COTTON TO TILLERSON, MATTIS; Get on board with Trump or get out

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R)- AR had some strong words for Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis on Monday: Get on board the Trump Train or get out.

In an interview with Politico (http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/10/09/tom-cotton-senate-trump-whisperer-215692) Cotton said if Tillerson and Mattis can’t align themselves with the president’s stance on removing the United States from the Iran nuclear accord they’d be better off finding themselves a new job.

“They understand they’re not the president. Donald Trump is the president. Their job is to advise. His job is to decide,” Cotton told Politico.

“When you think the president is wrong, you have a duty to try to present to him the best facts and the best thinking to help him see it in a different light. Maybe you can, but if he doesn’t, and he says, ‘No, I want to do it my way,’ then your job is to move out and execute. And if you feel strongly enough, then you have to resign,” he continued.

Cotton also called out Mattis’ public comments that staying in the Iran nuke deal was “in the national interest.”

“On that specific point, I simply disagree with him,” Cotton said of Mattis’ assertion. “At root, though, we don’t have secretaries of state and secretaries of defense to make these decisions. We elect a president, who’s democratically accountable to the American people. And they say, in baseball, that the longest 18 inches is the difference between the assistant coach’s seat on the bench and the manager’s seat. That it’s the difference between advising and deciding. Same thing is true at the National Security Council table.”

Iran “is on the president’s mind right now, probably more than anything,” Cotton added.

Cotton’s comments come on the heels of last week’s controversy after published reports suggested that Tillerson had considered resigning out of frustration with Trump, allegations that Tillerson vehemently denied.

“There has never been a consideration in my mind to leave,” Tillerson said of the controversy speaking from a podium in the Treaty Room of the State Department.

“I serve at the appointment of the president and I am here for as long as the president feels I can be useful to achieving his objectives.”

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WAR OF WORDS: Tillerson blasts reports he called president a ‘moron’; Demands apology over ‘fake news’

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Trump administration came out swinging on Wednesday in response to reports by NBC News that Rex Tillerson had referred to President Donald Trump as “a moron”.

The NBC report (https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/white-house/tillerson-s-fury-trump-required-intervention-pence-n806451) claimed that Tillerson, who serves as Secretary of State, had considered resigning over the summer due to ongoing differences of opinion with Trump but stayed after being asked to do so by vice president Mike Pence.

“There’s never been a consideration in my mind,” Tillerson told reporters during a press conference inside the State Department’s Treaty Room in response to the allegations. “The vice president has never had to persuade me to remain as secretary of state because I have never considered leaving this post.”

“My commitment to the success of our President and our country is as strong as it was the day I accepted his offer to serve as secretary of state,” Tillerson continued. “President Trump’s foreign policy goals break the mold of what people traditionally think is achievable by our country. Our job is now to achieve results on behalf of America and we are doing that.”

“What we have accomplished, we have accomplished as a team,” Tillerson added, citing a list of foreign policy changes the Trump administration has carried out, including sanctioning North Korea, pressing Arab leaders to do more against terrorism and working with India and Pakistan to help stabilize conditions in Afghanistan.

Tillerson said he knew little about Trump on a personal level before accepting his role as Secretary of State, but that the one thing he’s learned for certain is that the president loves his country.

“He loves this country. He puts Americans and America First. He’s smart,” Tillerson said. “He demands results wherever he goes and he holds those around him accountable.”

When asked directly whether or not he had ever referred to the president as “a moron” Tillerson said he would not dignify such an allegation with an answer. “The places I come from, we don’t deal with that kind of petty nonsense,” Tillerson said. “I’m just not going to be part of this effort to divide this administration.”

Tillerson went on to blame spite and politics for the rumors that are spread about him, saying he’s learned to expect it because he’s an “outsider”.

“While I’m new to Washington, I have learned that there are some who try to sow dissension to advance their own agenda by tearing others apart, in an effort to undermine President Trump’s own agenda,” Tillerson said. “I do not and I will not operate that way.”

The president also unleashed his rage on Twitter this morning over the report which he called, “fake news”.

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NORTH KOREA THREATENS US WITH NUCLEAR STRIKE IN WAKE OF TOUGHER SANCTIONS

WASHINGTON, D.C. — North Korea said on Monday that it’s ready to give the United States a “severe lesson” in the wake of stricter sanctions imposed upon the rogue state by the United Nations.

The statement came after the U.N. Security Council voted unanimously to approve tough new U.S.-drafted sanctions last Saturday, which included a ban on coal and other exports worth over $1 billion.

