Is it ok to be disgusted, yet?
Never mind. I’ll start without you.
For those of us who have, shall we say, a less critical eye towards this reality TV presidency, this is just going to be one more thing that gets excused away.
He’s owning the libs!
For those of us who haven’t lived on a steady diet of fast food, paint chips, and meth, it’s troublesome, to say the least.
So let’s get to the substance of this and see if we can surmise motive, shall we?
President Trump is planning a second summit with the recently confessed object of his ardor, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un.
The two had a rancorous relationship, at best, before their first summit in June of this year.
“Little Rocket Man” went from being an enemy to someone our president refers to as a “great guy,” and, as he recently admitted, they “fell in love.”
Kim routinely starves his own people. He has entire families imprisoned and tortured, for the crimes or perceived crimes of a single family member. That crime could be as simple as insulting the Kim family.
It is an atheist nation, with the only “worship” allowed being worship of the Kim family. To be caught in possession of a Bible, or even a Bible verse is a crime. As I’ve pointed out before, it is the number one nation for Christian persecution in the world.
Human rights groups say the North Korea of today is as bad or worse than living under the Nazi regime.
But Trump loves Kim.
Now, the news coming out of the Kim Jong-Un fan club headquarters, over at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is that the Trump administration are making some changes about how information is shared, before the planned second summit between the two leaders.
Under the new plans, Congress, as a whole, won’t get to see intelligence on North Korea. That privilege will be reserved for each party’s House and Senate leaders, along with chairs and ranking members of foreign relations and intelligence committees.
The situation with North Korea has always been so volatile and sensitive, it tended to be an all-hands on deck situation, with the entire committees and their staff allowed access to any relevant intelligence.
Now, with Trump’s affections burning hot, information on what is going on with the rogue nation will be shared on a need-to know basis, and the president is the one who decides who needs to know, apparently.
We have three separate, but co-equal branches of government for a reason, but it’s as if those we’ve sent to Washington have forgotten that.
The concern is that North Korea may make some provocative moves, as far as their nuclear ambitions, and that this new Trump policy will keep Congress in the dark.
“It is not a good look. It is very telling that they are doing this. We can’t prove it, but it is an indication that there could be a significant problem,” explained one senior Senate staffer. “The reports could give alarming details that they don’t want out there in the public theater.”
There are North Korea briefings made available to members of Congress in small groups, particularly Republican members who have a close relationship with the White House. Yet Republicans and Democrats alike are frustrated by the move, which they say will inhibit Congress’ role in the high-stakes diplomacy being orchestrated by the White House and the State Department.
“It will be problematic because even if you sit on a committee like [Intelligence], only the chair and ranking get that intelligence, not their staff. That is just kind of nuts,” explained another senior Senate staffer.
“Usually there has been higher clearance level required for this administration than in the past, but at very minimum intelligence staffers can see it or the Senate Foreign Relations Committee staff,” explained another source. “But this is bigger and more restrictive because not even staff are allowed to see it.”
Why would Trump allow for something so risky?
One word coming out is that the administration is concerned about leaks, ahead of the second summit with North Korea, planned for January.
Meanwhile, Congress is in recess, so there’s really no way to gauge the pushback, if any.
Within hours of returning from the first summit, Trump announced that North Korea is no longer a nuclear threat.
The summer had not even began to wane, yet, before intelligence revealed that, in fact, nothing had changed.
They returned to their aggressive language, and pretty much stuck a thumb in the eye of Trump’s claims.
He doesn’t care. He still went on to declare his love for a murderous dictator, afterwards.
What remains unclear is if lower level analysts at the State Department, Department is Defense and Department of Energy are also being denied access to intelligence reports. The State Department said they do not comment on intelligence matters and the office of the director of national intelligence declined to comment at all.
The hope is that Congress does stand up to this, and that they tell the president that he does not have the last word.
That’s the hope. What the actual reality looks like could be completely different.