Wow! The Trump Administration Can Keep A Secret!

CIA Chief Pompeo Secretly Met Kim Jong-Un In North Korea Over Easter Weekend


This White House is normally leakier than a rusty bucket, but this confab to pave the way for a summit between Trump and North Korea’s leader, was pulled off by the CIA Director (and Secretary of State nominee) in near-complete secrecy. CNN reporting Pompeo’s success in keeping the mission hush-hush may lie in the fact that he took no one from the White House with him, just intelligence personnel.


CIA Chief Mike Pompeo at Secretary of State Confirmation Hearing last week


Until Trump himself kind of spilled the beans during his “golf summit” with Japanese Prime Minister Abe at Mar-a-Lago. Trump saying of North Korea: “we’ve had direct talks at very high levels–extremely high levels“, which sent reporters scrambling to decipher just who and what he was talking about. The news of the Pompeo/Kim meeting coming just a few hours later.


Trump and Abe bond over golf during President’s Asia trip last November


Even media in South Korea and Japan, which monitor North Korea extremely closely seemed totally caught by surprise: mostly relying on reports of the meeting in U.S. media this morning.

Trump said he also gave South Korea his “blessing” to negotiate an end to the Korean War with the North. The Korean War stopped with a cease-fire which is still in effect today, but a formal treaty has never been signed.

And, more characteristically, Trump took credit (or rather said South Korea was giving him all the credit) for the Winter Olympics there being a success.

The White House is aiming for the summit between Trump and Kim to happen in early June. One thing they’re keeping mum about is where, most likely because that hasn’t been settled on yet. It seemed unlikely Kim would leave North Korea, until he just did, traveling to Beijing for a quick summit with President Xi of China. And perhaps not coincidentally, Japanese and South Korean newspapers are reporting today that President Xi plans to return the visit and journey to North Korea as soon as Kim’s meeting with Trump is over.




 Trump Does A Complete 360 On Trade Deal


Last week, when Trump ordered his chief trade negotiator to explore the U.S. rejoining the Trans Pacific Partnership if the move sufficiently irritated China, we cheered his flexibility, but also expressed some skepticism, given who his audience was at the time: Governors and Members of Congress from farm states. Their livelihoods are most immediately under threat if Trump’s trade war escalates and retaliatory tariffs are slapped on U.S. goods. Particularly by China which imports a lot of agricultural products from the U.S.

At the time we wrote: “Trump’s famous for throwing around all kinds of unexpected notions only to renege later on, so there’s no guarantee anything in this vein will ever happen. (And this event was clearly meant to be a “love fest” to combat criticism that Trump’s screwing over farmers who by-and-large supported him big-time).

But we were hopeful, as we’re sure the people in the room with the President were that day too.

Now Trump Tweets:


So much for that!



Trump’s “Guy” On The Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of Immigrants, Sort Of…


Neil Gorsuch was the deciding vote in striking down a law that’s been used to deport immigrants convicted of various crimes. Gorsuch agreed with the court’s more Liberal members that the law was too vague. “Vague laws invite arbitrary power”, he wrote.

Trump Tweeted in response for Congress to “quickly pass a legislative fix”, but nothing directly about Gorsuch (no ‘nickname’ or anything like that).

Does this mean Gorsuch has “flipped” and is not the Justice the President measured him out to be? Not at all. It simply means on civil liberties and issues of due process, Liberals and Libertarians are often very close together, despite the chasm separating them on almost everything else.



Barbara Bush Passes Away At The Age Of 92…


Here is an obit from the New York Times, a profile from the Washington Post, and some cool photos:


We picked a segment from a C-SPAN interview she did a few years ago, in which she describes a very controversial commencement speech she gave at Wellesley College, for several reasons. And also proved to be an enduring lesson in leadership. (Click on the photo to watch, and be sure to stick around to the end for the “punchline”):