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Tillerson: Kim hasn’t yet RSVP’d, you know

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Every stakeholder has had something to say about Donald Trump’s decision to meet with Kim Jong-un — except for one in particular. The South Koreans announced the invitation from the North Korean leader; Trump and his administration made a public show of accepting it; even Russia and China have offered public encouragement. The American media talks continually about it, at least when they take a break from coverage of the more pressing and existential issue of Stormy Daniels.

So who’s the party pooper? Despite rarely missing a chance to comment on events in the region, the Kim regime itself is maintaining a “deafening silence” on the invitation, AFP reports:

Pyongyang has maintained a deafening silence as news that US President Donald Trump will meet its leader Kim Jong Un made global headlines — and analysts say the nuclear-armed North is keeping its powder dry, retaining room to manoeuvre.

Trump last week agreed to meet with Kim by the end of May to discuss Pyongyang’s denuclearisation — which it put on the table in exchange for security guarantees — and predicted the talks would be a “tremendous success”.

But the unorthodox announcement was made on the White House lawn by a South Korean envoy, with no American officials in attendance, and only confirmed by Washington afterwards.

More than 72 hours later, there has been no comment by the North, and nothing on the subject in its official media.

Rex Tillerson confirmed it this afternoon:

That does seem curious, especially given the impulse by DPRK’s state-run media to spin everything for the benefit of Dear Leader. Perhaps they got taken by surprise by the high-profile announcement from South Korea on Thursday, but that doesn’t account for 72 hours of radio silence on the matter. Some are questioning whether Seoul got out ahead of its skis:

“I think North Korea needs time to organize their position and is being careful and cautious in approaching regarding the summit,” said Unification Ministry spokesman Baik Tae-hyn. “In the meantime, the Unification Ministry will play an appropriate (and) central role in carrying out this process.”

Mike Chinoy, CNN’s former senior Asia correspondent and author of “Meltdown: The Inside Story of the North Korean Nuclear Crisis,” said “an asterisk” would hover above the talks until North Korea officially confirms its buy-in. He said that, in delivering the invitation to Trump orally, it was possible that the South Korean envoys may not necessarily have accurately conveyed to the US leader what Kim said, “let alone what he meant,” without a written record of the invitation.

“It’s all well and good that they’re making friendly noises to one another, (but) to take what a South Korean official says at face value without any formal confirmation from Pyongyang is very odd,” he told CNN.

On the other hand, North Korea hasn’t issued any denials, either, despite plenty of opportunities to declare this a false report or a misunderstanding. So why are they being so quiet, especially with Trump making claims about the preconditions of denuclearization being on the table and continuing joint military drills with the South being off limits? Bloomberg’s Kanga Kong suggests that Kim has decided to press forward with a final resolution of the Korean War in order to modernize his economy, and he’s waiting to see what the US will publicly suggest in exchange.

The sources for that are all south of the 38th Parallel, however:

Kim Jong Un wants to sign a peace treaty after meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump, South Korean media reported, reviving a long-held goal of the North Korean regime.

Kim is likely to raise the possibility of a peace treaty, along with establishing diplomatic relations and nuclear disarmament, during a meeting with the U.S. leader, the Dong-A Ilbo newspaper said Monday, citing an unidentified senior official in South Korea’s presidential office. Trump last week agreed to meet Kim, although key details of the summit have yet to be decided.

Koh Yu-hwan, who teaches North Korean studies at Dongguk University in Seoul, said the regime has long sought a peace treaty to end the more than 60-year-old ceasefire between the two sides and help guarantee its safety.

“There were agreements between the U.S. and North Korea to open up discussion on a peace treaty, but they never materialized,” Koh said, saying the conditions were key. “The U.S. wants a peace treaty at the end of the denuclearization process, while for the North, it’s the precondition for its denuclearization.”

Perhaps the answer to the silence is as simple as this old proverb: It is better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt. So far, the US response has been positive and friendly, and that may be all Kim needs at this point. It’s possible — indeed, it’s quite likely — that all Kim really wants out of this meeting is to delay more pressure for several months on either side of a summit that doesn’t produce much of anything. Alternately, it’s also possible that sanctions have finally started to bite on the leadership caste in North Korea, and Kim needs to delay any rebellion by negotiating terms to end the standoff.

