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Donald Trump's trademark bluster reached new heights on Friday, when he tweeted that U.S. forces were “fully in place, locked and loaded” for an attack on North Korea but a top Pentagon Korea official in the Obama administration says that the president’s claim is not just dangerous, it's false.
The official, who spoke to Newsweek on the condition of anonymity, said war game scenarios conducted by the U.S. and South Korea indicated that substantial time would be required to move military assets for an attack on the state.
The U.S. was positioned to defend an attack, but not to launch one at short notice without substantial consequences, the official added.
An attack would require more military assets than the U.S. currently has stationed in the Korean peninsula and east Asia. On Friday, the Pentagon confirmed to Vox that no such redeployment had taken place.
The tweet came amid a sharp escalation in tensions between the U.S. and the rogue state, with Pyongyang having earlier threatened to launch missiles at the Pacific island of Guam, where there is a U.S. military base. Trump threatened North Korea with “fire and fury” in return.
Critics say the tweet sharply increases the likelihood of a conflict between the countries, as North Korea could misinterpret Trump's rhetoric and U.S. military maneuvers as signs of impending invasion and launch a preemptive attack.
The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson transits the South China Sea while conducting flight operations on April 9, 2017.Landers/Courtesy U.S. Navy/Handout via REUTERS
Though dwarfed by the U.S.’ military, North Korea’s is still one of the largest in the world, with 1.2 million active service members, nuclear weapons, and tens of thousand of artillery at its disposal. The U.S. would require the deployment of ground troops to boost South Korean forces in the region, as well as aircraft carriers to take on North Korea’s navy and air force.
Aircraft carriers, USS Carl Vinson and USS Ronald Reagan, left the region in June, after April deployment.
The Associated Press reported Friday that the Trump administration had been involved for months in back channel diplomatic negotiations with North Korea, vital if Trump's rhetoric is not to lead to a military clash.
Former State Department official Joel S. Wit, the founder of 38 North, a website that analyzes North Korea, told Politico that Trump’s claims risked undermining diplomatic efforts.
The president’s public comments "undermine anyone in Pyongyang who’s interested in seeing if there’s something to be gained in a dialogue with the United States," he said.
“The hardliners in Washington reinforce the hardliners in Pyongyang, who in turn reinforce the hardliners in Washington."
Drake and Future are being sued for $25 million. (Photo: TOMMASO BODDI/WIREIMAGE; PRINCE WILLIAMS/WIREIMAGE)
A woman who was allegedly raped at a Drake and Future concert last year is suing the rappers — among others — for $25 million, claiming their negligence led to her attack.
According to a lawsuit filed earlier this week in federal court, the woman (identified only as Jane Doe) claims she attended the Drake/Future concert on August 14, 2016 at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee.
The woman claims that during the show, she was approached by “a man associated with Bridgestone Arena” who offered to take her backstage to meet the performers.
As the woman followed the man — later identified as Leavy Johnson — backstage, she claims he “suddenly … pushed Jane Doe to the ground and violently assaulted her, shattering her cell phone and causing severe physical and psychological injury.”
(Johnson has since been arrested and charged with rape, according to The Tennessean. He is currently awaiting trial.)
The woman claims Johnson had outstanding warrants for assault at the time of the alleged rape and claims the arena, the touring companies, the company that provided the security and the rappers all should have known that employing Johnson would “pose an unreasonable risk to others.”
The woman is seeking no less than $25 million in damages, plus court costs.
Attempts to reach the companies involved, as well as reps for Drake and Future, were unsuccessful.
Photograph by Matt Rourke / AP When he went to bed on July 25th, the political consultant Paul Manafort was a powerful and wealthy man in a complicated position. He had been, for five months last year, the chair of Donald Trump’s Presidential campaign, and he had since become a focus of the various investigations into Russian interference in the election. On the morning of July 26th, Manafort woke up to F.B.I. agents knocking at his bedroom door. They had come to his home in Alexandria, Virginia, with a warrant to retrieve tax documents and foreign-bank records. Manafort’s position grew simpler, but worse: now the pressure of the hinge investigation in American politics is concentrated on himTrump has publicly fumed about the Russia investigation (a “witch hunt”) and confessed that he was thinking about the investigation when he fired James Comey, the former F.B.I. director. But until the Washington Post broke news of the Manafort raid, on Wednesday, the actual proceedings of the investigations in Congress and the Justice Department had appeared relatively collegial. Senior White House officials complied with requests, sat for interviews, and turned over documents. Trump’s personal lawyer, John Dowd, said that the President asked him to convey his personal appreciation of the work of the special counsel, Robert Mueller—who was appointed after Comey’s firing—to Mueller himself. The Manafort raid suggested a turn in the relationship toward the mutually adversarial. To obtain a search warrant to begin with, prosecutors needed to convince a judge that there was probable cause to believe they’d find evidence of a crime. You don’t execute a daybreak raid if the subjects of your interviews are fully forthcoming.