Trump instantly reverses new sanctions on North Korea

The “President” has made a ton of ridiculous political decisions in his time, but this one, to which Grania alerted me as a tweet, has to number among the stupidest.  The sanctions were imposed just yesterday, and their reversal appears to be because our own maniac likes the DPRK’s maniac:

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, said the decision was a favor to Mr. Kim.

“President Trump likes Chairman Kim, and he doesn’t think these sanctions will be necessary,” she said.

Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary and one of Mr. Trump’s most loyal aides, personally signed off on the sanctions and hailed the decision in a statement accompanying them on Thursday.

“The United States and our like-minded partners remain committed to achieving the final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea and believe that the full implementation of North Korea-related U.N. Security Council resolutions is crucial to a successful outcome,” Mr. Mnuchin said in the statement.


  1. yazikus
    Posted March 22, 2019 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    News like this leaves me feeling queasy. For all the assurances that despite his ineptitude there are still adults running the show, I’m not feeling particularly convinced.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted March 22, 2019 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

      The original “adults in the room,” including what Trump used to brag about as “my generals” — Mattis, McMaster, and Kelly — are all long gone now, along with others like former SecState Rex Tillerson and chief economic advisor Gary Cohn, and had little actual influence over Trump while in office.

      Trump (who has left many critical administration positions unfilled and has others staffed with people in “acting” positions) is largely surrounded now by sycophants and incompetents. And the people around him who are knowledgeable and competent, like National Security Advisor John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, are so far out of the mainstream in their extremist views that they’re willing to play the role of Trump’s courtiers in order to maintain what’s likely to be their one shot at having such propinquity to power.

      • Posted March 22, 2019 at 5:21 pm | Permalink


      • Harrison
        Posted March 22, 2019 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

        What’s remarkable is that even in a White House now bereft of anyone but Trump ass-kissers, they still can’t coordinate on the level of a middle school pageant. If Trump didn’t want these sanctions then why did his administration impose them? Because the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing.

        Trump is worse than capricious. His own yes-men don’t even know how to please him because they don’t know what he wants. Because he’s a mental incompetent of the lowest order.

  2. Randall Schenck
    Posted March 22, 2019 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    How long will the insanity last? Everyone in the media awaits the Mueller report, as if that will answer all our problems. This corrupt pathetic narcissist stands wide open for all to see and they do nothing. I have never been more disgusted with this country than now. Maybe the country deserves this.

    • Mark R.
      Posted March 22, 2019 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

      The Mueller report is going to Barr as I write this. We’ll see…

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted March 22, 2019 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

        I just saw and reported same. I must have some special esp or maybe it is from you know who?

      • Posted March 22, 2019 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

        The BBC is reporting no further indictments are recommended. This is not surprising to me. I never thought Mueller would find enough on Trump.

        • Mike Anderson
          Posted March 22, 2019 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

          As I understand it, Mueller can’t indict Trump. Mueller just says “this is what I found” and it’s up to congress to impeach him if they feel it’s warranted.

          • Harrison
            Posted March 22, 2019 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

            Can’t is more like won’t. It’s a purely internal policy at the Justice Dept. that has never and likely will never be tested in courts, even though it so flagrantly privileges the office of the President as being above the law.

            Also, FWIW, “no new indictments” does not include sealed ones that have already been filed. When asked if there are more sealed indictments, the response was “no comment.”

            • Mike Anderson
              Posted March 22, 2019 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

              When asked if there are more sealed indictments, the response was “no comment.”

              Where’d you hear this?

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted March 22, 2019 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

          The US Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, which acts as the principle legal adviser to the entire executive branch of the US government, has a longstanding opinion stating that a sitting US president cannot be indicted during his term in office. So it comes as no surprise that the Special Counsel’s Office has not returned an indictment against Donald Trump.

          I do think the lack of additional indictments out of Mueller’s office comes as a relief to some people close to the president, particularly his eldest son, DJT Jr., who had told associates he expected to be indicted for lying to congress — although the lack of an indictment from the special counsel’s office is no guarantee that he and others will not be indicted by (or, indeed, may already have sealed indictments pending against them in) other prosecutors’ offices, particularly since Mueller has been farming parts of the investigation out to federal prosecutors’ offices in New York, Virginia, and Washington, DC.

