Trump Escalates War of Words with North Korea

Friday, August 11, 2017Screen Shot 2017-08-11 at 8.16.49 AM

Good Friday morning, 
Here are some of the stories making news in Washington and politics today:
— The First Draft Team
News Analysis
Wrestling With North Korea, Trump Finds Perilous Options
By MICHAEL R. GORDON AND ERIC SCHMITT
An American A-10 Warthog landed at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, on Thursday.

An American A-10 Warthog landed at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, on Thursday. Yonhap, via Associated Press

North Korea’s threat on Thursday to test-fire ballistic missiles soon near the American territory of Guam deepened the challenge confronting the Trump administration: how to defang Pyongyang’s missile programs without risking all-out war.
President Trump has made clear that his goal is to deny North Korea the capability to field a long-range nuclear-tipped missile that could strike the United States.
And though the Pentagon still hopes for a diplomatic solution, highly classified military options are at the ready, last seriously debated when the Clinton administration pondered pre-emptive action to try to thwart North Korea’s nuclear program.
Even a limited strike against a North Korean missile on its launching pad or the shooting down of a missile in midair would pose risks that the North’s leader, Kim Jong-un, might retaliate, setting off a spiral of escalation that could plunge the Korean Peninsula into war.
Read more »
Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel investigating Russian meddling in the election, in June.

Trump Says He Has Not Considered Firing Mueller, Contradicting Himself

By MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT

The president has privately told friends that he has weighed whether to dismiss Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel.

What Can North Korea Reach With Its Missiles?

By TROY GRIGGS AND KAREN YOURISH

North Korea’s ballistic missile program has recently accelerated faster than expected.

The Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, and President Trump during a meeting at the White House in March.
ON WASHINGTON

Trump’s Twitter Fury at McConnell Risks Alienating a Key Ally

By CARL HULSE

The president has turned his Twitter fire on the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, but he desperately needs Mr. McConnell to pass his agenda.

President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J.

Trump Had a Lot to Say on Thursday. Here Are the Highlights.

By MICHAEL D. SHEAR

In two appearances before journalists, the president addressed a wide range of issues, including the transgender military ban, the special council investigation and more.

Right and Left: Partisan Writing You Shouldn’t Miss
Read about how the other side thinks. We have collected political writing from around the web and across ideologies.
From the Right
• Noah Rothman in Commentary:
“The time for good options is passed.”
Mr. Rothman argues that the United States is at a “tipping point” in its relations with North Korea. The American government has two choices before it, neither of which is good. Either policy makers implicitly allow the Asian country to continue developing nuclear weapons, and pin hopes on a program of deterrence, or they pursue the “near impossible task” of neutralizing North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, Mr. Rothman writes. Read more »
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From the Left
• David Corn in Mother Jones:
“What makes Trump’s loose talk — and ignorance — about nuclear weapons particularly worrisome is that in the past, he has taken a fatalistic approach toward the notion of nuclear war.”
Written before the inauguration, Mr. Corn’s article argues that the president’s attitudes toward nuclear war have been consistently fatalistic for decades. The president’s persistent remarks that nuclear conflict is inevitable, Mr. Corn writes, are the “stuff of nightmares.” Read more »
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