For now, though, the regime is keeping quiet. And that deafening silence speaks more to Kim’s need to change the terms of the debate than it does to maintain the status quo.

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Christine Ford Says “There Is Zero Chance” She Would Confuse Kavanaugh with Fellow Student in 36 Yr-Old Incident She Just Remembered 6 Yrs Ago

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Brett Kavanaugh, Georgetown Prep school classmate Chris Garrett

Is this a case of mistaken identity? 

Accuser Christine Blasey Ford is waging a war on Trump’s SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh with decades-old, unsubstantiated claims of sexual assault in an effort to derail his confirmation to the Supreme Court.

Ford says she first remembered the 36-year-old incident just 6 years ago. Ford does not remember where it took place, when it took place, who was there but accused two other males of being present who have vehemently denied her accusations.

Judge Kavanaugh has categorically denied the allegations and even told Senator Orin Hatch he wasn’t at the party in question.

Ed Whelan, Justice Scalia’s former law clerk and president of conservative think tank the Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC), came out in defense of Brett Kavanaugh and said compelling evidence will come out next week exonerating Kavanaugh.


On Thursday afternoon, Ed Whelan started dropping pictures and evidence that may blow Christine Ford’s case wide open.

The “Maryland suburban home”–the scene of the alleged sexual assault described by Christine Ford to WaPo as being ‘not too far from the Columbia Country Club’ may have belonged to Kavanaugh’s friend named Chris Garrett, says Ed Whelan.

On Thursday night Ford’s attorneys insisted Ford knew it was Kavanaugh in the room.
Ford also said she would hang out with both men and socialized with them.

It will be interesting to hear what Judge Kavanaugh has to say about Ford’s latest claims.

The Wall Street Journal reported:

An attorney for Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were teenagers, said Thursday that her appearing at a hearing on Monday to detail her claims is “not possible” but that she could testify later in the week.

Debra Katz, Ford’s lawyer, relayed the response to top staffers on the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, requesting to set up a call with them to “discuss the conditions under which [Ford] would be prepared to testify next week.”…

…Amid the maneuvering, the nomination was roiled further late Thursday by incendiary tweets from a prominent Kavanaugh friend and supporter who publicly identified another high school classmate of Kavanaugh’s as Ford’s possible attacker.

Ed Whelan, a former clerk to the late justice Antonin Scalia and president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, pointed to floor plans, online photographs and other information to suggest a location for the house party in suburban Maryland that Ford described. He also named and posted photographs of the classmate he suggested could be responsible.

Ford dismissed Whelan’s theory in a statement late Thursday: “I knew them both, and socialized with” them, Ford said, adding that she had once visited the other classmate in the hospital. “There is zero chance that I would confuse them.”

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Dianne Feinstein: ‘Twas the media that outed Kavanaugh’s accuser

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Is that right? The way DiFi puts it here, you would think Christine Blasey Ford’s name appeared like a bolt from the blue in the pages of the Washington Post on Sunday afternoon. In reality, the press had spent the previous 72 hours murmuring about a mysterious letter in Feinstein’s possession that may or may not contain a serious allegation against Kavanaugh. No one would say what the letter alleged but the Intercept knew that Feinstein knew something about it. BuzzFeed also knew that Feinstein knew something. Under pressure, Feinstein herself announced that she had finally referred the matter to the FBI. After sitting on it for two months. Six days before the Judiciary Committee was scheduled to vote.

All of which is a long way of asking: Who do you suppose it was that tipped the media to Ford’s accusations, putting them in a position to “out” her at the eleventh hour?

Tom Cotton has a zany theory.

Democrats outed her. Maybe not Feinstein personally or someone acting at her behest, but someone in the Capitol high enough up the chain to have known Ford’s name. (Given that the Intercept and BuzzFeed are both online-only outlets, I’d guess the leaker trended younger.) And the very obvious reason they did so was because they were frustrated that Feinstein had held this weapon for two months and never used it, even during the closed session of Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing, leaving him on track to join the Court before the end of the month. A liberal, possibly on Feinstein’s own staff, shoved Ford into the spotlight for reasons of political expedience. Feinstein can babble all she likes about respecting the privacy of victims but them’s the facts.

