The Washington Post reports that CIA Director Mike Pompeo met with Kim Jong Un over Easter weekend in preparation for Donald Trump’s visit. Trump dropped a hint earlier this afternoon when he said that talks had taken place at a high level. Trump’s meeting seems to be planned for early June, but Trump did his usual “Who knows?”
The sources were “two people with direct knowledge of the trip.” That probably means they’re in the administration. A number of senators are declaring that they will vote No on Pompeo’s nomination for Secretary of State. They include Corey Booker (D-NJ), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Ed Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Rand Paul (R-KY), Bernie Sanders (whatever-VT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Tina Smith (D-MN), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Tom Udall (D-NM), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).
So the question is whether this was leaked to help assure Pompeo’s approval by the Senate. Can’t take the guy out if he’s in the middle of this important negotiation, right?
Many people are concerned that Trump will give up too much just to have a deal. He seems not to understand that when Kim Jong Un talks about denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, he means that the US military will be out. The way the administration uses that word, it means that Kim will give up all his nukes.
But it looks like Trump is taking some advice. There’s an interpreter behind him in the photo. And Trump doesn’t look at all pleased. We can still wonder if Pompeo took along an interpreter and a note-taker, or if he just figured he’d use the North Korean ones.
Pretty sure we can cross off any possibility of doubt when it comes to Trump. And his supporters.
Is that a State dept employee or the Japanese government’s one?
@TenguPhule: I would expect, given the customary arrangement of chairs, that the interpreter is from the US State Department.
For the entire story
Off topic and the jackals have probably already mentioned this in an earlier thread but I have been away from the intertubes this week. Judge Kimba Woods in the Cohen case was one of two AG nominees by Bill Clinton caught up in “Nannygate”. Why aren’t the howler monkeys of the Right Wing media screaming about her? I know she is a Reagan appointee but did not hear anything about Nannygate and could have sworn her and Zoe Baird were caught up in that and checked the Google.
“Kim Jong Un is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I’ve ever known in my life.”
Question for folks from Ohio: is it worthwhile pressuring Brown on this, or will a no vote make his reelection more difficult?
On Today, they actually reported that Trump was essentially giving Kim the legitimacy he craves. I’m not to worried about a deal. I’m more worried about what happens if Trump stops trying to play deal maker with NK.
Rand Paul may be a preening peacock, but he was devastating at skewering Pompeo at his nomination hearing.
Notwithstanding all the deferential press Pompeo has received for months, Paul showed Pompeo to be a complete lightweight, with foreign policy beliefs at odds with those of Trump. This was great:
Pompeo is a dangerous doofus.
A bit O/T, but with reference to the photo above, and so many other pictures we’ve seen of Trump:
Can we just once and for all stop calling those lengths of knotted fabric “ties” and call them instead what they are, which is “crotch-ticklers”?
@Baud: Yeah, there’s a lot that can go wrong. Giving Kim the meeting puts him in the league of nuclear weapons states, which is one of the things he’s wanted.
@Ocotillo: I think the right wing is more worked up about the fact that she officiated at George Soros’ wedding.
@Mandalay: I missed that exchange. What an absurd response.
Do we have to have that photo of the current President above the fold?
Amateur night at the highest levels of our government.
Maybe Trump should give Kim Stormy’s number.
The rapture is nigh
@tobie: The Soros’s thing is true? I’d seen a headline but thought it was bull. What an odd happenstance!
Click through and watch. You won’t be sorry.
Villago Delenda Est
Pompeo essentially acting as SecState before being confirmed?
This is a slap in the face of the Senate. If those who have not announced “fuck no!” do not join in, and asswipe is confirmed, the Senate has abrogated one of its black letter responsibilities under the Constitution.
@tobie: Right – it was close to certain that someone was going to ask him that question at the hearing.
I’m not sure what is worse: that Pompeo was unable to provide a clear answer to a reasonable and highly relevant question, or that he had actually rehearsed that response, and thought it was clever.
Can we just once and for all ignore Weasel Face’s sartorial choices?
They’re ugly, he’s ugly, there can’t be more than a thousand other things which really matter.
Or when Kim pants him in public by doing more nuclear tests.
@Villago Delenda Est:
At this point what difference does it make? //
Hang on a second. Dump sent the head of the CIA to negotiate with the representatives of a hostile nation? Did I get that right? WT-ever lovin-F
@Mary G: “Stay woke, bitches.”
