North Korea accused the Trump administration of pushing a “unilateral and gangster-like demand for denuclearization” and called it “deeply regrettable,” hours after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said his two days of talks in the North Korean capital were “productive,” the New York Times reports.
Washington Post: “The mixed messages followed a visit in which Pompeo did not meet with the North Korean leader while in the country and did not secure a breakthrough in forging a shared understanding of denuclearization.”
“Pompeo has come under increasing pressure to produce tangible results from the summit that President Trump quickly touted as a game-changing moment that eliminated North Korea’s nuclear threat.”
— The Atlantic (@TheAtlantic) July 7, 2018
“Democratic senators running for re-election in Trump Country face an agonizing choice over President Trump’s coming Supreme Court nominee: Vote to confirm the pick and risk demoralizing Democratic voters ahead of the midterm elections, or stick with the party and possibly sacrifice their own seats — and any chance at a Democratic majority in 2019,” the New York Times reports.
“The actions of a handful of Senate Democrats struggling to hold their seats in red states where Mr. Trump remains popular — notably Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Joe Manchin III of West Virginia — will have broad implications for the party at a critical political juncture.”
The choice is simple. Stay with the base.
— Talking Points Memo (@TPM) July 7, 2018
“Scott Pruitt resigned as EPA chief Thursday after White House Chief of Staff John Kelly delivered a message from the president that it was time for the scandal-plagued administrator to leave,” Bloomberg reports.
“Pruitt didn’t want to leave his post and was described as being devastated that he had to resign.”
“President Trump wanted Pruitt to leave, after revelations that the administrator’s public schedule had been altered to shield some meetings from public view, they said. Doctored schedules — which could be a criminal violation of the Federal Records Act — were effectively the final straw after a tenure marred by alleged ethical missteps. The administration knew that more damaging reports would emerge soon.”
“President Trump will land in Europe next week amid fears that he will blow up a key summit focused on Europe’s defense and then offer concessions to NATO’s main adversary, Russian President Vladimir Putin,” the Washington Post reports.
“The allies’ worries and Moscow’s hopes are rooted in Trump’s combative approach to foreign policy. In recent days, Trump has told senior aides that he wants to slash U.S. spending on Europe’s defense if the allies are unwilling to contribute more to NATO.”
Government lawyers said that “they cannot locate the parents of 38 migrant children under the age of 5, as a federal judge indicated he is open to extending the deadline for reuniting nearly 3,000 children separated from their mothers and fathers while crossing the US-Mexico border,” NBC News reports.
“For 19 children, their parents have been released from custody into the U.S. and their whereabouts are unknown. The parents of another 19 children have been deported.”
What Donald Trump and Jim Jordan really mean when they say "locker room talk" https://t.co/7fViOLoZhz
— Vox (@voxdotcom) July 7, 2018
“A former Playboy centerfold model has sued a prominent Republican fundraiser, her former lawyer and the lawyer for former adult-film star Stephanie Clifford in connection with the breakdown of a $1.6 million hush-money agreement,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
“At issue in the lawsuit filed under seal by Shera Bechard in Los Angeles County Superior Court against Elliott Broidy, a Los Angeles-based GOP fundraiser and venture capitalist, is their agreement from late last year to not disclose their affair.”
Twitter is finally addressing fake accounts. Trump wants it to go after two specific real ones. https://t.co/dR2hn3uO1s
— Vox (@voxdotcom) July 7, 2018
Bill Frist: “When I retired from the U.S. Senate in 2007 as its majority leader, my parting words were a prayer for my colleagues to rise above the passions of the moment and protect the institution as a bulwark for our country’s enduring values. The Senate I served in was not devoid of partisanship, nor should it be, but my hope was that patriotism would always take priority over party.”
“It is with some trepidation that I offer thoughts on how the good people still serving in the Senate should address a current crisis, but staying silent is no longer an option. Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III is under assault, and that is wrong. No matter who is in the White House, we Republicans must stand up for the sanctity of our democracy and the rule of law.”