Speaking at the ASEAN Regional Forum on Monday, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho blamed the Trump administration for the UN crackdown and said it’s ready to give the United States a “severe lesson” if met with military force to surrender it’s nuclear weapons.

“We will, under no circumstances, put the nukes and ballistic rockets on the negotiating table,” North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho told the ASEAN Regional Forum on Monday.

Yong Ho’s comments coincided with a statement released by North Korea’s state-run KCNA news agency in which North Korean officials accused the United States of “trying to drive the situation of the Korean peninsula to the brink of nuclear war, running amuck to conduct missile drill against the DPRK and deploying massive strategic equipment to the peninsula.”

“(North Korea) will make the US pay dearly for all the heinous crimes it commits against the state and people of this country,” KCNA said.

In response, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the new UN measures were necessary to send a message to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that the international community is united in its efforts to disarm North Korea of it’s nuclear weapons.

“We hope again that this ultimately will result in North Korea coming to a conclusion to choose a different pathway, and when the conditions are right that we can sit and have a dialogue around the future of North Korea so that they feel secure and prosper economically,” Tillerson said.

When asked about a time frame while speaking at the annual Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meeting in Manila, Tillerson said America’s patience is wearing thin but that the Trump administration is doing everything it can to avoid bloodshed by first taking the strategic route.

“We’re not going to give someone a specific number of days or weeks,” Tillerson said. “This is not a ‘give me 30 days and we are ready to talk.’ It’s not quite that simple. So it is all about how we see their attitude toward approaching a dialogue with us.”

“The best signal that North Korea could give us that they’re prepared to talk would be to stop these missile launches,” Tillerson added.

However, according to a White House statement, during a phone call between President Trump and South Korean president Moon Jae-in on Sunday, the leaders “affirmed that North Korea poses a grave and growing direct threat to the United States, South Korea and Japan, as well as to most countries around the world.”

Chinese state media on Monday said it agreed that North Korea must be punished for its missile tests, but criticized the U.S. for its “arrogance”. China, the second largest foreign creditor of the United States behind Japan, is North Korea’s most important ally.

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NORTH KOREA DEMANDS TRUMP ‘WAVE WHITE FLAG’; WARNS US ‘ON KNIFE’S EDGE OF LIFE AND DEATH’

WASHINGTON, D.C. — North Korea on Thursday threatened the United States with “unexpected gift packages” in the wake of it’s latest successful test missile launch.

Rodong Sinmun, the rogue nation’s official propaganda newspaper, issued the threat in a column titled “Heed the Warning of Juche Korea” in which the North Korean government criticized the Trump administration and warned that the U.S. is “on the knife’s edge of life and death” and urged President Trump to “wave a white flag” amid ongoing tensions with Pyongyang.

“Every minute and every second, the new reality that U.S. mainland is on the knife’s edge of life and death is forcing U.S. administration to wave a white flag and fundamentally change her North Korea policy,” the warning stated. “It is not the denuclearization of N. Korea, but the security of U.S. mainland which should be the top priority of Trump administration,” the piece added.

If Trump refuses to comply, the paper warned, “gift package” would be heading its way to “American bastards.”

“If U.S. still refuses to accept such a realistic demand and doggedly pursue hostile policy against North Korea in order to save face, she will receive unexpected ‘gift packages’ which we will continue to send,” the paper threatened.

Kim Jung-Un’s latest threat comes as U.S. Pacific Air Forces commander Gen. Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy said the U.S. and its allies are prepared to use “rapid, lethal and overwhelming force,” in order to stop the communist regime.

“North Korea remains the most urgent threat to regional stability,” O’Shaughnessy said during a press briefing on Jung-Un’s latest missile tests.

U.S. passport holders will not be able to travel to North Korea beginning September 1, according to a statement issued by the U.S. State Department on Wednesday (https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2017-08-02/pdf/2017-16287.pdf).

State Department officials say American citizens currently in North Korea who hold a U.S. passport are being directed to leave before the restrictions take place next month and that the restrictions will remain in effect for a period of one year unless the order is extended or revoked by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

“The Secretary has authorized the restriction due to the serious and mounting risk of arrest and long-term detention of U.S. citizens under North Korea’s system of law enforcement,” the statement read.

The State Department order was issued after University of Virginia student Otto Warmbier died after being released to the U.S. on humanitarian grounds because he was in a coma. Warmbier had been sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in North Korea for allegedly stealing a propaganda poster in March 2016. The 22-year-old died on June 19, days after he returned to the U.S. as a result of what doctors treating in Ohio determined were “severe injuries to all areas” of his brain.

