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Nigerian Leaders Stop Sleeping, Nigerians Need Leaders Who are Ready To Work And Corrupt-free – Trump

Trump-and-Buhari

By Eric Patrick,

The American president Donald J Trump again blasts Nigerian government for their inability to deliver and protect the lives of its people.

Trump had kick against the killings of innocent Nigerians in the country especially in the northern part of Nigeria by bandits.

According to him the Nigerian government must stop sleeping and find everlasting solution to the crisis that is taking thousands of lives, Trump also says that the poor are the ones facing the insecurity crisis most,’ adding that their lives are more exposed to jeopardy than the rich.

In a brief conclave with journalists the American president also condemned the Canadian citizen who was recently kidnapped in Nigeria by gunmen, pleading with the Nigerian federal government to take immediate action to save the Canadian citizen.

In the pass four years till date Nigerian have been going through a lot facing challenges like, insecurity, poor economy, corruption, lack of education and employment.

“Nigerians need leaders who are ready to work, who are ready to deliver when call to power, leaders who are corrupt-free, Nigerians need leaders who listen to the cry of the people, the Nigerian government must stop sleeping.

Americans are not perfect but we are working so hard to remain the world number-one and I know many African countries are looking up to Nigeria so their leaders should stop working for their selfish interest Trump says.

Trump also talked about president Buhari 10 day visit to the UK adding that, it is wrong for a president to travel without handing over power to his vice and not notifying the people he serves to know about his foreign trip.

Nigeria is a nice country recognized in the world, the country would have been second most powerful and most wealthy country in the world if not for the corruption that have taken over the minds of its leaders.

“However Donald Trump says, in the history of Nigeria leadership, the present government happens to be the worst ever. A government who don’t take legal actions to stop the killings of its people. The only government who don’t attack on terrorist but unleashed attack on innocent Nigerians. The only government who negotiate with terrorist, its time Nigerians need to rise and kick out bad government and fight for their pride.

 

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Cohen Sentenced To 3 Years After Implicating Trump In Hush-money Scandal

New York Times

Michael D. Cohen, the former lawyer for President Trump, was sentenced to three years in prison on Wednesday morning in part for his role in a scandal that could threaten Mr. Trump’s presidency by implicating him in a scheme to buy the silence of two women who said they had affairs with him.

The sentencing in federal court in Manhattan capped a startling fall for Mr. Cohen, 52, who had once hoped to work by Mr. Trump’s side in the White House but ended up a central figure in the inquiry into payments to a porn star and a former Playboy model before the 2016 election.

Judge William H. Pauley III said Mr. Cohen had committed a “smorgasbord” of crimes involving “deception” and motivated by “personal greed and ambition.”

“As a lawyer, Mr. Cohen should have known better,” the judge said.

Before he was sentenced, a solemn Mr. Cohen, standing at a lectern, sounded emotional but resolved as he told the judge he had been tormented by the anguish and embarrassment he had caused his family.

“I blame myself for the conduct which has brought me here today,” he said, “and it was my own weakness and a blind loyalty to this man” – a reference to Mr. Trump – “that led me to choose a path of darkness over light.”

Mr. Cohen said the president had been correct to call him “weak” recently, “but for a much different reason than he was implying.”

“It was because time and time again I felt it was my duty to cover up his dirty deeds rather than to listen to my own inner voice and my moral compass,” Mr. Cohen said.

Mr. Cohen then apologized to the public: “You deserve to know the truth and lying to you was unjust.”

Federal agents raided Mr. Cohen’s office and home in April, and he later turned on Mr. Trump, making the remarkable admission in court that Mr. Trump had directed him to arrange the payments.

Mr. Trump at first denied knowing anything about the payments, but then acknowledged that he had known about them. This week, he insisted that the payments were “a simple private transaction” — not election-related spending subject to campaign-finance laws.

He also maintained that even if the hush-money payments were campaign transactions in violation of election regulations, that should be considered only a civil offense, not a criminal one.