          Preliminary reports are that Robert Mueller has submitted a comprehensive report regarding his investigation of these matters. A nation now waits with bated breath to find out what’s in it.

      • Posted March 23, 2019 at 10:28 am | Permalink

        As with Nixon, it will require enough grassroots opinion that he has to go before the mechnisms can work. And I dont know if it exists. Folk have to face the fact that “President” Trump was created in the ungodly lab of American politics. Americans bolted the head onto this monstrosity and applied current to the electrodes. Now the hideous misbegotten thing is lurching down to the village
        killing the children. But it’s America’s creation, and Americans will have to get rid of it.

  3. W.T. Effingham
    Posted March 22, 2019 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    This unilateral action makes one wonder what he’ll not think through next.

  4. Ken Kukec
    Posted March 22, 2019 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    Rolling back sanctions because the world’s worst autocrat and human-rights abuser writes you flowery love letters — this is what passes for American diplomatic démarche in the Age of Trump.

    Donald Trump’s foreign policy is at best incoherent; at worst, it intentionally undermines America’s best interests.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted March 22, 2019 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      Trump is now at war with the democratic congress and refuses all requests for information and documents. His idiotic daughter and son in law are in all kinds of trouble since he over ruled all advice and gave them top secret clearances. Now it is known they communicated with foreign leaders with private email and have been doing so for a long time. So much for lock her up, Hilary. The shit has hit the fan but it’s not coming back.

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted March 22, 2019 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

      “..and, at worst, it intentionally undermines America’s best interests,” That would fit well with the suspicion he is a Russian agent.
      The simple fact that that does not even sound implausible, is enormous, unbelievably weird. Has there ever been a POTUS suspected of being an agent of a hostile foreign power? Not a single one that I can think of.

  5. Posted March 22, 2019 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    There is a strange method to Trumps “stupidity”. His complete disregard for truth, and his actions that are all-over-place mainly undermine political reality itself. What was true yesterday might be different tomorrow, and yet all this seemingly random activity mysteriously benefits the rich, the powerful, and Russian interests, and is by pure happenstance aligned with the ideas of Bannon and Dugin (who were coincidentally also an influence on his politics).

    (I don’t think he plays 5D chess; he’s seems manipulatable, distractable, erratic, and a big time bullshitter, as per Harry Frankfurt, anyway and that happens to be what’s need for “post truth”).

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted March 22, 2019 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

      So much has been written, by so many intelligent people all over the world, about the psychology and motivations and mental levers of a man who, when it comes down to it, seems to have no inner life whatsoever.

      He seems to lack, for want of a better word, a soul.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted March 22, 2019 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

        Very much like a sociopath.

  6. Diana MacPherson
    Posted March 22, 2019 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    Well that’s gotta sting Mnuchin. Don’t ya hate it when your boss undoes your work?

  7. Mike Anderson
    Posted March 22, 2019 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    Watching Trump operate is like watching the Three Stooges trying to put out a fire.

    • yazikus
      Posted March 22, 2019 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

      But far less funny.

      • mfdempsey1946
        Posted March 22, 2019 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

        Not funny at all.

      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted March 22, 2019 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

        Problem is that he _is_ often very very funny. Watching him trying to read one of those god-awful speeches that Stephen ‘I Will Eat Your Soul’ Miller has written for him is truly hilarious, especially when his attention drifts and he says the wrong word…and then, because he can’t ever be wrong, he has to bluff his way through it and pretend that’s what he meant all along.

        “America moves as one towards a glorious furniture…(pause)…and future”

        I can’t help it, that kind of stuff just cracks me in two.
        Watching his tiny span of knowledge try and bridge all these enormous gaps that being president throws up; watching him half-desperately, half-lazily making up some shit about whatever subject the interviewer has asked him to speak upon; there is something completely glorious about it – seriously, it’s the kind of comedy character work that Steve Coogan or Sacha Baron Cohen or Ricky Gervais would come up with at their best.

