Aides warned Trump not to attack North Korea’s leader personally before his fiery U.N. address

Considering all the problems with White House leaks, this leak aiming to undermine Trump must mean someone is very angry.  The naming of National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster as one of those warning it could cause a backfire implies it was him who was the leaker (would you leak against someone so senior?)

Russia’s Foreign Minister Lavrov is obviously disgusted at their kindergarten antics too.

http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-fg-trump-northkorea-20170922-story.html

Aides warned Trump not to attack North Korea’s leader personally before his fiery U.N. address

22 Sept 2017

'Dotard' rockets from obscurity to light up the Trump-Kim exchange, sparking a partisan war of words in U.S.

Senior aides to President Trump repeatedly warned him not to deliver a personal attack on North Korea’s leader at the United Nations this week, saying insulting the young despot in such a prominent venue could irreparably escalate tensions and shut off any chance for negotiations to defuse the nuclear crisis.

Trump’s derisive description of Kim Jong Un as “Rocket Man” on “a suicide mission” and his threat to “totally destroy” North Korea were not in a speech draft that several senior officials reviewed and vetted Monday, the day before Trump gave his first address to the U.N. General Assembly, two U.S. officials said.

Some of Trump’s top aides, including national security advisor H.R. McMaster, had argued for months against making the attacks on North Korea’s leader personal, warning it could backfire.

But Trump, who relishes belittling his rivals and enemies with crude nicknames, felt compelled to make a dramatic splash in the global forum.

Some advisors now worry that the escalating war of words has pushed the impasse with North Korea into a new and dangerous phase that threatens to derail the months-long effort to squeeze Pyongyang’s economy through sanctions to force Kim to the negotiating table.

A detailed CIA psychological profile of Kim, who is in his early 30s and took power in late 2011, assesses that Kim has a massive ego and reacts harshly and sometimes lethally to insults and perceived slights.

It also says that the dynastic leader — Kim is the grandson of the communist country’s founder, Kim Il Sung, and son of its next leader, Kim Jong Il — views himself as inseparable from the North Korean state.

As predicted, Kim took Trump’s jibes personally and especially chafed at the fact that Trump mocked him in front of 200 presidents, prime ministers, monarchs and diplomats at the U.N.

Kim volleyed insults back at Trump in an unprecedented personal statement Thursday, calling Trump “a mentally deranged U.S. dotard” and a “gangster” who had to be tamed “with fire.”

Kim’s foreign minister, Ri Yong Ho, threatened to respond with “the most powerful detonation,” a hydrogen bomb test in the Pacific Ocean, according to South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency.

Trump lobbed another broadside Friday, tweeting that Kim “is obviously a madman” who starves and kills his own people and “will be tested like never before.”

The clash may undermine Trump’s other efforts on the sidelines of the General Assembly meetings.

He spent much of Thursday meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-in in an effort to carve out new ways to pressure Kim to freeze or roll back his nuclear program.

On Thursday, Trump announced new U.S. sanctions against other countries, foreign businesses and individuals that do business with North Korea, a move likely to chiefly affect China, Pyongyang’s largest trading partner.

John Park, a specialist on Northeast Asia at Harvard’s Kennedy School, said the tit-for-tat insults have created a “new reality” and probably have shut off any chance of starting talks to curb North Korea’s fast-growing nuclear arms program.

“If the belief centers around sanctions being the last hope to averting war and getting North Korea back to the negotiating table, it’s too late,” Park said.

Since taking office, Kim has pushed the nuclear and missile programs far faster than U.S. experts had expected, sharply accelerating the pace of development and tests. Kim has conducted four of the country’s six nuclear tests.

U.S. officials now believe that North Korea has fully one-third of its economy invested in its nuclear and missile programs.

Trump and his senior aides say Kim has used foreign assistance, including trading subsidies from China, to offset such massive spending. They believe the latest U.S. sanctions, on top of the U.N. sanctions, will help choke off some of that income.

In recent months, Pyongyang has tested its first two intercontinental ballistic missiles, conducted an underground test of what it claimed was a powerful hydrogen bomb, and fired midrange ballistic missiles over northern Japan.

U.S. experts assess that North Korea is six to eight months away from building a small nuclear warhead robust enough to survive the intense heat and vibrations of an intercontinental ballistic missile crossing the Pacific and reaching the continental United States.

Given Kim’s record of putting political rivals and dissenters to death, including members of his own family, his public statement blasting Trump makes it highly unlikely that other North Korean officials would participate in talks about ending the country’s nuclear program, Park said.

“There is no one on the North Korean side who is going to entertain or pursue discussion about a diplomatic off-ramp, because that individual would be contradicting the leader, which is lethal,” Park said.

Trump has returned to rhetoric he’d used during the campaign, when he called Kim a “madman playing around with nukes” and a “total nut job.”

But Trump also praised Kim at the time, saying during a Fox News interview last year that Kim’s “gotta have something going for him, because he kept control, which is amazing for a young person to do.”

The president has been fixated on the threat from Pyongyang since taking office.

Trump “rarely lets me escape the Oval Office without a question about North Korea,” CIA Director Mike Pompeo said in July at a national security forum in Aspen, Colo. “It is at the front of his mind.”

But Trump also has expressed frustration at the failure of previous administrations to block North Korea’s advances in ballistic missile and nuclear technology despite negotiations, sanctions, export controls, sabotage and other efforts.

President Clinton, and then President George W. Bush, engaged in two major diplomatic initiatives to convince North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons efforts in return for aid. Both initiatives ultimately collapsed. President Obama reportedly tried cyber-sabotage.

