Jun 4, 2018

White House releases more details on North Korea summit

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders announced Monday that President Trump's preliminary meeting with Kim Jong-un in Singapore on June 12th will be at 9am local time (June 11th, 9pm EST).

What to watch: Asked whether the administration is continuing their maximum pressure campaign on North Korea ahead of the summit, added “our policy hasn’t changed” toward Pyongyang. Sander was careful not to mention the term, "maximum pressure," after Trump stated last week that he wanted to avoid the language given the U.S. and North Korea are "getting along now."

More from the briefing:

  • Regarding Rudy Giuliani and Trump's claims that the president can pardon himself: "Thankfully the President hasn't done anything wrong and therefore wouldn't need one." She added: “Certainly, no one is above the law."
  • On the decision to impose tariffs on European allies, Canada and Mexico: “Without an alternative solution, tariffs are the only measures appropriate to safeguard the country.”
  • Last year, Sanders said Trump "didn't dictate" Donald Trump Jr.'s statement regarding his 2016 Trump Tower meeting. However, Trump's attorney's have recently said that Trump in fact helped draft the letter. Today, Sanders deflected questions about the mixed-messaging: "This is a letter from the outside counsel and I direct you to them to answer that question."
  • On the news that EPA chief Scott Pruitt reportedly sought a used mattress from Trump Hotel: Sanders said the White House is “certainly looking into the matter.”

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Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The World Health Organization will not yet call the coronavirus a pandemic, claiming that needs across affected countries are too varied and the classification would increase fear, per a briefing Monday.

The big picture: As South Korea and Italy stepped up emergency measures in efforts to thwart the spread of the virus, WHO expressed concern about infections with no clear link to China. COVID-19 has killed at least 2,620 people and infected almost 80,000 others, with all but 27 deaths occurring in mainland China.

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Democrats demand new Russia sanctions over 2020 election interference

Putin and Trump. Photo: Kremlin Press Office/Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Senate Democratic leaders will send a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Monday afternoon demanding they sanction Russia — and potentially Russian President Vladimir Putin himself — for attempting to influence the 2020 presidential election.

Why it matters: The letter follows reports that a senior intelligence official briefed Congress that Russia is again interfering in the November election to help Trump. White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien repeatedly rejected that assessment on Sunday, and CNN later reported that the briefer may have overstated the intelligence community's evidence about Russia's goals.