The focus of our national news media was not the summit in Vietnam or the fact that our economy grew by 2,9%. Not even the alleviations of tensions toward a trade war. No, the focus was on the testimony of Michael Cohen.
President Trump’s former attorney and fixer testified in front of the House of Representatives. In addition to calling Trump a racist and con man, he also claimed Trump knew the true purpose of his payments to porn stars Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal.
Cohen did refute the larger issue discussed. Cohen denied knowledge of Russian collusion as well as the accusation that he had a meeting overseas with Russian agents. There were rumors of his direct involvement in said meeting.
The statements made by a man heading to prison cannot be trusted on face value. As an attorney, he bore the moral obligation to advise his client against illegal behavior, even if it meant losing his job. He did not live up to that obligation.
The anti-Trump media and Democratic opposition hope to use sensationalism to build support for a case of impeachment to reverse the 2016 election outcome. To this point, there is little evidence of collusion or any high crimes committed by Trump.
Not saying President Trump is coming off unscathed. President Trump’s character is rightfully questioned over associations with people now destined to federal prison, although many for behaviors not committed during the campaign.
President Trump is not the first president with alleged affairs. The first Republican President, but far from the first president. But, Congress and the American public made it clear that activities surrounding presidential affairs do not rise up to the standard of high crimes.
The President of the United States should be held to high moral standards. Right or wrong, our president sets the tone for the nation. While people should get their moral compass from public figures, our elected officials should exemplify the best of our society.
So, what happened in Vietnam? The second summit between President Trump and North Korean Dictator Kim Jung Un resulted in no deal. This comes months after both leaders met in Singapore, where afterwards many felt there was a viable path towards peace.
The tensions between with North Korea are noticeably lower. Tensions between North and South Korea are also reduced. The political and economic reality for North Korea is that maintaining the status quo is not a viable path toward peace and prosperity.
The best possible outcome for North Korea is engaging in peaceful negotiations with the West, primarily the US. Reaching a deal for denuclearization would reduce sanctions. Allowing trade that would help feed its many starving people.
The meeting ending without an agreement is bad optics, but not necessarily a step backwards. President Trump is not to a point where he can alleviate sanctions in place. North Korea would need to denuclearize more than the single proposed site.
The proposed site is an important one. It is the largest nuclear site in North Korea. Not the only one. American negotiators should not trade one site in exchange for the potential shift to a network of smaller sites. Complete denuclearization is the goal. Not the optics.
President Donald Trump hopes an effective working relationship with North Korean Dictator Kim Jung Ung will help facilitate the deal. Many are wary of the establishing relationships with dictators that directly took lives, but it may prevent further tragedies.
The goal is not to make the same mistakes the Obama Administration made when agreeing to the Iran Deal, where incentives were provided upfront with little hope for compliance. Credible evidence shows Iran financed terrorist activity outside of its borders.
The better path forward in both cases is establishing clearly defined checklists of actions and deadlines that need to be met before reducing any sanctions. Once compliance is confirmed, then reduce sanctions. Continue the cycle until the goal is achieved.
The sides will continue to work towards a deal and the public must wait. The public must not push for a deal for the sake of signing something. Push for a resolution that actually resolves the issue.