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January 14, 2018

Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D) on Sunday urged Washington to learn from Saturday's terrifying false alarm, in which Hawaiians were incorrectly instructed to prepare for an incoming ballistic missile. In appearances on ABC's This Week and CNN's State of the Union, Gabbard argued that this mistake should prompt a new commitment to realist diplomacy with North Korea to ensure a missile strike never happens.

"The people of Hawaii are paying the price now for decades of failed leadership in this country, of failure to directly negotiate [with North Korea], to prevent us from getting to this point where we're dealing with this threat today, setting unrealistic preconditions," she said on ABC. It is "important for President Trump to recognize" that the U.S.'s "history of regime change war has led countries like North Korea to develop and hold onto these nuclear weapons because they see it as their only deterrent against regime change," Gabbard continued, so setting denuclearization as a precondition for talks guarantees failure.

Gabbard made similar arguments on CNN, "calling on President Trump to directly negotiate with North Korea, to sit across the table from Kim Jong Un, work out the differences, so that we can build a pathway toward denuclearization," again emphasizing the problem of unrealistic preconditions. Watch her interview with CNN's Jake Tapper below. Bonnie Kristian

January 7, 2018
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on Sunday downplayed the import of President Trump's Saturday indication that he is willing to directly negotiate with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un if certain prerequisites are met.

"There is no turnaround" in Washington's position on North Korea, Haley said in an interview on ABC's This Week. "What he has basically said is, 'Yes, there could be a time where we talk to North Korea, but a lot of things have to happen before that actually takes place. They have to stop testing. They have to be willing to talk about banning their nuclear weapons. Those things have to happen.' What we're trying to do is make sure we don't repeat what's happened the last 25 years."

By contrast, Trump's comments suggested personal negotiations could be a near-term possibility. "I always believe in talking," the president said Saturday. "We have a very firm stance — look, our stance, you know what it is. We're very firm, but ... absolutely I would do that." Trump has repeatedly suggested this sort of direct diplomacy with Pyongyang, but he also regularly vacillates toward the more aggressive approach Haley favors, as in this past week's tweet boasting of about the size of his "nuclear button."

Read The Week's Paul Waldman on the extreme improbability North Korea would assent to Haley's list of demands. Bonnie Kristian

January 7, 2018

Michael Wolff, author of Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, appeared on NBC's Meet the Press Sunday to discuss his book's dramatic and disputed depiction of internal dysfunction in the Trump administration. "If I left out anything, it's probably stuff that was even more damning," he told host Chuck Todd. "It's that bad."

President Trump has vehemently denied Wolff's account, labeling the book a "work of fiction" and denying Wolff ever came to the Oval Office, but Wolff on Sunday maintained his account of his writing process. "I literally kind of knocked on the door and said, 'Can I come in?' and they said, 'Okay,'" Wolff said. "And I came in, I sat on the couch, and that's the point of view I've written this," he continued. "I went into this with absolutely no agenda whatsoever. I have no particular politics when it comes to Donald Trump. This is really all about human nature."

Wolff said he does not believe it is time to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office on the grounds that he is unfit to serve, but he did call Trump's behavior "a little 25th Amendment," suggesting the amendment is considered in the White House daily. Watch Wolff's full interview below. Bonnie Kristian

January 7, 2018

CNN's Jake Tapper on Sunday abruptly ended a contentious interview with White House senior adviser Stephen Miller, who was appearing on State of the Union to address Michael Wolff's Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House and President Trump's very public ire over its comment on his mental capacity and the competence of his team.

"The president is a political genius ... who took down the Bush dynasty, who took down the Clinton dynasty, who took down the entire media complex," Miller argued, defending Trump's Saturday claim to be a "very stable genius" who is "like, really smart." Miller called Wolff the "garbage author of a garbage book," accused Tapper of being "condescending," and called CNN "very fake news."

