North Korea’s Christmas Present

Grind for December 10th
“Do something wonderful, people may imitate it.”
– Albert Schweitzer

End Of The Line

The Headline

North Korea presses US for action, promises “Christmas gift”

The Grind

The North Korean government is demanding the Trump Administration offer concessions to the peninsula by the end of the year – meeting a deadline set by Pyongyang – and has accused the US of stalling on negotiations due to the upcoming presidential election.

“The dialogue touted by the US is…nothing but a foolish trick hatched to keep [North Korea] bound to dialogue and use it in favor of the political situation and election in the US,” said Ri Thae Song, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs.

It will be up to Washington to decide “what Christmas gift it will select to get,” added Ri.

The threat is reminiscent of of an ICBM test in 2017, which Kim Jong-un described as a “package of gifts” to the United States for Independence Day.

The Details

President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un signed a denuclearization treaty in June 2018, but follow-up negotiations have failed.

North Korea says it will give up its nukes after sanctions are lifted, and Washington says it will lift sanctions after the nukes are gone.

North Korea has continued to conduct weapons tests even while forbidden to do so much UN Security Council resolutions.

“North Korea fired off some small weapons, which disturbed some of my people, and others, but not me,” said Trump in May after Pyongyang tested new ballistic weapons in violation of UN Security Council resolutions.

North Korea tested a “super-large multiple-rocket launcher” last week and described President Shinzo Abe as a “perfect imbecile” after he criticized the launch as a violation of UNSC resolutions.

Access Denied

The Headline

House Intelligence Committee publishes impeachment report

The Grind

A highly-anticipated report on the impeachment inquiry claims President Trump put his personal interests above national interests.

The inquiry “uncovered a months-long effort by President Trump to use the powers of his office to solicit foreign interference on his behalf in the 2020 election” and produced “overwhelming” evidence of misconduct and obstruction, reads the report.

“President Trump’s scheme subverted US foreign policy toward Ukraine and undermined our national security in favor of two politically-motivated investigations that would help his presidential re-election campaign,” continues the report.

“The president demanded that the newly-elected Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, publicly announce investigations into a political rival that he apparently feared the most – former Vice President Joe Biden – and into a discredited theory that it was Ukraine, not Russia, that interfered in the 2016 presidential election.”

The Details

As Trump supporters have pointed out, the aid money withheld from Ukraine was delivered even though Ukraine did not launch an investigation – confirming Trump’s phone cannot be described as “bribery” or “quid pro quo.”

In their own report, GOP lawmakers criticized the “unelected bureaucrats” who testified in the impeachment hearings and accused Democrats of “trying to undo the will of the American people.”

The Takeaway

From here, the impeachment report moves to the House Judiciary Committee. If the committee agrees there is sufficient evidence of wrongdoing, the House will hold a vote on impeachment.

If more than 50% of House lawmakers vote to impeach, the GOP-controlled Senate will hold a trial and vote on whether to convict President Trump.

If more than two-thirds of Senate lawmakers support impeachment, Trump will be removed from office and Vice President Mike Pence will assume command.

Did you know… The Earth sees about 760 thunderstorms every hour, scientists have calculated.