“We had some options, but at this time we decided not to do any of the options,” Trump said. He added, “Sometimes you have to walk, and this was just one of those times.”
For Trump, the surprising turn of events amounted to a diplomatic failure. The president flew 20 hours to Vietnam with hopes of producing demonstrable progress toward North Korea’s denuclearization, building upon his first summit with Kim last summer in Singapore.
The premature end to the negotiations leaves the unusual rapprochement between the United States and North Korea that has unfolded for most of a year at a deadlock, with the North retaining both its nuclear arsenal and facilities believed to be producing additional fissile material for warheads.
It also represents a major setback at a difficult political moment for Mr. Trump, who has long presented himself as a tough negotiator capable of bringing adversaries into a deal and had made North Korea the signature diplomatic initiative of his presidency.
Even as the talks began, Mr. Trump’s longtime lawyer and fixer, Michael D. Cohen, was delivering dramatic and damaging testimony in Congress, accusing him of an expansive pattern of lies and criminality.
Word of the collapse of the Hanoi talks sent stocks lower in Asia, and Wall Street futures were down as the opening bell neared.
Mr. Trump had flown across the world to try to work face-to-face with Mr. Kim for the second time, an effort to reduce what American officials regard as one of the world’s foremost nuclear threats. Experts estimate that the North has 30 to 60 nuclear warheads as well as intercontinental ballistic missiles that can hit the United States, though it has not demonstrated the technology to protect warheads as they re-enter the atmosphere.
In other international news, Trump/Kushner close friend Benjamin Netanyahu has been indicted. The Times of Israel: Netanyahu to stand trial for bribery, fraud and breach of trust, pending hearing.
In a decision that drastically shakes up Israeli politics less than six weeks before general elections, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit announced Thursday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be charged with criminal wrongdoing in three separate cases against him, including bribery in the far-reaching Bezeq corruption probe, pending a hearing.
The decision marks the first time in Israel’s history that a serving prime minister has been told he faces criminal charges, and casts a heavy shadow over Netanyahu’s re-election campaign.
Netanyahu will be charged with fraud and breach of trust in Cases 1000 and 2000, and bribery, fraud and breach of trust in Case 4000, unless he can persuade Mandelblit to reconsider in the course of the hearing process.
The attorney general detailed the allegations in a 57-page document that was released on Thursday evening.
Mandelblit, in his decision, wrote that according to suspicions the prime minister “damaged the image of the public service and public trust in it” and is suspected of abusing his position and status, and of “knowingly taking a bribe as a public servant in exchange for actions related to your position.”
If Israel can indict Netayahu, then the U.S. should be able to indict Trump.
Some reactions to Michael Cohen’s testimony:
Barbara McQuade at The Daily Beast: The Case Against Trump Has Never Been Stronger After Cohen Testimony.
One brick does not make a wall, but many bricks do.
When I was a federal prosecutor, a supervisor of mine frequently used this metaphor to remind us that one piece of evidence alone is rarely enough to prove a crime, but enough pieces of evidence are sufficient to prove guilt.
Michael Cohen’s public testimony on Wednesday did not constitute a wall of evidence, but it did provide several new bricks that could be used to build a case against President Donald Trump. Depending on other evidence in the hands of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, these pieces of evidence may be enough to prove Trump guilty of criminal or impeachable offenses.
Trump’s former lawyer testified about several facts that are significant bricks in the figurative wall of evidence.
First, Cohen testified that he was present when Trump spoke to Roger Stone on speakerphone in July 2016, when Stone said that he had talked to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange about an upcoming “massive dump of emails that would damage Hillary Clinton’s campaign.” According to Cohen, this call came just days before the Democratic National Convention. If Cohen is correct on the timing, this event also occurred after the DNC had announced in June that it had been hacked by Russia, and so Russia’s involvement in the release would have been known by Trump. Cohen said that Trump responded by saying words to the effect of “wouldn’t that be great.”
Read the rest at the link. It’s interesting.
Joyce White Vance at The Washington Post: Yes, Michael Cohen’s a liar and a criminal. So how come you believed him?
Michael Cohen’s testimony before the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday was a master class in how prosecutors can present cooperating witnesses who have lied and engaged in criminal conduct, and use their testimony to obtain convictions from juries. This is stock-in-trade for prosecutors because of one simple truth: Choirboys don’t often end up in the middle of criminal conspiracies. Prosecutors don’t pick their witnesses; defendants do.
Although Cohen, President Trump’s former fixer and personal attorney, did not testify in a criminal trial, under questioning from a prosecutor, but rather in a congressional proceeding, under questioning from lawmakers, what we saw was an example of how someone who has stood before a judge at the lowest moment of his life, acknowledging participation in criminal acts, can become a credible witness.
