, some more muddling through, perhaps even muddling through until the November elections.

What was the rush to sign a bill with increases in authorized military spending NOW?

While Trump ran as someone who wasn’t looking at foreign policy as his reason for election, his presidency and attention increasingly are turning to foreign potential conflicts. In the next couple of months Trump will be dealing with two major potential conflict areas: North Korea and Iran.

As to North Korea, Trump is gearing up for talks with “Little Rocket Man.” As to Iran, Trump is facing fights both with the Europeans and the Iranians as to whether Obama’s Iran Nuclear deal survives. Trump already has made moves to strengthen the U.S. posture. Adding John Bolton as National Security Advisor sends a get-tough signal, a message that Trump will not repeat the appeasement mistakes of Obama-Kerry.

As Trump approaches potential conflict with North Korea and Iran, he could spend the prior months rolling through one “shutdown” after another, one-month spending bills, an inadequate military budget held hostage by Democrats, and the prospect of months more such turmoil at least through the midterm elections.

Alternatively, Trump could approach the North Koreans and Iranians with government funding in place including substantial increases for the military.

Do you think the North Koreans and Iranians care about the domestic spending fights that now occupy media coverage? I doubt it. I do think they care about a Trump focused on rebuilding the military and a U.S. military which has just been given additional resources. Trump wants to be the strong horse, a dramatic change from the Obama administration posture. Add to this increased military aggressiveness by Russia and China.

Elsewhere, speculation returned to a soundbite from the end of 2017 about ‘freeing 25,000,000 slaves worldwide’. Was it about human trafficking or was it about North Korea, as Q commented? (Image below courtesy of Reddit’s Q-oriented GreatAwakening)

On March 28, Trump tweeted:

Press Secretary Sarah Sanders had this to say:

That day, the KORUS trade agreement between the US and South Korea was agreed upon in principle:

On March 29, the AP announced that a highly historic summit between North and South Korea would take place on April 27:

Summit meeting will be only the third time leaders of the divided Koreas have met in the 65 years since the end of the Korean War.

On April 9, WND interviewed Peter Schweitzer, author of Secret Empires: How Our Politicians Hide Corruption and Enrich Their Families and Friends, who said that China was a huge part of the North Korea picture:

“My view has always been that absent China skirting the rules and going fast and loose with commercial ties, North Korea would be on the brink of collapse,” Schweizer told WND in an interview.

“I think that’s the opportunity that Trump has, to go to the Chinese and say: ‘Look, the bottom line is you need to deal with this. You need to cut off trade, you need to cut off commercial ties to help us deal with North Korea. Nobody else is in the position to do it the way that you are.’”

Schweizer said critical sectors such as minerals and energy “are what keeps North Korea bumping along while the people are starving.”

“You take that stuff away and the regime has a massive, economic problem,” he said.

On April 17, just days before the summit between the two Koreas, CNBC reported:

North and South Korea are in talks to announce a permanent end to the officially declared military conflict between the two countries, daily newspaper Munhwa Ilbo reported Tuesday, citing an unnamed South Korean official.

Ahead of a summit next week between North Korean premier Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, lawmakers from the neighboring states were thought to be negotiating the details of a joint statement that could outline an end to the confrontation

Pyongyang and Seoul have technically been at war since the 1950-1953 Korean conflict ended with a truce — and not a peace treaty. Geopolitical tensions have occasionally flared up since the armistice, although to date both countries have managed to avoid another devastating conflict.

CTH’s TheLastRefuge — aka Sundance — pointed out the change in 12 months:

That day, Trump welcomed Japan’s prime minister Abe to Mar a Lago along with a delegation. CTH told us:

The formal bilateral meeting began shortly before 4 p.m. POTUS Trump and PM Abe together with translators and delegations. The U.S. side: Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan, Chief of Staff John Kelly, National Security Adviser John Bolton, US Ambassador to Japan William Hagerty and National Security Council Asia director Matthew Pottinger.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said their one-on-one meeting was productive. On North Korea, “for the first time in the history of the world there will be a summit meeting between the United States and North Korea”, Abe said. Prime Minister Abe said “Trump has applied maximum pressure on the North and credited it for leading to the direct talks.”

Trump described their meeting as ‘great’.

The next day, we found out that Mike Pompeo had already been in North Korea on secret talks:

The White House declined further comment.

On April 19, South Korea’s president Moon Jae-in was optimistic about the upcoming summit. NBC reported:

Moon said big-picture agreements about denuclearization, establishing a peace regime and normalization of relations between the two Koreas and the United States should not be difficult to reach through summits between the North and South, and between the North and the United States.

“I don’t think denuclearization has different meanings for South and North Korea,” Moon said during a lunch with chief executives of Korean media companies. “The North is expressing a will for a complete denuclearization.”

