Trump Says He Thought Being President Would Be Easier Than His Old Life (WHITE IDIOT!)

He misses driving, feels as if he is in a cocoon, and is surprised how hard his new job is.

President Donald Trump on Thursday reflected on his first 100 days in office with a wistful look at his life before the White House.

 

“I loved my previous life. I had so many things going,” Trump told Reuters in an interview. “This is more work than in my previous life. I thought it would be easier.”

A wealthy businessman from New York, Trump assumed public office for the first time when he entered the White House on Jan. 20 after he defeated former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in an upset.

 

More than five months after his victory and two days shy of the 100-day mark of his presidency, the election is still on Trump’s mind. Midway through a discussion about Chinese President Xi Jinping, the president paused to hand out copies of what he said were the latest figures from the 2016 electoral map.

 

“Here, you can take that, that’s the final map of the numbers,” the Republican president said from his desk in the Oval Office, handing out maps of the United States with areas he won marked in red. “It’s pretty good, right? The red is obviously us.”

He had copies for each of the three Reuters reporters in the room.

 

Trump, who said he was accustomed to not having privacy in his “old life,” expressed surprise at how little he had now. And he made clear he was still getting used to having 24-hour Secret Service protection and its accompanying constraints.

“You’re really into your own little cocoon, because you have such massive protection that you really can’t go anywhere,” he said.

 

When the president leaves the White House, it is usually in a limousine or an SUV.

He said he missed being behind the wheel himself.

“I like to drive,” he said. “I can’t drive any more.”

 

Many things about Trump have not changed from the wheeler-dealer executive and former celebrity reality show host who ran his empire from the 26th floor of Trump Tower in New York and worked the phones incessantly.

 

He frequently turns to outside friends and former business colleagues for advice and positive reinforcement. Senior aides say they are resigned to it.

 

The president has been at loggerheads with many news organizations since his election campaign and decided not to attend the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in Washington on Saturday because he felt he had been treated unfairly by the media.

“I would come next year, absolutely,” Trump said when asked whether he would attend in the future.

 

The dinner is organized by the White House Correspondents’ Association. Reuters correspondent Jeff Mason is its president.

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Lawmakers (White Freemasons) introduce bipartisan resolution to honor Israeli-American community

(JTA) — Two New York Congress members introduced a bipartisan resolution to honor the Israeli-American community ahead of Jewish Heritage Month in May.

On Wednesday, Reps. Grace Meng, a Democrat, and Lee Zeldin, a Republican, introduced the resolution, which “affirms that the Israeli-American community has contributed immensely to American society and culture.”

The resolution lauds Israeli-Americans’ contributions to the fields of national security, high-tech and biotech, and highlights two successful Israeli Americans — Abraham Karem, an aerospace engineer, and Safra Catz, the CEO of Oracle.

Meng and Zeldin, who is Jewish, in a statement Thursday praised the contributions of Israeli Americans.

“From creating technological advancements that we use every day, to starting businesses that employ tens of thousands of Americans, the Israeli-American community continues to thrive, thereby strengthening our economy,” Meng said.

Zeldin said: “Israeli-Americans contribute in many ways that create jobs and help grow our economy, while strengthening our nation’s national security to protect America’s interests at home and abroad.”

PALESTINIANS MUST ADMIT DEFEAT, REPUBLICAN CAUCUS (WHITE FREEMASONS) SAYS

 

WASHINGTON — A number of conservative Republicans in Congress have launched a pro-Israel caucus predicated on getting the Palestinians to acknowledge defeat.

The co-chairs of the new Israel Victory Caucus, Reps. Bill Johnson of Ohio and Ron DeLantis of Florida, were among those on hand for Thursday’s launch. A number of other Republicans stopped by to express support; no Democrats spoke.

 

“We believe Israel has been victorious in the war and that this reality must be recognized for any peace to be achieved between Israel and its neighbors,” Johnson said.

An array of conservative pro-Israel groups was represented, including the Middle East Forum, the Zionist Organization of America, Emet, Christians United for Israel and Americans for a Safe Israel.