Obama warned Trump before he took office that North Korea would be his most pressing international concern, and the new president was alarmed to learn how close Kim was to developing an intercontinental ballistic missile that could deliver a nuclear warhead to U.S. soil.

Despite all of that, Trump rarely derided Kim by name after he entered the White House.

In May, he said he’d be “honored” to meet Kim under the right circumstances.

In August, after U.S. intelligence analysts became convinced Pyongyang had miniaturized a nuclear warhead, Trump said the country would face “fire and fury” if it made more threats against the United States. But he stopped short of hurling personal insults.

Matthew Kroenig, a political scientist at Georgetown University and expert on nuclear deterrence, said Trump’s threat this week to “totally destroy” North Korea comes out of the U.S. playbook for preventing a nuclear attack.

“The point is to deter a North Korean attack, and the art of deterrence hasn’t changed,” he said in a phone interview Friday. “It is to convince your adversary that the benefit of committing an attack would be outweighed by the costs.”

“That’s what Trump was making clear — it is not in Kim Jong Un’s interest to attack the U.S.,” Kroenig said.


http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-41369329

Russia: Trump and Kim are like ‘children in a kindergarten’

  • 22 September 2017

     

Russia’s foreign minister has likened the war of words between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un to a kindergarten fight between children.

The North Korean leader earlier labelled Mr Trump “mentally deranged” and a

“dotard” after Mr Trump threatened to destroy his country.

Mr Trump responded with a tweet calling Kim Jong-un “a madman” who “will be tested like never before!”

Moscow’s Sergei Lavrov said a pause was needed, “to calm down the hotheads”.

“Yes, it’s unacceptable to silently watch North Korea’s nuclear military adventures but it is also unacceptable to unleash war on the Korean Peninsula,” he said.

He called for a political process, which he said was a key part of the United Nations Security Council process.

“Together with China we’ll continue to strive for a reasonable approach and not an emotional one like when children in a kindergarten start fighting and no-one can stop them,” he said.

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The End is Nigh for the Dollar

If the Chinese knew that this was part of the UNSC deal, and agreed to it anyway, then they would have been ready for this. But if the US didn’t let on, then this will be seen as a dirty trick deserving of retaliatory sanctions.

Either way, this  will be a catastrophic disruption for the world economy, and the US economy in particular – within 3 weeks the Walmart shelves will be empty of cheap Chinese manufactured goods, and US manufacturers will have to gear up for a massive load of production.  Then we will see if they are as dynamic and entrepreneurial as Trump believes.  I very much doubt that they are.

So the shelves will soon be empty of all sorts of cheap Chinese products, or full of expensive US stuff, if you’re lucky.

China is ready to withstand being “cut off” from SWIFT, having written the software for its own SWIFT system (CIPS). The SWIFT system’s interface is internationally standardised, so they only have to write the equivalent code and issue their own set of credentials for accessing the system.  Russia also has had its own system (RosSWIFT) up and running for Russian banks for months, and is ready to internationalise.

China also has the potential to crash the US Treasury bond market, being the biggest foreign investor in them.  Of course they will take a financial loss if they just dump them on the market, but these bonds are never going to be paid back with real money anyway, so what the hell. Alternatively, they could slowly sell them down, day by day depressing the price unless the Fed tries to buy them all at the support price, and adding a trillion dollars to their debt.  This will scare Japan and other big investors out of the bond market, with unknown consequences.

This is likely backfire on the US Empire, and is indicative that The End is Nigh for the Dollar.

https://www.rt.com/usa/403118-usa-china-sanctions-north-korea/

US threatens to ‘cut China off’ from dollar if it does not uphold sanctions against N. Korea

The US could impose economic sanctions on China if it does not implement the new sanctions regime against North Korea, the US Treasury Secretary has warned. Steven Mnuchin said the restrictions could involve cutting off Beijing’s access to the US financial system.

“North Korea economic warfare works,” Mnuchin said Tuesday at the Delivering Alpha Conference in New York City. “We sent a message that anybody who wanted to trade with North Korea – we would consider them not trading with us.”

The Treasury Secretary echoed the words of the US envoy to the UN, Nikki Haley, by calling the fresh round of sanctions against Pyongyang “historic.” Mnuchin added “if China doesn’t follow these sanctions, we will put additional sanctions on them and prevent them from accessing the US and international dollar system.”

Washington has, so far, been reluctant to impose economic sanctions on China over concerns of possible retaliatory measures from Beijing and the potentially catastrophic consequences for the global economy.

Washington runs a $350 billion annual trade deficit with Beijing. China also holds $1 trillion in US debt, which amounts to 28 percent of US Treasury bills, notes and bonds held by a foreign government.

US lawmakers, however, seemed to be more inclined to exert pressure on Beijing and other countries striking deals with Pyongyang as they demand a “supercharged” response to North Korea’s nuclear tests, including imposing sanctions on companies from China and any other country doing business in North Korea.

“I believe the response from the United States and our allies should be supercharged,” said Ed Royce, chairman of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee during a hearing Tuesday.

“We need to use every ounce of leverage… to put maximum pressure on this rogue regime,” he said, adding that “time is running out.” Royce also called on Washington to target major Chinese banks, including the Agricultural Bank of China and the China Merchants Bank for dealing with Pyongyang.

He also said China was apparently reluctant to follow through on the sanctions adopted by the UN Security Council (UNSC) against the North. “It’s been a long, long time of waiting for China to comply with the sanctions that we pass and, frankly, with the sanctions that the United Nations passed,” he said.