“They have not attached any conditions that the U.S. cannot accept, such as the withdrawal of American troops from South Korea,” he continued. “All they are talking about is the end of hostile policies against North Korea, followed by a guarantee of security.”

On April 21, Yonhap News Agency reported:

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has announced that the country will suspend nuclear and missile tests and shut down a nuclear test site in the northern area, state media said Saturday.

From April 21, North Korea will stop nuclear tests and launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles,” the Korean Central News Agency said.

Trump was delighted.

Even CNN had to acknowledge this was yuge news — ha ha — on Wolf Blitzer’s show no less. Mediaite has a report and video:

CNN’s Will Ripley, one of the few journalists who regularly reports from the repressive Hermit Kingdom, phoned in to Wolf Blitzer’s show on Friday night to cover the breaking news …

“Wolf, I have to say, I am really almost speechless here at the pace at which North Korea has done this U-turn,” Ripley reacted. “This all started with Donald Trump agreeing to sit down with a summit with Kim Jong Un.”

Meanwhile, Mike Pompeo was able to guarantee North Korea’s release of three American citizens that day. They returned home on May 10.

On April 22, Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin met with the South Koreans:

Productive discussion with South Korean DPM KIM Dong-Yeon. The US remains committed to the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

That day, we found out more about Mike Pompeo’s secret trip to Pyongyang from the Korean Noon news agency:

Mike Pompeo met with KJU 3-4 times during his 3-day stay in Pyongyang per Asahi Shimbun. KJU reportedly said he’s on the same wavelength with Pompeo: “This is the first time I’m meeting someone who has the same fire in the belly as I do” (loose translation)

Also:

Per Asahi, KJU conveyed to Pompeo NK could “completely denuclearize” and that USFK would not have to leave. KJU wants full diplomatic relations with US and easing of UNSCR & bilateral sanctions in return. Pompeo went with 5 CIA staff and was aided by NIS

Pompeo first met with Kim on April 1:

The meetings were very successful per Asahi. Pompeo first met KJU on April 1 and that’s when he was told about “complete denuclearization”. Pompeo was aided by NIS chief Suh Hoon, who has formed working relationships with both Pompeo and NK’s Kim Yong-chol

Not everything was 100% successful:

But there are still differences: Asahi says while KJU may have expressed “willingness to denuclearize,” he was reluctant to include specific, time-based clauses as part of summit agreement, while calling for diplomatic relations and easing of sanctions.

Noon also told us of an ongoing CIA presence in North Korea:

CIA employees in Pyongyang? You don’t have to travel that far down the memory lane to realize this happened before: Avril Haines and Michael Morel were both in Pyongyang in 2012 during Obama’s term but they didn’t get to meet KJU. But they’ve had contacts

Pompeo was finally confirmed as Rex Tillerson’s replacement at State on April 26:

The historic Inter-Korean Summit between the two Korean leaders took place as planned on April 27 (videos here, here and here):

Kim walked across the border to South Korea for the summit, which was held in Panmunjom in the DMZ.

Kim wrote this message in the guest book at Peace House:

‘new history starts now; age of peace, from the starting point of history’

The leaders issued a joint statement:

The description for that video reads, in part:

During the Friday summit, the first between the two Koreas’ leader in more than a decade, Kim was accompanied by his sister and confidante, Kim Yo-jong, and the 90-year-old nominal head of the North Korean state, Kim Yong-nam.

During the meeting, the South Korean president expressed hope for achievement of a “bold agreement.”

The White House sent this message:

On the occasion of Republic of Korea President Moon Jae-ins historic meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, we wish the Korean people well. We are hopeful that talks will achieve progress toward a future of peace and prosperity for the entire Korean Peninsula. The United States appreciates the close coordination with our ally, the Republic of Korea, and looks forward to continuing robust discussions in preparation for the planned meeting between President Donald J. Trump and Kim Jong Un in the coming weeks.

By the end of the day (full video here):

The Korean leaders then shared dinner together.

Ambassador Chris Hill summed up the first day as follows:

President Trump sent his congratulations. The South Korean foreign minister remembered Trump in an interview with CNN’s Christine Amanpour:

South Korea’s Foreign Minister tells me in Seoul that “clearly credit goes to President Trump” for bringing North Korea to the negotiating table. “He’s been determined to come to grips with this from day one,” Kang Kyung-wha says.

The Straits Times published the full text of the Panmunjom Declaration for peace, prosperity and unification of the Korean Peninsula which resulted from the Inter-Korean Summit. Excerpts follow:

1) South and North Korea affirmed the principle of determining the destiny of the Korean nation on their own accord and agreed to bring forth the watershed moment for the improvement of inter-Korean relations by fully implementing all existing agreements and declarations adopted between the two sides thus far.