        About 99% of the hilarity of it all is neutered by the fact that he’s actually the sodding president, and is well on his way towards resuscitating the kind of malignant forces that the west thought it had crushed in the second world war, but it’s surprising how often you can allow yourself to forget that and just see him as nothing more than what he is:

        …one of the single most ridiculous human beings to ever walk the face of the earth.

  8. Andy Lowry
    Posted March 22, 2019 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    Since this is the administration it is, my first thought is “what kind of deal did they make in secret?” and my second thought is “what did Kim threaten Trump with?” Maybe that makes me a bad person.

    • yazikus
      Posted March 22, 2019 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

      My mind goes to “did they give him a shiny coin? compliment his hair?”.

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted March 22, 2019 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

      My first question is: “how does this help Mr Putin?” I don’t think Mr Kim has something on Mr Trump, but Mr Putin definitely has.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted March 22, 2019 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

        The trouble with this theory is, how do they communicate? How does Putin give tRump his orders? It would surely have leaked by now.

        And secondly, how *does* this help Putin? I don’t think US sanctions on NK either help or hinder him, so far as I can see.

        I tend to think sanctions are counter-productive, and the product of USAnian paranoia; if a President had reversed them after careful consideration of the options I’d probably approve, but obviously this is never the case with the current one.


        • Saul Sorrell-Till
          Posted March 23, 2019 at 8:36 am | Permalink

          I’ve had the feeling for the last six months or so that the weird relationship he has with Putin might not actually have anything to do with kompromat, and the reason why it feels less and less likely that the Putin Trump bromance is indicative of anything is that he behaves almost exactly the same way around every powerful dictator on earth.

          He’s similarly weird and affectionate and defensive around Kim Jong Un, he lavishes Duterte with similar praise and makes excuses for both those guys, just like the excuses he made for Putin throughout his campaign and early in his presidency.

          It might be that he’s just a big fan of scumbags; he has a natural affinity with them. It might be that there’s nothing more to his Putin chumminess than that.

          • GBJames
            Posted March 23, 2019 at 9:01 am | Permalink

            But that’s a false choice. He loves him some scumbags and Putin has something on him. That something is the long history of Trump’s business relationships with Russian mafia types. To tRump, this is just “good business”, of course, and he respects those who do “good business”.

            • Saul Sorrell-Till
              Posted March 23, 2019 at 9:49 am | Permalink

              Of course it doesn’t have to be one or the other, but I find the kompromat theory less convincing than I used to, simply because he’s been just as weirdly chummy with a whole bunch of different dictators. As a result, what looked so deeply suspicious w/r/t to Putin now seems less so, because he’s treated Kim Jong Un with similar obsequiousness, and Duterte amd Bolsonaro. I’m not saying it’s changed my mind on Russian kompromat, but it seems less likely than it used to.

              I’ve no idea what’s really going on but I think America is going to have to vote this MF out of office. Anything else, the image of him getting led out of there in a jumpsuit, is just a heartwarming fantasy that’s been sustaining a lot of us for the last two years.

              Whether he’ll go in 2020 without calling his supporters to engage in a civil war is the next issue on the horizon though. What’s most alarming is that he’s already preparing the ground for that resistance with his tweets, tweets which are increasingly threatening and demented.

            • infiniteimprobabilit
              Posted March 23, 2019 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

              I would certainly accept that the FSB (and hence Putin) has a fat file on Mr Trump’s past dealing in Russia.

              However, with the current climate whereby every prominent public figure’s distant past is being exhumed to name and shame them (‘He called a waitress ‘sugartits’ in 1977! The utter swine!’), I think the impact of such revelations is becoming devalued. Coupled with the Trump faithful’s ability to pardon anything he ever does, I think the value of such a dossier is probably gradually depreciating.

              I tend to agree with Saul; I think Trump just likes to think he’s on good terms with ‘strong leaders’ (as it implies that he’s a ‘strong leader’ himself). That he can’t tell strong leadership from dictatorship is not surprising.


              • GBJames
                Posted March 23, 2019 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

                Well, he loves “strong leaders”, sure. But Vladimir has detailed information about decades of tRump’s money laundering. That’s why it’s a false choice.

