TRUMP SUMMIT: North Korea says it may be a no-show if ‘sinister’ US insists it give up nukes

Washington, D.C. — North Korea on Wednesday said it may reconsider attending a much-anticipated summit with the United States if the Trump administration continues to insist on North Korea giving up its nuclear program.

Quoting first vice minister of foreign affairs Kim Kye Gwan, North Korea’s central news agency said the fate of the scheduled June 12 U.S.-North Korea summit remains unclear as long as Washington continues to push for denuclearization of the rogue state.

The statement, which added U.S. President Donald Trump would remain a “failed president” if fails to come to an agreement with North Korea, was met with a cool reaction by Trump.

Speaking to reporters at the White House Wednesday, the president vowed he would not back down on insisting the regime dismantle its nuclear program and hinted that North Korea may be testing its limits. Asked if leader Kim Jong-un is bluffing by suggesting he could pull out of the summit, Trump responded, “we’ll see what happens.”

“We haven’t been notified at all,” the president said.

In an unlikely message of support, Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer of New York urged Trump Wednesday to stand firm with North Korea and not to give Kim “anything for free.” In a tweeted statement, the Senate minority leader said, “We must be strong, and we must be resolute — this exercise should move forward.”

The State Department has said it will continue to plan for the summit until or unless it is notified that the meeting has been called off.

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TESTING KIM: Trump targets North Korea weapons program with tough new sanctions

WASHINGTON, D.C., — The Trump administration on Wednesday hit North Korea with a fresh round of new sanctions targeting the rogue state’s weapons programs.

A press release issued by the U.S. Department of the Treasury declares that “nine entities, 16 individuals, and six vessels” have been sanctioned in an effort to curb Pyongyang’s missile, chemical and nuclear weapons programs (https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm0257).

“Today’s sanctions target agents of the Kim regime financing or otherwise supporting North Korea’s WMD programs and other illicit businesses,” the press release states. “As a result of today’s action, any property or interests in property of the designated persons in the possession or control of U.S. persons or within the United States must be blocked, and U.S. persons are prohibited from dealing with any of the designated parties.”

The department also declared it is now targeting “illicit actors” in Russia and China it believes may have worked with North Korean financial assets, as well as oil, shipping and trading companies that do business with North Korea.

“Treasury continues to systematically target individuals and entities financing the Kim regime and its weapons programs, including officials complicit in North Korean sanctions evasion schemes,” the statement continues. “Pursuant to UN Security Council Resolutions, the U.S. government is targeting illicit actors in China, Russia, and elsewhere who are working on behalf of North Korean financial networks and calling for their expulsion from the territories where they reside. We are sanctioning additional oil, shipping, and trading companies that continue to provide a lifeline to North Korea to fuel this regime’s nuclear ambitions and destabilizing activities.”

The move follows comments by the president earlier this month in which he praised his administration’s non-military efforts.

“Sanctions and “other” pressures are beginning to have a big impact on North Korea. Soldiers are dangerously fleeing to South Korea. Rocket man now wants to talk to South Korea for first time. Perhaps that is good news, perhaps not – we will see!” Trump tweeted on January 2.

The latest sanctions come as global leaders have resorted to crippling North Korea’s economy to curb the aggression of leader Kim Jong-un’s military regime.

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‘THE BIGGEST STORY’: Trump blasts ‘fake news’ for covering up Clinton’s role in Uranium One

WASHINGTON, D.C.– President Donald Trump on Thursday criticized the mainstream media for hush hushing a newly unveiled scandal involving Hillary Clinton’s dealings with Russia.

Referencing a reported uranium deal between a Russian company, Clinton and key members of the Obama administration, Trump said “fake news” networks were scheming to keep the developing story from the American people.

“Uranium deal to Russia, with Clinton help and Obama administration knowledge, is the biggest story that Fake Media doesn’t want to follow!” the president tweeted (https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/920972261032648705?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw&ref_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.foxnews.com%2Fpolitics%2F2017%2F10%2F19%2Ftrump-blasts-fake-media-for-ignoring-russia-uranium-deal-sealed-with-clinton-help.html).

The controversy surrounds a report published Tuesday by The Hill (http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/355749-fbi-uncovered-russian-bribery-plot-before-obama-administration) which claimed the FBI had obtained evidence as far back as 2009 suggesting that Russian operatives had used bribes, kickbacks and other unlawful methods to expand Russia’s atomic presence in the U.S. — but the Obama administration knowingly approved a uranium deal that benefitted Moscow anyway.

The president’s outrage comes one day after Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, (R)-Iowa, announced he has opened an investigation into the matter and demanded that federal agencies disclose what they knew of the corruption prior to the Obama administration’s approval of the uranium deal with Moscow.

Grassley said the Russian acquisition in 2010 of Uranium One raised “national security concerns” because it “effectively ceded” 20 percent of US uranium production capability to Russia.

He also said “millions of dollars” to the Clinton Foundation from backers of the deal could have coerced the approval.

“The sale of Uranium One resulted in a Russian government takeover of a significant portion of US uranium mining capacity,” Grassley wrote in a letter to Homeland Security. “In light of that fact, very serious questions remain about the basis for the finding that this transaction did not threaten to impair US national security.”

The Clinton Foundation received “millions of dollars” from willing parties in the Uranium One transaction and former President Bill Clinton received $500,000 for a speech in Moscow from a Russian government-aligned bank, Grassley said, citing official reports.

“This fact pattern raises serious concerns about improper political influence on the process by the Clintons during the Obama administration,” Grassley concluded.

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