2) South and North Korea agreed to hold dialogue and negotiations in various fields including at high level, and to take active measures for the implementation of the agreements reached at the summit.

3) South and North Korea agreed to establish a joint liaison office with resident representatives of both sides in the Gaeseong region in order to facilitate close consultation between the authorities as well as smooth exchanges and cooperation between the peoples.

4) South and North Korea agreed to encourage more active cooperation, exchanges, visits and contacts at all levels in order to rejuvenate the sense of national reconciliation and unity.

5) South and North Korea agreed to endeavour to swiftly resolve the humanitarian issues that resulted from the division of the nation, and to convene the Inter-Korean Red Cross Meeting to discuss and solve various issues, including the reunion of separated families.

6) South and North Korea agreed to actively implement the projects previously agreed in the 2007 October 4 Declaration, in order to promote balanced economic growth and co-prosperity of the nation.

The two leaders agreed, through regular meetings and direct telephone conversations, to hold frequent and candid discussions on issues vital to the nation, to strengthen mutual trust and to jointly endeavour to strengthen the positive momentum towards continuous advancement of inter-Korean relations as well as peace, prosperity and unification of the Korean Peninsula.

In this context, President Moon Jae In agreed to visit Pyongyang this fall.

Tomorrow’s post will feature analysis and the events that led to the Singapore Summit, which President Trump attended after the G7 in mid-June.

Yesterday’s post covered the joyful return home of Kim Dong Chul, Kim Hak-song and Kim Sang Duk, also known as Tony Kim, who had been detained by the North Korean regime.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo brought the men home after a successful round of talks with the North Koreans. On Thursday, May 10, 2018, Reuters reported President Trump’s reaction (emphases mine):

“Frankly, we didn’t think it was going to happen and it did,” Trump said after thanking Kim for releasing the men.

We’re starting off on a new footing. This is a wonderful thing that he released the folks early.”

Trump said he believed Kim wanted to bring North Korea “into the real world” and had high hopes for their planned meeting, which would be the first between a serving U.S. president and a North Korean leader.

“I think we have a very good chance of doing something very meaningful,” Trump said. My proudest achievement will be – this is part of it – when we denuclearize that entire peninsula.”

Trump spoke those words on the tarmac after the American detainees arrived home:

By all accounts, Pompeo’s meeting was a great success — even from North Korea’s perspective:

The next big moment comes less than a month from now:

Talks will take place at the famous hotel in Singapore with a ship-like structure on top. There’s a documentary about this part of the hotel, which might be aired again before June 12. If so, it’s well worth watching. The ‘ship’ has a swimming pool, restaurants and an outdoor lounge along with viewing points:

Before then, Trump and his administration will be speaking with representatives from other countries, including South Korea. The Conservative Treehouse has more:

In the days leading up to the Singapore summit, there is a G7 meeting in Quebec, Canada, on June 8th and 9thThe timing affords France, Germany, Italy, Britain, Japan and Canada an opportunity to share their perspectives, and simultaneously provides an opportunity for President Trump to solidify international support in advance of the summit.  Importantly the G7 allows time with Shinzo Abe of Japan.

South Korean Prime Minister Moon Jae-in is scheduled to visit the White House May 22nd, to brief President Trump on his prior meeting with Chairman Kim and discuss regional strategy and key issues for the Korean peninsula.

What exciting times we live in! This truly is history in the making.

I cannot recall living through a more thrilling historical timeline than right now.

Early in the morning of Thursday, May 10, 2018 (US time), three American citizens arrived on US soil after having been held captive in North Korea.

It was a stunning, historic event not only for them, but also for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and, certainly, President Donald Trump:

CNN reported (emphases mine):

The Americans — Kim Dong Chul, Kim Hak-song and Kim Sang Duk, also known as Tony Kimwere freed while Pompeo was on a visit to the North Korean capital of Pyongyang to discuss President Trump’s upcoming summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un

The three men issued a joint statement thanking Trump.

“We would like to express our deep appreciation to the United States government, President Trump, Secretary Pompeo, and the people of the United States for bringing us home,” the trio said in the statement which the State Department supplied to journalists traveling with Pompeo.

Kim Dong Chul has been in North Korean custody since late 2015, but the other two detainees were arrested last spring, after Trump’s inauguration as tensions between Washington and Pyongyang were beginning to ramp up.

The White House has often brought up their cases when discussing North Korea issues. As both sides began laying the groundwork for the Trump and Kim’s meeting — which would be the first-ever between a sitting US President and North Korean leaderthe Trump administration made it clear that releasing the three Americans would be viewed as a gesture of good will.

Aboard the plane leaving North Korea, Pompeo said he was “thrilled to have them back.”

