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Clapper. Photo: Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images

I asked James Clapper, whose new book "Facts and Fears" is out this week, how President Trump should proceed after the pre-summit breakdown with North Korea.

The bottom line: Clapper, who was an intelligence officer in Korea in the 1980s and three decades later served as Barack Obama's presidential envoy on a high-stakes trip to Pyongyang, is deeply familiar with the challenges posed by North Korea. He told me Trump should still aim for direct talks with Kim Jong-un, but should stay quiet on the issue in the meantime.

  • "I think there's a lot of virtue right now in, the less said, the better. I would have just written a very short letter that said, 'I don't think there's any prospect of us having a productive summit, so let's put it off.'"
  • "In the meantime, keep up the sanctions, try and engage with the Chinese. I do think that whatever dialogue has been built between Kim Jong-un and President Moon, they ought to continue it. ... I never thought I'd see the sight of Kim Jong-un crossing the DMZ."
  • Clapper said he's in favor of direct talks between Trump and Kim in the future, because "it would be the first time we'd ever hear from the horse's mouth, what is it that they need to feel secure enough that they wouldn't need nuclear weapons?"
  • As for what to expect from North Korea, Clapper said, "They are sensitive, prickly, opaque and unpredictable. So I think they may think about this a little bit, but I think there will probably be some not nice things coming out of their propaganda mouth. ... I think we'll probably revert to bellicose rhetoric, and of course Trump will jump right into that."

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
2 hours ago - Technology

TikTok gets more time (again)

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The White House is again giving TikTok's Chinese parent company more to satisfy national security concerns, rather than initiating legal action, a source familiar with the situation tells Axios.

The state of play: China's ByteDance had until Friday to resolve issues raised by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS), which is chaired by Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin. This was the company's third deadline, with CFIUS having provided two earlier extensions.

Federal judge orders Trump administration to restore DACA

DACA recipients and their supporters rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court on June 18. Photo: Drew Angerer via Getty

A federal judge on Friday ordered the Trump administration to fully restore the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, giving undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children a chance to petition for protection from deportation.

Why it matters: DACA was implemented under former President Obama, but President Trump has sought to undo the program since taking office. Friday’s ruling will require Department of Homeland Security officers to begin accepting applications starting Monday and guarantee that work permits are valid for two years.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Fauci says he accepted Biden's offer to be chief medical adviser "on the spot" — The recovery needs rocket fuel.
  2. Health: CDC: It's time for "universal face mask use" — Death rates rising across the country — Study: Increased testing can reduce transmission.
  3. Economy: U.S. economy adds 245,000 jobs in November as recovery slows — America's hidden depression: K-shaped recovery threatens Biden administration.
  4. Cities: Bay Area counties to enact stay-at-home order ahead of state mandate
  5. Vaccine: What vaccine trials still need to do.
  6. World: UN warns "2021 is literally going to be catastrophic"
  7. 🎧 Podcast: Former FDA chief Rob Califf on the vaccine approval process.