Yes, before any Senate confirmation for head of State Dept.
And this is not even the most shocking thing to happen this week.
@Schlemazel: Yeah, It’s “The Interview”!
DiFi has come out strongly against Pompeo for SecState.
From The Hill:
I was like, Wait, there’s something weird about the way he looks. And sounds. Glad to know I was right.
Villago Delenda Est
@Ocotillo: There have been some mewlings about how Wood presided at George Soros’ wedding or some similar nonsense, so the howler monkeys have not forgotten.
@Mary G: That was awesome.
Didn’t the head of the FSB, and a couple of other big Russian spies visit Pompeo earlier this year? Yes (WaPo).
He certainly is free and open to this country’s enemies, isn’t he?
While he was in the neighborhood, did he stop by to check in with his Chinese partners?
If Senate Republicans had any sense of self-respect, they would refuse to confirm Pompeo just because of that alone.
But, of course, they don’t.
@Humdog: I don’t if it’s true but it’s what the rightwing is screaming about right now because Soros is the rightwing’s favorite bogeyman.
Gin & Tonic
@Villago Delenda Est: Look up “supine” in the dictionary.
@Mary G: The technology behind that from Adobe is both incredible and terrifying:
Phase 1: Given about 20 minutes of someone’s speech, you can type any text and audio of the text can be generated using that person’s voice (as shown in the linked video).
Phase 2: Given enough video samples, fake video can also be generated of the person speaking the fake audio.
It’s akin to photoshopping an image, but using audio and video instead. Fake news is in its infancy.
@Mary G: I wanted to tear my hair out as every media pundit said Pompeo was a Russia hawk. Bullshit. He’s been minimizing their influence on the election since the day he was sworn in as CIA Director. Gawd knows what he discussed or negotiated with NK.
That cuts both ways. Trump craves legitimacy as well and is desperate to show that all world leaders think that Trump is the greatest US president in history.
so 15 years ago he was so ignorant as to not even have an opinion on the Iraq war, the biggest foreign policy decision of the last generation, and now he wants to be secretary of state.
He is, after about 44 others
Are you intimating he’s not?
(Nym added to list, IP address noted.)
Gin & Tonic
No, fake news is buying a round for the house, as it came of age some time ago. I have on my shelf this book, published over a quarter-century ago.
@chopper: Pretty much. I guess from Trump’s perspective an SoS without opinions is a wonderful thing.
I guess everyone around Trump is constantly badgering him to take some damn competent advice on North Korea, or he get a bunch of people killed. Maybe even Javanka and Melania and Barron (Is there a WH dog or cat? Throw that in too). That would be hell for him. Trump looks like a little boy who has been told to eat his spinach, or no more ice cream for him, ever again.
@Villago Delenda Est:
These Republicans love to get slapped by Trump. Their mission seems to be to defer to Trump in all things, and to deliver the country to right wing oligarchs, and they will not let a little thing like their Constitutional duty hold them back.
So one of Cambridge Analytical’s people is spilling the beans to Parliament.
She’s saying more than the reported 87 million facebook user’s data taken…lots of interesting info in link above.
Adam L Silverman
@Villago Delenda Est: @Schlemazel: @TenguPhule: It is not uncommon for some high level backchannels to be conducted by heads of our various intel organizations. Usually it is the Director of Central Intelligence (DCI), so this is not really out of bounds. Often it is done to keep everything completely compartmented and to protect the Secretary of State and the State Department. If I understand the timelines correctly from reporting over the past 6 weeks, Pompeo, as DCI, was working the backchannel while Tillerson was still Secretary of State.
@Adam L Silverman: In a real administration, sure. Remember what maladministration we’re talking about. Fuckup is the default.
Adam L Silverman
The larger issue is going to be that if Moon negotiates a bilateral agreement with Kim, then the US becomes irrelevant.
Adam L Silverman
@efgoldman: I’m very aware.
@efgoldman: Hear, hear.
@Adam L Silverman: One of the many things that Trump doesn’t understand is that there’s a sizable portion of the South Korean populous that would like the US to leave yesterday.
Great. Another picture of Needs-A-Nap Trump.
As for Pompeo, better him negotiating for us than John Bolton, though we are probably fucked regardless of which clown Trump chooses to kick out of the car first.
