Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America congratulate the Seattle City Council for letting common sense prevail when they repealed a controversial employee tax. They recoil as GOP primary voters in Virginia nominate Corey Stewart for U.S. Senate and wonder what the real reason is for Mark Sanford’s defeat in South Carolina. They also worry that President Donald Trump may have declared the North Korea nuclear threat over too soon.
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.
Former Trump administration official Dr. Sebastian Gorka is urging the president to take decisive action against Obama administration officials involved in conducting surveillance on the Trump campaign and to release as much information on those efforts as possible.
Gorka, also the author of the forthcoming book “Why We Fight: Recovering America’s Will to Win,” is also applauding President Trump’s decision to cancel the summit with North Korea and believes this shows exactly what kind of a leader Trump is.
Recent, widespread reports indicate that the FBI enlisted an informant to make contact with Trump campaign officials in an effort to investigate – or instigate, as Trump alleges – the connection between the Trump campaign and Russian efforts to meddle in the 2016 campaign.
“It’s the worst political scandal in American history. What we have is one administration deciding that they can spy on another presidential candidate and his campaign for purely political reasons. For more than a year, people laughed when the president said, ‘I was surveilled.’ Now we know that not only was he surveilled, they put covert assets into his campaign,” said Gorka.
Gorka says Trump needs to respond boldly.
“Right now all the key personnel from the last administration must be stripped of their security clearances. The idea that (former CIA Director) John Brennan is feeding Russian propaganda lines on national television and still has his security clearance is absurd,” said Gorka.
He says security clearances should also be revoked for others involved in Operation Crossfire Hurricane, including former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former FBI Director James Comey and 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
Gorka says transparency should also be on Trump’s short list.
“Now we have to see every document associated with Operation Crossfire Hurricane, the illegal political espionage operation authorized by the Obama administration. All those documents must be declassified and the president can do that at the stroke of a pen,” said Gorka.
Gorka is also pleased to see Trump back away from the scheduled June 12 summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un. In a letter to Kim, Trump said he was canceling the meeting because of North Korea’s “openly hostile” language in recent statements.
“North Korea has everything to lose. We have nothing to lose,” said Gorka, who says this episode exhibits the same leadership and negotiation skills that Gorka saw during his time at the White House.
“You see a man who is decisive. He knows what he wants. He’s results oriented. He cares about this country. He’s a pragmatist and a patriot,” said Gorka.
Gorka says Trump’s move to scrap the summit should come as no surprise to anyone who read Trump’s book,
“The Art of the Deal.”
“In chapter two, he states unequivocally (t0) never, ever be so wedded to any deal so that you can’t walk away at any point. That’s exactly what the president did.
“This is a man who isn’t interested in empty pablum or nice pieces of paper to wave at you. He isn’t an individual who looks at the world through ideological filters. He wants results. When he doesn’t get them, he’ll walk away,” said Gorka.
So what happens next in the effort to rid North Korea of nuclear weapons? Gorka says China will play a key role in determining just how badly the U.S.-led sanctions strain the Kim regime financially and possibly lead to an even better deal.
He also believes the days of the Kim regime are numbered.
“This is the great paradox of all dictatorships. They’re very powerful at the top. They deny individual liberties. But at the end of the day, they’re also highly vulnerable because of the denial of human of liberty that they are founded upon. So this is not a regime that can last forever,” said Gorka.
While crippling economic sanctions and and a robust military brought North Korea to the brink of denuclearization, Gorka believes the same results will be more difficult to achieve with Iran due to the Islamist mindset of its leaders.
“At the end of the day, the North Korean dictatorship is evil but they’re rational. When you’re dealing with a theocracy like Iran, there are individuals at the top, amongst the mullahs, who do not think in rational terms. Several of them believe in the occultation of the ‘Hidden Imam’and actually think ideas like apocalypse are a good thing.
“The question in Iran is who is in ascendance, the less rational individuals or the more rational individuals? If it’s the latter, then we can probably see some positive results coming out of Tehran as well,” said Gorka.
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 in very good spirits as they savor three wonderful martinis for conservatives. First, they celebrate the news that three American hostages are on their way home from North Korea in advance of the upcoming Trump-Kim summit. They also applaud President Trump for withdrawing the U.S. from the Iran nuclear deal, which was riddled with inspection loopholes and was never properly submitted to Congress. And they cheer the victory of conservative Patrick Morrisey in the West Virginia U.S. Senate primary, the lopsided defeat for “Cocaine Mitch” accuser Don Blankenship, and strong turnout for Republicans in three primary states.
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.
In today’s good martini, it sure sounds like North Korea is eager for a deal, but can this regime be trusted? Jim Geraghty of National Review is joined by CNN Political Commentator Ben Ferguson who is filling in for Greg Corombos of Radio America. Joy Reid makes an appearance in the bad martini. Can she be believed? Jim and Ben share their personal experiences with the MSNBC host. And what has become of the White House Correspondents’ Dinner? In the final segment Jim and Ben reflect on how this event has changed for the worse in recent years.