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NOT BACKING DOWN: KIM JUNG-UN WARNS PREEMPTIVE NUCLEAR STRIKE COULD COME ‘AT ANY TIME’ DESPITE TRUMP’S OFFER TO ‘TALK’

PYONGYANG, NORTH KOREA — North Korean leader Kim Jong-un announced on Monday that a nuclear launch could come “at any time and at any location” in response to what it called acts of aggression by the United States.

The rogue leader’s comment comes on the same day that U.S. president Donald Trump said he would be willing to sit down with Jong-un to discuss their countries’ differences if the “circumstances were right” (https://rebekahworsham.org/2017/05/01/peace-talks-trump-says-he-would-absolutely-meet-with-north-korean-leader-kim-jung-un-as-world-braces-for-war/).

Tensions between the U.S. and North Korea have been at an all time high for the past several weeks, since the communist country claimed that it has developed nuclear weapons that have the capacity to reach the U.S. mainland.

A spokesman for Jung-un’s military said Pyongyang was “fully ready to respond to any option taken by the US” and that it will “continue bolstering its preemptive nuclear attack” capabilities until Washington refrained from its “hostile policies”.

“The DPRK’s measures for bolstering the nuclear force to the maximum will be taken in a consecutive and successive way at any moment and any place decided by its supreme leadership,” a statement from the state-run KCNA news agency read.

Last week, both Washington, D.C. and Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital city, carried out joint exercises to prepare for the impact of nuclear war. Further, in a nearly unprecedented event, all members of the U.S. Senate were called to the White House to be briefed on the escalating conflict.

The U.S. emergency drills have ended, but naval exercises are continuing in the Sea of Japan (East Sea) with a US strike group led by the aircraft carrier the USS Carl Vinson.

During the past week, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called upon the UN Security Council to do more to stop North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and warned of “catastrophic consequences” if the world does not act.

Asked during a Reuters interview on Saturday if a North Korea nuclear test would prompt U.S. military action, Trump replied: “You’ll soon find out.”

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NORTH KOREA NUCLEAR THREAT ‘PRIORITY ONE’ AS SENATE IS BRIEFED ON ESCALATING TENSIONS

WASHINGTON, D.C. — One hundred Senators were called to the White House on Wednesday during a nearly unprecedented event to be briefed on rising tensions between the United States and North Korea.

According to a report published by Reuters (http://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-nuclear-usa-senate-idUSKBN17Q1LR), the briefing, which began at 3:00 pm EST, was originally scheduled to take place in the Capitol building but was moved to the White House at the request of President Trump.

The Senators are reportedly being briefed by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who will chair the meeting, and Secretary of Defense James Mattis on the latest developments in North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and the threats that it’s leader, Kim Jung-un, has made against the United States. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford, and Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats will also participate in the briefing.

The meeting comes on the same day that local governments throughout the Washington, D.C. area are participating in “full-scale” terror attack drills in response to the developing conflict. The drills are being carried out in multiple locations throughout the District of Columbia and Northern Virginia and Maryland suburbs at the direction of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Sen. Lindsey Graham, (R)-South Carolina, discussed the North Korea briefing during a dinner Monday evening at the White House with President Trump, and told reporters on Tuesday that his fellow colleagues will be advised on Trump’s plan to respond to North Korea’s recent acts of aggression.

“It’s clear to me that this president will not allow North Korea to develop an [intercontinental ballistic missile] with a nuclear weapon on top to hit America,” said Graham. “And I think the senators are gonna hear that tomorrow night.”

Sen. Ben Cardin, (D)-Md., the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told Reuters that he hopes that North Korea’s recent hostilities can be countered without military action.

“It’s (the location of the meeting) their choice,” he said of Trump’s meeting request. “I hope that we hear their policy as to what their objectives are, and how we can accomplish that hopefully without dropping bombs.”

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PREPPING FOR WAR: NORTH KOREA HOLDS ‘LIVE FIRE’ DRILLS AS U.S. BATTLE SHIP DRAWS NEAR

PYONGYANG, NORTH KOREA — North Korea on Tuesday conducted a mass live-fire drill that reportedly involved up to 400 artillery pieces under the supervision of leader, Kim Jong Un. The drill is just the latest indication that the rogue state is preparing to launch a preemptive strike against the U.S., say military experts.

The drill comes on the heels of the approach of a nuclear-powered American submarine that is currently barreling toward the region.

As reported on Monday, the entire U.S. Senate has been called to the White House for an emergency briefing of the conflict (https://rebekahworsham.org/2017/04/24/brink-of-war-entire-senate-called-to-white-house-for-briefing-on-north-korea-as-rogue-state-warns-of-preemptive-strike/).