Daniel Pipes, the Middle East Forum president, who recently laid out the theory that imposing defeat on the Palestinians was the likelier path to peace, said decades of negotiations assuming neither side had won had resulted in a “war process” instead of a peace process.

“Victory means imposing your will on your enemy,” Pipes said.

Code Pink, a left-wing protest group, briefly disrupted the event.

Pipes’ paper, published in the March issue of Commentary, acknowledges that Israelis prefer a negotiated solution, but calls this consensus “myopic.” Instead, he advocates “coercing” Palestinians to change their view, including reoccupation of Palestinian areas should they be used to launch attacks on Israel and cutting off water and electricity as a means of responding to intensified violence.

A bipartisan Congressional Israel Allies Caucus exists and embraces pro-Israel policies identified with more conservative supporters of Israel, including the recognition of all of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving the US Embassy there from Tel Aviv. However, like much of the pro-Israel community, it defers to Israeli government positions on the peace process.

Liberal groups slammed the Israel Victory Caucus, with the Southern Poverty Law Center saying its recommendations were “extreme” and J Street, the liberal pro-Israel lobby, advising Congress members to “stay as far away from such savage and dangerous ideas as possible.”

‘This shit is hard’: Leak reveals Trump team (White Idiots, White Freemasons, Jews) spent first 100 days learning that governing isn’t easy

President Donald Trump and his staff have been on the job for nearly 100 days, and they’re coming to the realization that running the executive branch of the U.S. government isn’t quite as easy as they thought.

Trump’s unexpected election win seems to have given him a false sense that serving as president wouldn’t be much harder than running for president, but aides and other close associates say he’s come to realize the demands of the job, reported Politico.

“I think he’s much more aware how complicated the world is,” former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, an informal adviser to the administration, told the website. “This will all be more uphill than he thought it would be because I think he had the old-fashioned American idea that you run for office, you win, then people behave as though you won.”

The president infamously declared that “nobody knew that health care could be so complicated” as he tried to sell a Republican replacement for the Affordable Care Act that ultimately failed.

Trump admitted last week that getting legislation passed was a lot different than negotiating real estate or reality television deals, according to Politico.
“Making business decisions and buying buildings don’t involve heart,” Trump said. “This involves heart. These are heavy decisions.”

White House staffers have also been surprised by the steep learning curve they faced in their new jobs, the website reported.

“I kind of pooh-poohed the experience stuff when I first got here,” one White House official told Politico. “But this sh*t is hard.”

In addition to the obvious demands of working in the White House, staffers have also been tasked with managing an impulsive chief executive who likes to keep plenty of free time for himself.
“If you’re an adviser to him, your job is to help him at the margins, to talk him out of doing crazy things,” said one source described by Politico as a “Trump confidante.”

Aides have learned to limit the options they present to the president, who quickly and easily changes his mind, and to go light on the details.

“You don’t walk in with a traditional presentation, like a binder or a PowerPoint — he doesn’t care,” said one senior administration official. “He doesn’t consume information that way. You go in and tell him the pros and cons, and what the media coverage is going to be like.”

Staffers have also tried to set a stricter schedule for the president to keep him from cursing angrily at negative coverage on TV and posting on Twitter, but Trump resists intrusions into his leisure time.

“Everyone is concerned that things are not running that well,” a senior official told Politico. “There should be more structure in place so we know who is working on what and who is responsible for what, instead of everyone freelancing on everything.”

In Ann Coulter’s (White Slut, White Feminist) Speech Battle, Signs That Conservatives Are Emboldened

Without uttering a word to students at the University of California, Berkeley, Ann Coulter on Wednesday made herself the latest cause célèbre in the rapidly escalating effort by conservatives to fight liberals on what was once the left’s moral high ground over free speech on campus.

Ms. Coulter, the acid-penned conservative writer, canceled a planned appearance on Thursday after the political organizations that invited her rescinded their support over fears of violence. “It’s a sad day for free speech,” she said.

