It's Friday: that means it's panel time, as we discuss the major stories of the week.
Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un failed to strike a deal, calling off nuclear weapons talks early. Some call the summit a failure, while others hail the fact that a so-called "bad" deal would have been worse than no deal at all. Did President Trump waste time and jet fuel going to Hanoi, or is this case of, as Larry Graham would say, you got to go through it to get to it? Trump's negotiating style: personal vs. understanding the importance of research, preparation, front-end diplomacy by career diplomats and negotiators.
Canada will move ahead with the extradition case against Chinese technology executive Meng Wanzhou, paving the way for a legal battle that will pit Canada against China and could complicate the relationship between both countries and the United States. For those who may not remember, Meng, who is the chief financial officer for China's Huawei Technologies, was arrested at Vancouver's airport on December 1 on US charges related to alleged violations of US sanctions law, setting off an ongoing diplomatic dispute. The decision, which was announced today, means Canada's Justice Department believes there is "sufficient evidence" to proceed with an extradition hearing. Meng will next appear in a Vancouver court on March 6, when the next steps for the hearing will be set.
Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen uncorked many disturbing allegations in his seven hours of congressional testimony this week. Will any of it be crucial to the future of the president? Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) invoked Lynne Patton, a former Trump employee, and current HUD official, to challenge Cohen's assertion that Trump is racist. Cohen testified he was in the room when Republican strategist Roger Stone called Trump and told him about an impending WikiLeaks release of stolen Democratic National Committee emails. Stone and Trump have not only denied that claim but also done so in a coordinated way that may shape what special counsel Robert Mueller ultimately does. The consequences here are simple. If Cohen lied to Congress, he could be indicted for it, and the world would soon find out. If Cohen told the truth, then Trump is in trouble. The allegation could be pivotal because Trump and Stone have been united in denying it, not only in public statements but also in legally binding assurances to the government.
The United States announced today sanctions on Venezuelan officials who blocked a humanitarian aid convoy last week, as opposition leader Juan Guaido toured South America to drum up support for an end to President Nicolas Maduro's government. Guaido says 600 military officers have abandoned Maduro.
President Trump ordered his chief of staff to grant his son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, a top-secret security clearance last year, overruling concerns flagged by intelligence officials and the White House's top lawyer, the New York Times reported this week. It's within the president's purview to declassify information and grant clearances. My concern is not that he did this. I want to know why those in the intelligence apparatus denied Kushner's application and see him his as being unworthy or such a threat that they would recommend he not receive a top-secret clearance. According to the report, Trump's decision in May so troubled senior administration officials that at least one, then-White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, wrote a contemporaneous internal memo about how he had been "ordered" to give Kushner the top-secret clearance.
Shermichael Singleton - Writer and political analyst.
Jim Kavanagh — Political analyst and commentator and editor of The Polemicist.
Caleb Maupin — Journalist and political analyst who focuses his coverage on US foreign policy and the global system of monopoly capitalism and imperialism.
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