Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America retract their original weak reviews for Rachel Mitchell’s questioning of Dr. Christine Ford last week and marvel at the pile of inconsistencies in Ford’s story past and present. They also hammer Jeff Flake for believing there was any element of good faith behind Democrats wanting a brief FBI investigation, when it’s now painfully obvious they were only looking for a reason to delay Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination. And they rip President Trump for saying he and Kim Jong-Un “fell in love,” when reports show North Korea is still pursuing its nuclear and missile programs and supposedly will only scrap them if the U.S. does the same.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos tackle the latest accusations of Christine Blasey Ford against Brett Kavanaugh, leaving Republicans with the unpleasant choice of ditching a Supreme Court nominee over an eleventh hour allegation missing many specifics or confirming a nominee who many Americans now believe to be a sex offender just one month before the midterms. They also get a kick out Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez flailing and failing to explain how she would pay for $40 trillion in new government programs over ten years. And they sigh as evidence mounts that North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un hasn’t stopped his nuclear or missile programs but just isn’t boasting about it anymore.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America celebrate another free speech victory coming out of the Supreme Court as it ruled against a Minnesota law that banned political apparel at the polls. They also remain confused at President Donald Trump’s praise for the murderous North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-Un. And they look at the initial details of the long-anticipated Inspector’s General report about Comey, Lynch, and the Hillary Clinton private server investigation.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America devote all three martinis to the Trump-Kim summit. They are happy that President Trump did not promise to revoke any of the North Korean sanctions and that Kim reportedly made concessions on his missile program. They also rip the deal over Trump agreeing to end joint military exercises with South Korea, while only getting a vague promise from Kim to move towards denuclearization. They also berate Trump for lavishing public praise towards Kim, calling it a great honor to meet with him and suggesting Kim loves his people.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America applaud President Trump for backing away from next month’s summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, proving he is not desperate for deal and keeping Kim off balance. While denouncing kneeling during the national anthem as the time or place to make a protest, they also slam Trump for suggesting maybe NFL players who kneel for the national anthem “shouldn’t be in the country.” And they unload on former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper for randomly concluding that Russian efforts to meddle in the 2016 campaign definitely made the difference in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania and flipped the election results from Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump. Jim points out that Clapper and other Trump critics simply refuse to believe that voters made a choice they don’t like.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America serve up three bad martinis today. They react to Kim Jong-Un’s pathetic attempt to get attention by threatening to cancel next month’s summit with the United States over military exercises between the U.S. and South Korea. They also discuss revelations that Democrats are “rigging” primaries again as reports show the Democratic Congressional Committee (DCCC) is making polling data and email lists available to some candidates and not others. And they note two literal socialists won Democratic primaries for the state legislature in Pennsylvania, suggesting socialism is becoming increasingly acceptable to voters on the left.
The release of three Americans held prisoner in Iran is being hailed as a sign of increased goodwill heading into next month’s U.S.-North Korea summit, but a leading group assisting persecuted Christians is imploring the Trump administration to make human rights and religious freedom an important part of the conversation as well.
President Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un are scheduled to meet June 12 in Singapore. Removing nuclear weapons from the Korean peninsula is the top goal for the U.S.
Such an idea seemed impossible just months ago when Trump and Kim were trading barbs about the size of their nuclear buttons, but relation appear to be thawing after Kim’s promise to halt testing of nuclear weapons and missiles leading up to the summit, a positive meeting between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, and now the prisoner release.
Open Doors USA President and CEO Dr. David Curry is also excited about the possibility of North Korea mending its ways.
“It’s likely a charm offensive, but you must acknowledge that progress has been made that hasn’t been made before,” said Curry.
Open Doors USA assists persecuted Christians around the world. It consistently ranks North Korea as the worst nation on earth in its treatment of believers. Curry says the release of the three Americans ought to remind us that thousands of unknown North Koreans are imprisoned for their faith with virtually no present hope for release.
“I think what it points to is the people that we don’t know, the ones that are not American citizens, the 50,000 or more…who are Christians in labor camps right now in North Korea today. They could fill a stadium in any city across America,” said Curry.
Curry is pushing the U.S. to demand transparency from North Korea on the treatment of religious and political prisoners.
“What we think would be a helpful thing for the North Korean regime to do – during this time of talk of denuclearization – is make a show of goodwill and open up the labor camps for inspection by the Red Cross so we can begin to understand the scope of the humanitarian crisis there,” said Curry.
He expects Kim to resist such a demand vigorously.
“I think Kim Jong-Un will hold out for the lifting of economic sanctions and denuclearization and try to maintain an iron fist control over his regime,” said Curry.
That iron-fisted approach can land believers in prison or labor camps for the simplest of things.
“You can be arrested and put in a labor camp for years or decades, and some people even die there just for being caught with a bible or being under suspicion of being a Christian. If people sense that you’ve had a bible study or met with others, these sorts of things in North Korea can get you in a great deal of trouble,” said Curry.
Curry says including the issue of human rights and religious freedom is vital for countless people unjustly jailed in North Korea.
“The reason you bring in these human rights issues is that if you really and truly do have 50,000 Christians in labor camps – but there are many more than that for other crimes against the state – what are there conditions? Can we bring the Red Cross and the UN into these camps to make sure that people who are starving there can be helped in some way?” asked Curry.
He says the onus is on Kim to prove the international community ought to have a change of heart about his regime.