Pompeo told the small contingent of reporters traveling with him that the detainees appear to be in good health, or at least as healthy as can be considering the circumstances surrounding their detention

The state-run Korea Central News Agency said that Kim decided to release the Americans at Trump’s suggestion. It added that Pompeo and Kim “reached a satisfactory consensus on the issues discussed” and described the talks as “very beneficial.”

Press pool releases, courtesy of Hunter Walker White House Correspondent Yahoo News, were as follows.

This was the order of arrival:

According to staff, at about 2:00 a.m., Vice President Pences helicopter will arrive at Andrews first followed by POTUS. Mike Pompeos plane will come next followed by a medical plane bearing the freed Americans.

The President and First Lady arrived shortly after 2 a.m. on May 10:

Marine One landed at Andrews Air Force Base at approximately 2:18 a.m.
President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump disembarked at about 2:22 am and walked into the terminal. The President didnt respond to shouted questions about whether he had any message ahead of the returnees arrival or whether he had spoken with Kim Jong Un.
Mike Pompeos plane is due to land imminently. —

Trump waited for the appropriate time to leave Marine One. Note the Tylenol® and Diet Coke on the cabinet:

As for the returning Americans:

After coming to Andrews and meeting with the President, the returnees will be going on to Walter Reed for further evaluation and medical treatment. The White House is referring any questions about their medical condition to the State Department.

Reuters has a 41-minute video of the planes landing and the subsequent welcome home for the three men.

The event was carried live around the world, especially South Korea:

Going back to the landings, Mike Pompeo energetically dashed down the steps:

Later, one of the released prisoners gave him a heartfelt hug:

In another tweet, the Washington Post‘s Anna Fifield added:

Kim Dong-chul … was detained a year before the 2016 election so he probably didn’t know until yesterday that Donald Trump is president.

President and Mrs Trump boarded the plane carrying the three men:

They spoke to the men:

And helped guide them to the door:

 

Then it was time to disembark:

I cannot begin to imagine the joy and relief they must have felt:

Afterwards:

Not to be forgotten was someone Obama’s State Department — under John Kerry — did not care much about and told his parents there was not much they could do. Thanks to Rex Tillerson and President Trump, North Korea released Otto Warmbier, who had been in a coma for over a year in prison. He died on June 19, 2017, six days after he arrived back home in Ohio:

Who can say better than this? This is a short, excellent White House video compilation, by the way:

Vice President Mike Pence received three insights into the detainees’ experience.

The first was his and his wife Karen’s conversations with the men:

Another came from Mike Pompeo:

The third came when one of the three handed Pence a note with verses from Psalm 126 on the reverse. Note that their faith never faltered. Below is the index card (full image courtesy of The Conservative Treehouse):

The Conservative Treehouse has more (emphasis in the original):

Kim Dong Chul, Kim Sang Duk, Kim Hak Soon are the names of the three detainees who were released.  Two of the captives, Hak-Soon and Sang Duk, belong to the Pyongyang Univ of Science & Technology and were detained in Apr & May 2017: they had been held for a year. The third, Kim Dong Chul, is an ordained minister held since 2015 when he was commuting from China and was serving a 10-year sentence on espionage charges.

In closing, the White House released a pleasantly bi-partisan set of statements applauding the release of the detainees. Media kudos are also included.

I’ll leave you with the first statement:

The Family of Freed American Tony Kim: “We are very grateful for the release of our husband and father, Tony Kim, and the other two American detainees. We want to thank all of those who have worked toward and contributed to his return home. We also want to thank the President for engaging directly with North Korea. Mostly, we thank God for Tony’s safe return.”

May God bless the three released Americans and their families richly.

May He also abundantly bless all those who secured their release.

President Donald Trump has replaced Rex Tillerson with Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State.

Tillerson is likely to remain in the post until March 31.

Mike Pompeo has been the director of the CIA since last year. Prior to that, he was a congressman for Kansas’s 4th district. He served on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and questioned Hillary Clinton — then Secretary of State — about Benghazi in 2013.

Soon, Pompeo will be in the same office that was once Hillary Clinton’s. How interesting will that be?

This is the video, which includes recordings of Pompeo’s questioning of Clinton during the Benghazi hearings:

Judicial Watch’s Tom Fitton says that Rex Tillerson’s State Department would not conduct damage assessment on Hillary’s emails:

Soon we will have someone who will have the gumption and desire to see that justice is done. Imagine what Pompeo can — and will — uncover.

In the meantime, expect the media to pile on Pompeo.

Yesterday’s post discussed the events that took place Friday, December 1, 2017.

Today’s entry serves as an update on the weekend’s news. I won’t be recapping much of what I wrote about Friday, so you might want to read that post before continuing here.