According to White House press secretary Sean Spicer, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats are have cleared their schedule in order to update members of the Senate on the latest developments.

Meanwhile, China president Xi Jinping has warned Kim Jong Un that should war break out between the United States and North Korea, it will be Korea that suffers most.

In an editorial piece for the Global Times, a publication that is widely regarded as the official news source of the Communist Party, Chinese government officials wrote: “The game of chicken between Washington and Pyongyang has come to a breaking point.”

The warning continued that “it is more likely than ever that the situation will cross the point of no return” and that “all stakeholders will bear the consequences, with Pyongyang sure to suffer the greatest losses.”

Lu Kang, spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry, urged Kim Jung un to find a peaceful solution to the conflict before “it is too late”.

“The current situation on the Korean Peninsula is complicated and sensitive and the tension is high,” said Kang.“We urge all sides concerned to keep restrained and calm and refrain from taking actions that could escalate tensions.”

The aid of the Chinese government comes just weeks after president Donald Trump met with Xi Jinping and essentially told him that destruction of the United States was not in China’s best interests. “If we go down, our debt to you and the trillions that you make from us in foreign trade goes down with us,” Trump reportedly told Jinping.

Despite warnings from their Chinese neighbors, North Korea has seemingly remained defiant.

“There is no limit to the strike power of the People’s Army armed with our style of cutting-edge military equipment including various precision and miniaturised nuclear weapons and submarine-launched ballistic missiles,” a government spokesperson said in a statement on Tuesday to a Pyongyang-based newspaper (https://www.rte.ie/news/2017/0425/870024-donald-trump-wants-tougher-new-sanctions-on-north-korea/).

Trump on Tuesday said that “one way or another” North Korea’s nuclear weapons program must be stopped.

“North Korea is a big world problem,” said the president, “and it’s a problem we have to finally solve.”

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BRINK OF WAR: ENTIRE SENATE CALLED TO WHITE HOUSE FOR BRIEFING ON NORTH KOREA AS ROGUE STATE WARNS OF ‘PREEMPTIVE STRIKE’

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump has asked the entire U.S. Senate to the White House on Wednesday for a briefing on the escalating situation in North Korea.

During his daily press briefing on Monday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer confirmed the upcoming meeting, during which Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats plan to fill the lawmakers in on the developing conflict.

The decision to call the nearly unprecedented briefing came after Trump’s conversation by phone with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

On Monday, North Korean state media warned the United States of a “super-mighty preemptive strike” after US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the United States would do whatever it takes to stop the communist country’s quickly expanding nuclear program.

“In the case of our super-mighty preemptive strike being launched, it will completely and immediately wipe out not only US imperialists’ invasion forces in South Korea and its surrounding areas but the US mainland and reduce them to ashes,” North Korean leader Kim Jong-un warned.

Meanwhile, the rogue leader has taken another American citizen into custody, bringing the number of U.S. citizens imprisoned by the regime to three.

Tony Kim, a 58-year-old Korean-American professor, was detained at Pyongyang International Airport after teaching accounting at Pyongyang University of Science and Technology and working on aid and relief programs to North Korea for the past month.

Kim was reportedly taken into custody in North Korea on Saturday as he was trying to leave with his wife on a flight to China.

21-year-old University of Virginia undergraduate student Otto Warmbier was also detained on January 2, 2016, at Pyongyang International Airport, while visiting the country as a tourist with Young Pioneer Tour.

During a one hour trial, Warmbier was charged with stealing a political sign from a staff-only floor in the Yanggakdo International Hotel in Pyongyang and committing “crimes against the state.”

The Ohio native was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor.

During an appearance on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlton Show” this month, Warbmier’s parents have reached out to president Trump for aid in bringing their son home.

“President Trump, I ask you: Bring my son home. You can make a difference here,” Fred Warmbier, the young man’s father pleaded.

Korean-American businessman Kim Dong Chul is also being held in a North Korean prison after arrested in October 2015 while in the city of Rason.

Kim had been detained on suspicion of engaging in spying and stealing state secrets. Kim was sentenced to 10 years of hard labor after North Korea’s Supreme Court found him guilty of espionage and subversion under Articles 60 and 64 of the North’s criminal code.

While U.S. government officials have demanded the release of the prisoners, North Korean officials say they are not willing to negotiate amid the current tensions between their country and the United States.

PUTIN CAVES: RUSSIAN LEADER MEETS WITH TILLERSON IN ‘TENSE’ EXCHANGE DESPITE EARLIER REFUSAL

MOSCOW, RUSSIA — Russian president Vladimir Putin met with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson today in an apparent about face.

