This is a moment of great peril for our democracy. Our country is deeply divided. Our national discourse has become coarse, indeed, poisonous. Disunity and dysfunction have paralyzed Congress. And while our attention is focused inward, the world spins on, new authoritarian regimes are born, old rivals spread their pernicious ideologies, and the space for freedom-loving peoples begins to contract violently. At last week’s Munich Security Conference, the prevailing sentiment among our closest allies is that the United States can no longer be counted on to champion liberal democracy or defend the world order we built.
For the past two years, we have examined Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and its attempts to influence the 2018 midterms. Moscow’s effort to undermine our democracy was spectacularly successful in inflaming racial, ethnic and other divides in our society and turning American against American. But the attack on our democracy had its limits. Russian President Vladimir Putin could not lead us to distrust our own intelligence agencies or the FBI. He could not cause us to view our own free press as an enemy of the people. He could not undermine the independence of the Justice Department or denigrate judges. Only we could do that to ourselves. Although many forces have contributed to the decline in public confidence in our institutions, one force stands out as an accelerant, like gas on a fire. And try as some of us might to avoid invoking the arsonist’s name, we must say it. I speak, of course, of our president, Donald Trump.
The president has just declared a national emergency to subvert the will of Congress and appropriate billions of dollars for a border wall that Congress has explicitly refused to fund. Whether you support the border wall or oppose it, you should be deeply troubled by the president’s intent to obtain it through a plainly unconstitutional abuse of power. To my Republican colleagues: When the president attacked the independence of the Justice Department by intervening in a case in which he is implicated, you did not speak out. When he attacked the press as the enemy of the people, you again were silent. When he targeted the judiciary, labeling judges and decisions he didn’t like as illegitimate, we heard not a word. And now he comes for Congress, the first branch of government, seeking to strip it of its greatest power, that of the purse. Many of you have acknowledged your deep misgivings about the president in quiet conversations over the past two years. You have bemoaned his lack of decency, character and integrity. You have deplored his fundamental inability to tell the truth. But for reasons that are all too easy to comprehend, you have chosen to keep your misgivings and your rising alarm private. That must end. The time for silent disagreement is over. You must speak out.
This will require courage. The president is popular among your base, which revels in his vindictive and personal attacks on members of his own party, even giants such as the late senator John McCain. Speaking up risks a primary challenge or accusations of disloyalty. But such acts of independence are the most profound demonstrations of loyalty to country. Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III may soon conclude his investigation and report. Depending on what is in that report and what we find in our own investigations, our nation may face an even greater challenge. While I am alarmed at what we have already seen and found of the president’s conduct and that of his campaign, I continue to reserve judgment about what consequences should flow from our eventual findings. I ask you to do the same.
If we cannot rise to the defense of our democracy now, in the face of a plainly unconstitutional aggrandizement of presidential power, what hope can we have that we will do so with the far greater decisions that could be yet to come? Although these times pose unprecedented challenges, we have been through worse. The divisions during the Vietnam War and the civil rights movement were just as grave and far more deadly. The Depression and World War II were far more consequential. And nothing can compare to the searing experience of the Civil War. If Abraham Lincoln, the father of the Republican Party, could be hopeful that our bonds of affection would be strained but not broken by a war that pitted brother against brother, surely America can come together once more. But as long as we must endure the present trial, history compels us to speak, and act, our conscience, Republicans and Democrats alike.
The Lies Flow Freely from Trump & His Echo
Then he capped off the series with two tweets describing former acting FBI director Andrew McCabe’s discussions about invoking the 25th Amendment as a “coup” and “treason.” Sure, it’s entirely possible Trump’s merely pandering to his base. His only political asset right now is the cult-like loyalty of his Red Hat army, so he’s always force-feeding it plenty of mall steaks to keep the ranks energized. Furthermore, Trump has to know that the only thing keeping him out of federal prison right now is the office of the presidency. His declaration of a national emergency last Friday reinforces both of those goals: It gives the bigots another intravenous fix of anti-Latino racism just in time for the 2020 campaign, and it expands his executive authority as investigators circle the White House. Expanding his power, by the way, is an especially weird goal for the “limited government” conservatives who still support Trump to pursue, but that’s the least of the problems here.