ABC’s Brian Ross

ABC’s veteran reporter Brian Ross was suspended for four weeks without pay for his fake news of Friday that caused the US stock market to dip for an hour:

President Donald Trump was delighted:

But he was not yet finished:

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, father of Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, is a past Republican presidential candidate and former Fox News show host:

This lawyer and writer for The Federalist listed more of Ross’s huge blunders:

Mueller investigation — Peter Strzok

One of Robert Mueller’s top investigators has been sacked from his team investigating the Trump campaign’s notional Russian collusion:

One could not make this up:

 

You can read clips from more articles on that subject here (image courtesy of a Reddit contributor).

Trump chimed in:

Advice came in for the new FBI director, Christopher Wray:

Judicial Watch has been keen for the McAuliffe/Clinton scandal to be investigated:

Their November 21 article begins with this summary:

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch today released 79 pages of Justice Department documents concerning ethics issues related to FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s involvement with his wife’s political campaign. The documents include an email showing Mrs. McCabe was recruited for a Virginia state senate race in February 2015 by then-Virginia Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam’s office.

The news that Clinton used a private email server broke five days later, on March 2, 2015. Five days after that, former Clinton Foundation board member and Democrat party fundraiser, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, met with the McCabes. She announced her candidacy on March 12. Soon afterward, Clinton/McAuliffe-aligned political groups donated nearly $700,000 (40% of the campaign’s total funds) to McCabe’s wife for her campaign.

Most Trump supporters knew about that during the 2016 campaign, but it got little media coverage.

Judicial Watch’s Tom Fitton has been doing great work in exposing Swamp scandals. See here, here and here.

This is very serious. Can one imagine a Republican getting away with such a thing?

Where’s the justice?

Lieutenant General Michael Flynn has been made to look like a criminal for lying to the FBI, but we have senior US officials — present and former — who have committed crimes. The American people are told there is nothing to see.

Congressman Steve Smith (R-Georgia) summarised the situation well:

Trump is, rightly, on the warpath:

Is he having a go at his Attorney General Jeff ‘Sleepy’ Sessions?

Sleepy will be leaving soon, probably early in 2018.

His immediate recusal from this probe, because it was connected with the Trump campaign and he was part of the campaign, caused a lot of grief for a lot of people, including the spring-summer campaign manager Paul Manafort, whom the Mueller team treated terribly — including a middle-of-the-night FBI raid on his and his wife’s home while they were asleep.

What Manafort has been indicted for isn’t even related to the Trump campaign but to work he did in Ukraine years before.

See how justly Manafort has been treated:

Obama still acts as if he’s in office

But wait, there’s more.

Never has there been a US president who hasn’t let his successor be in charge.

But not Obama:

Even if he was only referring to climate change, he should do the decent thing.

On December 2, the Washington Examiner reported:

While speaking to a group of business leaders in Paris, former President Barack Obama said there is a “temporary absence of American leadership” when it comes to tackling climate change.

“I grant you that at the moment we have a temporary absence of American leadership on the issue,” the former president noted, which was met with laughter from the room full of French former ministers and CEOs at the invite-only event, according to Reuters.

Obama also recently visited China:

Swamp tries to trap CIA director Pompeo

On December 2, the CIA director Mike Pompeo — a Trump appointee — was a guest at the Reagan National Defense Forum.

TrumpSoldier has a detailed Twitter thread on Pompeo’s appearance, video clips and still photos included. A summary with most of the tweets follows. I corrected a few original typos below.

The Reagan National Defense Forum (RNDF) sounds conservative until one looks at who is on the steering committee (see point 4), including the CEO/Publisher of the Washington Post, a few Obama appointees, anti-Trump Republican senator John McCain and former Clinton adviser and CIA director Leon Panetta. Fox News’s Bret Baier conducted an interview on stage with Pompeo and Panetta (emphases mine below):

5) Mike Pompeo was going into swamp territory and now everything makes sense to me as you will soon see.

6) The slogan for the RNDF is “Investing in Peace Through Strength” I like Peace through Strength but the “investing” part sets off alarm bells. I am not going to investigate who funds them but I imagine it’s not pretty.

7) The RNDF is an organization that is run by active and retired swamp creatures whose main purpose is influencing and shaping policy.

8) Mike sat down with Panetta and his lackey Bret Baier for an hour and they discussed world events from a security perspective. It was light hearted and fun and that is all part of the set up.

9) Mike Pompeo is relaxed, joking and having fun. Panetta even tries to connect with him as “two Italians”. Bret’s ambush questions are strategically placed for maximum effect.

10) The Triggering!
Baier asks Mike Pompeo about Saudi Arabia: Panetta and decades of swamp failure are brought face to face with the dramatic sudden success of Trump Administration Foreign Policy.