But across the country, conservatives like her are eagerly throwing themselves into volatile situations like the one in Berkeley, emboldened by a backlash over what many Americans see as excessive political correctness, a president who has gleefully taken up their fight, and liberals they accuse of trying to censor any idea they disagree with.

The situation adds up to a striking reversal in the culture wars, with the left now often demanding that offensive content be excised from public discourse and those who promote it boycotted and shunned.

 

Berkeley has again become a symbolic flash point. The university was not just the cradle of the Free Speech Movement but also the site of a violent 1969 crackdown that delighted many protest-weary Americans when Ronald Reagan, then California’s governor, ordered the National Guard to move in on student demonstrators.

The broader point that conservatives now say they are making resonates far beyond academia, and in many ways echoes some of the most bitter undercurrents of the 2016 presidential election.

President Trump’s victory was, to many of his supporters, a defiant uprising against what they saw as a cultural and political elite that told them their values were wrong and their beliefs bigoted. And Mr. Trump, who has routinely used racially charged controversies and social movements like Black Lives Matter to his political benefit, has leapt to their defense, ready to fan the flames.

When Berkeley administrators canceled an appearance by the professional right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos in February after riots broke out, Mr. Trump questioned on Twitter whether the university should have its federal funding revoked.

Even some liberals say the heavy-handedness by university administrators and students is only reinforcing conservatives’ suspicions, which the left insists are overblown for maximum political potency.

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, a self-described democratic socialist, this week scolded anyone who would shut out Ms. Coulter. “What are you afraid of — her ideas?” he asked.
Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, argued that the controversy only handed Ms. Coulter the big platform she craved. “If you don’t like it, don’t show up,” she said. Even The Onion weighed in with a satirical blurb about Berkeley being on police lockdown after loose pages of The Wall Street Journal were abandoned on a park bench.

“Unfortunately, Berkeley and other universities have played into a narrative that the right would love to advance,” said Robert B. Reich, a former Labor secretary under President Bill Clinton who is now a professor of public policy at Berkeley. “The narrative assumes a cultural plot against the free expression of right-wing views in which academe, mainstream media — every facet of the establishment — is organized against them.”

Mr. Reich, noting the parallels to Mr. Trump’s message, added, “That’s a narrative Trump used to get into the White House.”

The university breathed a sigh of relief on Wednesday, but it criticized Ms. Coulter, who has a knack for provocation and a history of inviting disruption wherever she speaks, for being wanton and reckless given that it had offered to accommodate her at a later date after canceling her originally scheduled speech. The Berkeley chancellor, Nicholas B. Dirks, said in a note to the campus, “This is a university, not a battlefield.”

Berkeley has become a meeting ground for what the city’s chief of police, Andrew Greenwood, has described as politically motivated groups “armed and prepared to fight.”

Outside groups representing the far left and far right have clashed in the city several times over the past few months in a fight club atmosphere that university administrators say they have not seen in many years, if ever. During the most recent clash, on April 15, the police arrested 20 people. But Chief Greenwood warned of the difficulties and dangers of intervening in future clashes.
The university had prepared to call up hundreds of police officers for Ms. Coulter’s visit, at a significant cost. Still, the groups that organized her visit sued the university after it moved the timing of her speech, saying that conservative speakers were being treated differently from left-leaning ones on the famously liberal campus.

In his note, Mr. Dirks said the school must “make every effort to hold events at a time and location that maximizes the chances that First Amendment rights can be successfully exercised and that community members can be protected.”

But many on the right see a new and insidious form of thought policing. And they argue that it is only spreading now that the debate over which ideas can be expressed publicly is becoming a catchall that can include almost anyone right of center, and has extended to corporate America, where liberal-led boycotts have targeted socially conservative chief executives.

In some high schools, universities and businesses where liberal ideas dominate, said Ben Domenech, the publisher of The Federalist, a conservative website, “speech has become something they could not only object to but that needed to be stamped out — that was hate and had no place in the public square.”
And coupled with a realization by many conservatives that the culture wars on issues like same-sex marriage may have forever turned against them, the belief that their right of expression is under assault is acutely threatening. “The First Amendment,” Mr. Domenech added, “is their last line of defense.”