As we’ve seen with other executive actions, Trump’s strategy has been to loosen the ground through endlessly repetitive tweets and rally tantrums. Now, for the first time, Trump is repeatedly tweeting the “deep state coup” meme. For some time now, Fox News and other pro-Trump outlets have been floating this counterpoint to the various investigations into Trump’s crimes, seeking to convince voters and news media people that “coup” is an adequate explanation for why every entity linked to Trump — the Trump Organization, the White House, the Trump Foundation, the Trump campaign, the Trump family — is under intense scrutiny. It can’t possibly be that Trump’s been a professional con man for 40 years and his chickens have finally come home to roost. Instead, it has to be that the federal government, including Trump’s hand-picked “best people,” are seeing evidence that Trump broke the law on innumerable fronts. Nevertheless, as I’ve been warning about since 2017, the “deep state coup” narrative is taking shape. It behooves Trump, both politically and legally, to feverishly climb aboard.
Once enough of us are accustomed to the idea, and once he’s bludgeoned the news media with enough fake charges against his enemies to justify arrests, whether by the military or otherwise, his next move is — well, possible, but almost unthinkable. It’s only a matter of time before we grow desensitized to this degree of overreach by the president. It won’t require much to take the next step. We’ve seen it elsewhere, whether in Turkey or the Philippines or, naturally, from Trump’s commanding officer, Vladimir Putin. Is it so unheard of here, with our president issuing four statements in two days accusing his enemies of retribution and coup attempts, and threatening them with jail? We used to think such threats themselves weren’t possible. Now, they’re just another part of our day. To make matters worse, the president’s surrogates are busily trying to undermine sound and constitutional remedies for despotism, namely the 25th Amendment and Article II, Section 4 — the impeachment language. You’ve probably overheard more than a few Red Hat pundits hilariously suggesting that the 25th is unconstitutional even though it’s literally in the Constitution. And no, it’s not against the law for FBI officials to wonder out loud whether Cabinet officials would vote to invoke presidential removal under that amendment.
But Trumpers want as many voters as possible to believe it’s an outrageous act, thus eliminating it as a viable political solution. The same goes for impeachment, which was written into the Constitution for a reason and not as a colonial joke. All told, ever since Robert Mueller was appointed we’ve all wondered out loud whether Trump would get crazier and more dictatorial as investigators closed in. I think we have a clear answer to this question. The only remaining question is whether he’ll actually take the next step following the threats. I choose to rule nothing out. The best approach now is to keep our eyes open and to be proactive. Rather than waiting for Andrew McCabe to be mysteriously disappeared or for Mueller to be arrested and tried in a kangaroo court, activists need to get ahead of this while they still can.
It’s Like Coats was Talking to the Wall
Some Corrupt GOP Politicians are Liars to Their Core
The House Freedom Caucus immediately comes to mind, but they’re not the only ones. A mole who abuses the rule of law & defiles the Constitution in servitude to an evil demagogue should be prosecuted: devin-nunes-was-
As the Watergate scandal unfolded, Republican allies of President Richard Nixon raised questions about the partisan leanings of investigators and sought to undermine some of their conclusions. One thing they didn’t do: Investigate the investigators. But as Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election progressed over the past two years, GOP lawmakers sought to defend President Donald Trump in part by digging into the investigation itself, something historians say is unprecedented in American politics. As documented in the New York Times this week, the president’s allies in Congress have opened investigations into the FBI’s handling of investigations into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, received private texts from the Justice Department between two FBI officials involved in the Russia case, gone after sensitive Justice Department documents about the start of the investigation and trusted informants, and threatened to hold the deputy attorney general in contempt of Congress for refusing to provide certain documents.
Historians say this marks a new era of hyperpartisanship that will likely erode trust in traditionally independent law enforcement agencies. “What Republicans have done recently is to take the whole thing to a totally new level, in that they have not just said that the Congress is being pushed by partisan incentives, but they’ve really gone hard after the law enforcement institutions,” says Julian Zelizer, professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University. This is all evidence of “partisanship on steroids in terms of how you defend a president who is being investigated,” adds Zelizer. “It’s not just they’re even saying this on television, they’ve been investigating. They’ve been trying to use oversight as an arm of the president’s own agenda.” Since Democrats took control of the House of Representatives in January, Republican lawmakers have found these investigations curtailed. But unconfirmed reports that Mueller may be finishing up his work soon have renewed questions about how Congress will respond if Trump is found to have been involved in some wrongdoing. The rhetoric has been remarkably similar to the Watergate era. Nixon’s allies in Congress levied some of the same criticism against Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox that Republicans use today about Mueller, explains Ken Hughes, an expert on Watergate at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center.
