TrumpWatch, Day 456: North Korea’s Move — We’ll Stop Nuclear Tests But Keep Nuclear Missiles

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Kim Jong-Un makes statement less tahn week before meeting South Korea’s President


Developments on Day 456 of the Trump Administration:

A Concession or a Testing of the US?

In its latest move before a possible historic summit, North Korea says it will no longer test nuclear weapons — but apparently will retain nuclear missiles.

Kim Jong-Un, who may have a face-to-face meeting with Donald Trump in late May or early June, announced early Saturday that Pyongyang no longer needs to test nuclear weapons or long-range missiles and will close a nuclear test site.

“The nuclear test site has done its job,” Kim said in a statement on North Korean state media, less than a week before he meets South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

See also TrumpWatch, 454: Trump Gives Himself an Exit from Meeting with North Korea’s Kim

North Korea already had stopped testing its weapons, with its last missile launch in November, and Kim suggested that Pyongyang will retain its nuclear and long-range missile capacity. He said that tests are no longer needed because the country now has a nuclear deterrent, and that it is time to focus on rebuilding the economy.

But the statement drew an enthusiastic response from the Trump Administration, first in a tweet apparently written on behalf of Trump and then in a late-night message from Trump himself:

But some American officials saw North Korean tactics testing the US. They suggested that Pyongyang is pressing the US to accept a deal before Kim agrees to give up nuclear weapons, and that North Korea may be trying to split Washington and South Korea.

In its response to Kim’s statement, the South Korean Presidency said, “We view the North’s decision as a significant step toward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula the world has wished for.”

Earlier this week, the two Koreas installed their first hotline between leaders.

Japan was not as welcoming. Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera, in Washington for talks, said the move was “not sufficient” because it did not state if short- and mid-range missiles are included:

What the international community expects is that North Korea abandon all weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles in a complete verifiable and irreversible manner. It is not a time to relax pressure by the international community, but we must keep applying pressure with an aim that they abandon their nuclear weapons and missiles.


Sessions: If Rosenstein Fired Over Trump-Russia, I Might Resign

Attorney General Jeff Sessions told the White House that he might resign if Donald Trump fired Deputy Attorney Rod Rosenstein in an attempt to halt the Trump-Russia investigation.

Trump reportedly considered the removal of both Rosenstein and Special Counsel Robert Mueller after the April 9 FBI raid on the office and home of Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen.

Rosenstein is the only official who can formally dismiss Mueller, putting him in Trump’s firing line as the President continues to fume over the inquiry.

The latest threat was reportedly averted on April 12 when Rosenstein, in a carefully-worded statement, told Trump that he is not currently a target in either the Trump-Russia or Cohen investigations.

But Sessions told White House Counsel Donald McGahn last weekend that he might have to leave if Trump carried out the firings. He asked for details of the Trump-Rosenstein meeting, and expressed relief that the session was largely cordial.

Sessions was forced in March 2017 to recuse himself from the Trump-Russia investigation, after belatedly acknowledging his contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the 2016 Presidential campaign.

Frustrated at Sessions’ recusal, Trump has periodically insulted the Attorney General, fueling speculation that he will be replaced. That speculation has been amplified by the possibility that Trump may install a new Attorney General to carry out the dismissal of Mueller.


Reporter: Trump’s Big Financial Lie in 1984 to Get on Forbes 400 Richest List

Jonathan Greenblatt, a former reporter for Forbes magazine, writes that Donald Trump lied in 1984 about his net worth to get on the Forbes 400 Richest list.

Greenblatt recalls that Trump called in the disguise of the Trump Organization’s “John Barron”, a fake persona he would later use with other outlets, to claim that Trump was worth $400 million.

Greenblatt said, that having reviewed financial documents, he believes Trump was worth far less than that amount: “[He was] telling a lie so cosmic that people believed that some kernel of it had to be real.”

Other investigative journalists have also assessed that Trump’s assets are far less than his current declaration of more than $3 billion. Trump sued one of them, Tim O’Brien, but lost the case in 2011 after he acknowledged in a deposition that he had lied 30 times on a wide range of business issues and then refused to reveal financial records.

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