The committee chair went on to say the US could give Chinese banks and companies “a choice between doing business with North Korea or the United States.” He added that the US should also “go after banks and companies in other countries that do business with North Korea the same way.”

Committee members also expressed unease over the fact that the sanctions imposed on North Korea have so far been ineffective in preventing Pyongyang from developing its nuclear and missile programs.

“We’ve been played by the Kims for years,” Republican Representative Ted Poe said, referring to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and his predecessors, as reported by Reuters.

President Donald Trump also downplayed the role of the newly adopted sanctions later Tuesday. ”We think it’s just another very small step, not a big deal. I don’t know if it has any impact,” he told reporters at the start of a meeting with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Trump also said he already discussed the issue with his State Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. He ominously added that “those sanctions are nothing compared to what ultimately will have to happen” without specifying what he meant by that.

The UNSC unanimously approved a new resolution on sanctions against Pyongyang on September 11. Following a series of behind-the-scenes negotiations Sunday, diplomats agreed not to ban oil exports into North Korea. Instead, the ninth set of restrictive sanctions against Pyongyang authorized an annual cap of 2 million barrels of refined petroleum products to North Korea.

It also banned the North’s textile exports – the second-biggest export for the country, which totals $752 million – according to data from the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency. Chinese and Russian negotiators managed to persuade the US delegation not to impose a travel ban or asset freeze on North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un.

On Tuesday, the North Korean ambassador to Moscow said sanctions will not make his country change its policies. Pyongyang’s nuclear program helps it to deter the “hostile policy of the US,” Kim Yong-jae added.

How the Deep State Ties Down Trump

Trump has been completely outmaneuvered by the Deep  State actors, and has become a puppet of the Globalists.  We now have a Empire ruled by a triumvirate of Generals.

https://consortiumnews.com/2017/08/26/how-the-deep-state-ties-down-trump/

How the Deep State Ties Down Trump

America’s Deep State players have tied down President Trump on Russian sanctions and other foreign and economic policies but that doesn’t mean the struggle is over…

President Trump has had his foreign policy hands and feet tied by the Russia (and Iran) Sanctions Act. 

He now has been rendered “helpless”: in respect to détente with Russia — gulliverized, spitefully, by his own party, working with the Democrats, to empty Trump’s constitutional prerogatives in foreign policy – and to seize them for Congress.

And in a further humiliation, Trump has been “rolled” by his military minders (Generals James Mattis, H.R. McMaster and John Kelly) on his Afghan policy: he has relinquished civilian oversight of this military expedition in Afghanistan to McMaster and Mattis — the former being the presumed author of the “new” Afghan policy. The President was “rolled” on his foreign military prerogatives too – as Commander in Chief – by his triumvirate of military minders in the White House. The “civilian” leadership has given place to the “military.”

The question is whether these humiliating concessions will appease his opponents sufficiently to allow the President to “live on,” albeit as an incapacitated President, or is this just the hors d’oeuvre? It seems that the entrée may be being planned as the complete discrediting of Trump’s base – ordinary Republicans being lashed to the Trump “Titanic” – to be sunk along with its captain – as “white-supremacists, white bigots and Nazis.”

Professor Walter Russell Mead – and he should know – tells us that “President Trump’s highest officials remain committed, one way or another, to defending the global order the U.S. has been building since the Truman era. That includes [Secretary of State RexTillerson, Mattis, Kelly and McMaster]: These men share a disdain for the Obama administration’s retrenchment and retreat. … They want to check the ambitions of America’s rivals, while restoring the foundations, both military and economic, of U.S. world power.”

Ok – that is clear: they want to “grasp” America as world orderThey have been trying that for some time now, but have not yet succeeded in seizing “her.” With all “her” allure and riches, their quarry remains frustratingly elusive, and her very unattainability seems to madden “ego” even more  – so that which cannot be “had,” must be despoiled.

What else accounts for the new Afghan plan? Almost nobody (outside of the U.S. élites) believes it will do other than prolong an unwinnable war (or worse, push Pakistan and India into confrontation). Yet the further despoliation of Afghanistan must go on, for the sake of the myth of this America – of Trump’s “highest officials” – that America is always victorious, if only it wills it sufficiently, and is persistent – “defeat” as heresy.

It is a familiar story of inflated ego. But the sense of power and wanting to “grasp at something unattainable” is so compelling, that the U.S. élites desire both to crush the “infuriating” Trump, and his “deplorables” – to thrust them down into the irrecoverable depths – while weakening any external rival that might hinder the way to their “having” America, as world order.

A Frenzied Deep State

It seems that the American deep state is so frenzied in this way that its inhabitants can no longer see straight: they are ready to risk despoiling not just the “recalcitrant” abroad, but America herself. And the way they are going about trying to “have her,” may well ruin the deep state too, as collateral damage.

The Russia Sanctions Act may have been conceived both to paralyze President Trump, and to validate the “Putin-stole-the-Election” narrative, but it precisely removes any chance of Messrs Mattis, McMaster, Kelly and Tillerson to succeed with seizing America as world proconsul.

Russia, China and Iran, now linked by again being threatened by sanctions, are now firmly embedded into a strategic coalition – and they are determined to resist.