Many Republicans stuck by Nixon until irrefutable evidence emerged of his guilt: a taped conversation in which Nixon told his chief of staff to ask the acting director of the FBI to halt the investigation into the Watergate break-in. “For a very long time, when there was a whole lot of evidence of wrongdoing going up to the presidential level, a majority of Republicans stuck with President Nixon for partisan reasons,” says Hughes, who spoke with TIME as part of a presidential history partnership. But historians note that congressional Republicans under Nixon didn’t use their oversight powers to try to interfere with the Watergate investigation as some House Republicans are doing today with Mueller, in part because they weren’t able to: Democrats controlled both chambers of Congress during Watergate. “Nixon did not have congressional attack dogs,” says Timothy Naftali, history professor at New York University and co-author of the 2018 book “Impeachment: An American History.” “He had defenders, who were quite vocal in their defense of him, but they did not engage in smear tactics in the kind of aggressive crusade that [GOP California Rep.] Devin Nunes and Gaetz and [GOP Ohio Rep. Jim] Jordan and [GOP North Carolina Rep. Mark] Meadows apparently have engaged in.”
This will be immensely appealing to Trump’s conservative base. As Trump has learned, attacking the “fake news media” is the reddest of red meat and has the added advantage of feeding his own obsession with discrediting his critics. Having marinated in distaste for the media for years, conservatives will be tempted by the opportunity to strip the press of its legal protections. But embracing the Trump/Thomas position would be a dangerous and ultimately self-defeating mistake. It would also be an ironic retreat on the issue of free speech. In recent years conservatives have embraced the First Amendment to push back against the stifling environment on some university campuses; and have adopted sweeping interpretations of its protection on free speech to invalidate a host of campaign finance laws.
In the very recent past, conservatives were appalled and outraged by suggestions that the federal government restore the Fairness Doctrine as a way of regulating and reining in conservative talk radio. They rightly saw the doctrine as restoring a form of “speech police,” who could be used to chill and harass the expression of unpopular (read conservative) opinion. Pre-Trump, conservatives understood that their support for a free press was based on both principle and prudence. A weapon that can be used to shutter liberal media outlets can just as easily be turned against conservative activists, publications, and outlets. Lawsuits are unlikely to put the New York Times or CNN out of business, but can the same be said of outlets like Breitbart, the Drudge Report, or the Daily Caller?
Billionaire litigants could make life miserable for Jim Acosta or Rachel Maddow; but billionaires on the left could also bankroll devastating legal attacks on talk radio hosts and right-leaning bloggers. The schadenfreude on both sides would be exceptional, but the price tag for democratic debate would be catastrophic. So conservatives will once again face a choice in the Age of Trump, and this one may be distasteful for some, because they would be siding with the folks in the media they have been taught to loathe. But this is the price of freedom and it is the genius of the Constitution that they claim to revere. By all means, conservatives should continue to criticize media malpractice when they see it; but they also need to reaffirm their support for “the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open.” It was, after all, Ronald Reagan who declared: There is no more essential ingredient than a free, strong and independent press to our continued success in what the Founding Fathers called our ‘experiment’ in self-government.
A real estate insider told me back in the 1980s that Trump’s win-at-all-costs father, Fred, “loves a crook and he loves a showman.” Donald Trump has built his extraordinary career by exhibiting the characteristics of both. He is a self-promoter willing to lie, swindle and destroy to advance his insatiable self-interest. I am not the first journalist to observe that for Trump, the “Art of the Deal” has been the art of the con. But as the first journalist to enable the consummate con man’s career-boosting deceptions, I have a completist’s view of the pernicious racket that is his playbook. Here, in roughly chronological order, are the six essential cons around which Trump has built and sustained his success:
Con No. 1: To borrow billions, Trump lies to inflate his net worth.
Con No. 2: To avoid taxes, Trump lies to deflate his net worth.
Con No. 3: To be a winner, Trump makes losers of those he does business with.
Con No. 4: To win in politics, Trump makes voters believe that his presidency benefits them.
Con No. 5: To avoid accountability, Trump makes the media, and truth, the “enemy of the people.”