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) “is facing the kind of slowly percolating scandal that would bring down other politicians in other times, as new accusers step forward by the day to say the wrestling coach turned politician was aware of sexual misconduct at Ohio State University but did nothing to stop it,” the New York Times reports.
“But like the man Mr. Jordan doggedly supports, President Trump, the Ohio Republican has the kind of stalwart supporters who do not lose faith easily, and they are already defending the conservative powerhouse, saying he is the victim of the same ‘deep state’ conspirators — liberal bureaucrats embedded in the government — who are trying to bring down the President.”
Politico: “Scott Pruitt may be out of the EPA, but that doesn’t mean his troubles are over. Pruitt is still facing more than a dozen federal probes from his tenure as EPA administrator, and EPA’s watchdog and congressional investigators are promising to continue looking into his long list of ethical woes and lavish spending allegations. Those investigations have already prompted Pruitt to turn to an outside attorney for advice and set up a legal defense fund before his resignation.”
“EPA’s inspector general expects to finish and release as many as four separate reports on Pruitt this summer.”
Saturday night special: McConnell is worried Kavanaugh’s long paper trail could let Dems delay a vote & thinks Barrett may lose Collins & Murkowski. And he’s told Trump as much @maggieNYT > https://t.co/QWFLyIm4sX
— Jonathan Martin (@jmartNYT) July 8, 2018
British Prime Minister Theresa May managed to sign up her fractious cabinet to a UK-EU free trade area under a “common rulebook” that will match EU standards on foods and goods, the Guardian reports.
“The plan has alarmed Brexiters, who believe it signals that Britain will in effect remain subject to EU rules and unable to negotiate new trade deals.”
Screw those treasonous Russian Brexiters. They can all move back to Russia.
“President Trump’s lawyers set new conditions on Friday on an interview with the special counsel and said that the chances that the president would be voluntarily questioned were growing increasingly unlikely,” the New York Times reports.
“The special counsel, Robert Mueller, needs to prove before Mr. Trump would agree to an interview that he has evidence that Mr. Trump committed a crime and that his testimony is essential to completing the investigation, said Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s lead lawyer in the case.”
“The United States and China hit each other with punishing tariffs on Friday as the two nations tipped into a long-feared trade war that is only expected to escalate,” the New York Times reports.
“President Trump has said that trade wars are ‘easy to win.’ Now, as he opens a global skirmish with allies and adversaries alike, the question is whether he has a plan to achieve the results he wants or whether he is heading into a costly and futile clash without resolution.”
“The president appears to be betting that threatening trading partners like China, the European Union, Mexico and Canada with tariffs will eventually force them to bend to the United States.”
Just listen to them. Trump has helped poison the minds of the youngest generation of Americans with bigotry in a manner we haven’t seen in a long time from a President. https://t.co/u0ko0VfDII
— Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) July 7, 2018
Some White House officials worry that Russian president Vladimir Putin,” who has held several calls with Trump, plays on the president’s inexperience and lack of detailed knowledge about issues while stoking Trump’s grievances,” the Washington Post reports.
“The Russian president complains to Trump about ‘fake news’ and laments that the U.S. foreign policy establishment — the ‘deep state,’ in Putin’s words — is conspiring against them, the first senior U.S. official said.”
Putin has told Trump: “It’s not us. It’s the subordinates fighting against our friendship.”
“Prosecutors for special counsel Robert Mueller intend to present evidence at the trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort that a banking executive allegedly helped Manafort obtain loans of approximately $16 million while the banker sought a role in the Trump campaign,” CNN reports.
“Manafort faces trial on bank fraud and other financial charges in the Eastern District of Virginia beginning July 25. Until now, there had been no indication that his role in the Trump campaign would become part of the trial, and he had asked the judge to keep details about his ties to President Trump out of the trial.”