President Donald Trump spoke with VOA contributor Greta Van Susteren after his summit talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore about what the two discussed and what to expect next.
Van Susteren: What surprised you about Kim Jong Un?
Trump: “Really, he’s got a great personality. He’s a funny guy, he’s very smart, he’s a great negotiator. He loves his people, not that I’m surprised by that, but he loves his people. And I think that we have the start of an amazing deal. We’re going to denuke North Korea. It’s going to start immediately and a lot of other things are happening, including getting the remains back. You know — that’s been— know you’ve been so involved in North Korea, but getting the remains back Greta is so important to so many people. They’ve called me, they wrote me letters, “Please can you do it?” and he’s agreed to do that, thousands of people so— who died in the war— so that’s a big deal.”
Van Susteren: So you put the human rights issue on the table today and he reacted how?
Trump: “Very well. I mean, we obviously were talking about the denuclearization 90 percent of the time, but we put a lot of other things, including human rights were mentioned, getting the remains back were a big factor, in fact we put it in the document, we were able to get that in the document, we got a lot of good things in that document, that was far beyond what anyone thought was going to happen.”
Van Susteren: Give me some behind the scenes, did you issue an ultimatum to him, did he issue an ultimatum to you? What was the back and forth?
Trump: “No, not an ultimatum. We’ve been dealing for three months really and we’ve been dealing through our various representatives including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who’s done a really fantastic job. So we’ve been dealing for a pretty good period of time and when we met today, we got along right from the beginning. You know for me this is hour number 25. I haven’t been sleeping for 25 hours, it’s been a big long negotiation and I’m very proud of it. It starts a process. You know that could have ended in a war, that could have ended with many millions of people— you know North Korea very well, Seoul has 28 million people, that could have ended up with millions of people dead but we’re gonna end up with a deal.”
Van Susteren: What about our troops? Are they staying in South Korea?
Trump: “Yeah they are going to stay. We didn’t even discuss that, that wasn’t discussed. We are going to get out of the war games that cost so much money. You know where we— cause I think number one, it’s very provocative, and I want to do it, and I think they’re very happy about it because it is so provocative. But it cost a fortune to do it. And we won’t do that as long as we are negotiating in good faith.”
Van Susteren: What brought Kim to the table this time after saber-rattling over decades?
Trump: “Well actually I don’t think there’s been too much saber rattling, prior to me I don’t think, they basically had a silencio attitude – silence – they didn’t want to talk about it and you can’t do that. And I think the initial rhetoric was very important. Frankly, as much as I hated to do it and as much as some people thought I was doing the wrong thing. I think without that, we wouldn’t be here. I also think he really wants to make a deal, he wants to do something. “
Van Susteren: But why?
Trump: “Because he knows that we mean business. I don’t think he felt that in the past. I think in the past, look it was different people, it didn’t work out. But he knows that we want to do business, we have to do business and we will do business. And now we do have— it’s been you know not a long time— although you could say from day one, we’ve been talking about North Korea in a very tough manner. But I think we signed a document today which was far, far greater and more comprehensive than people thought – and nobody thought this was possible.”
Van Susteren: What do you think he thought of you after he left?
Trump: “I think he liked me and I like him. And I understand the past and, you know, nobody has to tell me, he’s a rough guy. He has to be a rough guy or he has been a rough person. But we got along very well. He’s smart, loves his people, he loves his country. He wants a lot of good things and that’s why he’s doing this.”
Van Susteren: “But he’s starved them. He’s been brutal to them. He still loves his people?”
Trump: “Look, he’s doing what he’s seen done, if you look at it. But, I really have to go by today and by yesterday and by a couple of weeks ago because that’s really when this whole thing started. Again, without the rhetoric and without the sanctions — the sanctions were very important — the sanctions are going to remain on until such time as we see, you know, this is going to happen. And we pretty much see that now but the sanctions will remain on until we really start dismantling or dismantle the nuclear weapons.”