11) Everything was jovial up to this point (at about 30 minutes in) Panetta’s reactions became really serious and concerned and his responses became lectures. An old swamp thing cut off from power flailing for relevance.

12) The Soft Ball
Baer asks Mike Pompeo how he shares intelligence with Trump.

No real answer, by the way. Good.

14) The Ambush!
Mike Pompeo asked about #FakeNews stores regarding the mental state of President Trump: “It’s Absurd” (watch and listen closely)

15) Remember everyone is laughing and having a good time up to this point and on cue as the question is asked Panetta laughs. It was the perfect set up!

16) You can see the moment when Mike senses the trap he licks his lips and smiles ever so slightly. He is ready!

17) Mike breaks character, reveals his power level, and suddenly kills the room! Panetta nervously begins laughing some more to try to lighten the mood. I would have loved to see Baier’s face as he absorbed this stare. I guarantee he looked down and away.

18) The next order of business to to try to get Pompeo to listen to the wisdom of a “very concerned” Panetta regarding the danger of #TrumpTweets

19) #TrumpTweets are Dangerous!
Mike Pompeo doesn’t think so. He uses them strategically.

In fact, The Hill reported on this interview:

CIA Director Mike Pompeo said on Saturday that President Trump’s Twitter habits have actually helped his agency gather and understand intelligence

 “I’ve actually seen it help us,” he said. “I have seen things the president has put on his Twitter account actually have a real-world impact on our capacity to understand what’s going on in other places in the world.”

“That is, our adversaries responded to those tweets in ways that were helpful to us to understand command and control issues, who’s listening to what messages, how those messages are resonating around the world.”

Back now to the Twitter thread. Baier was eager to pursue this line of questioning, even though Pompeo wanted to move on to other topics. Panetta also pressed Pompeo on Trump’s tweets, expressing ‘concern’.

22) Note Mike’s body language and comments he really is trying to politely end the conversation but they keep pushing

23) THE KILL
CIA Director Mike Pompeo reminds old swamp creature (Leon Panetta) that he is a failure and irrelevant.

24) After you are done laughing consider how deadly serious this was. It was a carefully orchestrated trap completely scripted and gamed out in advance and Mike came up aces!

25) Pompeo’s ruthless defense of Donald Trump speaks volumes about his loyalty and dedication to the cause. His defense of #TrumpTweets confirms that they are highly strategic and coordinated with the CIA. This frightens everyone… but us.

No doubt this week’s narrative will be about Trump’s mental health again.

The Left’s dirty game

For over a year, the media and other Democrats have been saying that it was wrong for the Trump team to speak to the Russians prior to the inauguration.

It is legal and something that every president-elect’s transition team does.

As for contact with Russia during the campaign, to date, Mueller’s team has found nothing, except for the abortive meeting with the Russian lawyer. Donald Trump Jr, Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner left soon after it started. President Trump was unaware of it at the time.

My post yesterday listed three meetings that campaign advisers to then-candidate Obama had with Hamas and FARC. When he was still president-elect in January 2009, he met with the president of Mexico.

The Democrats — including the media — are being very dishonest with this anti-Trump narrative which is dividing the country.

In January 2017, Obama’s press secretary Mark Toner said there was no problem with the Trump team speaking with the Russian ambassador:

That text comes from the transcript of January 13. This is what precedes it:

QUESTION: — reports starting yesterday, but then more of them this morning, about contact between the incoming national security advisor and the Russian ambassador. I’m just wondering, from the State Department’s point of view, is this something that’s of concern at all? Or – I’ll just leave it there and then follow up.

MR TONER: Again, not necessarily – I’ve seen the reports. I don’t think they’ve been confirmed or corroborated yet. But that’s – as he’s part of the transition team, that’s really for them to speak to in how they are engaging. I mean —

QUESTION: Right, but —

MR TONER: — the president-elect is also engaged on his own with many world leaders.

 

Lt Gen Michael Flynn

Now a word about the embattled Lt General Michael Flynn.

On Saturday, December 2, Trump tweeted:

And:

The Conservative Treehouse has a good analysis and timeline of Flynn and the Russian ambassador, including Flynn’s dismissal. Excerpts follow (emphases in the original):

Many people have asked the question why would Michael Flynn have lied about talking to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in the first place?

It’s a great question.

The Occam’s Razor answer is the toxic political environment that existed in January 2017, where the administration was being hammered by a tsunami of media narratives and political opposition claiming that any scintilla of contact with anything Russian meant that Putin and Trump were “colluding” BFFs,…. and Flynn didn’t want to fuel that nonsense.

That’s really the only reason to mislead about Russian contacts.

And/or once Vice-President Mike Pence made the statement that Flynn had no contact with anyone from Russia etc. any contradictory statement from Flynn would make Pence appear compromised; so Flynn had to stick to it without clarification.