Incredibly, as one commentator put it: “During the ramp up to new UN sanctions on North Korea, the Trump administration threatened to sanction China if it did not commit to further pressure [on N. Korea] … Trump himself implied that he was willing for a quid pro quo: ‘If China helps us, I feel a lot differently toward trade, a lot differently toward trade’, [Trump] told reporters …

“A deal was made, and the UN Resolution 2371 passed … China did its part of the deal: It helped pass the UN resolution against North Korea – and it immediately implemented it, even though that caused a significant loss for Chinese companies which trade with North Korea. [But …]

“Now Trump is back at sanctioning Chinese (and Russian) companies: The Trump administration on Tuesday imposed sanctions on 16 mainly Chinese and Russian companies and people for assisting North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs and helping the North make money to support those programs …

“Among those sanctioned are six Chinese companies, including three coal companies; two Singapore-based companies that sell oil to North Korea and three Russians that work with them; a Russian company that deals in North Korean metals and its Russian director; a construction company based in Namibia; a second Namibia-based company, and its North Korean director, that supplies North Korean workers to build statues overseas to generate income for the North.

“These are ‘secondary sanctions’ which block financial transactions and make it nearly impossible for those companies and people to run an international business. Moreover – China had already banned all coal imports from North Korea. It had sent back North Korean coal ships, and instead bought coal from the United States. [And] now, Chinese companies are getting sanctioned over North Korean coal that they no longer buy? Furthermore, selling fuel oil to North Korea is explicitly allowed under the new UN sanctions…”

The alliance of these three states and their “partner forces” no longer believe that America is capable of serious diplomacy, or that it enjoys any real capacity to “seize” the world. On the contrary, they see Europe drifting away from the U.S., the Gulf Cooperation Council in disarray, and even Israel is despairing of its Washington ally. They do remain concerned about North Korea, but the fear of U.S. pre-emptive military action against North Korea is tempered by the knowledge that North Korea effectively holds 30,000 U.S. servicemen hostage in the de-militarized zone.

The primary focus is now shifting to how these states might protect themselves, if the two sides in the U.S. internal conflict succeed in each despoiling one another, and thereby throw the world into financial turmoil (hence the flurry of activity in arranging local currency contracts and currency swaps):

“When Steve Bannon was ejected from the White House, last week,” the New Yorker quotes Bannon as citing “his frustrations with the coming tax bill, as one of the reasons he believed that the Trump nationalist agenda had been hijacked by the so-called globalists, such as Cohn and the other members of the Big Six.”

Yes, Trump has been “rolled” in the economic sphere, too: The “big six” consist of four members of Congress (including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan), plus economic adviser Gary Cohn and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin – both of Goldman Sachs.

“They’re not populists, they’re not nationalists, they had no interest in his [i.e. Trump’s] program – Zero”, Bannon told the Weekly Standard, “On what element of Trump’s program, besides tax cuts — which is going to be the standard marginal tax cut — where have they rallied to Trump’s cause? They haven’t.”

The Power of Cohn

“In the Bannon-era, factionalized Trump White House, Cohn was not just the head of the National Economic Council but the leader of the group of officials whom Bannon derided as ‘New York.’ (Breitbart stories called Cohn and his companions at the N.E.C. ‘Globalist Swampsters’)”, notes the New Yorker.

Cohn, who is 56, was brought into the Administration by Jared Kushner, the President’s son-in-law, who once interned for Cohn at Goldman Sachs. Cohn is a long-time donor to Democratic candidates.

So, Trump’s “reflation trade” is being “normalized” by the “big six” – more of the usual D.C. politics.

But, why be concerned if the U.S. stock market is hitting new highs every day? Indeed, the “market” has ridden an “ascending curve for 101 months since March 2009, during which the S&P 500 rose by 270% and rarely dropped by more than 2-4%, without [its members] coming to believe that nothing mattered except hitting the bid [button] during the more than 50 intervals when the stock market momentarily faltered. Virtually without exception, each shallow dip was accompanied by easy money ‘buy’ signals from the central banks, or selective ‘green shoots’ [releases] among the in-coming data.”

As David Stockman writes:

“After 101 months of dip buying … the headline reading algos [robot computer traders] have become programmed in a completely asymmetrical manner. They are triggered to ‘buy’ on economic/policy good news (because it implies more profits); but also to ‘buy’ on bad news (because it means more [liquidity] accommodation, and market-support/price keeping actions by the Fed and other central banks.

“But this beneficent arrangement also encourages even prudent gamblers to minimize the amount of downside hedging insurance they purchase to protect their often heavily leveraged (through options and derivatives) book of longs.”

Stockman is warning that markets already are trading at historic highs, and that no one is paying attention to these extreme valuations or the economic or political fundamentals – simply because the latter has become utterly irrelevant, if every small market dip, is immediately followed by the unbroken elevation of all asset classes (thanks to Central Bank interventions).

“That is, the gamblers and robo-machines have become so hard-wired to the expectation that the central banking and fiscal branches of the state will do ‘whatever it takes’ to keep the stock averages rising, that it has become irrational to waste time and resources on parsing ‘whatever is going on,’” Instead, writes Stockman, “it’s all about the chart points, money flows, next in rotation sectors, ETF buying power, momentum trades and technical arbitrages, such as embodied in the currently massive risk parity trades.”

In short, all sensibility to risk (political or credit or any other) has been expunged by the determination of the Central Banks to keep asset prices inflating higher. The financial system precisely is looking the other way — intent on making money “when the going is easy” – and consequently, any crisis now will create a disproportionate impact on those levered asset values, magnified by the trades today being all one-way.

A Zombiefied Trump

Here is the point: Will the political zombiefication of President Trump satisfy the two party Establishments? Are they mollified enough, to come together to agree on a budget and a new “clean” debt ceiling (the “ceiling” arrives on Sept. 29)? And, even if achieved, will so-called “normalization” of Trump policies really take the U.S. back to the nirvana of “how things used to be”?