Con No. 6: To stoke fear, Trump recasts perpetrators as victims.
Veteran journalist and Donald Trump biographer David Cay Johnston weighed in on the president’s mental health and fitness for office in an interview with The Intercept published Thursday. According to Johnston, Trump is a “clear and present danger” to the United States, and to the world. The journalist — who has been covering Donald Trump since the 1980s — said that Trump believes that he is genetically superior and smarter than everyone else, which is why he has long held the belief that he should be running the entire world, and not just the United States. “Donald has always been deeply mentally ill. He literally believes that he should be running not just the U.S. but the whole world, that the rest of us are all fools and idiots, and that he is genetically superior.” Johnston explained that the Trump family believes in the “horse race breeding theory of genetics,” which is why the president frequently claims to be an expert on various subjects he is actually not at all familiar with. The bigger danger, according to Trump’s biographer, is the fact that many of the president’s supporters believe that he is indeed an expert and the fact that the majority of Americans — unlike Canadians or Europeans, for instance — do not have critical thinking skills. Johnston also suggested that Donald Trump might be abusing drugs. The journalist noted that he has no proof to back up his claims, but explained that the president’s behavior — during the 2016 presidential debates, for example — indicates that he may be on drugs.
“He often talks like somebody who seems to be under the influence of drugs beginning with his repeated sniffling during one of the presidential debates to when he goes off in sing-song fashion as he did in the Rose Garden a few days ago,” Johnston said. The journalist added that he thinks Donald Trump’s mental health has deteriorated, along with his cognitive abilities, claiming that the president is no longer capable of “keeping together a long string of thoughts.” Johnston also discussed Trump’s closest allies, like Vice President Mike Pence, opining that none of them are stepping up and opposing the president or his agenda because Trump has surrounded himself with yes-men who are not willing to stand up to him. None of them, Pence included, are qualified for their positions, according to the journalist. The writer concluded the interview by explaining that Donald Trump lives in his own parallel reality, that he “never learns anything,” and doesn’t care for objective facts. “Donald has a completely unstructured mind. He never studied. He never learns anything,” he said. David Cay Johnston is not the first person to publicly warn about Donald Trump’s allegedly deteriorating mental health and unfitness for office. As detailed by a previous Inquisitr report, Yale psychiatrist Bandy X. Lee has long urged that U.S. lawmakers seek help from mental health experts in order to properly deal with Donald Trump and counter his worst impulses.
Blatant Lies on Election Fraud
Thursday’s announcement that last year’s congressional race in North Carolina’s 9th District would need to be rerun marks the first time in more than 40 years that a federal race will get a do-over — and perhaps the first time in American history that one would be thrown out because of possible fraudulent activity. That means the candidate in the lead, Republican Mark Harris, won’t see his victory certified. He has only his own campaign to blame. It was someone working with his campaign who allegedly collected absentee ballots that were then altered or destroyed. Harris is a Republican, though, which means other Republicans have stayed mum about his situation. On Friday, President Trump didn’t have that option. A reporter asked him during a meeting in the Oval Office why he hadn’t condemned the alleged fraud that took place.
“Well, I condemn any election fraud,” he began, which was a good place to start — before fritzing off the launchpad and spiraling in a thousand different directions. “And when I look at what’s happened in California with the votes,” he continued, “when I look at what happened — as you know, there was just a case where they found a million fraudulent votes, when I look at … what’s happened in Texas, when I look at that catastrophe that took place in Florida, where the Republican candidates kept getting less and less and less and less, and fortunately [Sen.] Rick Scott and [Gov.] Ron [DeSantis] ended up winning their election, but it was disgraceful what happened there.
“So I look at a lot of different places all over the country,” he said. “I condemn any voter fraud of any kind, whether it’s Democrat or Republican, but when you look at some of the things that happened in California in particular, when you look at what’s happened in Texas with all of those that they recently found that were not exactly properly done, I condemn all of it, and that includes North Carolina. If anything, you know, I guess they’re going to be doing a final report, but I’d like to see the final report. But any form of election fraud I condemn.” This is all oddly reminiscent of his comments following the violent protests in Charlottesville in August 2017. Something demonstrably bad happened in North Carolina, to the point that a nearly unprecedented event in American history will take place — but Trump equated it with a bunch of exaggerated things that he’d rather talk about. There was “blame on both sides” he said in 2017 and, in not so many words, now. Trump has a habit of condemning all sides in a way that places the brunt of the condemnation on the things he dislikes the most. As for the equivalences he drew Friday? Put bluntly, they are almost entirely unfounded.