Assuming the role of oppressed majority is something conservatives have, of course, long done. And they have certainly not abandoned all efforts to stifle expression they deem morally indefensible or offensive.

Public universities remain favorite targets of socially conservative state legislators who want to cut funding for classes that teach issues like homosexuality and gender. And some Republican lawmakers are moving to stamp out demonstrations they find to be a nuisance, as in North Dakota, where a new law aims to make it easier for law enforcement to control protests like the one that tried to block construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

But liberals and conservatives agree that the situation on campuses is something far more corrosive than mere hypersensitivity by 18-year-olds. At Middlebury College in Vermont last month, a crowd attacked the political scientist Charles Murray, the author of “The Bell Curve,” which makes a data-based argument that differences in average I.Q. scores among races may have genetic as well as environmental causes. A professor accompanying Mr. Murray had her neck injured and went to the hospital.

Heather Mac Donald, a Manhattan Institute scholar who has defended police tactics in the face of criticism by groups like Black Lives Matter, has been mobbed at colleges like Claremont McKenna and the University of California, Los Angeles. At the U.C.L.A. event, demonstrators shouted over her as she took questions from the crowd. “You have no right to speak!” one man yelled.

Many liberals denounce what they see as a growing tolerance of aggressive and intolerant speech against minorities and immigrants. That has only grown worse now that Mr. Trump is president, and people like Ms. Coulter feed on that, they argue.

The result has been such toxicity on college campuses that even conservatives acknowledge it is causing their side to dig in irrationally, growing intractable even when the speaker is someone like Mr. Yiannopoulos, who has defended pederasty, or Richard Spencer, a white supremacist and self-appointed leader of the fringe alt-right movement.

“Because the hard-core campus left has conflated any political speech with the worst kind of speech, the response has become, ‘All speech is fine,’” said Ben Shapiro, a conservative writer and speaker who has sometimes found himself the target of angry eruptions at universities. Last year at California State’s Los Angeles campus, Mr. Shapiro faced a similar situation when the university said it would no longer accommodate him because of security concerns; he spoke anyway, under police guard.

Lumping Ms. Coulter in with someone more extreme like Mr. Spencer, Mr. Shapiro said, creates a situation in which practically no conservative viewpoint is welcome. “All these lines become arbitrary, and then it’s easier to allow nothing.”

What some conservatives see as even more damaging to their cause is how figures like Mr. Spencer, who was seen on video this year being punched in the head while he gave an interview, as somehow sympathetic.

“I’m not interested in making martyrs of people I disagree with,” said Cliff Maloney Jr., the president of Young Americans for Liberty, which works to remove speech restrictions like “safe zones,” areas on some campuses where political speech is kept confined. “But when emotions get so wrapped up, you end up propping up people who don’t stand for the principles we believe in.”

Trump says no plan to pull out of NAFTA ‘at this time’

President Trump told the leaders of Canada and Mexico on Wednesday that the United States would not be pulling out of the North American Free Trade Agreement “at this time,” opening the door to future negotiations on the same day that Trump was considering signaling a strong intent to withdraw as a potential way of bringing the parties together at the deal-
making table.

Trump spoke with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau late Wednesday afternoon after reports circulated during the day that the president was contemplating withdrawing from NAFTA.

“President Trump agreed not to terminate NAFTA at this time and the leaders agreed to proceed swiftly, according to their required internal procedures, to enable the renegotiation of the NAFTA deal to the benefit of all three countries,” the White House said in a statement late Wednesday.

News that Trump was weighing withdrawing from NAFTA drew sharp criticism from several Republican leaders, including Sen. Jeff Flake (R) and Sen. John McCain (R). McCain tweeted that Trump “shouldn’t abandon this vital trade agreement.”

Earlier, three people familiar with the matter said Trump is seriously considering signing a document within days that would signal his intent to withdraw the United States from the agreement within six months.

