1 North Korea Summit Ends Unexpectedly With No Deal
North Korea Summit ending early? Indeed – and there’s no deal in place either. Talks between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un wrapped up earlier than expected, and Trump himself has confirmed that no deal was reached. Initially, the schedule initially called for a joint signing ceremony with Trump and Kim, but plans for that event were canned. The change is a surprise given that earlier in the day, the President said the talks have been very productive. Speaking in Hanoi overnight, Trump noted that sometimes “you need to walk.” Afterwards, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo noted that while progress was made, “Unfortunately, we didn’t get all the way” and added, “we didn’t get to something that made sense for the United States. We asked Chairman Kim to do more – he was unprepared to do that.” What happens next, that’s anyone’s guess – but Pompeo says that signs are good “in the weeks ahead.” As for what went wrong? Sanctions.According to the President, North Korea wanted sanctions lifted – and the United States wasn’t willing to go there. "I could have signed something," Trump noted. "But I want to do things the right way."
2 Michael Cohen Unloads: Trump’s A Racist And A Conman
While President Trump was across the world meeting with North Korea’s diminutive dictator Kim Jong Un, his former lawyer – and so-called “fixer” was testifying on Capitol Hill. Reactions to the testimony of Michael Cohen depends largely on party lines – just as it did the questioning that took place. For his part, Cohen said “years of blind loyalty to Donald Trump” cost him deeply. In a lengthy House hearing, Cohen called his former boss “a conman,” “a cheat” and “a racist” and said he is ashamed of taking part in Trump's "illicit acts." While Republicans challenged Cohen's credibility and noted that he’s a convicted liar, Democrats fed Cohen questions designed to bolster his testimony. Here are some highlights: Cohen criticized his own "weakness and misplaced loyalty." Cohen repeatedly apologized for his actions and said he is seeking redemption. He said Trump asked him to give adult film star Stormy Daniels a hefty hush money payment and then lie to Melania Trump about it. Trump has denied the accusation. He alleged that Trump was aware of a pending "dump" of leaked emails from WikiLeaks during the 2016 presidential campaign – and also that he knew all about the infamous Trump Tower meeting in advance, and after. Cohen said federal investigators are looking into conversations he had with Trump or his advisers after the FBI raided his hotel room and office. The raids occurred in April of last year. Cohen did not elaborate – citing ongoing investigation. Either way, Cohen is headed to prison for lying to Congress, tax fraud, banking fraud and campaign finance violations.
3 Gun Background Check Bill Passes House as Trump Threatens Veto
With a vote of 240-190, a bill expanding gun background checks is headed to the Senate after passing the Democratic-led House. It is the first time any gun control measure has cleared the House in a generation. Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said it’s time to start taking steps to curb the epidemic of gun violence in the U.S. Some Republicans argued that expanded background checks would have not prevented some of the deadly mass shootings of recent years. The legislation mandates background checks be performed on all gun sales, including firearm purchases made privately, whether it be online or at gun shows. Under current law, only licensed gun dealers are required to conduct a background check for someone seeking to obtain a gun. But there are exceptions – such as transfers between close relatives. A firearm could also be loaned to someone using it at a shooting range or for the purposes of hunting and trapping, unless there's a reason to suspect the gun will be used in a crime or the person receiving the gun is prohibited from possessing the gun under state or federal law. But this is also only the first salvo. A second bill extending the period federal authorities have to complete a background check before a gun sale can go through is set for a vote today. The House bill – dubbed the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 – faces uncertainty in the Republican-controlled Senate. And even if it does clear the Senate, President Trump has said he’ll veto the measure.