Ostensibly, “normalization” of Trump’s economic policy should be manageable: Ryan and McConnell would need only to line up a modest number of Democratic votes (together with Republican foot-soldiers), to enact a debt ceiling increase. But it may be more complicated – much more complicated than that: Should the Democrats cooperate (and they will want to appear that they are co-operating in order to avoid blame for any subsequent Federal shut-down), it will be only on the basis of “an onerous quid pro quo that requires Trump to give up the Mexican Wall; tax cuts for the wealthy; his proposed deep domestic spending cuts, and also to fund the insurance company bailouts that are needed to forestall drastic premium increases and coverage cancellations during the 2018 insurance (and election) year.”

Certainly, the Democrats will present a public face of co-operation, but such is the angry temper of Washington today (with both sides looking for a fight), that almost certainly they will require their revenge pound of flesh cut from Trump’s side. The Freedom Caucus group of Republicans (which is linked to Bannon) might then jump ship, leaving the Big Six with either “no ceiling deal” or a “Democratic”-shaped budget.

Trump tweeted: “I requested that Mitch M & Paul R tie the Debt Ceiling legislation into the popular V.A. Bill (which just passed) for easy approval. They didn’t do it so now we have a big deal with Dems holding them up (as usual) on Debt Ceiling approval. Could have been so easy-now a mess!”

Axios reports that “top White House and GOP leadership officials tell us [Axios], the chances of a market-rattling government shutdown are rising by the day — and were [such] even before Trump threatened at his raucous Phoenix rally on Tuesday night, to use a shutdown as leverage to get funding for the [Mexican] border wall.”

Quoting a “top Republican source” who puts the chance as high as 75 percent, Axios adds that “the peculiar part is that almost everyone I talk to on the Hill, agrees that it is more likely than not.”

The Democrats seem determined to remove any provision for “the wall,” and Trump seems to be spoiling for a fight with the Democrats (and Ryan and McConnell) on this issue. He has had to acquiesce to being “rolled” in foreign and defense policy — might he turn, and dig in his heels? He is already channeling the blame onto the Republican Establishment leadership.

If so, what price the continuation of a market historic “high” and brimming with complacency?

Russia and China are right to be thinking “worst case” and how to minimize their exposure to any American cataclysmic descent into political turmoil – and possible violence.

“I can confirm he [Gorka] no longer works at the White House,” the official said.

“I am gonna drain the swamp” – ha ha ha.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-08-25/sebastian-gorka-resigns-white-house-post

Sebastian Gorka Resigns From White House Post

A week after the White House pushed out former chief strategist Steve Bannon, the Trump administration has lost another controversial staffer. The departee this week is Sebastian Gorka, a deputy assistant to the president and former Breitbart employee who was closely allied with the White House’s rapidly shrinking anti-globalist faction. News of Gorka’s resignation was first reported by the Federalist, and later confirmed by Axios and a host of other news outlets.

As with Bannon’s ouster last week, the storyline of who said what when has gotten muddled: Gorka claimed he resigned, while the White House insinuated that he was pushed out.

News of Gorka’s ouster broke shortly after Trump announced that he would be pardoning sheriff Joe Arpaio, a decision that was widely expected after Trump hinted that he “wouldn’t do it tonight” at a rally in Phoenix earlier this week. It also comes as Hurricane Harvey, which has been upgraded to a category four hurricane, is threatening to lay waste to the southwest.

In a copy of Gorka’s bluntly worded resignation, which he leaked to the Federalist, the former staffer “expressed dissatisfaction with the current state of the Trump administration.”

“[G]iven recent events, it is clear to me that forces that do not support the MAGA promise are – for now – ascendant within the White House,” Gorka wrote. “As a result, the best and most effective way I can support you, Mr. President, is from outside the People’s House.”

In the letter, “Gorka blamed the president’s failure to outline a plan for exiting Afghanistan after “16 years of disastrous policy decisionsor being the final straw. He also criticized the president and his military advisers for omitting any mention of Radical Islam from the president’s statement on Afghanistan, delivered earlier this week.

“Regrettably, outside of yourself, the individuals who most embodied and represented the policies that will ‘Make America Great Again,’ have been internally countered, systematically removed, or undermined in recent months. This was made patently obvious as I read the text of your speech on Afghanistan this week…

 

“The fact that those who drafted and approved the speech removed any mention of Radical Islam or radical Islamic terrorism proves that a crucial element of your presidential campaign has been lost…

 

Just as worrying, when discussing our future actions in the region, the speech listed operational objectives without ever defining the strategic victory conditions we are fighting for. This omission should seriously disturb any national security professional, and any American who is unsatisfied with the last 16 years of disastrous policy decisions which have led to thousands of Americans killed and trillions of taxpayer dollars spent in ways that have not brought security or victory.”

Echoing comments made by Bannon following his ouster last week, Gorka reportedly told the president that he could better serve his America First agenda from the outside: “[I]t is clear to me that forces that do not support the MAGA promise are – for now – ascendant within the White House…”

That’s probably not far from the truth. As Axios points out, Gorka, a self styled national security and counterterrorism expert, was best known for his fiery television appearances, his only real contribution to the administration, and the quality that initially endeared him to the president. Gorka can easily keep up his TV schedule from outside of the West Wing. Gorka was widely reviled by Trump opponents because of his reputed affiliation with Hungarian nationalist group Vitezi Rend.

According to Axios, Gorka’s resignation is a sign that Chief of Staff John Kelly is tightening control of the White House’s sprawling, unaccountable fiefdoms.

The White House communications department confirmed that Gorka was no longer employed at the White House, but wouldn’t comment on whether he was fired or left voluntarily, according to ABC.