If signed, the letter would begin a formal process that could see the United States exit the 23-year-old trade pact with Canada and Mexico, ratcheting up tensions among neighboring nations.

Signing the document does not require Trump to withdraw from NAFTA after six months, but it is a required step if he plans to eventually do so. The White House is expected to soon take a separate step by signing a letter to Congress that would notify lawmakers of the administration’s intention to renegotiate NAFTA. By taking both steps, the White House would give itself more flexibility to choose a different outcome in several months.

Any move by Trump on NAFTA would not come as a surprise. The president made criticism of NAFTA one of the main topics of his campaign last year, calling the pact “a disaster for our country” and saying it “had to be totally gotten rid of.”

But the NAFTA issue did seem to lose some urgency after the first few weeks of Trump’s presidency as his administration focused on other topics.

“Some people were hopeful that just like he revised his views on NATO, he’d revise his views on this,” said Hoyt Bleakley, associate professor of economics at the University of Michigan. “But clearly he hasn’t.”

In recent days Trump also has taken a harder line with Canada, blasting a recent change in the dairy pricing policy there that mostly dealt with a cheese-making product called ultrafiltered milk. In Wisconsin last week, Trump called Canada’s dairy pricing scheme “another typical one-sided deal against the U.S.” Canada disputed that.

And the Commerce Department said Monday that it would begin charging a tariff on the import of softwood lumber from Canada into the United States, alleging Canada was improperly subsidizing its domestic timber firms.

But there was no panic over the fate of NAFTA in the Calgary offices of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, whose members sell and buy plenty of beef cattle across the border.

“This is his typical way of doing things — saying completely unreasonable things as a negotiating posture,” said John Masswohl, the trade group’s director of government and international relations.

Masswohl said he watched how Trump handled issues at the Carrier plant in Indiana and with Ford’s plans to build car models in Mexico. He sees similar rhetoric in Trump’s approach to NAFTA.

“I’ve got to believe this is a negotiating position,” Masswohl said, because the trade pact might need tweaking, but it has been good for both countries.

Separately, the Trump administration Wednesday made another move on trade that seemed aimed at China, launching an investigation into the effect of aluminum imports on U.S. national security interests.

A similar probe, known as a Section 232 investigation, was announced for foreign-made steel last week.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Wednesday that Trump would be signing a directive today urging the inquiry.

 

Ross said aluminum was a national security interest because the metal in its high-purity form is used in military planes such as the F-35 and F-18, plus armor plating for military vehicles and combat vessels. Just one U.S. smelter makes high-purity aluminum, producing enough for peacetime military needs but not enough if the country enters into conflicts, he said.

“It’s very dangerous from a defense point of view to have only one supplier of an absolutely critical element,” Ross said.

Only two U.S. smelters are fully operational today, with eight others having curtailed operations or closed since 2015. Imported aluminum accounted for 55 percent of the U.S. market last year, the largest market share ever and a steep increase over recent years, Ross said.

The largest importers of aluminum into the United States are China followed by Russia, United Arab Emirates and Canada, Ross said.

Aluminum imports from China, in particular, have been a focus of the U.S. government for months. Late last year, a bipartisan group of 12 U.S. senators asked for a national security review of Chinese aluminum giant Zhongwang International Group Ltd.’s proposed $2.3 billion purchase of U.S. aluminum products maker Aleris, alleging the deal would damage the U.S. defense industry.

In January, days before leaving office, President Barack Obama launched a World Trade Organization complaint about Chinese aluminum subsidies that, the United States claimed, gave Chinese companies an unfair advantage.

And last month, U.S. producers of aluminum foil — including the kind used to wrap kitchen leftovers — filed an anti-dumping complaint against China, claiming the United States was being flooded with unfair, cheap imports. Foil prices have declined significantly in recent years “due to widespread and significant underselling of U.S. producers’ prices,” according to the complaint.

A couple of weeks later, Trump’s Commerce Department announced that it was investigating those and other unfair trade claims.