Since Mr. Cohen came under investigation, Mr. Trump has mocked him as a “weak person” who was giving information to prosecutors in an effort to obtain leniency when he is sentenced.

In fact, Mr. Cohen did not formally cooperate with prosecutors in the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan. In addition to the campaign-finance violations, the sentence covered Mr. Cohen’s guilty pleas to charges of tax evasion, bank fraud and making false statements to Congress.

He took a calculated gamble in pleading guilty to this litany of federal crimes without first entering into a cooperation agreement with the government. He offered to help prosecutors, but only on his terms, and there were some subjects he declined to discuss.

His lawyers argued he should not serve time in prison. Federal prosecutors in Manhattan said he deserved around four years.

Judge Pauley had the final say. The judge said Mr. Cohen’s assistance to the special counsel’s office, though useful, had not “wiped the slate clean,” and a “significant term” of prison was justified.
In the end, the judge gave Mr. Cohen three years for the crimes he committed in New York and two months for lying to Congress, to be served at the same time. He was also asked to pay nearly $2 million in fines, forfeitures and restitution.

Mr. Cohen’s sentencing was unusual because it involved guilty pleas he made in two separate cases, one filed by federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York and a later one by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, who is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election.

In the case brought by Mr. Mueller’s office, Mr. Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about the duration of negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, as well as about the extent of the involvement of Mr. Trump.

Mr. Cohen revealed that Mr. Trump was more involved in discussions over the potential deal during the election campaign than previously known.

The investigation of Mr. Cohen by the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan burst into public view in April when the F.B.I. raided his office, apartment and hotel room. Agents hauled off eight boxes of documents, about 30 cellphones, iPads and computers, even the contents of a shredder.

Four months later, on Aug. 21, Mr. Cohen pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations, tax evasion and making false statements to a financial institution.

Mr. Cohen admitted in court that he had arranged the payments “for the principal purpose of influencing the election” for president in 2016.
The payments included $130,000 to the adult-film actress Stormy Daniels, which the government considers an illegal donation to Mr. Trump’s campaign since it was intended to improve Mr. Trump’s election chances. (The legal limit for individual contributions is $2,700 in a general election.)

Mr. Cohen also admitted he had arranged for an illegal corporate donation to be made to Mr. Trump when he orchestrated a $150,000 payment by American Media Inc. to a former Playboy playmate, Karen McDougal, in late summer 2016.

Prosecutors in Manhattan wrote last Friday to Judge Pauley that Mr. Cohen, in arranging the payments, “acted in coordination with and at the direction” of Mr. Trump, whom they referred to as Individual 1.

On Nov. 29, charged by Mr. Mueller’s office with lying to Congress, Mr. Cohen pleaded guilty again.

The two prosecuting offices each wrote to Judge Pauley, offering sharply contrasting portrayals of Mr. Cohen.

The Southern District depicted him as deceitful and greedy and unwilling to fully cooperate with its investigation. It said it declined to sign Mr. Cohen as a formal cooperator because he refused to discuss fully any crimes in his past or crimes by others that he was aware of — its policy for witnesses who seek to cooperate.

The Southern District wrote to the judge that Mr. Cohen had a “rose-colored view of the seriousness” of his crimes, which they said were “marked by a pattern of deception that permeated his professional life.”

Mr. Mueller, on the other hand, said Mr. Cohen had “gone to significant lengths to assist” the Russia investigation and recommended that he receive some credit for his help.
Lawyers for Mr. Cohen, who once claimed he would “take a bullet” for Mr. Trump, cited his cooperation with Mr. Mueller and his attempts to assist the Southern District prosecutors in asking that he be spared prison.

Mr. Cohen’s lawyers, Guy Petrillo and Amy Lester, argued in a memorandum to the judge that Mr. Cohen had taken responsibility for his crimes and had cooperated with Mr. Mueller’s office, meeting seven times with those prosecutors to offer information. They also noted that Mr. Cohen had met twice with prosecutors in Manhattan.

