Trump says U.S. military ‘ready if necessary’ after cancellation of North Korea summit

America’s nuclear weapons are so “massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never be used,” the president wrote to the North Korean leader.

by Dartunorro Clark /  / Updated 

Image: US North Korea Nuclear Summit

The military “is ready if necessary,” President Trump said in announcing the summit cancellation.NBC Photo Illustration

President Donald Trump on Thursday canceled the planned summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, which was set to take place June 12 in Singapore, and said the American military is prepared to act if there’s any fallout.

Trump said the military “is ready if necessary” to respond to any provocation by North Korea in the wake of the cancellation.  “I’ve spoken to (Defense Secretary) General Mattis and the Joint Chiefs of Staff and our military, which is by far the most powerful anywhere in the world that has been greatly enhanced recently, as you all know, is ready if necessary,” he said.

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Trump Opens Door For U.S. Gun Industry To Sell More Firearms Abroad

Senators and human rights groups worry the proposed rule changes will export the U.S. gun violence epidemic.
By Travis Waldron and Nick Wing
The Trump administration is forging ahead with a previously sidelined plan to allow U.S. gun manufacturers sell their products abroad more cheaply and easily.
The proposed rule, published Thursday in the Federal Register, would shift control of U.S. firearm exports from the State Department to the Commerce Department, in a move the regulatory language said is aimed at reducing “procedural burdens and costs” on American gunmakers doing international business.
The plan would also save the U.S. government money by simplifying the licensing process, according to the proposal.
As a result, gun companies would likely be able to expand foreign sales of popular civilian firearms and accessories that have attracted controversy in the U.S. These include semi-automatic military-style guns like AR-15s, .50 caliber rifles, scopes and certain high-capacity ammunition magazines.
That would be a boon to an industry that has experienced sharp declines in sales since Donald Trump’s won the White House in 2016, after years of record sales driven by fears that former President Barack Obama would tighten gun laws. The Obama administration had mulled a similar export plan during his first term, but abandoned it following the 2012 mass shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.
If the rule change takes effect, foreign arms sales are expected to increase as much as 20 percent, according to the National Sports Shooting Foundation, the gun industry’s trade association. Other arms trade experts have predicted a much smaller boost.
But the plan has also raised concerns among foreign policy experts and some Democratic lawmakers who say that the reduced oversight under the new system could increase gun violence in other nations by putting more powerful weaponry in the hands of human rights abusers and criminal factions, as well as the civilian population.
Direct civilian access to U.S.-made weapons would depend on their nations’ gun laws.
It was already problematic, and now all the indicators are that the gates will open and there won’t be any controls on who gets weapons that are legally exported. John Lindsay-Poland, gun violence researcher
Under the current version of the Arms Export Control Act, the State Department issues licenses and attempts to monitor the flow of U.S. firearms, including who ultimately receives exported guns. Larger arms exports are also subject to scrutiny from Congress and the public, a system that has at times effectively prevented firearms from ending up in the hands of corrupt governments, terrorist organizations and especially violent foreign law enforcement bodies.
In 2016, for instance, Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) blocked a proposed arms export deal between the U.S. and the Philippines, amid reports of human rights abuses by that nation’s police forces.
The Commerce Department, critics of the proposed rule change said, lacks any of the infrastructure or oversight ability to properly monitor what happens to U.S.-made weapons once they leave the country.
“When it comes to Commerce, the inspection program isn’t transparent, it doesn’t report to Congress, and it’s unclear what they do at all,” said John Lindsay-Poland, a researcher for Global Exchange, an international human rights group.
“We anticipate there will be even less oversight by Commerce now than there was by State,” he said. “It was already problematic, and now all the indicators are that the gates will open and there won’t be any controls on who gets weapons that are legally exported.”
Democrats and human rights groups have warned that the rule changes could worsen gun violence problems in foreign countries, particularly in Mexico and other Latin American nations.
The proposed rule change, slated to go into effect no less than a month after a public comment ends in July, would be “extremely hazardous to global security,” Cardin said in a statement.
“Small arms and light weapons are among the most lethal weapons that we and other countries export because these are the weapons that are most likely to be used to commit atrocities and suppress human rights, either by individuals, non-state groups, or governmental security and paramilitary forces,” Cardin said.
House Democrats have introduced legislation to block transferring the arms export oversight to Commerce, but it’s unlikely to advance in the Republican-controlled Congress.
On this one fundamental human concern, the thing that matters most to us, our physical safety, and the physical safety of our loved ones, we don’t lead. Sen. Chris Murphy
From 2009 to 2014, more than 73,000 U.S.-made guns were seized in Mexico, and 70 percent of guns used in Mexican homicides in 2017 were manufactured in the U.S., according to the Violence Policy Center, a nonprofit that advocates for gun control. In past years, more than 90 percent of guns seized in the Bahamas and roughly 80 percent of firearms seized in Jamaica are made in the U.S. And in Brazil, police have reported finding an escalating number of American-made rifles in crimes and shootouts between rival drug gangs.
Many of those guns are illegally smuggled into Latin America. But firearms also reach criminal factions thanks to legal exports and sales to police: in Mexico, more than 20,000 firearms, many of them American-made, have been lost by or stolen from police since 2006, Lindsay-Poland said.
“All of the evidence and experience with gun violence in Latin America indicates that there will be more blood from U.S.-sourced weapons” thanks to the rule change, Lindsay-Poland said.
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a gun control advocate who opposes the proposed rule change, said this week that the U.S. could be on the verge of “exporting” its epidemic of gun violence to other nations.
“We created the modern open economy, we created participatory democracy, we created the internet age, but on this one fundamental human concern, the thing that matters most to us, our physical safety, and the physical safety of our loved ones, we don’t lead,” Murphy said at a forum on the arms trade. “In fact, we do the very opposite. The United States runs at the very back of the pack.”