HOUSE RESOLUTION (WHITE FREEMASONS) WOULD RECOGNIZE ISRAELI-AMERICAN HERITAGE (DUAL JEWISH CITIZENS)

http://www.jpost.com/Diaspora/House-resolution-would-recognize-Israeli-American-heritage-489066

 

 

WASHINGTON – Two congressmen introduced a resolution on Wednesday that would highlight the contribution of Israeli-Americans to US society.

The Israeli-American Council pioneered the resolution in its first solo legislative venture with members of Congress. Representatives Lee Zeldin (R-New York) and Grace Meng (D-New York) introduced the measure.

 

Praising Israeli-American contributions in hi-tech, biotech, cyber-security and water technology, the resolution would have the House affirm “that the Israeli-American community has contributed immensely to American society and culture.”

The IAC is a relatively new Israeli-American organization based in Los Angeles, founded in 2007, with ambitions to expand influence in Washington.Natalie Portman explains Hebrew slang

“”The Israeli-American Coalition for Action is grateful to Representatives Zeldin and Meng for leading this important effort in Congress to recognize the Israeli-American community’s unique and wide-ranging contributions to the United States,” said IAC CEO Shoham Nicolet. “From hi-tech to Hollywood, from agriculture to clean energy, Israeli-Americans are making their mark in the US to strengthen our country’s security, economy and future.

Trump unveils biggest tax reform in over 30 years

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump proposed dramatic cuts in the taxes paid by corporations big and small Wednesday in an overhaul his administration says will spur economic growth and bring jobs and prosperity to America’s middle class. But his ambitious plan alarmed lawmakers who worry about ballooning federal deficits.

The plan would also reduce investment and estate taxes aimed at the wealthy. But administration officials said that action on other key tax code elements would ensure the plan would largely help the middle class instead of the affluent.

The White House has yet to spell out how much of a hole the tax cuts could create in the federal budget, maintaining that the resulting economic growth would reduce — if not eliminate — the risk of a soaring deficit.

The outlined changes to the tax code are the most concrete guidance so far on Trump’s vision for spurring job growth.

“The president owns this plan; don’t be mistaken,” said Gary Cohn, director of the White House National Economic Council.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, joined by National Economic Director Gary Cohn, speaks in the briefing room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, April 26, 2017. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Cohn said Trump and his administration recognize they have to be “good stewards” of the federal budget. But the plan as it currently stands could cause the federal deficit to climb, unless it sparks a massive and lasting wave of growth that most economists say is unlikely.

The threat of a rising budget deficit could erode support for the plan among lawmakers in Trump’s own Republican Party. Administration officials intend to hash out additional details with members of the House and Senate in the coming weeks for what would be the first massive rewrite of the US tax code since 1986.

“We know this is difficult,” Cohn said. “We know what we’re asking for is a big bite.”

As Cohn and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin explained it in an interview, the plan would reduce the number of personal income tax brackets to three from seven: rates of 10 percent, 25% and 35%. It would double the standard deduction for married couples to $24,000, while keeping deductions for charitable giving and mortgage interest payments. The administration plans to provide tax relief for families with child care expenses, too, although the specifics have yet to be included.

On the other hand, the proposal would also trim other deductions utilized by wealthier Americans. This would include deductions for state and local tax payments, a change that could alienate support from lawmakers in states such as California and New York with higher state taxes.

“It’s not the federal government’s job to be subsidizing the states,” Mnuchin said.

The administration has emphasized that the plan was focused on simplifying the tax code and helping middle class Americans. The median US household income is slightly above $50,000 (NIS 182,000) annually.

Still, the proposal could reduce the tax burden for the wealthy as well.

It would also repeal the estate tax, the catch-all alternative minimum tax and the 3.8% tax on investment income from President Barack Obama’s health care law. The proposal has yet to be vetted for its precise impact on top earners, as several details are still being determined.

On the corporate side, the top marginal tax rate would fall from 35% to 15%. Small businesses that account for their owners’ personal incomes would see their top tax rate go from 39.6% to the proposed corporate tax rate of 15%. Mnuchin stressed that the change for small business owners — a group that under the current definition could include doctors, lawyers and even major real estate companies — would be done to ensure that wealthier Americans could not exploit the change to pay less in taxes.