Sunday January 15th – VP-elect Mike Pence appears on Face The Nation. [Transcript Here] …

[*NOTE* Notice the narrative questioning at the time (early Jan) was framed that ‘any contact’ with Russians was evidence of meddling/election-collusion with Russians.]

Friday January 20th – Inauguration

Tuesday January 24th – Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn was interviewed at the WH by the FBI.  [Either Flynn contradicts Pence, or he tells a lie, those were his options.]

Afterwards, having received a report of the interview, Department of Justice (DOJ) employee, Sally Yates — since fired — had discussions about Flynn with other senior Obama holdovers still working there. This was what brought about the charge that Flynn lied to the FBI.

Another part of this story is that Flynn had talked to the Russian ambassador in December 2016 about the sanctions that Obama had imposed on Russia.

The following comes from The Last Refuge, the founder and author of The Conservative Treehouse (emphases mine below):

11. So on December 29th, sanctions day, Flynn spoke to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak… Essentially, saying ‘chill out, we’ll get through this’ etc.

14. We arrive at Sunday January 15th. VP-Elect Mike Pence appears on Sunday talks to discuss political stuff and the Trump administration.

15. On that Sunday 1/15/17 Pence appeared on CBS Face the nation (John Dickerson)

16. What does Dickerson start off with? Of course – The Vast Russian Hacking Election conspiracy: “did any advisor or anybody in the Trump campaign have any contact with the Russians who were trying to meddle in the election?”

17. Amid the questioning, there is no distinction between *BEFORE* the election, and during the President-Elect transition period (ie. *AFTER* the election). It’s just one long framed question about “contact” and “collusion” etc.

18. And with that framework VP-Elect Pence says: “Of course not. And I think to suggest that is to give credence to some of these bizarre rumors that have swirled around the candidacy.”

19. VP-Pence says “of course not”, ie NO CONTACT. In doing so, and without pointing out the transition team would have ordinary and customary contact, Pence has now painted Flynn into a corner.

20. Flynn has had contact (ordinary and appropriate contact), but VP-Elect Pence gave an emphatic: “Of course not.”

22. The January 24th [FBI] interview is where the “Flynn Lied” to the FBI came from.

23. At the time of the interview the media cycle was filled with intelligence leaks. During that interview Flynn had two options: Option #1) tell investigators he did have conversations with Kislyak in December – and as a consequence contradict VP Pence.

24. Option #2) tell investigators he did not have conversations with the Russians (Kislyak) and align with VP Pence statement a week prior.

Option #1 puts the criticism and Russia story on VP Pence for lying to CBS. (He didn’t, because the question was vague on timing but that didn’t matter amid the frenzy) and as an outcome weaken the incoming administration 4 days after inauguration.

26. Option #2 puts himself at risk; but protects VP Pence and avoids the immediacy of a narrative against the White House and new administration.

27. Likely Flynn knew the FBI was up to no good because they probably already knew the answer to the question (wiretapping). But these decisions were about politics amid the frenzied media swarm. The downstream sh[*]t-storm on Pence would have been brutal.

28. The very next day, Wed Jan 25th, Sally Yates (DOJ) gets an after action report on the FBI questioning of Flynn.

37. Note the presumption here is that Flynn had lied to VP Pence. However, there is nothing to indicate that angle/aspect is or was actually correct. Specifically, there is ample evidence the ‘lie to Pence’, evolved from a storyline -driven by necessity- to save face for Pence.

38. The administration was now boxed in. Flynn lied to protect Pence’s political posture/integrity/position, (ie. Military Leadership Training 101: never compromise your leadership), but was now confronted by Sally Yates. FUBAR!!

Conclusion — thus far

It seems this past weekend served, in part, as a watershed moment.

As I write, Trump’s Twitter account has over 43m subscribers. Imagine factoring in millions of others, e.g. yours truly, who don’t subscribe but check it at least once a day.

Tens of millions of people are reading and passing his tweets along to millions more every day.

Over time, that’s a lot of red pills being handed out.

Trump is taking this time to get the American people psychologically prepared for The Storm / the Silent War.

I have read several online commenters saying that they never realised how corrupt America is until they read about the Strzok dismissal and the crookedness of this Mueller investigation which, so far, has cost around $5m in taxpayer money.

Meanwhile, actual criminals who served at federal level are on the loose. Where’s the DOJ? Where’s the justice?

A few weeks ago, President Donald Trump and Julian Assange connected on Twitter.

Throwing out a question, as he does, Trump received the following reply from Assange shortly afterwards.

The exchange took place on Monday, April 3, 2017. It concerns whether Hillary Clinton received a set of debate questions during the Democratic primary season from DNC operative Donna Brazile, who also worked for CNN at the time:

At that time, I thought that was excellent, hoping there will be more of those exchanges in future.

