Trump: North Koreans love Kim

President Trump on Tuesday said the people of North Korea “love” the country’s leader Kim Jong Un despite previously condemning the regime’s human rights abuses.

“His country does love him,” Trump said in an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos following the historic summit between Trump and Kim in Singapore.

Trump said “you see the fervor” the North Koreans have for their leader.

“They’re gonna put it together, and I think they’re going to end up with a very strong country, and a country which has people  — that they’re so hard working, so industrious,” Trump said.

Stephanopoulos, however, pressed Trump’s reversal from his previous criticism over the oppressive regime that’s been accused of multiple human rights abuses.

“You say his people love him,” Stephanopoulos retorted. “Just a few months ago you accused him of starving his people.”

Trump said in January during the State of the Union address that North Korea has “more brutally oppressed its people than any regime on Earth.”

Stephanopoulos pressed the issue, saying Kim is a brutal dictator who runs a police state with labor camps and forced starvation.

“He’s assassinated members of his own family,” Stephanopoulos added. “How do you trust a killer like that?”

Trump said he can only judge Kim based on his interactions with him.

“I mean, this is what we have, and this is where we are, and I can only tell you from my experience, and I met him, I’ve spoken with him, and I’ve met him,” Trump said.

Trump also noted that things can change in the relationship, saying, “Will I come back to you in a year and you’ll be interviewing me and I’ll say, ‘Gee, I made a mistake?’ That’s always possible.”

Trump said Kim “wants to do the right thing” and that begins with denuclearization.

“I mean, this is what we have, and this is where we are, and I can only tell you from my experience, and I met him, I’ve spoken with him, and I’ve met him,” Trump said.

Trump also noted that things can change in the relationship, saying, “Will I come back to you in a year and you’ll be interviewing me and I’ll say, ‘Gee, I made a mistake?’ That’s always possible.”

Trump said Kim “wants to do the right thing” and that begins with denuclearization.

“Now, with all of that being said, I can’t talk about — it doesn’t matter,” Trump added.

Trump said at a press conference following the summit that human rights abuses happen “in a lot of places” when he was asked if he would reverse his previous criticism of Kim’s regime.

“I believe it’s a rough situation over there,” Trump told reporters. “It’s rough in a lot of places, by the way, not just there.”

‘Our recollection keeps changing’: Rudy Giuliani admits Trump may not testify because he can’t tell the truth

Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani revealed on Sunday that President Donald Trump may not agree to testify or be interviewed by special counsel Robert Mueller because his “recollection” of the truth “keeps changing.”

“This is the reason you don’t let the president testify,” Giuliani told ABC host George Stephanopoulos. “Our recollection keeps changing, or we’re not even asked a question and somebody makes an assumption.”

[Raw Story]

Media

Trump Says He’ll Teach Military Expert ‘a Couple of Things’ About Mosul

Donald Trump went on the offensive against a military expert and former dean of the Army War College, Jeff McCausland, who said the Republican nominee’s comments this weekend about the battle to reclaim Mosul in Iraq show he doesn’t have a firm grasp of military strategy.

“You can tell your military expert that I’ll sit down and I’ll teach him a couple of things,” Trump told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos in an exclusive interview.

On Sunday, Trump tweeted that the ongoing offensive against the ISIS stronghold of Mosul is turning out to be a “total disaster.”

“We gave them months of notice. U.S. is looking so dumb. VOTE TRUMP and WIN AGAIN!” he tweeted.

Trump doubled down on his assertion that the element of surprise is an important military strategy.

“I’ve been hearing about Mosul now for three months. ‘We’re going to attack. We’re going to attack.’ Meaning Iraq’s going to attack but with us. OK? We’re going to attack. Why do they have to talk about it?” he asked Stephanopoulos.

“Element of surprise. One of the reasons they wanted Mosul, they wanted to get ISIS leaders who they thought were, you know, in Mosul. Those people have all left. As soon as they heard they’re going to be attacked, they left,” Trump added. “The resistance is much greater now because they knew about the attack. Why can’t they win first and talk later?”

