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Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
Over the past decade, allied intelligence agencies have pieced together a profile of the young Kim Jong-un from extensive interviews with teachers, students, food preparers, and other staff at the elite Swiss school that Kim attended during his adolescence, according to a source who has carefully studied the classified binder on Kim.
"The picture that emerged from literally dozens of interviews bears a striking similarity with the man he has emerged into today," the source said. "Gluttonous, prone to fits of anger and swaggering around his classmates. Kim Jong-un was an in-attendant student but demanded slavish loyalty from other children in his wake."
Why this matters: In his intelligence briefings, to prepare for his historic summit in Singapore, President Trump has shown intense interest in the personality and quirks of the reclusive Kim, according to sources familiar with his preparation.
Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
When French President Emmanuel Macron visited Washington, he and President Trump had a tough conversation about trade that foreshadowed the breakdown of transatlantic relations at the G7 summit.
In their bilateral meeting in the White House's Cabinet Room, on April 24, Macron said to Trump, "Let’s work together, we both have a China problem," according to a source in the room. The source said Trump responded that the European Union is "worse than China."
I asked White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, who was also in the Cabinet Room for this Trump-Macron meeting, about this exchange. She told me: "The broader point of the conversation was them wanting to work together to do something to fix the system."
Media wait outside the entrance of the Shangri-La Hotel for the arrival of President Trump in Singapore. Photo: Chris McGrath/Getty Images
No matter what happens during the summit on June 12, it will be impossible to know immediately afterwards whether it's been a success.
Trump himself has acknowledged as much, playing down expectations in his public statements and describing this as the first of a potential series of meetings designed to thaw relations and ultimately denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.
President Trump with Kim Yong-chol at the White House earlier this month. Photo: Olivier Douliery, Pool/Getty Images
Some experienced North Korea analysts believe hardline elements within the North Korean intelligence apparatus have been opposed to the idea of the summit between Kim Jong-un and Trump.
Between the lines: One source said Kim Jong-un's decision to send the former spy chief Gen. Kim Yong-chol to the U.S. was likely designed to signal to any internal skeptics that he's taking a tough-minded approach.
Behind the scenes: Kim Yong-chol had never visited the West before his recent trip to New York and Washington, the source said.
President Trump is in Singapore, for the historic summit with Kim Jong-un on Tuesday. The White House is not releasing the president's weekly schedule beyond that.
The House "begins work to pass over 70 bills from eight committees to fight our nation’s opioid crisis," according to a senior leadership aide.
The Senate will spend the week debating the next year's defense bill — the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
A Republican source familiar with the situation emailed:
For more than a year, United by Interest — a majority-minority-owned bipartisan lobbying firm — has been working on a plan to unite the bases of both parties to rally behind an infrastructure bill that would invest in America’s poorest communities.
The bill — called the Generating American Infrastructure and Income Now (GAIIN) Act — is expected to be introduced in the House this Tuesday. It brings together a rare coalition, uniting members of the Freedom Caucus and the Congressional Black Caucus:
The details: According to sources involved in the bill's drafting, the legislation would require the Department of Agriculture to sell its distressed debt assets, estimated to be worth more than $50 billion.
Rep. Kelly, the bill's lead sponsor, told Axios: "Even in this time of historically strong economic growth, some of our country’s poorest communities are still waiting for significant infrastructure improvements."
The politics: Sam Geduldig and Michael Williams, of United by Interest, say the bill appeals to conservatives because it shows a "possible path to paying for infrastructure projects, without having to raise the gas tax." And it also appeals to liberals because "the infrastructure projects the bill would pay for would be in communities below the poverty line, which largely happen to be African American, Hispanic and rural white communities."
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images
On Tuesday, per the Washington Post's master of the Senate Paul Kane, Mitch McConnell, 76, "will eclipse Robert J. Dole (Kan.) as the longest-serving Republican leader in Senate history."
Kane describes McConnell's tenure as one "marked by extreme discipline and extreme paradoxes."
Yes: "McConnell casts himself as a defender of the Senate as a unifying institution, determined to join its ranks from his days as a Capitol Hill intern."
And yes: "McConnell has done as much to advance conservative causes as any Republican in the past 25 years, practically stealing the ideological balance of the Supreme Court and slashing tax rates to their lowest levels in decades."