Van Susteren: “Because this is Voice of America it will be heard in North Korea by the citizens of DPRK of North Korea. What do you want to say directly to the citizens of North Korea?”
Trump: “Well, I think you have somebody that has a great feeling for them. He wants to do right by them and we got along really well. We had a great chemistry — you understand how I feel about chemistry. It’s very important. I mean, I know people where there is no chemistry no matter what you do you just don’t have it. We had it right from the beginning, I talked about that and I think great things are going to happen for North Korea.”
Van Susteren: “Mr. President, nice to see you. All the way from Washington.”
Trump: “That’s true. It’s been a long time. At some point I’ll be able to go to sleep, I think. You know, get a little rest.”
Van Susteren: “Indeed. Have a safe trip back sir.”
Trump: “Thank you Greta, a great honor.”
This content is republished with written permission from Voice Of America under license to NewsThisSecond
Accused Domestic Terrorist Lt. Christopher Hasson Indicted On Charges, Plotted To Kill Top Democrats, Media Figures
A Coast Guard lieutenant arrested Wednesday in Maryland and accused of plotting to kill top Democrats and members of the media was denied bail by a judge.
Lt. Christopher Hasson was denied bail by U.S. Magistrate Judge Charles Day after a federal prosecutor told the court that drug and gun charges brought against Hasson were “just the tip of the iceberg,” while characterizing the lieutenant as a “domestic terrorist,” according to The Associated Press.
The case was first uncovered by Seamus Hughes, a former Senate counterterrorism advisor who now works with the George Washington University Program on Extremism, which provides “analysis and policy solutions on radicalization, terrorism and extremism.” You can learn more about the GWUPoE and Hughes’ work here. Hughes, the program’s deputy director, has revealed details on several cases involving American extremism and terrorism, often finding the information in federal court documents before the media. Federal authoroties did not release a press release or statement on the case prior to Hughes’ tweets on February 20 about the arrest.
Day reportedly told prosecutors at the bail hearing Thursday that he would revisit his decision in 134 days if federal prosecutors do not bring more serious charges against Hasson by the deadline.
Prosecutors argued Thursday that Hasson “identified himself as a White Nationalist for over 30 years and advocated for ‘focused violence’ in order to establish a white homeland” in emails to a neo-Nazi leader, according to the AP. Hasson’s public defender insisted that his gun collection represented a “modest, at best” gun collection.
The public defender also argued that Hasson’s use of a government work computer to research terrorists such as Anders Breivik and compile a spreadsheet of Democrats including Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) did not amount to threats or intent to harm anyone.
Others on the spreadsheet included CNN’s Chris Cuomo and MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough. Hasson had also searched for revealing phrases on his computer, according to prosecutors, such as “do senators have [Secret Service] protection.”
“It is not a crime to think negative thoughts about people,” Julie Stelzig told the court, according to the AP.
Federal prosecutors said in court documents that Christopher Hasson was inspired in building his list by the writings of Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik, who wrote in his manifesto about the traitors he was targeting. According to prosecutors, the list is “consistent with the directions in the Breivik manifesto,” which divided targets into categories A, B or C:
This classification system is used to identify various individual cultural Marxist/multiculturalist traitors. The intention of the system is to easier identify priority targets and will also serve as the foundation for the future ‘Nuremberg trials’ once the European cultural conservatives reassert political and military control of any given country. Any category A, B or C traitor is an individual who has deliberately used his or her influence in a way which makes him or her indirectly or directly guilty of the charges specified in this document: 1-8. Many of these individuals will attempt to claim ‘ignorance’ of the crimes they are accused of
According to Breivik’s system, category A was the “most influential and high profile traitors,” including political leaders, media leaders and cultural leaders.
Hasson had searched for “most liberal senators,” “do senators have [secret service] protection,” and searched for Scarborough after seeing a headline in which the MSNBC host claimed Trump to be “the worst ever” president. He also looked up where the host’s show, “Morning Joe,” is filmed, along with his home, prosecutors said.
Previously an aircraft mechanic for the Marines, Hasson was arrested Wednesday with 15 guns and 1,000 rounds of ammunition at his Silver Spring apartment.