Abusing an Intern
No, this isn’t another President Clinton-Lewinsky type of abuse, but it’s abuse nonetheless. The staff at the White House work for the American people, so once they leave it seems un-American to force their silence. The Trump administration practically puts a gag order on their ex-staff through those NDA’s, while even resorting to intimidation & threats of lawsuits to stop them from voicing their opinions. These are among the many oppressive measures an autocrat employs to usurp absolute power. As the most corrupt & dishonest presidential administration in modern history, Trump routinely seeks to prevent the truth from coming out. Facts are never friends to this president. See the mistreatment of an intern inside trump-white-house-is-
A former Trump campaign official on Friday gave a jaw-dropping interview with CNN’s Alisyn Camerota in which she described a culture of harassment and intimidation intended to silence anyone who brought complaints about poor behavior from their higher ups. Jessica Denson, a former Trump campaign official in charge of outreach to Hispanic Trump supporters, told Camerota that she is suing to have the nondisclosure agreement she signed voided so she can talk publicly about the mistreatment she received while working for the campaign. “I was subjected to a reign of terror by the man who hired me, a man by the name of Camilo Sandoval,” she said. “He could not stand that a woman whom he had hired, essentially, to be a prop in his data department got a meaningful promotion and was demonstrating her value. And he launched an all-out assault on my character, he tried to steal my personal laptop, he tried to engage other staffers in this theft and hacking of my devices.”
Denson said that she tried to report Sandoval’s harassment to her superiors but was quickly shot down. “I went to the campaign thinking that they would support and protect me,” she said. “And instead, the chief information officer, Jeff DeWit, and the human resources director, Lucia Castellano, completely retaliated against me, took away all the work I was doing, banned me from Trump Tower.” She then described how the Trump campaign served her with an arbitration demand for $1.5 million for allegedly violating her NDA after she filed her lawsuit against them.
Once again, congressional Republicans are facing a gut-check moment, forced to choose between supporting and defending the Constitution or Donald J. Trump. It’s not looking good. House Democrats introduced a joint resolution of disapproval on Friday aimed at canceling President Trump’s bogus national emergency at the southern border. Representative Joaquin Castro of Texas is leading the charge, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi is expediting the measure, which is on track for a floor vote on Tuesday. It is widely expected to pass the chamber, where Democrats have the majority. Once the resolution clears the House, the Senate is required to hold its own vote within 18 days — meaning the majority leader, Mitch McConnell, cannot do his usual stonewalling. Even so, with Republicans in control there, and loath to irk the president, the resolution is widely expected to die. At that point, it will be up to the courts, where multiple suits have already been filed, to grapple with this out-of-control executive.
It is not too late to stop this legislative cop-out. Critical principles are at stake — Congress’s power of the purse, the separation of powers — that transcend any one declaration or leader. Members of both parties need to make clear that a presidential pique is not the same thing as a national emergency, that a president who fails to persuade Congress to support his priorities can’t then simply pursue them by fiat. Lawmakers who cannot rally themselves to this cause should stop pretending that they’re anything more than partisan automatons; they will have declared themselves members of a second-class branch of government. As has often been noted, there is no border emergency, aside from Mr. Trump’s desperation to make good on a rabble-rousing campaign slogan. Having failed to extract billions of taxpayer dollars from Congress for the construction of his wall, the president executed a power grab. Don’t just take our word for it; that’s how Mr. Trump himself explained it in last week’s bizarre Rose Garden emergency declaration. Think of it as the presidential equivalent of phoning 911 because your pizza delivery is taking too long.
And so, in just a few days, Republicans will be unmasked. Those who want conservative judges to uphold the letter of the Constitution, who lambasted President Barack Obama for issuing by executive order the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals and who claim to be defenders of limited government yet nevertheless support a bad-faith invocation of emergency to sidestep the legislative process will be revealed as not just unconservative but anti-democratic (small “d”) and hostile to the Constitution. Now, I suppose in their continual enabling of an authoritarian president with no respect for the norms and institutions of democracy, they have already told us that they don’t believe their own talking points. Having a clean vote, however, will provide an unmistakable and irreversible marker. Does the Republican Party believe in Trump or in the Constitution? I fear it is the former, but I’d be delighted to be proved wrong.