NK Announces Nuclear Game Changer… Entire Senate Briefed

As tensions between the United States and North Korea heighten amid the communist country’s nuclear weapons program, Washington has been on high alert.

In fact, the technological advancements out of Pyongyang have become so concerning that the entire U.S. Senate was invited to the White House on Wednesday for a briefing on the matter, according to Fox News.

The meeting comes on the heels of North Korea’s official newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, publishing an editorial that the country’s military was prepared — with various precision and miniaturized nuclear weapons and submarine-launched ballistic missiles — “to bring to closure the history of the U.S. scheming and nuclear blackmail.”

“There is no limit to the strike power of the People’s Army armed with our style of cutting-edge military equipment,” the editorial read.

Thomas Karako, director of the Missile Defense Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said North Korea’s “miniaturized nuclear weapon” potential was of utmost concern.

“It raises the stakes and increases the risk of missile threats to the region and the U.S. homeland,” Karako told Fox News.

The smaller the nuclear weapon, the farther away North Korea could deliver it — in theory, at least.

North Korea released photographs of Kim inspecting what appeared to be a miniaturized implosion device on March 9, but officials questioned the legitimacy of the photos.

“No reason to believe that is true, or to disbelieve it. No reason to dismiss it or to panic,” Karako said. “I think that our insight into these programs is relatively modest. I think the posture of our military is to assume the worst.”

Dr. Siegfried Hacker, a Stanford professor who directed the Los Alamos weapons laboratory in New Mexico — the birthplace of the atomic bomb — from 1986 to 1997, and whom the North Koreans have let into their facilities seven times, recently noted that any ballistic missile that could travel from the Korean Peninsula to the U.S. would have to be “smaller, lighter and surmount the additional difficulties of the stresses and temperatures” of a fiery re-entry into the atmosphere.

“By most estimates, that is four or five years away,” the New York Times noted on Monday. “Then again, many senior officials said the same four or five years ago,”

While leader Kim Jong Un has a reputation for bizarre behavior, the nuclear arsenal and aspirations of North Korea have been taken seriously, as world leaders prepare for a potential sixth nuclear weapons test from the reclusive country.

North Korea has conducted five nuclear tests in the past 11 years, with the last several being the most concerning to the U.S. and its allies.

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 updated all 100 members of the Senate on the situation Wednesday afternoon.

The rare White House meeting was held in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building auditorium, which was reportedly made into a “sensitive-compartmented information facility”—meaning top secret information could be shared, according to ABC News.

The senators came at the personal invitation of President Donald Trump after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell requested a briefing.

How a New York Hotel Deal Could Still Be Earning Trump Profits Right Now

Since the start of his presidency, there have been concerns that President Donald Trump would violate the emoluments clause, which says that no person holding a federal office of profit or trust may accept any “present, emolument, (or) office . . . from any king, prince, or foreign state.”

Now it turns out that there is a similar provision of the Constitution, the so-called “domestic emoluments clause,” that Trump may be in the process of violating.

A Los Angeles investment fund known as the CIM group has received millions of dollars from public pension funds in at least seven U.S. states. These include both state-run and city-run pension funds, which pay the CIM group millions of dollars in quarterly fees to manage their investment portfolios. The CIM group also owns the Trump SoHo Hotel and Condominium in Manhattan, according to a report by Reuters. Becasue Trump can still withdraw money from his businesses at any time, the president is placed in a compromising position by the fact that the CIM group pays Trump International Hotels Management LLC for 5.75 percent of the hotel’s annual operating revenues.

According to Article II of the United States Constitution, the president is prohibited from receiving payments beyond his salary from state governments. This is colloquially known as the “domestic emoluments clause” because of its similarity to the better-known “emoluments clause,” which enforces a similar prohibition in terms of foreign governments. The domestic counterpart says that a president may not receive “any other emolument from the United States, or any of them.”

 

Matthew Rozsa is a breaking news writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and his work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.