But according to The New York Times, some military experts disagree with Trump’s claims that the element of surprise is crucial to win the fight against ISIS.

“What this shows is Trump doesn’t know a damn thing about military strategy,” McCausland told the Times.

McCausland replied to Trump’s comments to Stephanopoulos in a lengthy statement today, saying, “I can’t wait to sit down with Mr. Trump and hear what he has to teach me about military strategy. I’m happy to compare my record of over 45 years working in national security affairs with his any time.

“When it comes to the question of the Mosul offensive, Mr. Trump doesn’t understand that 99.9 percent of the troops involved are Iraqi,” McCausland continued. “I reassert my statement to The New York Times: Mr. Trump doesn’t know a damn thing about military strategy.”

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton also hit Trump for his comments to Stephanopoulos yesterday at a joint campaign event with First Lady Michelle Obama in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, today.

“And yesterday when he heard a retired army colonel and former dean of the Army War College said that Donald doesn’t understand military strategy, Trump said ‘I’ll teach him a couple of things,'” she continued. “Well, actually, Donald, you’re the one who’s got a lot to learn about the military and everything else that makes America great.”

Defense Secretary Ash Carter is on the ground in Iraq and told ABC’s Martha Raddatz in an interview earlier this week that he’s “encouraged” by the progress in the fight against ISIS because it “is going according to plan … ISIL will surely be destroyed.”

Trump blamed Clinton and President Barack Obama for the need to reclaim Mosul.

“We had Mosul. We have to take it because Hillary Clinton and Obama left that big vacuum, and ISIS went in, and they took Mosul,” he said.

(h/t ABC News)

Media

Trump: Incorrectly States Putin is ‘Not Gonna Go Into Ukraine’

Donald Trump said in an interview Sunday that Russian President Vladimir Putin isn’t going to go into Ukraine, even though the Russian military has intervened in the nation’s affairs since 2014.

“He’s not going into Ukraine, OK, just so you understand. He’s not gonna go into Ukraine, all right? You can mark it down. You can put it down,” Trump said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.” Host George Stephanopoulos pushed back, saying, “Well, he’s already there, isn’t he?”

“OK, well, he’s there in a certain way,” Trump responded.

“But I’m not there. You have [President] Obama there. And, frankly, that whole part of the world is a mess under Obama, with all the strength that you’re talking about and all of the power of NATO and all of this.”

(h/t The Hill)

Reality

Ukraine isn’t part of the NATO coalition, so US soldiers would have no legal right to show up on their sovereign lands to fight and defend against Russian troops, risking a much larger conflict.

Instead President Obama, along with European countries, enacted sanctions against Russia. The sanctions have been very effective, which contributed to the collapse of the Russian ruble and the 2014–15 Russian financial crisis.

The result being the Minsk and Minsk II diplomatic agreements where Russia agreed to pull their military out of Ukraine.

Media

Donald Trump on His Tax Rate: ‘It’s None of Your Business’

Once again thumbing his nose at a time-honored tradition, Donald J. Trump said Friday that he does not believe voters have a right to see his tax returns, and he insisted it was “none of your business” when pressed on what tax rate he pays.

The remarks from Mr. Trump signal that he has little intention of disclosing verifiable details of his income or what fuels his wealth, a matter of endless speculation for a candidate who boasts of being a billionaire many times over despite his past brushes with bankruptcy and increasing reliance on celebrity-oriented income and licensing deals that use his name.

While not required to release their tax returns, all the major party presidential nominees have done so for roughly the past four decades, including President Richard M. Nixon, who released them despite undergoing an Internal Revenue Service audit. Mr. Trump has cited continuing I.R.S. audits of his taxes in refusing to release his returns.

When Mr. Trump was asked on ABC’s “Good Morning America” whether he thought voters had a right to see his returns, he replied, “I don’t think they do.”

Mr. Trump added of his taxes: “It’s under routine audit. When the audit ends, I’m going to present them. That should be before the election. I hope it’s before the election.”

But when asked by the interviewer, George Stephanopoulos, what effective tax rate he pays, Mr. Trump said, “It’s none of your business.” He added, “You’ll see it when I release, but I fight very hard to pay as little tax as possible.”

