Jan 17, 2018

Trump: We're playing a "very hard game of poker" with North Korea

Photo: Nicholas Kamm / AFP / Getty Images

President Trump tells Reuters that Russia is "not helping us at all with North Korea," and that the Russian actions are "denting" progress China is making. He also said North Korea is getting "closer every day" to getting a missile that can hit the U.S.

Putin "can do a lot," Trump said, "but unfortunately we don't have much of a relationship with Russia, and in some cases it's probable that what China takes back, Russia gives. So the net result is not as good as it could be."

Context: U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called out both Russia and China for helping North Korea today in Vancouver at a meeting to discuss nuclear security and North Korea, and European countries told Reuters earlier this month that Russian tankers have been helping supply fuel to North Korea in violation of international sanctions. China is suspected to have been supplying the North with fuel in recent months as well.

On future talks with North Korea: Trump said he's "not sure that sitting down [with the North Koreans] will solve the problem."

  • This comes just after North Korea and South Korea held the first talks in just about two years earlier this month in advance of the Olympics in Seoul.

Trump would not comment on whether the U.S. is considering launching a "bloody nose" strike against North Korea, which carries with it numerous risks, including a humanitarian crisis in China as well as retaliation from North Korea.

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Updated 28 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Top Senate Democrat says State Dept. is working on new Saudi arms deal

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo briefs reporters on May 20. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/pool/AFP via Getty Images

Senate Foreign Relations ranking member Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) wrote in a CNN op-ed on Wednesday that he learned that the State Department is currently working to sell thousands of additional precision-guided bombs to Saudi Arabia.

Why it matters: Democrats say that Steve Linick, the State Department inspector general who was ousted on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's recommendation, was investigating the administration's previous effort to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia without congressional approval.

U.S. coronavirus death toll crosses 100,000

Data: Johns Hopkins University; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

More than 100,000 Americans have died of the coronavirus, according to data from Johns Hopkins — a terrible milestone that puts the death toll far beyond some of the most tragic events in U.S. history.

By the numbers: The death toll from COVID-19 now stands at more than 34 times the number of people who died on 9/11.