Mr. Trump last week weighed in with his own sentencing recommendation, tweeting angrily, “He lied for this outcome and should, in my opinion, serve a full and complete sentence.”    (The Sun)

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BREAKING: Trump Says Woodward’s White House Book Is A Scam |RN

President Donald Trump

Donald Trump on Friday slammed investigative journalist Bob Woodward’s damning portrayal of the inner workings of the US president’s administration as a “scam,” alleging that it includes made-up quotes.

“The Woodward book is a scam. I don’t talk the way I am quoted. If I did I would not have been elected President. These quotes were made up. The author uses every trick in the book to demean and belittle,” Trump tweeted.

(AFP)

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Facebook, Google, Twitter Have To Be Careful, Trump Warns |RN

President Donald Trump stepped up his criticism of internet firms Tuesday, hours after attacking Google over what he called “bias” against him and his supporters.

“Google and Twitter and Facebook — they are really treading on very, very troubled territory and they have to be careful,” Trump told reporters at the White House.

The comments come after the president last week slammed social media firms for what he claimed was suppression of conservative voices, and Tuesday’s tirade against Google that claimed news search results were “rigged” to favour “left-wing media.”

(AFP)

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U.S Financial Times Quotes Trump Calling Buhari ‘Lifeless’ |RN

Buhari-Trump

US president telling aides he never wanted to meet someone so lifeless again, according to three people familiar with the matter,” Financial Times claimed.

• We won’t respond to his comments – Presidency

Chinelo Obogo and Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja

The President of the United States, Donald Trump reportedly described President Muhammadu Buhari as ‘lifeless’, shortly after the two leaders met on April 30, according to the Financial Times.

Both leaders met for the first time in the US for bilateral talks on Trump’s invitation since he was sworn in January as the 45th President of the States.

But as Trump is set to welcome President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, Financial Times, in an article titled, “Africa looks for something new out of Trump” reported that after the bilateral meeting between the presidents of the US and Nigeria, Trump allegedly warned his aides that he never wanted to meet anyone as “lifeless” as Buhari again.

“The first meeting with Nigeria’s ailing 75-year-old Muhammadu Buhari in April ended with the

US president telling aides he never wanted to meet someone so lifeless again, according to three people familiar with the matter,” Financial Times claimed.

The revelation differs from Trump’s statement during the press briefing where he praised Buhari’s anti-corruption fight and urged him to lift any trade barriers that could impede the importation of agricultural products from the US into Nigeria. He also pledged his administration’s continued support towards the fight against terrorism and also told Buhari that the US would not tolerate the killings of Christians by armed herdsmen.

Trump had come under fire a few months before the meeting after reports emerged that at a private meeting, he allegedly described African countries as ‘shithole’ countries. He denied the reports despite the affirmation of some US leaders who were at the said meeting. He was also widely criticised for stoking racial tensions after he tweeted that the US would investigate the alleged killing of whites in South Africa.

When contacted to react to the reports, Special Assistant on Media to President Buhari, Garba Shehu dismissed it as unworthy of a response.

“There is no one whom Trump has not insulted, therefore, the presidency would not respond to his alleged statement,” he said.

However, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday said Buhari was to blame for the “lifeless” statement by Trump.

The PDP in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said the comment credited to Trump was a backlash a country gets when “incompetent” leaders resort to globe-trotting in the desperate search for the endorsement from world leaders.

The opposition party noted that in the last three years, Buhari had been shopping for international recognition that was not based on any achievement since his assumption of office.

While expressing reservations on the comment credited to the US President, the PDP demanded a response from the Presidency and the White House.

Besides, it charged the president to take a cue from the comments purportedly made by Trump about him and sit down at home to discharge his responsibilities to Nigerians or accept his failings with humility.

“While the PDP has strong reservations on the reported comment by President Trump for which we demand a response from the Buhari Presidency and the US White House, the party further holds that had our dear president not cheapened the exalted office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by his woeful outing during his visit to the United States, President Trump would not have
had the opportunity to assess his level of incompetence and make such an embarrassing statement. The PDP and indeed all well-meaning Nigerians are now sore worry over how other world leaders have been perceiving our president, who has not only failed in governance but has continued to de-market our nation in the international community,” the party stated.