It is the very fact of a defendant’s criminality that creates the baseline for this transformation. Prosecutors require witnesses with firsthand knowledge. Witnesses with firsthand knowledge are mostly high-level participants in serious crimes. But how does the conversion take place? How does a defendant who has been involved in sustained criminal activity, who has threatened people, who has lied, who has participated in fraud and is generally subject to being excoriated on cross examination by the defense because of that behavior, become a witness whom jurors, or a country, can believe, even if they don’t like him or his conduct?
It starts with the nonnegotiable commitment by the defendant to cooperate fully and truthfully, to assist as requested in other investigations and cases. We know that the office of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III believes that Cohen did this — it told us so in its sentencing recommendation for him. Cohen himself told us on Wednesday that he was in “constant contact” with prosecutors in the Southern District of New York. To be caught lying again can render the cooperator potentially unredeemable — a Paul Manafort, so to speak.
Again, there’s much more at the link.
Charles Pierce lambastes the Republicans who neither addressed Cohen’s testimony, nor defended Trump: The Republican Party Completely and Utterly Disgraced Itself at Michael Cohen’s Hearing.
On July 24, 1974, a congressman named Thomas Railsback leaned into the microphone in front of him on the broad, curving dais of the House Judiciary. Railsback was a Republican from Moline, Illinois. The issue before him that night was whether to vote to send to the full House of Representatives articles of impeachment against Richard Nixon, a Republican from California who, at that moment, was the President of the United States. You could see the anguish on Railsback’s face the way you can see the current still running in a river that is only thinly iced. “I wish,” Railsback said in a ragged voice,”that the president could do something to absolve himself.” Then, Tom Railsback, Republican of Illinois, voted “Yea” on all three articles of impeachment against Richard Nixon.I mention this bit of history only to illustrate how utterly and completely the Republican Party disgraced itself on Wednesday when Michael Cohen, the current president*’s former king fixer, sat before the House Oversight Committee to describe some of the garish and baroque offenses against the law and the republic committed by Donald Trump. There was not a single Railsback to be found. Not one Republican asked a question about the specific offenses that Cohen had illuminated in his opening statement.Instead, they hammered away at Cohen’s own crimes—which, of course, did nothing but remind the folks watching at home on whose behalf Cohen had told so many lies and paid off so many women. They spent great chunks of their time trying to get Cohen to promise he wouldn’t sign a book deal after he gets out of the federal sneezer in three years. Rep. Michael Cloud of Texas told Cohen that any subsequent book deal would be “kind of sweet,” as though he’d be willing to spend three years in a federal prison if an editor from Random House would be waiting on the day he got out.
Read the rest at Esquire.
It’s been an exciting week so far. I wonder if we’ll get any news from the Special Counsel’s office tomorrow? What stories have you been following?
An update to the WaPo story in the post:
It seems Trump lied again.
Or DPRK is making it up as they go along, too. Not that it matters how many participants are lying when the whole thing was a lie.
It is shocking to me how they seem to be concerned with how the Netanyahu indictment will affect politics but not with the underlying truth of the allegations.
Love the illustrations of women reading. The Mentha painting looks like it’s in the study of one of those natural philosophy gentlemen or -women of the 18th & 19th centuries. And I especially like the lighting in the Shikler painting.
Yes, BB can always pick peace bringing pictures that I want to jump into.
That Railsback and the Nixon impeachment story … Wish we had Republicans like Railsback these days.
Netanyahu’s indicted, and Trump is long overdue for indictment. Will knowing that their country has company in corruption on the world stage do anything to help Republicans face up to their own corrupt leader?
I doubt it.
CPAC is meeting in Dayton and the interviews with attendees basically show that they don’t care what Trump says or does as long as the Federal courts are stacked with religious freaks who will uphold the white evangelical world view. The best news is that it looks like a rally at a rest home so they’re definitely not going to be around for that much longer. May our children get a better future from their trip to hell.
I was wondering who on earth would attend that. They even had Gorka as a speaker. I repeat – who on earth would attend that? May our children get a future that does not include CPAC or the NRA.
Van Jones appeared at CPAC. That guy has completely lost it.
Dayton Ohio? The Klan was just in Dayton. Coincidence? Cue Twilight Zone Music.
Yikes! Probably not a coincidence.
I wasn’t a 90210 fan, but this is sad. He seems young to have a stroke.
A homeless woman in California was buried in snow while sleeping in her car.
WCVB Boston: Snowplow driver hits car buried in snow, finds woman alive inside
I’m heartsick. After the explosive testimony and the powerful closing remarks of Rep. Cummings (and his charge to the Media) I didn’t expect CNN to be all business as usual. I know I’m a fool.