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Giuliani bubbles over House getting secret Russia docs—and suggests Trump’s team will get them too

BEDMINSTER TOWNSHIP, NJ - NOVEMBER 20: (L to R) President-elect Donald Trump and former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani talk to each other as they exit the clubhouse following their meeting at Trump International Golf Club, November 20, 2016 in Bedminster Township, New Jersey. Trump and his transition team are in the process of filling cabinet and other high level positions for the new administration. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Check out what he’s telling reporters about the documents the House will be allowed to see:

Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani said the documents requested by Trump will “indicate what the informant found.” He also said the memos “should be made available to us on a confidential basis,” he added. “We should be at least allowed to read them so we know this exculpatory evidence is being preserved.” It’s unclear if there were any arrangements made for the White House to view the documents.

So Rudy’s pretty clear that he expects the document request to reveal what the alleged informant “found”, when he made contact with several Trump campaign aides that counterintelligence officials had discovered to have suspicious contacts with Kremlin-tied persons during the Russian campaign to interfere in the U.S. presidential election on Trump’s behalf.

But it’s also clear that he expects “we”, meaning Rudy Giuliani and the rest of Trump’s defense team, will be somehow getting their own look at the classified documents that, at least according to all prior information, would be provided only to House investigators.

Giuliani predicted the Justice Department would place redactions on some parts of the material.“But as long as they turn over the vast majority of it it gives you a real sense” of what the FBI was doing. “The question is what are the justifications for it? Did the justifications continue? Did they pick up anything valuable? That’s the most important thing to do. We think they didn’t.”

It would be unheard of for a White House to be presented with evidence from an ongoing investigation into their own members: Unless Rosenstein and the FBI have completely capitulated to that seemingly illegal order, Rudy seems to believe that Rep. Devin Nunes and his allied House Republicans getting that classified information will naturally result in Rudy Giuliani and the rest of Trump’s legal team being given the details of what’s in those documents. How very informative.

Getting “a real sense” of what the FBI was doing, and whether they “picked up anything valuable”, would certainly be invaluable information to any in the Russia investigation looking to cover their tracks. Knowing what, exactly, prosecutors have been able to find found out gives both foreign actors and Trump’s top campaign advisers, both indicted and not, a clearer picture of what they might have to admit to and what evidence might still be worth destroying. It’s not often that a criminal enterprise or a foreign intelligence operation gets a front-row seat to view the secret evidence investigators have assembled against them, but none of those prior defendants had a sitting president, a House Speaker, and a Senate Majority Leader all working in concert to provide it.

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Richard Painter says there is more evidence against Trump than there was against Nixon

Last Updated May 21, 2018 10:32 PM EDT
In an interview with CBSN’s Elaine Quijano, former White House chief ethics counsel Richard Painter said that there is “far more evidence of abuse of power and obstruction of justice” against President Trump than there ever was against President Richard Nixon.  “We’re well beyond that point and yet the House and the Senate won’t do anything at all,” he said on Monday’s “Red & Blue.”  Painter says that there appears to be “very strong evidence” that Mr. Trump violated the Emoluments Clause through his company’s business dealings with foreign governments and potential violations of the First Amendment through his attempted travel ban.  “Going after President Trump’s abuse of power and violations of the constitution needs to be the number one priority,” he said.

Painter served in the Bush administration from 2005 to 2007 and is now running for U.S. Senate as a Democrat in Minnesota against Sen. Tina Smith, who replaced former Sen. Al Franken after his resignation in January.  He called Mr. Trump’s behavior “unprecedented even in the most conservative circles of the Republican Party” and called on congressional Democrats to be more assertive in calling out the president.  “I think this president is a great risk to our democracy and he has shown that since he was elected,” he said.  Painter said he personally believes that Mr. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence should be removed from office. He also said the president’s “abuse of power in office, his violation of the constitution, his rhetoric … borders on fascist.”

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