Notwithstanding what it termed Trump’s hate speech, the Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) insisted that Buhari was fit and capable to run for the 2019 elections and oversee the affairs of the country for four more years.

The group in the statement signed by Niyi Akinsiju and Cassidy Maduekwe noted that this was not the first time the US President was heard to make such derogatory remarks at World leaders, and thus President Buhari would not be distracted by such. (The Sun)

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BREAKING: Trump’s Ex-campaign Chief, Manafort, Guilty Of Fraud |RN

    Donald Trump’s former campaign chief Paul Manafort

Donald Trump’s former campaign chief Paul Manafort was found guilty of fraud Tuesday, in the first trial resulting from the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

While the jury was unable to reach a verdict on 10 counts, prompting the judge to declare a partial mistrial, Manafort was found guilty on the eight remaining counts including tax fraud, bank fraud and failure to declare foreign bank accounts.

(AFP)

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‘Pay In Cash’: Secret Trump-Cohen Tape Discussing How To Buy Rights To Playboy Model Story Of Secret Affair With Trump Leaked

Hannah Parry

The secret audio recordings of Donald Trump discussing with his attorney Michael Cohen how they would buy a Playboy model's story about her alleged affair with him, have been revealed © Reuters The secret audio recordings of Donald Trump discussing with his attorney Michael Cohen how they would buy a Playboy model’s story about her alleged affair with him have been revealed

 

The secret audio recordings of Donald Trump discussing with his attorney Michael Cohen how they would buy a Playboy model’s story about her alleged affair with him, have been revealed.

The tapes, obtained and aired by CNN on Tuesday, confirm that the president knew about his lawyer’s proposal to buy Karen McDougal’s story – despite his insistence that Cohen acted on his own without his knowledge.

Cohen is heard telling Trump he plans to set up a company to purchase the rights of the story from American Media, which publishes the National Enquirer.

‘I need to open up a company for the transfer of all of that info regarding our friend David,’ Cohen said in the recording – thought to be a reference to American Media head David Pecker.

Trump interjects to ask ‘What financing’ which his lawyer responds: ‘We’ll have to pay.’

                                  

karen-mcdougal-beauty

Playboy model, Karen McDougal

‘Pay with cash’, then-presidential candidate Trump responded.

The audio is then a little muffled, so it is not clear if he then suggested to pay with cash or not to pay, but Cohen’s reply of ‘no, no,’ was heard clearly.

What follows, is again unclear.

Trump’s new lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, insists the president never paid McDougal but had acknowledged that the audio, which dates back to September 2016, captured a discussion related to the buying the story rights.

Federal prosecutors obtained 12 audio recordings from the FBI raids on Cohen’s offices earlier this year.

Trump’s lawyers waived the attorney-client privilege for Trump regarding this recording.  (Daily Mail)

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Trump Blames US ‘Foolishness, Stupidity’ Heading Into Summit With Putin |RN

By AFP

President Donald Trump headed into his first summit with Vladimir Putin on Monday determined to forge a personal bond with the Kremlin chief, saying only “stupidity” by prior administrations had brought US-Russian ties to their present low.Hours before the Helsinki summit, Trump was asked if he would press Putin over Russia’s alleged manipulation of the 2016 election that brought the mercurial property tycoon to power. He said only: “We’ll do just fine.”

Democrats had called for the summit’s cancellation after new revelations surrounding the alleged election meddling.

But Trump has insisted it is “a good thing to meet”, as he attempts to replicate with Putin the sort of personal rapport he proclaims with the autocratic leaders of China and North Korea.

If the pair does find common ground, then the summit may take the heat out of some of the world’s most dangerous conflicts, including Syria.

But there are many points of friction that could yet spoil Trump’s hoped-for friendship with the wily former KGB spymaster.

Trump began the day’s talks by meeting Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto, who has loaned his harbour-front palace for the occasion.