Since then, things have changed. CIA director Mike Pompeo strongly criticised WikiLeaks. President Donald Trump — who owes his victory in large part to WikiLeaks — followed suit.

On April 17, Roger Stone, a longtime friend of Trump and, briefly, his first presidential campaign manager, wrote (emphases mine):

Sadly, Donald Trump’s appointee of Director of Central Intelligence has clearly been conned by the Neo Con careerists at the CIA. Former Congressman Mike Pompeo was appointed at the behest of Vice President Pence who was friendly with Pompeo in the House. While Mr. Pompeo is a Harvard lawyer, his training at West Point was in mechanical engineering. Although he served on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence at no time has he expressed any concern about the CIA’s sorry track record of insisting that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, that prisoners of war are not being tortured at Abu Ghraib prison, that the United States was farming terrorists out to 3rd party countries which utilized torture in a practice called rendition, that our mission in Benghazi was attacked by a mob whipped into a frenzy by an anti-Islamic video shown in Turkey, as well as the Intelligence agencies role in the collection of metadata on millions of Americans in violation of the US Constitution.

President Donald Trump said on Oct, 10, 2016 “I love Wikileaks” and Pompeo who previously had praised the whistleblowing operation now called Wikileaks “a non-state hostile Intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia”.  Mr. Pompeo must be pressed to immediately release any evidence he has that proves these statements. If he cannot do so ,the President should discharge him.

Julian Assange issued the following statement:

 

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/C9aDKGhUIAAXxHX.jpg:small

 

Stone had more in his post:

After some soul searching I have elected to support the President’s limited incursion into Syria because of the strong geo-political message it sends the North Koreans, Iranians and Chinese. It also underlined the foolish of the entire “Russians helped Trump” narrative.

Acting on faulty intelligence endorsed by Director Pompeo, the President has now violated international law, the UN Charter and the War Powers Agreement with Congress. While he has won praise from hawks on both sides of the aisle, who have denounced him in the past, and has been lauded by the mainstream media, which holds him in contempt. A further expansion of the war in Syria would mean violation of end of the non-interventionism, the very concept that won Donald Trump the presidency. It would be the functional end of “Trumpism”.

The competence of Wikileaks, which has yet to release even one inauthentic email, compares very favorably with the performance of the CIA, which neither anticipated the collapse of the Soviet Union or the “terrorist attack” of 9/11. But not only is the public shortchanged by an agency that all-too-often misses either the boat or gets things wrong, its operations around the world have gone far beyond the scope of its charter. The agency is out of control.( See “The CIA’s Record of Duplicity” on the StoneCold Truth.com ) …

Assange is a hero who has rendered valuable service to the American people. Mr. Pompeo has demonstrated that he is far too gullible to serve as the CIA Director and will pretty much swallow anything that the spooks in Langley dish out to him despite the obvious lack of any hard evidence whatsoever. Clearly Mr. Pompeo should resign.

The folks at The_Donald, where a forensic examination of every Podesta WikiLeaks dump can be found, are equally disappointed in Pompeo. They think Trump should ask him to resign.

Trump won over a lot of twenty- and thirty-somethings who read The_Donald and their WikiLeaks analyses. Many of these people were Obama voters or Bernie supporters. Trump should be offering Assange residence in the United States — with no charges against him.

No, Assange isn’t perfect. Nor is Trump. Nor is Pompeo (obviously). However, let’s give credit where credit is due.

If Pompeo doesn’t like WikiLeaks’ Vault 7 releases over the past few weeks, he shouldn’t blame the messenger. He needs to look inside his own agency. They’re the ones who made that software available to all and sundry, for nefarious means.

Now Attorney General Jeff Sessions is getting in on the act.

I was disappointed to see the following in Trump’s interview with the AP of April 23:

AP: If I could fit a couple of more topics. Jeff Sessions, your attorney general, is taking a tougher line suddenly on Julian Assange, saying that arresting him is a priority. You were supportive of what WikiLeaks was doing during the campaign with the release of the Clinton emails. Do you think that arresting Assange is a priority for the United States?

TRUMP: When Wikileaks came out … never heard of Wikileaks, never heard of it. When Wikileaks came out, all I was just saying is, “Well, look at all this information here, this is pretty good stuff”

AP: Can I just ask you, though — do you believe it is a priority for the United States, or it should be a priority, to arrest Julian Assange?

TRUMP: I am not involved in that decision, but if Jeff Sessions wants to do it, it’s OK with me. I didn’t know about that decision, but if they want to do it, it’s OK with me.

I do not think that Trump has the full information on all of this.

I do hope that someone fills him in. Steve Bannon must surely know. So must others within close proximity to the Oval Office.

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