The release of tax returns bedeviled Republicans during the 2012 presidential election, when Mitt Romney delayed releasing his until September. His effective tax rate, which was below 20 percent, was used by President Obama’s team to lampoon him as a wealthy corporate raider who was out for himself and who could not understand how regular people lived. Mr. Trump has said that Mr. Romney erred in waiting so long to release his taxes and should have done so sooner.

For many years, Mr. Trump’s wealth has been a moving target, subject to much estimation, debate and even litigation.

Last summer, when Mr. Trump filed the personal financial disclosures required of presidential candidates, his campaign released a statement saying that he was worth more than “TEN BILLION DOLLARS,” capitalizing the outsize figure. When the 92-page document became public, the disclosures by Mr. Trump indicated that he had at least $1.4 billion in assets, including his real estate developments and golf clubs.

Fortune recently pegged his worth at $3.72 billion. Forbes calculated it at $4.5 billion, as of September 2015.

Mr. Trump disputed both numbers, just as he objected to an estimate a decade earlier when Timothy L. O’Brien, a reporter for The New York Times, wrote a book that placed the businessman’s net worth at $150 million to $250 million, based on three confidential sources. During a well-publicized episode, he sued Mr. O’Brien for defamation, but Mr. Trump ultimately failed to prove his case.

While his tax returns would not show Mr. Trump’s net worth, they would show investment income and where those investments are held, liens and the scope and type of his charitable contributions.

Kenneth A. Gross, a lawyer with Skadden who deals regularly with tax issues, suggested that the contents of Mr. Trump’s tax returns were certainly of public interest because they would provide insight into his finances that his previously disclosed financial documents do not.

“Obviously it could raise issues about deductions, reporting of income, all sorts of things that we worry about when we file our tax returns,” Mr. Gross said. “There’s obviously something of interest because it’s being audited. It would be, I think, important to see what’s in these returns before he becomes the nominee of the Republican Party.”

But Mr. Trump was adamant in his interview on Friday that “people will learn nothing” from his returns, noting how he had released his financial disclosure statement.

“I put in financials, 100 pages worth of financials, that show that I built a company that’s worth more than $10 billion,” Mr. Trump said. “It shows cash. It shows cash flows. It shows everything. You learn very little from tax returns, but nevertheless, when the audit is complete, I will release. I have no problem with it.” He added that he has no offshore accounts.

As the issue of Mr. Trump’s returns bubbled up over the past week, Democrats treaded relatively lightly on the matter, particularly since Hillary Clinton faces pressure to release transcripts of her paid speeches to Wall Street banks like Goldman Sachs. But on Wednesday Mrs. Clinton seized on Mr. Trump’s reluctance to release his returns.

“So you’ve got to ask yourself, ‘Why doesn’t he want to release them?’ ” Mrs. Clinton said on Wednesday. “Yeah, well, we’re going to find out.”

She and Bill Clinton have released their tax returns going back to 1977, when he first entered political life.

The I.R.S. will not confirm if a person is being audited or discuss their returns, but Eric Smith, a spokesman for the agency, said taxpayers are free to publicize their own financial documents at any time.

“Nothing prevents individuals from sharing their own tax information,” Mr. Smith said.

In a letter on his campaign website, Mr. Trump’s tax counsels wrote in March that his returns have been under “continuous examination” by the I.R.S. since 2002 because he has a big business. The audits from those returns from 2002 to 2008 have been completed, they wrote, but lingering questions about those returns remain, an apparent explanation as to why he will not release years no longer under “examination.”

The public interest group Common Cause put out a statement calling on Mr. Trump to release the tax returns, pointing out that he released returns from the early 2000s that were under audit to gambling commissions in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Mr. Trump has given different explanations for why he will not release his taxes over the years. In 2011, when he contemplated running for president, Mr. Trump said he would release his tax returns when President Obama released his birth certificate. Mr. Obama made the birth certificate public in April 2011, and Mr. Trump announced a few weeks later that he would not run for president.

Last year, Mr. Trump said he was still considering whether to release the returns, but he made no mention of the audits until this year.