But first, he fired a Twitter broadside at his domestic opponents, blaming the diplomatic chill on the investigation into alleged Russian election meddling.

“Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!” Trump tweeted.

After a stormy NATO summit in Brussels last week, Trump was accused by critics of cosying up to Putin while undermining the transatlantic alliance.

But over breakfast with Niinisto, he insisted NATO “has never been stronger” and “never been more together” thanks to his insistence on all allies paying their fair share.

With Washington and Moscow at loggerheads over Ukraine, Iran and trade tariffs as well as Syria, even Trump has cautioned that he is not approaching the Putin summit “with high expectations”.

The brash 72-year-old billionaire has been president for 18 months while Putin, 65, has run Russia for the past 18 years.

In a weekend interview with CBS News, Trump admitted that Russia remains a foe, but he put Moscow on a par with China and the European Union as economic and diplomatic rivals.

The Kremlin has also played down hopes that the odd couple will emerge from their first formal one-on-one summit with a breakthrough.

Putin, who arrived in Helsinki Monday after playing host at the World Cup final in Moscow on Sunday, has remained tense in the run-up to the summit.

On Friday his adviser Yuri Ushakov played down expectations, saying: “The state of bilateral relations is very bad…. We have to start to set them right.”

Giving up ground?

Indeed, after the bad-tempered NATO summit and a contentious trip by Trump to Britain, anxious European leaders may be relieved if not much comes out of the Helsinki meeting.

Those leaders are already fuming over Trump’s imposition of trade tariffs on various countries, including Russia.

Turning the tables, European Union President Donald Tusk said Trump was guilty of “spreading fake news” with his remark about foes, and warned that the trade tensions could spiral into violent “conflict and chaos”.

“Europe and China, America and Russia, today in Beijing and in Helsinki, are jointly responsible for improving the world order, not for destroying it,” he tweeted.

“I hope this message reaches Helsinki.”

Protesters have been on the streets of Helsinki to denounce the policies of both Trump and Putin. Greenpeace draped a giant banner down a church tower urging: “Warm our hearts, not our planet.”

Trump is also under pressure from Britain to press Putin over the nerve agent poisoning of four people in southern England.

One of the victims, Dawn Sturgess, has died and her 19-year-old son Ewan Hope told the Sunday Mirror newspaper: “We need to get justice for my mum.”

Extradition demand?
Many fear that Trump — in his eagerness to prove that he was right to seek the summit with Putin despite US political opposition — may give up too much ground.

Trump has refused to personally commit to the US refusal to recognise Russia’s annexation of Crimea, leaving open the possibility of a climbdown linked to a promise by Putin to somehow rein in Iranian influence in Syria.

If Washington were to acquiesce in Russia’s 2014 land-grab, this would break with decades of US policy and send tremors through NATO’s exposed eastern flank.

And there will be outrage at home if Trump does not confront Putin over the election scandal.

But the US leader would not say whether he would demand the extradition of 12 Russian intelligence officers who were indicted last week by US special prosecutor Robert Mueller.   (The Guardian)

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Trump Announces Plans For Pentagon To Create ‘Space Force’ |RN

By MARCIA DUNN, AP Aerospace Writer
Watch: Trump wants US to dominate space (Reuters)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Vowing to reclaim U.S. leadership in space, President Donald Trump announced Monday he is directing the Pentagon to create a new “Space Force” as an independent service branch aimed at ensuring American supremacy in space.

Trump envisioned a bright future for the U.S. space program, pledging to revive the country’s flagging efforts, return to the moon and eventually send a manned mission that would reach Mars. The president framed space as a national security issue, saying he does not want “China and Russia and other countries leading us.”

President Donald Trump shows off a "Space Policy Directive" after signing it during a meeting of the National Space Council in the East Room of the White House, Monday, June 18, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) © The Associated Press President Donald Trump shows off a “Space Policy Directive” after signing it during a meeting of the National Space Council in the East Room of the White House, Monday, June 18, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

 

“My administration is reclaiming America’s heritage as the world’s greatest spacefaring nation,” Trump said in the East Room, joined by members of his space council. “The essence of the American character is to explore new horizons and to tame new frontiers.”

