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Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

"Unpredictability" is the key to understanding President Trump's negotiating plan as he heads into his roll-the-dice summit with North Korea's Kim Jong-un.

What we're hearing: Trump loves to say that every other U.S. president was predictable. He believes foreign affairs has always been overly scripted and his predecessors were "totally predictable," which let their adversaries run rings around them.

A source who recently spoke to Trump about his upcoming meeting with Kim Jong-un paraphrased the president's private monologue:

  • "No one knows what I'm going to do. They are over there trying right now to analyze every statement I'm putting out to get a sense of what's going to happen when I walk into the room. But the fact of the matter is nobody knows." 

Trump loves to watch the media try to predict what he's going to do and say about any number of things, including North Korea, and he gleefully tells aides: "They have no idea."

  • “Kim Jong-un’s entire lineage is having people think he might be crazy. Trump’s like: 'You’re crazy? How about this?'” a source said a while back, during the phase of Trump calling Kim "Little Rocket Man" and taunting him by saying he has a bigger nuclear button.

One of the biggest challenges: How will Trump ever know he's struck a good deal after the photo op and North Korea's initially dramatic destruction of some of its nuclear facilities?

  • Verification is the whole ballgame. To believe in a deal we'd have to believe that Kim Jong-un has decided to fundamentally change his country and to do something his family has never done before: giving international inspectors 100 percent visibility into the hermit kingdom. The NYT's David Sanger has a good piece on that problem here.
  • And here's a piece from over the weekend about the view from South Korea: President Moon Jae-in saw last summer that the White House and Pentagon were working on military options in the event Kim threatened the U.S. So Moon went into diplomatic overdrive, using the military crisis to present Kim with economic development plans he'd long wanted to deliver.

Go deeper

Tony Hsieh, longtime Zappos CEO, dies at 46

Tony Hsieh. Photo: FilmMagic/FilmMagic

Tony Hsieh, the longtime ex-chief executive of Zappos, died on Friday after being injured in a house fire, his lawyer told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He was 46.

The big picture: Hsieh was known for his unique approach to management, and following the 2008 recession his ongoing investment and efforts to revitalize the downtown Las Vegas area.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

The unicorn stampede is coming

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Airbnb and DoorDash plan to go public in the next few weeks, capping off a very busy year for IPOs.

What's next: You ain't seen nothing yet.

16 hours ago - World

Maximum pressure campaign escalates with Fakhrizadeh killing

Photo: Fars News Agency via AP

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s military nuclear program, is a new height in the maximum pressure campaign led by the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government against Iran.

Why it matters: It exceeds the capture of the Iranian nuclear archives by the Mossad, and the sabotage in the advanced centrifuge facility in Natanz.

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