Tax experts remain divided on the wisdom of Mr. Trump’s releasing his returns, with some arguing that it would be malpractice to advise a client to make such information public during an audit and others saying that he should have nothing to hide.

Robert J. Kovacev, a tax lawyer with Steptoe & Johnson who previously worked at the Department of Justice, said the scrutiny that Mr. Trump’s returns would face could add years to the audit because the I.R.S. would be pressured to examine details that critics of Mr. Trump seized upon. That could impose additional costs on Mr. Trump and disrupt his negotiations with the agency.

“If you put it out in public, it’s almost like you’re crowdsourcing the audit,” Mr. Kovacev said.

While Mr. Trump has said acknowledged that he strives to pay as little tax as possible, Mr. Kovacev suggested that his returns could have information about offshore holdings or legal tax maneuvers that his accountants use that make his income appear lower or show losses.

Some tax specialists see no legitimate reason for Mr. Trump to hold back. “When you file your return with the I.R.S. or any taxation authority you are filing your returns under penalty of perjury that what you are filing is true and correct,” said Laurie B. Kazenoff, a former I.R.S. tax lawyer now with the firm Meltzer Lippe. “You should be standing by what you filed regardless of any audit.”

(h/t New York Times)

Reality

While there is no legal requirement for a presidential candidate to release their tax returns, there is 40 years of unbroken precedent.

Despite telling conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt in February 2015, Trump could absolutely release those returns now – even in the middle of an audit.

The IRS has corrected this false claim: “Federal privacy rules prohibit the IRS from discussing individual tax matters. Nothing prevents individuals from sharing their own tax information.”

While an audit could result in a change (or two) to his returns, it does not change what Trump filed, signing “Under penalties of perjury, I declare that I have examined this return and accompanying schedules and statements, and to the best of my knowledge and belief, they are true, correct, and complete.” In other words, no matter how what happens as a result of the audit, what Trump submitted, he did so claiming that it was true at the time. If the IRS makes an adjustment (which happens, even with the best prepared returns), it shouldn’t substantially change the nature of the returns. And if the IRS makes no adjustment, then there was no harm, no foul, in releasing those returns. Trump could release those returns at any time.

Media

Trump Says He Would Bring Back Waterboarding

Donald Trump would “absolutely” bring back waterboarding as an accepted form of interrogation, he said today on ABC’s “This Week.”

Trump characterized waterboarding as a form of “strong interrogation” that is “peanuts” when compared to tactics used by ISIS against its hostages.

“I think waterboarding is peanuts compared to what they do to us,” the Republican presidential candidate said. “What they’re doing to us, what they did to James Foley when they chopped off his head, that’s a whole different level and I would absolutely bring back interrogation and strong interrogation.”

Trump also said he does not want to close any mosques in the United States but he does want to put them under surveillance. He previously said it may be necessary to close some mosques if it is determined “bad things are happening” in them.

When asked if he wants blanket surveillance across all the nation’s mosques, Trump said “strong measures” are necessary.

“The people that are involved in those mosques, they know who the bad ones are and they know who the good ones are, but they don’t talk,” he said. “We have to surveil the mosques.”

Trump also said those on terror watch lists should be restricted from purchasing guns if they are a known “enemy of state.” Currently, someone one a terror watch list can legally purchase a gun in the U.S.

“If somebody is on a watch list and an enemy of state and we know it’s an enemy of state, I would keep them away, absolutely,” Trump said, while emphasizing that he is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms.

“If we have an enemy of state, I don’t want to give him anything,” Trump said. “I want to have him in jail — that’s what I want. I want to have him in jail.”

Reality

Torture is illegal, unethical, and simply does not work. When a subject is in pain, people will say anything to get the pain to stop. Most of the time, they will lie, make up anything to make you stop hurting them. That means the information provided during the time of torture is useless. It is irresponsible to forget the lessons we learned during the war against terror for Donald Trump to suggest a war crime.

Media

http://abcnews.go.com/ThisWeek/video/donald-trump-bring-back-waterboarding-35357550

Links

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/donald-trump-bring-back-waterboarding/story?id=35354443