Trump had previously suggested the possibility of creating a space unit that would include portions equivalent to parts of the Air Force, Army and Navy.

But his directive will task the Defense Department to begin the process of establishing the ‘Space Force’ as the sixth branch of the U.S. armed forces. He said the new branch’s creation will be overseen by Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

“When it comes to defending America, it is not enough to merely have an American presence in space. We must have American dominance in space,” Trump said. He added: “We are going to have the Air Force and we are going to have the Space Force, separate but equal.”

Donald Trump     © associated press Donald Trump

 

The president also used the White House event to establish a new policy for reducing satellite clutter in space. The policy calls for providing a safe and secure environment up in orbit, as satellite traffic increases. It also sets up new guidelines for satellite design and operation, to avoid collisions and spacecraft breakups.

Trump was joined by Vice President Mike Pence, who leads the recently revived space council, and several Cabinet members, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, retired astronauts and scientists.

The council’s executive secretary, Scott Pace, told reporters before the meeting that space is becoming increasingly congested and current guidelines are inadequate to address the challenge.

AP

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Trump, Kim Shake Hands To Commence Momentous Summit In Singapore

 SINGAPORE (AP) — President Donald Trump says that his one-on-one meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was “very, very good” and that the two have an “excellent relationship.”

Trump and Kim met for about 40 minutes Tuesday one-on-one, joined only by interpreters.

Trump made the comments as he and Kim walked together along balcony as they headed to a larger meeting with aides.

Trump was flanked in the larger meeting by chief of staff John Kelly, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton. They sat across the table from Kim and his team.

President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un kicked off a momentous summit Tuesday that could determine historic peace or raise the spectre of a growing nuclear threat, with Trump declaring they would have a “great discussion” and Kim said they had overcome obstacles to get to this point.

U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un before their expanded bilateral meeting at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore June 12, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst © Reuters U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un before their expanded bilateral meeting at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore June 12, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Standing on a red carpet in front of a row of alternating U.S. and North Korean flags, the leaders shook hands warmly at a Singapore island resort, creating an indelible image of the two unorthodox leaders. They then moved into a one-on-one meeting, joined only by their interpreters.

“We are going to have a great discussion and I think tremendous success. We will be tremendously successful,” Trump said.

Speaking through an interpreter, Kim said: “It wasn’t easy for us to come here. There was a past that grabbed our ankles and wrong prejudices and practices that at times covered our eyes and ears. We overcame all that and we are here now.”

Trump and Kim planned to meet with their interpreters for most of an hour before aides join the discussion and talks continue over a working lunch. But even before they met, Trump announced plans to leave Singapore early, raising questions about whether his aspirations for an ambitious outcome had been scaled back.

U.S. President Donald Trump meets North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore June 12, 2018. Kevin Lim/The Straits Times via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY © Reuters U.S. President Donald Trump meets North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore June 12, 2018. Kevin Lim/The Straits Times via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY

 

The first meeting of a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader was the product of dizzying weeks of negotiations over logistics and policy.

Up early in Singapore, Trump tweeted with cautious optimism: “Meetings between staffs and representatives are going well and quickly … but in the end, that doesn’t matter. We will all know soon whether or not a real deal, unlike those of the past, can happen!”

In the run-up to the talks, Trump had hopefully predicted the two men might strike a nuclear deal or forge a formal end to the Korean War in the course of a single meeting or over several days. But on the eve of the summit, the White House unexpectedly announced Trump would depart Singapore by Tuesday evening, meaning his time with Kim would be fairly brief. And Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sought to keep expectations for the summit in check.

“We are hopeful this summit will have set the conditions for future successful talks,” Pompeo said, describing a far more modest goal than Trump had outlined days earlier.

 

The sudden change in schedule added to a dizzying few days of foreign policy activity for Trump, who shocked U.S. allies over the weekend when he used a meeting of the Group of Seven industrialized economies in Canada to alienate America’s closest friends in the West. Lashing out over trade practices, Trump lobbed insults at his G-7 host, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Trump left the summit early, and as he flew to Singapore, he tweeted that he was yanking the U.S. out of the group’s traditional closing statement.

