Yesterday, I speculated on the end of the world coming in October due to the debt ceiling. Donald obviously said “Challenge Accepted” and proceeded to wildly escalate our tense standoff with North Korea over its nuclear weapons program.
Trump delivered an ultimatum to North Korea, warning Pyongyang not to make any more threats against the United States or they will “face fire and fury like the world has never seen.”
“North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen… he has been very threatening beyond a normal state. They will be met with fire, fury and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before,” he said. “They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen. He has been very threatening beyond a normal statement. And as I said, they will be met with fire, fury, and frankly, power — the likes of which the world has never seen before.”
The threats were in response to this:
— NBC Nightly News (@NBCNightlyNews) August 8, 2017
“North Korea has successfully produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead that can fit inside its missiles, crossing a key threshold on the path to becoming a full-fledged nuclear power,” the Washington Postreports.
“The new analysis completed last month by the Defense Intelligence Agency comes on the heels of another intelligence assessment that sharply raises the official estimate for the total number of bombs in the communist country’s atomic arsenal. The U.S. calculated last month that up to 60 nuclear weapons are now controlled by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Some independent experts believe the number of bombs is much smaller.”
North Korea has responded to Trump’s threats with this:
— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) August 8, 2017
Josh Marshall says “If You Weren’t Worried Yet, You Can Start Now.”
“The worst possible thing is a President who is stupid, impulsively emotional and has something to prove, which is exactly what we have. (You think his litany of failures as President so [far] doesn’t make him eager for a breakout, transformative moment?) At the risk of stating the obvious, threats like this from a country that has the ability to kill everyone in North Korea at close to a moment’s notice can set off a highly unpredictable chain of events. What if North Korea issues more threats? Presumably Trump fails to respond with a nuclear attack and reveals his threats as empty or – truly, truly unimaginably – he launches a nuclear attack. These are not good choices to face.
The situation with North Korea would be an extreme challenge for a leader with ability and judgment. President Trump is simply too erratic, unstable and dangerous to be in charge in a situation like this.”
President Trump has publicly called the widening federal investigation into Russia’s election meddling a “witch hunt.” But through his lawyer, Trump has sent private messages of “appreciation” to special counsel Robert Mueller, USA Today reports.
Said Trump chief counsel John Dowd: “He appreciates what Bob Mueller is doing. He asked me to share that with him and that’s what I’ve done.” He added: “The president has sent messages back and forth.”
Why hasn’t Donald Trump condemned the right wing terrorist attack against a Minnesota mosque? The in-house White House Nazi, Sebastian Gorka, has an explanation:
“The White House will not officially comment on the bombing of a Minnesota mosque because it may be a hate crime faked by a liberal, according to Trump national security adviser Sebastian Gorka… “There’s a great rule: All initial reports are false,” Gorka said. “You have to check them and find out who the perpetrators are. We’ve had a series of crimes committed, alleged hate crimes by right wing individuals in the last six months that turned out to be propagated by the left. Let’s allow the local authorities to provide their assessment and then the White House will make its comments.”
“The White House is actively considering a bold plan to turn over a big chunk of the U.S. war in Afghanistan to private contractors in an effort to turn the tide in a stalemated war,” USA Today reports.
“Under the proposal, 5,500 private contractors, primarily former Special Operations troops, would advise Afghan combat forces. The plan also includes a 90-plane private air force that would provide air support in the nearly 16-year-old war against Taliban insurgents.”
A new IBD/TIPP poll finds President Trump’s approval rate at a dismal 32% to 59%.
Key findings: “Trump lost significant support across the board, but saw big declines among areas of core support, including Republicans, Midwesterners, middle-income families, white men and the high-school educated.”
A new CBS News poll finds President Trump’s approval rate is 36% to 58%.
“Indeed, in the same CNN poll showing Trump’s approval rating at 38 percent, 53 percent of Americans say things are going very well/fairly well in the country. And that raises the question: What happens to Trump’s numbers if/when the unemployment rate creeps up? Because right now, most Americans aren’t judging Trump on his stewardship of the economy.”
Vice News: “Twice a day since the beginning of the Trump administration, a special folder is prepared for the president. The first document is prepared around 9:30 a.m. and the follow-up around 4:30 p.m. Former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and former Press Secretary Sean Spicer both wanted the privilege of delivering the 20- to 25-page packet to President Trump personally.”
“These sensitive papers… are not top-secret intelligence or updates on legislative initiatives. Instead, the folders are filled with screenshots of positive cable news chyrons (those lower-third headlines and crawls), admiring tweets, transcripts of fawning TV interviews, praise-filled news stories, and sometimes just pictures of Trump on TV looking powerful.”
“One White House official said the only feedback the White House communications shop, which prepares the folder, has ever gotten in all these months is: “It needs to be more fucking positive. That is why some in the White House ruefully refer to the packet as “the Propaganda Document.”
President Trump tweeted out a link to a Fox News report about North Korea that contained what U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley said was “classified” information, according to Yahoo News. Haley said she could not discuss the story: “I can’t talk about anything that’s classified, and if that’s in the newspaper, that’s a shame, but…”
Molly Ball: “The presidency in crisis! How can this possibly be sustained? Where will it end? What is going to happen? But the answer is right in front of us: It’s happening right now, on an endless loop. This is what’s going to happen, day in and day out—nonstop chaos, plot twists and cliffhangers, a furious, embattled president who finds new ways to shock while never seeming to change.”
“The show goes on. The ratings are terrific! Trump keeps campaigning for the election that happened nine months ago, determined to keep that feeling alive.”
“The spectacle, by now, is deeply familiar. But it retains the power to shock. This is the Trump show, the neverending Trump show, and we’re all still glued to our seats.”
Jason Zengerle: “No matter the circumstances of Trump’s exit — whether he leaves early or not — Pence will inherit a hangover. Recall Gerald Ford’s efforts, in the wake of Watergate, to declare that America’s long national nightmare is over.’ Pence might need to do something similar… If Trump were to resign or be forced from office, Republicans would struggle in the long shadow of scandal and turmoil — and nobody would be more enveloped in it than Pence himself.”
“Consensus holds that Pence would want to surround himself with new staff — particularly Republican heavyweights, aides and operatives of the stature and pedigree that Trump wasn’t able to lure to the White House…. Surprisingly, one high-profile survivor might be Kellyanne Conway, who served on Pence’s gubernatorial campaign as a pollster. At one point she even urged him to run for president in 2016, and later she talked him up to Trump during the veep search.”