That’s the advantage of having our warriors, Dakinikat, BB, and Minx, working at the coalface for us and letting us know what happened minus the crap.
Big Media are so allergic to acknowledging reality it’s almost like they’re afraid the space-time continuum will implode if they do. Maybe theirs would, come to think of it.
Thanks for the kind words, Quixote.
Yes, thank you Q…
We found out today from my mom’s cancer doctor that her cancer has spread. There is nothing else they can do for her. She is starting Homestead Hospice now…where they will keep her comfortable. Dr said she has under six months. Anyway, I just wanted you all to know, and that I care very much for you all as well.
Oh, JJ. Gentle hugs. I wish I could be there to give you a hug in person and listen to you, or be with you in silence, whichever you feel like.
I wish they wouldn’t say “there is nothing else we can do” when they mean there is nothing which can cure or delay the disease. Comfort care is something which can and should be done. As for the 6-month expectancy, that is a guess. Hospice isn’t covered unless the provider states there is ~6 months life expectancy. Some people have more time; some less. Humans aren’t machines. Hospice can always be extended.
I’m so sorry, JJ. I love you.
Oh no. There’s never any words. Strength to you, cybersister.
CNN is no longer worth watching IMO – I quit watching them in 2008 probably. Their recent hire of Sarah Isgur and let’s not forget the lovely Les Moonves – sexual predator and Dump pimp for ratings (FK the USA…..)
Sad – they were once a good network and a source of pride for ATL.
So sorry about the double post. I’m having real troubles with WordPress these days.
I very often feel we have arrived at a full stop bombshell only for them to carry on as if nothing has happened.
Kind of like the kid in the storybook, “The Geranium On The Windowsill Just Died But Teacher You Went Right On.”
I expect a tipping point that we never get.
Yeah. I figured this freak show would last three months, six months tops, before it was so obvious *everyone* said, “Whoa. Time to get real.”
Here we are, two+ years later and plenty of people talking about how Traitor Tot could “win” “re-election”.
Yes. There is no end to the corruption and fraud, to inciting violence, to horrible legislation/executive orders/judicial placements. None of the checks and balances we thought would prevent or correct Trump have worked.
Sue – I am also having WordPress weirdness that past few weeks. I have to give my email and name every time I post a comment. I’m clueless how WordPress works or why it changed recently, although I did clear my cache and cookies about the same time it started (not sure about that though).
Do you have a WordPress account? If so, you can go to http://www.wordpress.com and sign in. If not, you can register for an account.
If you clear your cache, you will have to sign back in to WordPress. I have to do it a lot.
No problem. I can delete one of them.
Interesting articles by Joyce Vance and Barbara McQuade. I watch MSNBC when I’m not too frazzled and they along with Jill Wine Banks are always informative and interesting.
Those lady lawyers are my lifesavers.
House committees are getting real.
The Daily Beast: House Intel Will Call Trump Org Moneyman Allen Weisselberg To Testify
Politico: House Oversight seeks interviews with Ivanka Trump, Don Jr.
So Gen. Kelly folded. He should have blown this story sky-high right before he resigned. Coward.
Rex Tillerson was right. “Trump is an F’ing moron!”
Lies like this should get the liar a lightning bolt.
Such reverence for life, eh. Whereas putting kids in cages is just fine and dandy, as is pricing meds so high their family can’t afford them and the kid dies from lack of insulin.
This morning in the car, my utter loathing for commercials drove me to “wait it out” on MSNBC while “Morning Joke” was on.
I got the hear MIka Braindeadski lecturing Rashida Tlaib about how she took too long to apologize to for calling Agent Orange an MF, and how she was too quick to apologize to Meadows for calling him a racist. She stated that these freshman women in congress need to find their voices quick, and she even offered a sample of what Tlaib should have said including, ” as a woman of color I am deeply offended….”
Wha-wha-what! Has she lost her damned mind? Giving a mock speech ON TV in the voice of a woman of color, telling her how she needs to express herself?
It ain’t black face but it reeks of privilege and it is stupid as hell.
The last thing any progressive woman needs, much less a woman of color, is advice from that sleeping with the enemy, Hillary-Hating, Fox News in liberal clothing, Becky-splaining idiot.
Stay in your lane a$$hole. Speak for yourself and then shut up. Who the hell does she think she is? I have a suspicion that Rashida Tlaib would eat her for breakfast and make Scarborough clean up the dishes.
The damage done by that fake liberal show is distressing.
Mika and Joe are both sickening assholes. They deserve each other.
Fabulous comment, Ron.
Are people giving her hell on twitter?