As for Singapore, the White House said Trump was leaving early because negotiations had moved “more quickly than expected,” but gave no details about any possible progress in preliminary talks. On the day before the meeting, weeks of preparation appeared to pick up in pace, with U.S. and North Korean officials meeting throughout Monday at a Singapore hotel.

The president planned to stop in Guam and Hawaii on the way back to Washington.

Trump spoke only briefly in public on Monday, forecasting a “nice” outcome. Kim spent the day mostly out of view — until he left his hotel for a late-night tour of Singapore sights, including the Flower Dome at Gardens by the Bay, billed as the world’s biggest glass greenhouse.

As Trump and Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong sat down for a working lunch at the Istana house, the president sounded optimistic, telling Lee, “We’ve got a very interesting meeting, in particular, tomorrow, and I think things can work out very nicely.” Trump had earlier tweeted about “excitement in the air!”

It was a striking about-face from less than a year ago when Trump was threatening “fire and fury” against Kim, who in turn scorned the American president as a “mentally deranged U.S. dotard.” As it happens, the North Korean and the American share a tendency to act unpredictably on the world stage.

Beyond the impact on both leaders’ political fortunes, the summit could shape the fate of countless people — the citizens of impoverished North Korea, the tens of millions living in the shadow of the North’s nuclear threat, and millions more worldwide. Or, it could amount to little more than a much-photographed handshake.

Still, the sense of anticipation was great in Singapore, with people lining spotless streets holding cellphones high as Trump headed to meet Lee.

U.S. and North Korean officials huddled throughout Monday at the Ritz-Carlton hotel ahead of the sit-down aimed at resolving a standoff over Pyongyang’s nuclear arsenal. Delegates were outlining specific goals for what the leaders should try to accomplish and multiple scenarios for resolving key issues, a senior U.S official said, adding that the meetings were also an icebreaker of sorts, allowing the teams to get better acquainted after decades of minimal contact between their nations.

President Donald Trump meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Sentosa Island, Tuesday, June 12, 2018, in Singapore. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) © AP President Donald Trump meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Sentosa Island, Tuesday, June 12, 2018, in Singapore. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

 

Trump’s early exit will be his second from a summit in just a few days.

As he was trying to build a bridge with Kim, he was smashing longtime alliances with Western allies with his abrasive performance at the G-7. After his premature departure from Quebec, he continued to tweet angrily at Trudeau from Singapore, saying Monday, “Fair Trade is now to be called Fool Trade if it is not Reciprocal.”

Trump advisers cast his actions as a show of strength before the Kim meeting.

Alluding to the North’s concerns that giving up its nuclear weapons could surrender its primary deterrent to forced regime change, Pompeo told reporters that the U.S. was prepared to take action to provide North Korea with “sufficient certainty” that denuclearization “is not something that ends badly for them.”

He would not say whether that included the possibility of withdrawing U.S. troops from the Korean Peninsula, but said the context of the discussions was “radically different than ever before.”

“I can only say this,” Pompeo said. “We are prepared to take what will be security assurances that are different, unique than America’s been willing to provide previously.”

The North has faced crippling diplomatic and economic sanctions as it has the advanced development of its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. Pompeo held firm to Trump’s position that sanctions will remain in place until North Korea denuclearizes — and said they would even increase if diplomatic discussions did not progress positively.

Experts believe the North is close to being able to target the entire U.S. mainland with its nuclear-armed missiles, and while there’s deep scepticism that Kim will quickly give up those hard-won nukes, there’s also some hope that diplomacy can replace the animosity between the U.S. and the North.

While advisers say Trump has been reviewing briefing materials, the president insists his gut instincts will matter most when he gets in the room with Kim. He told reporters he thinks he will know almost immediately whether a deal can be made, saying: “I will know, just my touch, my feelings. That’s what I do.”

(AP)

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