Putin, who had earlier in the week refused to meet with Tillerson amid tensions over the American strike on Syria, spoke with Tillerson in Moscow for nearly two hours, a U.S. Embassy spokesperson has confirmed.

The meeting comes after harsh words by president Trump toward Russia, who he claims assisted Syria in a deadly chemical strike on Syrian civilians that killed dozens of people.

“If Russia didn’t go in and back this animal (Syrian president Bashar al-Assad), you wouldn’t have a problem right now,” said Trump.

Sources with close knowledge of the meeting said that Tillerson pushed Putin to cooperate with the United States in helping to bring Syria under control. Despite a long standing friendship between Tillerson and Putin, the meeting was described as “tense”.

During the 24 hour period leading up to Tillerson’s landing in Moscow, the White House accused the Russian government of hiding evidence that proved al-Assad was responsible the gassing of his own people, launched from a base where Russian troops are operating.

In a statement, an angry Putin shot back that the charge was fabricated and accused President Trump, who American media claimed had collaborated with Putin to manipulate the outcome of the 2016 election, of fabricating the evidence to create a fake confrontation.

“This reminds me very much of the events of 2003, when U.S. representatives in the Security Council showed alleged chemical weapons discovered in Iraq,” said Putin, referring to intelligence that Mr. Trump has also cited in recent months. “The exact same thing is happening now,” he argued.

Sean Spicer, when asked about to expect in regard to the meeting between Tillerson and Putin on Wednesday, said Tillerson was expected to focus on the mutual interests of the United States and Russia but that Tillerson would also put Putin on notice that the U.S. will not tolerate further acts of aggression by Russia or their Syrian ally.

“I think there is a shared interest in defeating ISIS in the region that we have a national security concern that should align with their national security concern,” he said. “Russia right now is an island. It’s Russia, North Korea and Iran … Russia is among that group the only non-failed state.”

Russia is only “isolating” itself by standing by Assad, he added.

The Kremlin had said earlier in the week that Putin would not meet with Mr. Tillerson upon his arrival, but on Wednesday the Russian leader’s spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, said Putin would “consider” meeting with Tillerson at some point “depending on how Tillerson’s other talks” went.

As a matter of protocol, Russian leaders have greeted virtually all new secretaries of state since the end of World War II, and the initial refusal was considered to be a major snub to U.S. Russian relations and was cited by many political experts as a an effort by Mr. Putin to show Tillerson that just who was in control.

Before heading back behind closed doors, Putin and Tillerson shared a stiff handshake and made no eye contact.

Russia has said that despite U.S. concerns, they will continue to back their Syrian ally and will do “whatever it takes” to ensure that al-Assad has the military backing necessary to thwart off another U.S. attack.

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TILLERSON SNUBBED: ANGRY VLADIMIR PUTIN REFUSES TO MEET WITH SECRETARY OF STATE FOLLOWING TRUMP ORDERED STRIKE ON SYRIA

MOSCOW, RUSSIA — Russian president Vladimir Putin has refused to meet with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson as tensions over last week’s U.S. missile attack on a Syrian air base reach a fever pitch.

The snub is further evidence of growing hostilities between the United States in Russia as Putin has granted several audiences to Tillerson in the past, once even going so far as personally awarding Tillerson a top Russian state award — the Order of Friendship — in 2013.

“We have not announced any such meetings and right now there is no meeting with Tillerson in the president’s diary,” Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters.

Putin has condemned U.S. President Donald Trump’s ordered missile strike on a Syrian military base last week in retaliation for what intelligence officials say was a poisonous gas attack in which dozens of civilians, including 27 children, were killed.

In a statement issued shortly after American bombers struck the Syrian base, Putin said there is no proof that the Syria was responsible for the chemical attack, and called the U.S. missile strike an act of aggression and violation of international law.

Russia, a staunch ally of Syria, has said it will do “whatever it takes” to ensure that Syria has the military power necessary to protect itself from further U.S. attacks.

In light of Putin’s refusal to meet with Tillerson, the Secretary of State will instead meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

According to sources, Tillerson is expected to present an “it’s either them or us” scenario to the Russian dipolmat.

“Russia has really aligned itself with the Assad regime, the Iranians and Hezbollah,” Tillerson said Tuesday. “Is that a long-term alliance that serves the Russians’ interest? Or would Russia prefer to realign with the United States, with other Western countries, and Middle East countries who are seeking to resolve the Syrian crisis?”

Russia has warned the United States that any further attacks on Syria will result in serious” consequences. Despite the warning, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said on Friday the Trump administration was “ready and willing” to take further steps if needed.