Eventually, Tapper had enough. "I get it. There's one viewer that you care about right now, and you're being obsequious, and you're being a factotum in order to please him," he said as he cut off the conversation. The "one viewer" — Trump — did in fact watch the segment and tweeted his thoughts:

Watch an excerpt of Miller's interview below, or see the whole thing here. Bonnie Kristian

December 31, 2017

President Trump on Thursday commented on the extreme cold weather freezing much of the United States by musing on Twitter that some climate change would be nice right about now:

But fired White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci suggested on CNN Sunday that Trump was only joking to make a political point. "I love the president's sense of humor, but I also think he's saying something else," Scaramucci said in a State of the Union interview. "I think you guys should ask him directly if he's a climate change denier. I think you'll find you'll be surprised by that answer."

Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Paris Agreement on climate change in June, citing economic objections, which he referenced in his Thursday tweet. Watch Scaramucci's comments in context below. Bonnie Kristian

December 17, 2017

Alabama's Senator-elect Doug Jones (D) made an appearance on CNN's State of the Union Sunday, talking with host Jake Tapper about his win at the polls this past week, his plans for his new role in Washington, and President Trump.

Jones broke with fellow Democrats who have said the president should resign because of sexual harassment accusations made against him. "Those allegations were made before the election, and so people had an opportunity to judge" last year, Jones said. "We need to move on and not get distracted by those issues."

Jones also indicated he won't be a strict party-line voter in the Senate given his may GOP constituents. "Now, don't expect me to vote solidly for Republicans or Democrats," he said. "I'm going to talk to people on both sides of the aisle, try to figure out what I think is in the best interest of my state and in the country."

Watch the full CNN interview below. Bonnie Kristian

December 17, 2017

White House Director of Legislative Affairs Marc Short had a testy conversation with NBC's Chuck Todd on Meet the Press Sunday in which he maintained the Trump administration is not internally debating whether to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller from his probe into Russian election meddling efforts.

Todd raised the subject of emails the Trump transition team claims Mueller obtained unlawfully, but Short pleaded ignorance of the specifics of that situation. Instead, he argued the Russia investigation in general has been wasteful and unnecessary, which led to this rapid-fire exchange:

Todd: Okay, but is the president going to continue to cooperate?

Short: He is continuing to cooperate —

Todd: Or is he setting the stage —

Short: No, come on, Chuck.

Todd: For firing Bob Mueller?

Short: No, there's no conversation —

Todd: There's no way he's going to fire him?

Short: There's no conversation about that whatsoever in the White House, Chuck.

Todd: None whatsoever?

Short: You guys keep bringing that up. We have continued to cooperate in every single possible way with that investigation. [NBC]

Mueller's office denied accessing the emails unlawfully, stating it has always "secured either the account owner's consent or appropriate criminal process" when obtaining communications for the investigation. Watch an excerpt of the NBC interview below. Bonnie Kristian

December 10, 2017

Republican Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones are running to fill the Alabama Senate seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions — but don't forget, Alabama is already represented in the Senate by Sen. Richard Shelby (R), who told CNN's Jake Tapper on Sunday he does not want Moore as a colleague.

"I'd rather see the Republican win, but I'd rather see a Republican write-in. I couldn't vote for Roy Moore," Shelby said on State of the Union. "I didn't vote for Roy Moore, but I wrote in a distinguished Republican name, and I think a lot of people could do that. Will they do it, I'm not sure."

"I understand [Republicans] would like to retain that seat in the U.S. Senate," he continued, " but I tell you what, there's a time — we call it a tipping point. I think, so many accusations, so many cuts, so many drip, drip, drip. When it got to the 14-year-old's story, that was enough for me. I said, 'I can't vote for Roy Moore.'"

Shelby affirmed he thinks the women who have accused Moore "are believable," arguing that the GOP and Alabama alike can do better. Watch an excerpt of Shelby's interview below. Bonnie Kristian

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