“I can confirm he no longer works at the White House,” the official said.

His ouster brings the number of officials who have been fired or otherwise departed the Trump administration to 14:

Finally, with the ouster of Bannon, the list of high-ranking personnel fired by Trump rises to 14. They are:

Sally Yates
Michael Flynn
Katie Walsh
Preet Bharara
James Comey
Michael Dubke
Walter Shaub
Mark Corralo
Sean Spicer
Micheal Short
Reince Priebus
Anthony Scaramucci
Steve Bannon
Sebastian Gorka

Maybe Trump will start putting weekly firings on the White House calendar?

And the leaks continue

We know from the Snowden leaks that every phone call from inside the US to foreign countries are recorded (not just the meta-data, but all the voice data too), so it is to be expected that Trump’s calls to Mexico and Australia would be in the hands of the NSA. Doesn’t he use a scrambler, or its modern day equivalent, encrypted channels for voice calls? Soon no one will take his calls for fear of reading the transcripts in WaPo the next day.

So who could be the source of this leak? – Only the NSA. The content (nothing new) and the timing, given the shambles brought on by Scaramucci, is interesting. It is effectively the NSA saying “we did it”, and daring Trump to do something about it.

By implication they are also saying they have all of his calls on file. This is pretty blatant stuff, almost a coup in itself.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-08-03/new-hampshire-drug-infested-den-trump-phone-call-transcripts-leaked

Trump Phone Call Transcripts Leaked: “New Hampshire Is A Drug Infested Den”


Tyler Durden
Aug 3, 2017

It will probably not come as a surprise that days after the biggest shake up among White House communications personnel, the Washington Post obtained transcripts of President Trump’s classified calls with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull from the early days of his presidency back in January. While details of the calls had been made public previously, this is the first time entire transcripts have leaked out.

Back then, when the biggest issue on Trump’s domestic policy plate was the issue of the “Great Wall” across the Mexican border, and the fate of refugees coming into the US, which eventually led to various lawsuits blocking Trump’s immigration and travel ban from several mostly Muslim countries, the president expressed frustration over accepting refugees from Australian detention centers under a humanitarian deal negotiated by the Obama administration and candidly discussed the Mexican border wall, telling the Mexican president “If you are going to say that Mexico is not going to pay for the wall, then I do not want to meet with you guys anymore because I cannot live with that.”

One of the funniest lines: “On the wall, you and I both have a political problem. My people stand up and say, ‘Mexico will pay for the wall,’ and your people probably say something in a similar but slightly different language.”

In a line likely to surprise some Trump supporters, the president described the wall as “the least important thing we are talking about, but politically this might be the most important.”

On the sensitive issue of payment, Trump told the Mexican president “you cannot say that to the press,” urging him to refrain from the public statements because of the political damage it would impose on Trump. He also asked Nieto not to oppose Trump’s demand that Mexico pay for the wall, telling him the funding would “come out in the wash, and that is okay.”

Trump said both he and Nieto should say they “will work it out” when forced to answer questions about the wall. Nieto pushed back at Trump’s demands, saying the wall was “an issue related to the dignity of Mexico and goes to the national pride of my country.”

He ultimately said he would “stop talking about the wall” but did not agree in anyway that Mexico would pay for its construction. Since the call, Trump has continued to publicly say that Mexico would pay for the wall when he has been asked about it, even as the government has taken steps to fund it in different ways. The House has included $1.6 billion in funding for the wall in an appropriations measure under consideration by Congress. Democrats oppose including any more for the way in appropriations measures.

In another controversial exchange with the Mexican leader over the drug problem in the US and Mexico, Trump said “We have a massive drug problem where kids are becoming addicted to drugs because the drugs are being sold for less money than candy. I won New Hampshire because New Hampshire is a drug-infested den.”

In a separate phone call, Trump told Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull earlier this year that he had a better call with Russian President Vladimir Putin before ending a contentious phone call. Trump argued with Turnbull over an agreement on refugees the U.S. president thought was unfair during their first conversation following his inauguration.

“I have had it,” Trump told his Australian counterpart during the Jan. 28 call, according to the same leaked transcript. “I have been making these calls all day, and this is the most unpleasant call all day.”

Some other Turnbull call highlights:

“This is going to kill me. I am the world’s greatest person that does not want to let people into the country. And now I am agreeing to take 2,000 people.”
“I hate taking these people. I guarantee you they are bad. That is why they are in prison right now. They are not going to be wonderful people who go on to work for the local milk people.”

Aside from embarrassing the president, the leaks present a major headache for Gen. Kelly, Trump’s new chief of staff, who is expected to bring back normalcy to the Oval cabinet. As The Hill notes, the disclosure is likely to raise alarms at the White House, which has struggled to contain leaks of classified and sensitive information. As Axios adds, the calls remain classified, so the fact that the transcripts made it to the Post is a serious issue. Both documents include notes that the transcripts had been reviewed by Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg Jr., the chief of staff for the National Security Council.

Trump’s calls with foreign leaders have not been declassified. The White House said in February, days after the call, it would probe how the details of the call became public

Senators Unveil Two Bipartisan Bills To Block Trump Firing Mueller

Every time Trump tweets “I will …”, Congress say “NO, you won’t”.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-08-03/senators-unveil-two-bipartisan-bills-block-trump-firing-mueller

Senators Unveil Two Bipartisan Bills To Block Trump Firing Mueller


Tyler Durden
Aug 3, 2017

Two separate bills – both with bipartisan backing from two Senate Judiciary Committee members – are being put forth to protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s job. As NBC News reports, the new legislation aims to ensure the integrity of current and future independent investigations, and “ensuring that the special counsel cannot be removed improperly is critical to the integrity of his investigation.”