“What he may not have calculated and what we must insist upon is that if he wants to be part of the international community…and what that means, he’s going to have to pass some social norms regarding human rights regarding religious liberty and the treatment of prisoners,” said Curry.
And he has other ideas to follow up on those human rights conditions.
“I think an easy one is to allow a visit of the International Religious Liberty Ambassador Sam Brownback within the first 90 days. There are targets I think we can set out like that within 60 days, within 90 days, where the religious liberty ambassador can get in there, have conversations, and have religious liberty, make some observations.
“You have the UN Council on Inquiry be able to inspect certain areas, begin to understand how far we have to go with the North Korean regime and what they’re willing to do to [allow] the World Health Organization and so forth to aid their people,” said Curry.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America are in a great mood again today, starting with the news that five of the “most wanted” ISIS figures are now in custody after good work by the Iraqis, the Americans, and the Turks. They also swell with pride as three Americans wrongly imprisoned in North Korea come home to a powerful welcome at Joint Base Andrews. And while these major accomplishments take place, California liberals are busy mandating that everyone building a new home in the state will soon be required to install solar panels, which could mean an extra $20,000 in building costs.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America are glad to see reports that North Korea is prepared to release three U.S. prisoners, but they’re still cautious about why Kim Jong-Un is suddenly so eager to find common ground. They also shake their heads as Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani reveals that President Trump did reimburse Michael Cohen for his $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels, although he claims Trump didn’t know what the reimbursement was for. And they react to the New York Times story alleging the Washington Redskins took passports away from cheerleaders on a trip to Costa Rica, allowed male sponsors and suite holders to watch the cheerleaders in various states of undress on the photo shoot, and assigned some of them to serve as escorts for the sponsors.
South Korea’s president says North Korea is ready to scrap its nuclear weapons program with virtually no conditions, but a leading expert on North Korea says President Trump must keep the heat on Kim Jong Un and China to get a deal worth signing.
Gordon Chang, author of “Nuclear Showdown: North Korea Takes on the World,” also says the South Korean president might be a bigger stumbling block to an acceptable deal than Kim is.
Optimism is on the upswing for the upcoming summit between Trump and Kim after South Korean President Moon Jae-in publicly indicated that North Korea is prepared to give up its nuclear program.
“I don’t think denuclearization has different meanings for South and North Korea. The North is expressing a will for a complete denuclearization,” Moon said Thursday, according to Reuters.
“They have not attached any conditions that the U.S. cannot accept, such as the withdrawal of American troops from South Korea. All they are talking about is the end of hostile policies against North Korea, followed by a guarantee of security,” added Moon.
Kim has said very little publicly, but Chang still sees an opportunity for something significant to happen in the Trump-Kim talks.
“We should be cautiously optimistic that President Trump, if he wants to exert American power, can perhaps bring a very good outcome to the Korean Peninsula,” said Chang.
“This provides the opportunity for a breakthrough. I’m sure Kim Jong Un doesn’t want to give up his most destructive weapons and won’t do it unless there’s severe pressure, but President Trump is in a position to apply that pressure,” said Chang.
According to Chang, Kim is rattled by Trump’s policies and personnel choices, and that may mean he’s ready to make major concessions.
“He doesn’t want the the U.S. to strike his nuclear or his missile facilities. You now have John Bolton as national security adviser, who made some very hawkish statements when he was a Fox News contributor. I’m sure that’s unnerving Kim and probably the Chinese as well,” said Chang, who believes the pain of sanctions is a factor here as well.
“I do think that our sanctions campaign has been working. There were reports, for instance, from South Korea that North Korea could run out of foreign exchange reserves by October. That’s maybe a little bit optimistic but, nonetheless, we do know they’re running out of money.
“And we’re also hearing from the Chinese that Office #39, which is the Kim family slush fund, is low on cash. There’s a lot of information that corroborates the view that Kim actually needs sanctions relief,” said Chang.
Chang believes Trump should meet with Kim but should crank up the pressure even more. He also hopes Trump allies pressure on China.
“In the last month, Beijing has done some things which are really disturbing, in violating the UN sanctions openly. So we need to put some pressure on the Chinese right now to make sure that Kim understands that President Trump is willing to go not only against him but also against China,” said Chang.
Even more encouraging for Chang than North Korea’s reported willingness to give up its nukes is the mindset President Trump says he is taking into the meeting with Kim.
“President Trump said something significant on Wednesday at his joint press conference with Shinzo Abe, the Japanese prime minister. He said he’s willing to walk away, and that’s absolutely critical. If you’re willing to walk away, you can get a good deal,” said Chang.
He says the biggest mistake the Obama administration made in negotiating the Iran nuclear deal was to make it clear the U.S. was eager for a deal.
However, the biggest stumbling block to forcing Kim’s hand may be South Korea. Moon is desperate to achieve unity on the Korean peninsula, and that may play to Kim’s favor.
“We’ve got to be more concerned about Moon Jae-in than we do about Kim Jong Un. We know that Kim is an out-and-out villain. I think we need to view Moon in a very suspicious light, especially because of the things he has done to undermine the United States and also because of what he wants to do,” said Chang.
North Korea’s overarching objective is to conquer South Korea and Chang says Moon and his sympathetic allies in Seoul are doing some of Kim’s work for him.
“He’s got a willing partner in Moon Jae-in, who is trying to amend the South Korean constitution to make it more compatible with North Korea. Moon has a lot of senior advisers who, in their college days, were openly pro-North Korean and today they won’t disavow those earlier positions,” said Chang.