Also, not to nitpick, but no one “outed” Ford. Unless I missed something, at no point did any media outlet reveal her identity against her wishes. She chose to speak on the record to WaPo over the weekend after Ronan Farrow and outlets like BuzzFeed came knocking, believing that someone *would* end up revealing her name against her wishes before long. But no one (I think) actually did so before the WaPo story came out. Whether Democrats might have been so frantic to stop Kavanaugh that they would have forced Ford’s name into print if she had declined to speak up this past weekend is a fascinating what-if. Probably they would have — which seems to have been Ford’s conclusion too. Again, so much for the privacy of victims.

Charles Cooke wonders if Ford ever really wanted to testify at all:

Dianne Feinstein has not yet submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee the original letter she was sent by the accuser. The Democratic party is almost universally calling for an FBI investigation that it knows full well is not going to happen, and should not happen, and using its absence as a reason for the hearing to be delayed. And, right on cue, certain figures on the Left have begun to play this both ways: Originally, the lack of an invitation to testify was cast as a “silencing act.” Now, the Senate’s broad invitation to the accuser to testify in whatever way she sees fit is being cast as . . . yes, as a “silencing” act. Perhaps there is something else going on here, but sure looks to me as if the aim is to delay, delay, delay — and keep the accuser as far as is possible from being required to take an oath.

Mark Judge and Patrick Smyth have both submitted statements to Grassley’s committee via counsel, notes Cooke. That’s enough for a criminal indictment if facts emerge to show they’re lying; submitting false information to a congressional panel amounts to lying to a federal official just as submitting false information during an FBI interview does. The one and only player in this drama who has yet to send a statement to the committee, as Cooke points out, is Ford herself. That’s curious, although of course not proof that she’s afraid to tell her story under oath. I think she will testify since that’s the foreseeable outcome of her decision to go on the record with WaPo. She knew that her testimony would be demanded after the story appeared and that it’d look very bad if she refused to provide it. She must have resolved to testify this past weekend, with the last few days of will-she-or-won’t-she drama little more than a PR play to frame the upcoming hearing as unfair no matter what happens.

Here’s Scarborough, who spends most of his time bashing the Trump Party nowadays, crystal clear on who it was that “outed” Ford.

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Sen. Lindsey Graham Fires Off Midnight Tweet: “Kavanaugh Nomination is Still on Track – Stay Tuned!”

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Senator Lindsey Graham; Photo: Twitter avatar

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) fired off a midnight tweet praising President Trump and reassured the American people that Kavanaugh’s nomination is still on track.

“Stay tuned!” Lindsey Graham said.

“Great job tonight by President @realDonaldTrump in Las Vegas laying out how strong America has become economically and how much safer we are with a strong military.”

Graham then said: The President is dead right about Judge Kavanaugh being highly qualified, the right person for the job, and also right about letting process play out.

Kavanaugh nomination is still on track. Stay tuned!


Senator Lindsey Graham was referring to the President’s comments during his rally in Las Vegas wherein he praised Brett Kavanaugh.

Graham has certainly changed his tune as of late–usually no ally to the President, he vowed to get Brett Kavanaugh confirmed as quickly as possible.

Christine Ford has accused–without corroborating evidence–Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her at a drunken high school pool party decades ago.

Accuser Christine Blasey Ford believes she runs the U.S. Senate as she continues to make outrageous demands of how and when her hearing will be held.

The lawyer for Christine Blasey Ford told the Senate Judiciary Committee her demands for her public testimony at a hearing–preeminent is that Judge Brett Kavanaugh testify first and that he not be allowed to be in the hearing room when she testifies, reported TGP’s Kristinn Taylor.

Laura Ingraham reported the scheduled Monday hearing where Kavanaugh and Ford were invited to testify may be postponed. Kavanugh accepted but Ford has declined so far to appear Monday.

“Two sources have told me that @SenateMajLdr is WAVERING and may ask to further delay Monday hearing. GOP base will be in full revolt if so. Tune in tonight!”

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