As a reminder, Mueller was appointed as special counsel following Trump’s abrupt firing of FBI Director James Comey. Mueller, who was Comey’s predecessor as FBI director, has assembled a team of prosecutors and lawyers with experience in financial fraud, national security and organized crime to investigate contacts between Moscow and the Trump campaign.

NBC News notes that Trump has been critical of Mueller since his appointment, and the president’s legal team is looking into potential conflicts surrounding the team Mueller has hired, including the backgrounds of members and political contributions by some members of his team to Hillary Clinton. He has also publicly warned Mueller that he would be out of bounds if he dug into the Trump family’s finances.

However, Mueller has strong support on Capitol Hill.

And now, as NBC reports, two bills are being unveiled – from within the Senate Juduciary Committee – blocking a president from firing any special counsel, without a federal judge’s approval if the president or his Administration is the center of the investigation.

Bill 1.

Republican Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware plan to introduce the legislation Thursday. The bill would allow any special counsel for the Department of Justice to challenge his or her removal in court, with a review by a three-judge panel within 14 days of the challenge.

“It is critical that special counsels have the independence and resources they need to lead investigations,” Tillis said in a statement. “A back-end judicial review process to prevent unmerited removals of special counsels not only helps to ensure their investigatory independence, but also reaffirms our nation’s system of check and balances.”

“Ensuring that the special counsel cannot be removed improperly is critical to the integrity of his investigation,” Coons said.

Bill 2.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, another member of the judiciary panel, said last week that he was working on a similar bill that would prevent the firing of a special counsel without judicial review. Graham said then that firing Mueller “would precipitate a firestorm that would be unprecedented in proportions.”

Democratic Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey is also working on Graham’s legislation, according to Booker’s office. Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, has yet to signal support for either measure.

So the difference is Tillis-Coons bill is ‘reactive’ – once the firing has taken place, it can be challenged; where as the Graham-Booker bill is pre-emptive – forcing the decision to fire a special prosecutor to a Federal judge (as a reminder, only the attorney general or the most senior Justice Department official in charge of the matter can actually fire the special counsel).

These bills had been generally expected.

We look forward to Trump’s tweet-sponse to all of this, though it is kind of ironic that the only thing that brings the two sides of the aisle together is wanting to control Trump…

The list of high-ranking personnel fired by Trump rises to 12

In case you are being overwhelmed by all the changes at the White House, and all the leaks which are STILL happening:

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-07-31/trump-removes-scaramucci-white-house-communications-director
The list of high-ranking personnel fired by Trump rises to 12:

Sally Yates, the acting attorney general and an appointee of former President Barack Obama, was fired by Trump just ten days after he assumed office. Yates had refused to uphold the Trump administration’s controversial travel ban in January.

Michael Flynn resigned in February after serving in the position for less than a month. Flynn misled Vice President Mike Pence and other administration officials about the contents of his phone conversations with Sergey Kislyak, Russia’s ambassador to the US. Flynn reportedly discussed the Obama administration’s sanctions against Russia with Kislyak prior to Trump assuming office.

Katie Walsh, the former deputy chief of staff and close ally to chief of staff Reince Priebus left the White House just nine weeks into the job to run America First, a pro-Trump group outside of the government.

Preet Bharara, the former US Attorney for the Southern District of Manhattan and ‘Sheriff’ of Wall Street, was fired by Trump in March after Bharara refused to submit a resignation letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

James Comey, the former FBI durector, was fired by Trump in May.

Michael Dubke, the former White House communications director, resigned in May. Dubke was replaced by Anthony Scaramucci, the founder of a hedge fund and a top Trump donor. Scaramucci was fired after just 10 days on the job (see below).

Walter Shaub, the former director of the Office of Government Ethics, resigned earlier this month after clashing with the White House over Trump’s complicated financial holdings. Shaub called Trump’s administration a “laughingstock,” following his resignation, and advocated for strengthening the US’s ethical and financial disclosure rules, per The New York Times.

Mark Corralo, spokesman for President Donald Trump’s legal team, resigned on July 20 within two months of being on the job.

Sean Spicer, the embattled former White House press secretary, resigned on July 21 after telling Trump he vehemently disagreed with the selection of Anthony Scaramucci as White House communications director.

Micheal Short, the former White House press aide, resigned the same day as Spicer, after Scaramucci revealed plans to fire him.

Reince Priebus, the former White House chief-of-staff, resigned just six months into his tenure after a public feud with Anthony Scaramucci, the White House communications director.

And now, Anthony Scaramucci, who “resigned” as the new White House Communications Director on July 31, after just 10 days on the job.

Trump Saw A Disturbing Video, Then He Shut Down The CIA’s Covert Syria Program

More blow-back from supporting CIA proxy fighters in Syria. The head of the CIA at the time was John O. Brennan, should be the first to be jailed for this gross error of judgement.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-07-31/trump-saw-disturbing-video-then-he-shut-down-cias-covert-syria-program

Trump Saw A Disturbing Video, Then He Shut Down The CIA’s Covert Syria Program

Tyler Durden
Jul 31, 2017

While we’ve carefully documented the dynamics in play behind Trump’s decision to end the CIA’s covert Syria program, as well as the corresponding fury this immediately unleashed among the usual hawkish DC policy wonks, new information on what specifically impacted the president’s thinking has emerged.