Adam L Silverman
@?BillinGlendaleCA: Yep. But it goes beyond that. Moon’s parents were refugees from the DPRK. So he’s first generation in his family in the ROK. Almost everyone in the ROK, as you know better than I do, has relatives still in the DPRK. And the pull of family is strong. If Moon can negotiate a bilateral agreement with Kim, then the need for 28,000 US troops and several thousand civilian personnel to be in the ROK to serve as a tripwire and a warning to the DPRK goes away. And, of course, two of Kim’s major strategic goals are the removal of the US military presence from the ROK leading to a reunification of the peninsula. Of course the next strategic goal is that reunification places the entire peninsula under Kim rule, which I don’t think the ROK is going to go for.
Let’s play [email protected]NotMax:
I might be wrong but it looks like there’s another person directly behind Trump and hidden almost completely by the scowling monstrosity. Either that or Trump has four legs. Hard to tell, though.
I think it’s safe to say that no one in the Trump Administration trusts him in the slightest to make rational policy so he ends up being massaged and sand-bagged until he gets bored and distracted by some new shiny scandal. That’s all we ever have to look forward to in this Administration.
Adam L Silverman
@mainmata: Correct. That’s the translator/note taker that Cheryl was referring to in the post.
@mainmata: Yeah, that person is the interpreter.
@Adam L Silverman: Interpreter, interpreter, interpreter. And simultaneous interpreters, which this one probably is, are in no position to take notes. Simultaneous interpretation takes every brain cell and a little more.
Adam L Silverman
@Cheryl Rofer: I know what they are. I’ve filled that role and took notes while I was at it. And used dozens of them as well in Iraq. But the term is offensive because of how it was applied to the Iraqis and Afghans we used over the past 17 and 15 years respectively. So I either use translator or linguist. This time I used translator.
@Adam L Silverman: I fell in love with interpreters when I went to the UN as a kid and sat in the galleries to listen to meetings. There was a little box with a knob that provided the five different languages. Eventually I figured out that those people in the booths to my left were providing those languages and was amazed that they were doing it in real time. I’ve worked with professional interpreters. They usually work in teams of two, putting in a half-hour or so each because the work is such a strain. I’ve also worked with people who know both languages but aren’t professionals. They were helpful, but they were doing something different than that fellow sitting behind Donald Trump. I don’t know where you fall on that spectrum. From my minimal competence in languages, I can understand the mindset and concentration needed for simultaneous interpretation, but I can’t do it. I also know I couldn’t do it and also take notes, which requires a different sort of concentration. Yes, on the fly people do both, but not in formal settings.
Nor do I know what you find offensive about it. The rest of the world refers to them as interpreters, with translators being the folks who work with written material. Linguists study languages.
It’s nice that Paul handed Pompeo his ass. If his next trick is to hand Haspel over to the International Criminal Court, I’ll be more impressed.
Yes, I know that the United States is not a party to the Rome Statute, so it’s not happening. But I’d like to hear a United States Senator tell her to her face that that’s where she belongs.
Adam L Silverman
@Cheryl Rofer: I did it because I had no choice. The native speaker didn’t make it onto any of the trucks. So I wound up having to pick up the slack between an Assistant Secretary of State and an Iraqi tank commander.
In Iraq and Afghanistan interpreters get called terps. It isn’t usually a term of endearment. And they knew it. Which often made it difficult to get them to not be passive-aggressive in the jobs they were doing. So I would refer to them as translators and linguists, which weren’t easy to turn into snarkily spoken slang and made into a term of derision.
@Adam L Silverman:
You can’t see a way to turn the word linguist into a term of derision? You must not be very cunning then.
@Adam L Silverman: are you saying our troops were deriding the interpetors? How did that happen? It seems a self defeating attitude.
It really bugs me that we betrayed those who helped us by not evacuating them out. They should have had citizenship if they wanted it. We gave in to the xenophobia and the results will hurt us in future conflicts. Also it stuns me that we are deporting veterans who aren’t American born. Loco.
@Adam L Silverman: I won’t bug you any more about your usage, but I make the distinction because of my respect for their skill.
And I agree that we’ve done a whole less than we should have for people who helped us there.
“Bernie Sanders (whatever-VT)”
2016 was 2 years ago.