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted March 23, 2019 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

                We could, of course, both be right.


              • GBJames
                Posted March 24, 2019 at 8:24 am | Permalink

                That’s my point. It is the way of false choices.

  9. Jenny Haniver
    Posted March 22, 2019 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    to paraphrase Émile Coué, “Every way in every way, he is getting crazier and crazier.” In addition to his long list of psychiatric problems, he’s afflicted with “compulsive contrarian disorder.” He’s a frightening lunatic.

    Later this month, the psychiatrist Bandy Lee is coming out with an expanded edition of her book, “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President.” Her latest take on Trump, given unfortunately just a few days before this latest dangerous manifestation of his insanity: and another recent post re Trump and the Muller investigation

    There are psychiatrists and lay people who dismiss Lee for presuming to diagnose Trump without having him directly under her psychiatric care; I find her analyses quite compelling and think it’s ridiculous to refrain from commenting on the disturbing things she and many other psychiatrists detect in his psychological make-up.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted March 22, 2019 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

      I believe in their first book they discuss this, should they or should they not speak out and they decided it was their duty to speak out. Not that many were listening.

      • Posted March 25, 2019 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

        They can not *diagnose* Trump, formally, from afar, but certainly they can see if performing a diagnosis would be useful. (A ‘prescreening’.)

  10. GBJames
    Posted March 22, 2019 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    I wish I could say I’m surprised.

  11. Caldwell
    Posted March 22, 2019 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    The instant capricious reversal of an important new national security policy

    That’s not true because there is/was no new policy.

    Treasury made an announcement about implementing Obama exec order #13722 against two Chinese shipping companies: Treasury Designates Two Shipping Companies for Attempted Evasion of North Korea Sanctions

    You can check to verify its announcements.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted March 23, 2019 at 7:34 am | Permalink

      “Obama exec order #13722”

      Well that explains it, doesn’t it? 😉


  12. Randall Schenck
    Posted March 22, 2019 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    The Mueller report has been submitted to the Justice dept. Prepare for several days of guess what.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted March 22, 2019 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

      The Report has been described as “very comprehensive.” (I suspect that Mueller has done an unclassified summary, along with appendices that go into much greater detail and contain classified information, such as grand jury material and material regarding intelligence-gathering sources and methods.)

      We should soon see whether AG Barr intends to make good on his promise during his confirmation hearings to be as transparent as possible with the American people.

  13. Ken Kukec
    Posted March 22, 2019 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    This just in: Special Counsel Robert Mueller has furnished his report to Attorney General Robert Barr.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted March 22, 2019 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

      Beat you by one minute. Here is my two-cents on what the Mueller report must address, must give us from his investigation.

      He must tell us if he did or did not find Trump and or his people did conspire with Russia in the 2018 election. Whether there is evidence criminally or for further review by the congress, he must address this specific issue. If he does not, then the job was not done.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted March 22, 2019 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

        I abhor that Trump is president, and I fear for our nation’s well-being, but — I gotta confess — it’s pretty exciting, and even cool, to be living through such a momentous period of American history. 🙂

        • mfdempsey1946
          Posted March 22, 2019 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

          Instead of “pretty exciting, and even cool,” I’m afraid my substitute phrase would be “pure torture and demoralizing disgrace.”

          DON’T pass the popcorn.

          • Randall Schenck
            Posted March 22, 2019 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

            I think it’s because you do not have that attorney like questioning of Ken or me the junkie political bum. I was very interested throughout the Watergate years but this makes Watergate look like kids stuff. This is a president of the United States that has been rolled by Russia and compromised to the hilt. He should not escape impeachment and his indictable offenses should still get him into prison later.

  14. Posted March 22, 2019 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if Kim Jong-un is thinking “Whoa, this Trump character is crazee.”

  15. Posted March 22, 2019 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    I lived through Watergste. That was not a pleasant experience. Neither is this.

  16. Florent
    Posted March 22, 2019 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    What is reassuring is that all this could end in some Hitler fury, where “the people must fall with me”… he wouldn’t launch on anyone else – especially not his allies (?) the Russian. At least, it wouldn’t affect the rest of the world – so much…

    This is all so crazy.

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