Read the detention memeorandum released earlier Thursday, after Hasson’s court hearing.
Oakland Teachers Go On Strike Over Classroom Conditions, Pay, and Other Issues
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Teachers in Oakland, California, went on strike Thursday, part of a national wave of discontent by educators over classroom conditions, pay and other issues. Recent walkouts have taken place in West Virginia, Los Angeles and Denver.
The city’s 3,000 teachers want a 12-percent retroactive raise covering 2017 to 2020 to compensate for what they say are the among the lowest salaries for public school teachers in the expensive San Francisco Bay Area. They also want the district to hire more counselors to support students and more full-time nurses.
Kindergarten teacher Kaki Blackburn, 30, was among dozens picketing outside Manzanita Community School with signs saying “On strike For a Living Wage.”
Blackburn, who has 29 kids in her class, said her main concerns were class size and wages. She said her salary makes it impossible to afford an apartment on her own.
“There’s no way I’d be able to live here without a roommate,” she said. “This is not what I went to Brown University to get a master’s for.”
The union leader said the educators were forced to strike because administrators did not listen to their demands for two years.
“For two years we have been negotiating with the Oakland Unified School District to make our students a priority over outside consultants and central office administrators,” said Oakland Education Association President Keith Brown.
The district initially offered a 5 percent raise covering 2017 to 2020, saying it is squeezed by rising costs and a budget crisis.
In negotiations Wednesday aimed at averting a strike, the district increased its proposal to a 7 percent raise over four years and a one-time 1.5 percent bonus. The offer went higher than the recommendation of an independent fact-finding report that suggested a compromise 6 percent retroactive raise.
But union officials rejected the offer.
Oakland Unified School District spokesman John Sasaki said school administrators hope to get a counter proposal from the union when negotiations resume Friday.
“We haven’t heard any proposal since last May so we’re hoping they have something for us when we meet tomorrow,” Sasaki said.
Teachers have been working without a contract since 2017 and have said their salaries have not kept up with the cost of living.
A starting salary in the district is $46,500 a year and the average salary is $63,000, according to the union. In neighboring Berkeley, a starting teacher makes $51,000 a year and the average salary is $75,000, the union said.
The walkout affects 36,000 students at 86 schools.
The district said schools would remain open, staffed by non-union employees and substitute teachers. However, parents should not expect teaching as usual, it said.
Manzanita Principal Eyana Spencer said 14 of the school’s 450 students turned up for school Thursday and were placed in one classroom to play games.
Nearly 600 teachers left their jobs at Oakland public schools last year, according to the union, which has said the district cannot retain teachers or attract experienced new teachers.
The union has also called for the district to scrap plans to close as many as 24 schools that serve primarily African-American and Latino students. The union fears further students will be lost to charter schools that drain more than $57 million a year from the district.
Recent strikes across the nation have built on a wave of teacher activism that began last spring. Unions for West Virginia teachers, who staged a nine-day walkout last year, ended another two-day strike Wednesday. Last week, teachers in Denver ended a three-day walkout after reaching a tentative deal raising their wages.
Teachers in Los Angeles, the nation’s second-largest school district, staged a six-day strike last month that ended when they settled on a 6-percent raise with promises of smaller class sizes and the addition of nurses and counselors.
Trump Administration Wants California To Pay Back Billions For Bullet Train
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The Trump administration plans to cancel $929 million in U.S. money for California’s beleaguered high-speed rail project and wants the state to return an additional $2.5 billion it’s already spent.
The U.S. Department of Transportation announcement Tuesday came after threats from President Donald Trump to make California pay back the money awarded to build the train between Los Angeles and San Francisco.
The project has faced cost overruns and years of delays.
The Trump administration argues California hasn’t provided required matching dollars and can’t complete work by a 2022 deadline.
Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office and California rail officials didn’t immediately comment.
Last week, Newsom said the rail project “as currently planned, would cost too much and take too long.” He wants to refocus on building a line in central California.
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