Thomas Joscelyn, a Middle East analyst for the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, explains in the August edition of The Weekly Standard:

Earlier this year, President Donald Trump was shown a disturbing video of Syrian rebels beheading a child near the city of Aleppo. It had caused a minor stir in the press as the fighters belonged to the Nour al-Din al-Zenki Movement, a group that had been supported by the CIA as part of its rebel aid program.

The footage is haunting. Five bearded men smirk as they surround a boy in the back of a pickup truck. One of them holds the boy’s head with a tight grip on his hair while another mockingly slaps his face. Then, one of them uses a knife to saw the child’s head off and holds it up in the air like a trophy. It is a scene reminiscent of the Islamic State’s snuff videos, except this wasn’t the work of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s men. The murderers were supposed to be the good guys: our allies.

Trump pressed his most senior intelligence advisers, asking the basic question of
how the CIA could have a relationship with a group that beheads a child and then uploads the video to the internet. He wasn’t satisfied with any of the responses:

Trump wanted to know why the United States had backed Zenki if its members are extremists. The issue was discussed at length with senior intelligence officials, and no good answers were forthcoming, according to people familiar with the conversations. After learning more worrisome details about the CIA’s ghost war in Syria—including that U.S.-backed rebels had often fought alongside extremists, among them al Qaeda’s arm in the country—the president decided to end the program altogether.

Screenshot of the horrific video of a CIA-backed Syrian group beheading a boy named Abdullah Issa.

At the time the beheading video surfaced (July 2016), many in the American public naturally wanted answers, but the story never really picked up much momentum in the media. As Joscelyn describes, it caused nothing more than “a minor stir in the press.” The State Department seemed merely satisfied that the group responsible, Harakat Nour al-Din al-Zenki, claimed to have arrested the men that committed the gruesome crime, though nothing more was known. Absurdly, a US government spokesperson expressed hope that the child-beheading group would “comply with obligations under the law of armed conflict.”

The only press agencies that publicly and consistently challenged the State Department at the time were RT News and the Associated Press, yet even these attempts didn’t get picked up beyond the confines of the State Department’s daily briefing. When the AP’s Matt Lee initially questioned spokesman Mark Toner as to whether Zenki would continue to receive any level of US assistance, Toner casually replied “it would give us pause” – which left Lee taken aback.

Meanwhile, it wasn’t just the US government which had aided Zenki, but as fighting in Aleppo raged it became a favored group among both the mainstream media and prominent think tank pundits. One of the UK’s major broadcasters (Channel 4) even went so far as to attempt to delete and hide its prior online content which sought to normalize the beheaders as “moderate” and heroic once news of the video got out.

Among think tankers, Zenki’s most prominent public supporter, frequently presenting the terror group as actually representative of Syria’s “secular” and supposedly democracy-promoting armed opposition (even after the beheading video emerged), was Charles Lister. Lister was finally confronted not by mainstream media, but by AlterNet’s Max Blumenthal at a DC event held by the (largely Gulf funded) Atlantic Council.

Only by the time of this January 2017 public forum, and after being persistently questioned, did Lister awkwardly back off his previous enthusiastic promotion of Zenki:

We can imagine that Trump saw other things beyond the shocking Zenki beheading video which made him fully realize the utter criminality of the CIA program (Thomas Joscelyn further emphasizes that Trump came to understand the full scope of CIA cooperation with al-Qaeda in Syria).

The only question that remains is who in the CIA or Obama-era State Department should be prosecuted first?

WH communications director Scaramucci leaves after 10 days

I thought Trump was supposed to be the expert at picking good staff (WTF?)

https://www.rt.com/usa/398124-scaramucci-wh-quit-confirmed/

WH communications director Scaramucci leaves after 10 days

Published time: 31 Jul, 2017


White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci © Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

Anthony Scaramucci is leaving after only 10 days as White House communications director. The decision came at the recommendation of the newly sworn-in chief of staff John Kelly, the White House confirmed.

“Anthony Scaramucci will be leaving his role as White House Communications Director. Mr. Scaramucci felt it was best to give Chief of Staff John Kelly a clean slate and the ability to build his own team. We wish him all the best,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.

Scaramucci was named as communications director on July 21, leading to the resignation of press secretary Sean Spicer. He was to answer directly to Trump, sidestepping chief of staff Reince Priebus, who was ousted on Friday, and officially replaced with Kelly on Monday.

The language used in the White House statement about Scaramucci, namely the “clean slate” phrase, was the same as used in the statement about Spicer’s resignation.

Shortly after entering the White House, Scaramucci promised to take “drastic action” to prevent leaks from the Trump administration, warning staff that “they’re going to get fired” if the leaks do not stop. He also all but accused Priebus of the leaks.

On Thursday, Scaramucci appeared on CNN to complain about leakers and rebuff allegations that he accused Priebus of releasing sensitive information to the media. He also complained that his financial disclosure form was leaked to the press. However, financial disclosure forms are available to the public upon request, so no leak occurred, nor did any felony.

Kelly, who left his position as secretary of homeland security to be sworn in as chief of staff on Monday, requested Scaramucci’s removal, the New York Times and Politico reported, citing anonymous sources in the administration.

During a staff meeting at the White House, Kelly made it clear to members that he is in charge and that they would all answer directly to him, not the president, according to the New York Times.

“Kelly is already changing the culture here,” one White House aide told Politico.

There was “no way” Scaramucci could work with Kelly, a senior aide said.

It is unclear if Scaramucci will be offered another position in the administration. He was a member of the presidential transition team, and was initially named as an assistant to Trump and director of the White House Office of Public Liaison and Intergovernmental Affairs in mid-January.