Most Americans do not live in a totalizing bubble. They regularly encounter people of different races, ideologies, and religions. For the most part, they view these interactions as positive, or at least neutral. Yet according to a new study by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) and The Atlantic, a significant minority of Americans do not live this way. They seldom or never meet people of another race. They dislike interacting with people who don’t share their political beliefs. And when they imagine the life they want for their children, they prize sameness, not difference. Education and geography seemed to make a big difference in how people think about these issues, and in some cases, so did age.
One of the many questions the Trump era has raised is whether Americans actually want a pluralistic society, where people are free to be themselves and still live side by side with others who aren’t like them. U.S. political discourse is filled with nasty rhetoric that rejects the value of diversity outright. Yet, theoretically, pluralism is good for democracy: In a political era when the vast majority of Americans believe the country is divided over issues of race, politics, and religion, relationships across lines of difference could foster empathy and civility. These survey results suggest that Americans are deeply ambivalent about the role of diversity in their families, friendships, and civic communities. Some people, it seems, prefer to stay in their bubble.
Probably Another Ballyhooed Photo-Op Circus Act Ahead
The Singapore summit in June was a disingenuous set-up providing a phony talking point, as the two leaders signed a worthless piece of paper, while our prez upon his arrival home claimed North Korea was no longer a nuclear threat. It’s all part of this fantasy-world presidency, where Trump sells his base on the alternate reality they want to hear. Expect more of the same from Vietnam, which gives Trump another diversion while Jong Un gets to be seen by the world as negotiating on equal footing with the leader of the world’s most powerful nation. So both leaders accomplish personal gains, which does nothing to advance the greater good of both nations & the whole world: trump-north-korea-
President Donald Trump is eagerly anticipating his second summit with Kim Jong Un, touting his “really meaningful” relationship with the North Korean strongman and insisting he’s ready to give up his nuclear arsenal. In Washington, he’s pretty much the only one who feels that way. Many, including several of the president’s top advisers, are less excited. Some have expressed trepidation not only that the summit, scheduled to take place next week in Hanoi, may not yield big results. They worry, too, that Trump, eager to declare victory on the world stage, could make big concessions in exchange for empty promises of denuclearization. The push for a second summit came almost entirely from the president himself, according to current and former White House officials — but Trump remains undeterred. He has gushed about the “wonderful letters” he has received from Kim, as well as the “good rapport” he has developed with the North Korean leader and the enormous media coverage the event in Vietnam’s capital is likely to attract. Trump even bragged, in a phone call Tuesday with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, that he is the only person who can make progress on denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, according to a person briefed on the conversation, and complained about negative news coverage he has received.
Inside the administration, concern about the upcoming summit has come from predictable skeptics, including national security adviser John Bolton, a longtime opponent of diplomacy with North Korea, but also from unexpected corners. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the man charged with leading the negotiations, has expressed frustration to allies about the lack of diplomatic progress and voiced concern that his boss will get outmaneuvered, according to a source with direct knowledge of the conversations. Other top officials, such as former Defense Secretary James Mattis, simply worked to keep as much distance from the negotiations as possible. “There is not optimism in the administration,” said Ian Bremmer, founder and president of the Eurasia Group. “Pompeo is deeply skeptical that we are going to get anything of substance on denuclearization from Kim Jong Un, and Pompeo believes the North Koreans are just playing for time.” The State Department declined to comment. A spokesman for Bolton did not reply to a request for comment.
Bolton said bluntly in December that the North Koreans had not honored even the vague pledge, made in a joint declaration that came out of last year’s Singapore summit, to “work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” Since then, satellite images revealed that North Korea has continued to build out a number of hidden missile bases whose existence it has never acknowledged. “They have not lived up to the commitments so far,” Bolton said at The Wall Street Journal’s annual CEO conference, seeming to distance himself from Trump’s view of the negotiations. “That’s why I think the president thinks another summit is likely to be productive.” The North Koreans’ continuing work on the secret nuclear sites was revealed in a detailed report published by the Beyond Parallel program, run by the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The program’s director, Victor Cha, a former National Security Council official, said he and his colleagues packed the report with detailed images in the hopes of catching the attention of a president who doesn’t read, but responds to imagery, Cha said in an interview on Thursday.