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.
From The Hill
President Trump said Friday he has not gone after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un over the country’s abysmal human rights record because he has been prioritizing avoiding a nuclear war.
Speaking with reporters outside the White House, Trump was asked how he can defend Kim on human rights while still denouncing the circumstances that led to the death of Otto Warmbier, an American student who was detained while visiting North Korea.
“You know why?” Trump responded. “Because I don’t want to see a nuclear weapon destroy you and your family.”
“I want to have a good relationship with North Korea. I want to have a good relationship with many other countries,” the president added.
President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen has indicated to family and friends he is willing to cooperate with federal investigators to alleviate the pressure on himself and his family, according to a source familiar with the matter.
Cohen has expressed anger with the treatment he has gotten from the President, who has minimized his relationship with Cohen, and comments from the President’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani, the source said. The treatment has left him feeling isolated and more open to cooperating, the source said.
Asked by reporters Friday if he was worried about Cohen cooperating, Trump said, “I did nothing wrong, nothing wrong.” He also said he hasn’t spoken with Cohen “in a long time,” adding, “I always liked Michael and he’s a good person.”
The Senate battleground map has shrunk dramatically in recent weeks — a net plus for Democrats but not enough to change their status as heavy underdogs to win the chamber in November.
Democratic incumbents look increasingly safe in four Rust Belt states President Trump carried in 2016 — Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, where Republicans are locked in a bitter primary until August. Both parties agree a core universe of states are truly in play: Republicans are targeting Democratic incumbents in Missouri, Indiana, Florida and North Dakota, while Democrats are contesting GOP-held seats in Nevada, Arizona and Tennessee. There is disagreement on how competitive West Virginia and Montana are.
From The Hill
“Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd said President Trump told a “breathtaking” number of “outright lies” during his interview with “Fox & Friends” on Friday morning.
“Today’s POTUS performance was breathtaking in the sheer number of provable falsehoods, intentional mischaracterizations and outright lies uttered,” Todd wrote on Twitter.
Alex Jones’s ex-wife, Kelly Jones, said the recent Los Angeles International Airport run-in between her former husband and Bernie Sanders is just a fraction of the “irresponsible and endangering” behavior that her “hypocritical” ex-spouse inflicts on her and their three children.
The former wife of the InfoWars host and conspiracy theorist told Newsweek she is seeking the help of high-powered attorneys including Michael Avenatti and Gloria Allred in an attempt to finally gain sole managing conservatorship of the Jones’ two young daughters and teenage son. Kelly Jones and her lone attorney said her continuing legal battle has been “daunting,” with Travis County, Texas, appellate court documents showing the rambunctious radio host represented by eight lawyers, including Wallace B. Jefferson, a former chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court.
SpinLaunch, a Silicon Valley-based developer of space catapults, raised $35 million from Kleiner Perkins and venture capital affiliates of Airbus and Google parent Alphabet. It previously raised $5 million.
What? Yes, space catapults. The kind that could sit on earth and basically fling satellites into orbit without using rocket fuel, thus significantly increasing payload capacity.
SpinLaunch also is set to receive $25 million via a special purpose bond issuance by Hawaii, despite some resident objections to the prospect of megaton pieces of metal being chucked over their homes.
From The Daily Beast
“He is the strong head. Don’t let anyone think anything different. He speaks and his people sit up at attention. I want my people to do the same.”
That was Donald Trump on Friday morning, former leader of the free world, praising murderous North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. It set off a justified firestorm. Sure, his usual cheerleaders immediately jumped to, “He was joking! Why are you libtard sharia Soros Pizzagate Killary supporters so triggered?” or “Don’t you get it, man? It’s 9th-dimensional quantum chess.”
Sorry, I’m all out of passes in the “He’s new at this” or “He’s joking” or “That’s just Trump being Trump” categories his enablers have gotten away with using for far too long. After the last week, Trump is clearly a man who puts the dick in dictator. He’s a fanboy of Putin, Kim, Duterte, and a dog’s breakfast of the worst examples of oppression, thuggery, and anti-Western values the globe has to offer.
Why is today’s statement so much more outrageous, so much more egregious than any of a host of other Trumpian excesses, deviations from American values, shit-talking lunacy, and post-truth verbal dysentery? Because this week, Trump’s love of authoritarians, dictatorships and his actions and words came together. Donald Trump first went to the G-7 to wreck the proceedings with a combination of insult-comic schtick, diplomatic demolition derby, Putin cheerleading, and giant-toddler petulance.
A Friday Bonus Note from the “We Need a Feel Good Story” file
A 3-year-old girl is safe after spending the night in a rural Missouri cornfield, her faithful dog by her side.
In fact, the tiny Yorkshire terrier played a role in her rescue.
Volunteers joined police to search a cornfield Friday morning. Just after 8 a.m., search dogs began barking — and a tiny dog voice started yapping in response.
Searchers found the girl with her dog. The child had several mosquito bites but was otherwise unharmed.