News from the note…
A round up of the day’s news that might be of interest to you.
Consider this an OPEN THREAD, folks. Chat about any of the stories listed, share links to stories that caught your eye today, and generally have a good time discussing whatever you want.
“Everybody knows they are not going to denuclearize,” said one intelligence official who read the report, which was circulated earlier this month, days before Trump canceled the originally scheduled summit.
In an odd twist, a list of potential concessions by North Korea in the CIA analysis included the possibility that Kim Jong Un may consider offering to open a Western hamburger franchise in Pyongyang as a show of goodwill, according to three national security officials.
Ivanka Trump has scored a batch of new trademarks in China as her father continues trade talks with Beijing.
From CNN Money
Seven trademarks were officially registered to Ivanka Trump this month with China’s State Administration for Industry and Commerce, according to the government’s trademark database. They are for items such as kitchenware, furniture, paper products and cosmetics.
The approvals come as President Donald Trump remains engaged in trade negotiations with China on a wide range of issues.
Ethics experts say this raises conflict-of-interest concerns, since Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, both serve as senior advisers in the White House.
The White House has tried to avoid discussing a February skirmish between U.S. troops and Russian mercenaries in Syria, but that didn’t stop President Donald Trump from bragging about the Pentagon’s performance at a recent closed-door fundraiser.
The details of the battle remain classified, but speaking to donors in midtown Manhattan last Wednesday, Trump said he was amazed by the performance of American F-18 pilots. He suggested that the strikes may have been as brief as “10 minutes” and taken out 100 to 300 Russians, according to a person briefed on the president’s remarks, which have not previously been reported.
Manafort hasn’t been able to access several financial accounts and other assets since the special counsel’s office filed charges last year, according to his lawyer.
Friends of former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort have launched a legal defense fund for him as he continues to fight charges brought by special counsel Robert Mueller’s office.
Manafort and his family are “struggling to pay legal bills,” according to an email on Wednesday announcing the fund that was provided to BuzzFeed News.
The bid for influence has turned Trump insiders into sought-after conduits of influence in Washington.
Earlier this month, a senior Qatari diplomat confirmed to ABC News he visited Trump Tower during the presidential transition, where he was spotted on videos with Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen.
Ahmed al-Rumaihi “was at Trump Tower on Dec. 12, 2016. He was there in his then role as head of Qatar Investments, an internal division of the Qatar Investment Authority, to accompany the Qatari delegation that was meeting with Trump transition officials on that date,” according to a statement by al-Rumaihi’s firm.
Recently reports surfaced of new efforts by Brookfield, a large real estate company with significant Qatar business ties, to purchase a Manhattan skyscraper owned by the family firm of Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. His family’s company debt on the property comes due in February, according to public filings and media reports.
Porn star Stormy Daniels’ attorney, Michael Avenatti, withdrew his motion to participate in the court battle involving the FBI raid of President Donald Trump’s attorney’s hotel and office Wednesday after a federal judge warned him he would have to “stop your publicity tour.”
Avenatti, who practices law in California, had requested to be admitted into the New York proceedings, but was met with fierce objection from the attorney for Michael Cohen, Trump’s long-time lawyer, who cited Avenatti’s frequent television appearances, public statements about Cohen’s guilt and his release of Cohen’s personal financial information.
In a nod to that, Judge Kimba Wood told Avenatti that for him to be admitted, “you would have to change your conduct” and “stop your publicity tour.” Wood said she didn’t mean that in a derogatory way but later said “this conduct is inimitable to giving Mr. Cohen eventually a fair trial.”
The state that spawned the “Reagan Revolution’’ and Richard M. Nixon just experienced a watershed moment — the California Republican Party was officially relegated to third-party status.
In the culmination of the withered state GOP’s long slide toward near-political irrelevance here, new voter registration data released this week show the once-robust party trails behind both Democrats and “no party preference” in the nation’s most populous state. The California Republican Party is now outnumbered by independent voters by 73,000, according to Political Data Inc., which tabulates voter file data from county registrars.
From The Hill
Rudy Giuliani on Wednesday pushed back at speculation that booing from fans at a New York Yankees game earlier this week had upset him, saying fans boo public figures they actually support.
“No, no. I know Yankee fans. They boo you when they love you,” Giuliani said near the southwest gate of the White House, according to Fox News Sunday producer Pat Ward.