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North Korea continues to expand nuclear missile program after Trump’s false promises of safety

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North Korea continues to expand nuclear missile program after Trump’s false promises of safety

 

DonkeyHotey / Flickr Donald Trump and Kim Jong un...
DonkeyHotey / Flickr

A new review of satellite indicates that North Korea is continuing to expand and improve a facility for manufacturing nuclear missiles. This follows a similar study last week which showed that dictator Kim Jong Un was carrying on with construction at a plant to produce plutonium used in weapons production. Both expansions have continued, or even accelerated, since Kim’s meeting with Donald Trump. Taken together, the two studies indicate that the substance-free agreement signed by Trump and Kim, which Trump has presented as an end of nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula, is being taken much less seriously in Pyongyang.

As the Wall Street Journal reports, the analysis by the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey shows not just continuing operations, but a “major expansion” at a plant that manufactures both ballistic missiles using solid-fuel boosters along with re-entry vehicles used by long-range missiles. This follows another image review by the Stimson Center’s “38 North” group showing expansion of a nuclear material research facility.

Well before the brief Singapore summit, Trump had been handed an analysis by US intelligence indicating the likely outcome.

“Pyongyang’s commitment to possessing nuclear weapons and fielding capable long-range missiles, all while repeatedly stating that nuclear weapons are the basis for its survival, suggests that the regime does not intend to negotiate them away,” U.S. officials said in a February assessment.

However, Trump not only reassured Americans that the threat of war had ended and they could now “sleep well,” but surrendered joint military preparedness exercises with South Korea—a key North Korean demand. It’s not clear that Trump got anything in return, other than a photo-op and a day of highly favorable headlines.

Compared to the very real work happening on the ground, Trump’s foreign policy appears to be nothing but smoke and mirrors. And there’s not even much smoke—except for that being produced by North Korean efforts to build more nuclear missiles.

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SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh said he would ‘put the nail’ in independent counsel ruling

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SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh said he would ‘put the nail’ in independent counsel ruling

In a 2016 video, Judge Kavanaugh argued that he would overturn Morrison v. Olson, a Supreme Court ruling that underpins the appointment of independent counsels. The ruling largely fell out of favor after Ken Starr’s turn in the Clinton era. As FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver points out, however, Kavanaugh volunteered the example by himself, revealing something about his views on Supreme Court precedent.

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Sarah Sanders: We’re working on “bold reforms” to stop Russian election interference

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Sarah Sanders: We’re working on “bold reforms” to stop Russian election interference

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said the Trump administration is working on “bold reforms” to ensure Russian interference in US elections never happens again.

Sanders was asked if Trump sees Russian meddling in the 2016 election as “an attack on democracy.”

The President has faced continued furor over his remarks about election meddling made alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday in Helsinki.

Here’s what Sanders said today:

The President thinks that we have to focus on securing our election integrity and our election systems, which is why he has spent so much time with his administration making sure that this doesn’t happen again. Let’s not forget this didn’t happen under President Trump’s watch. This happened under the Obama administration. We’re taking steps, we’re making bold reforms to try to fix this and make sure it never happens again.

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Here’s what Sarah Sanders says Trump and Putin talked about in their private meeting

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Here’s what the White House says Trump and Putin talked about in their private meeting

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders listed a number of topics that were included in President Trump’s private one-on-one meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

Sanders listed Syrian humanitarian aid, Israeli security, North Korea, denuclearization, Ukraine and the occupation of Crimea, reducing Russian and US nuclear arsenals, and “your favorite topic” Russian interference in elections.

Sanders said the meeting reflected the “beginning of the dialogue with Russia and our administration and theirs and we’re going to continue working through those things.”

Sanders also said Putin’s proposal of having Russian prosecutors question US officials, including former US ambassador to Russia Mike McFaul, arose in Trump’s meeting, but she said no agreements were reached.

“He said it was an interesting idea. He didn’t commit to anything,” Sanders said. “We’ve committed to nothing.”

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