Former U.S. attorney Andrew C. McCarthy isn’t overly impressed by Special Counsel Mueller’s multiple indictments of Paul Manafort yesterday, describing them as “a dubious case of disclosure violations and money movement that would never have been brought had [Manafort] not drawn attention to himself by temporarily joining the Trump campaign….[T]the president can continue to portray himself as the victim of a witch hunt.”
Some Republicans are seeking the appointment of another Special Counsel to investigate Clinton, Democratic Party, and FBI collusion with Russia.
No new Special Counsel please. One is already too many
Attorneys David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey argue that the office of Special Counsel is no better than the Independent Counsels of the 1980s and 1990s that undermined Presidents Reagan and Clinton:
“Some Republicans now seek a new special counsel to investigate if the Clinton Campaign ‘colluded’ with Russians to smear Candidate Trump, along with other aspects of the Clintons’ relationship with Russia and Russian nationals. But one special counsel already is one too many….Mr. Trump can end this madness by immediately issuing a blanket presidential pardon to anyone involved in supposed collusion with Russia or Russians…Nefarious Russian activities…can and should be investigated by Congress….[A]t least those conducting the inquiry will be legitimate and politically accountable.”
National Review editor Rich Lowry counsels Trump to squelch his usual instincts to retaliate and just do nothing. “There is no suggestion in the indictment that any of Manafort’s alleged wrongdoing, which dates back to 2006, had anything to do with the campaign.”
The difference between south and north of the 38th parallel
Elon Musk reminds us of the difference between south and north of the 38th parallel. On the south’s behalf his SpaceX company just successfully launched a needed broadcasting satellite.
North Korean leaders pose by a missile-installable nuclear weapon
North of the line, the Kim Jong-un is trying to perfect nuclear devices to threaten his neighbors east and south. His intentions aside, there is question now whether he can even control his rockets and their nuke payloads. North Korean recklessness is underscored by reports that “A TUNNEL at an underground North Korea nuclear site has collapsed with up to 200 people killed…The accident is believed to have been caused by Kim Jong-un’s sixth nuclear test which weakened the mountain…It was reported earlier this year that the mountain under which the base is believed to be hidden was at risk of collapsing and leaking radiation into the region.”
China has been quietly assisting North Korea weapons program — for example, by providing trucks to make North Korea’s missiles difficult to locate and destroy. Rather than making a big fuss about this, the Trump administration has just quietly sanctioned the company that supplied the vehicles.
“The system put in place by Deng to balance power in the Party across different factions has been replaced by a system in which Xi and his loyalists hold all the levers of power in the army, the economy, and the bureaucracy. This congress should put an end to any illusions that as China grew richer it would become more pluralistic and less autocratic, or that as China became more capitalist its intellectual life and civil society would grow more free….
China’s global strategy: A One Belt One Road loan, building, and trade plan to dominate Eurasia
“[T]he new Constitution enshrines China’s economic strategy to dominate the world. It commits China to pursue the ‘Belt and Road’ strategy launched by Xi. By financing a vast network of ports, railways, and roads to carry freight from China to Europe…[t]he Belt and Road projects will make it possible for China to become the economic center of all of Eurasia.
“Moreover, this vast continent-wide construction venture is being financed mainly by loans from China to other countries. These loans will bind these countries to China for a generation. The Belt and Road projects also come with Chinese suggestions that state-led economic growth and autocratic government are superior ways to organize an economy, and insistence on support for Beijing in international councils. Xi considers the Western government system of checks and balances, free civil society, and constitutionally limited executive authority as a threat to the existence of the Party and to his own power; he has thus banned any teaching or even discussion of these topics in China.”
“Trump must tread carefully with his Asian bankers,” one article begins, given the huge amount of U.S. Treasury debt that Chinese, Japanese, and South Korean bankers hold.
Trump’s Asian trip: will it be followed by a crash program for a 355-ship navy?
Another warns that “What happens afterwards matters more,” referencing the dire setbacks to U.S. influence in the region: “Other presidents have given good speeches in Asia – and the US military and business people are active there. But if Trump proposes doing more of the same, it’s a losing trend. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) has taken de facto control of the South China Sea and is ready to do the same in the East China Sea. China is increasingly seen as the indispensable economic partner for regional nations – not the United States.” A strong dose of useful policy recommendations follows.