North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrived in China on Tuesday for a two-day visit, his third trip since March. Kim is expected to brief Chinese President Xi Jinping on his recent summit with President Trump. Kim and Trump agreed to work together toward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Trump also offered to guarantee the security of the North Korean regime and promised to end "war games" with South Korea, which both North Korea and China have criticized as provocative. The long-reclusive Kim also is expected to use the clout he gained from his meeting with Trump to push for relief from tough international economic sanctions. Harold Maass
President Trump on Twitter Saturday lashed out against his former attorney, Michael Cohen, for reportedly making recordings of Trump two months before the 2016 election discussing payments to former Playboy model Karen McDougal to silence her about an alleged affair.
Inconceivable that the government would break into a lawyer’s office (early in the morning) - almost unheard of. Even more inconceivable that a lawyer would tape a client - totally unheard of & perhaps illegal. The good news is that your favorite President did nothing wrong!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 21, 2018
Per Friday reports from The Washington Post and The New York Times, the FBI gained access to the recordings when the agency raided Cohen's office earlier this year. Cohen is under investigation for potential campaign finance violations committed while paying hush money to cover up the president's alleged extramarital liaisons. Bonnie Kristian
Demonstrating he has never met a dead horse he did not want to beat, President Trump tweeted Friday evening NFL players kneeling during the national anthem, proposing unpaid suspensions for repeat protesters:
The NFL National Anthem Debate is alive and well again - can’t believe it! Isn’t it in contract that players must stand at attention, hand on heart? The $40,000,000 Commissioner must now make a stand. First time kneeling, out for game. Second time kneeling, out for season/no pay!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 20, 2018
The NFL announced Thursday it would not enforce its policy, implemented earlier this year, of requiring players to stand during the national anthem. The new rule was introduced after uproar — most loudly from Trump himself — over athletes' decision to protest institutional racism and police brutality by kneeling while the song is performed. The policy is now subject to a complaint filed by the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) and is under confidential review.
NFLPA President Eric Winston responded to Trump on Twitter Friday. "Thanks for your thoughts," he wrote, "but we'll take it from here."
"By their own terms and what [Chinese President Xi Jinping] enunciates, I would argue by definition what they're waging against us is fundamentally a cold war — a cold war not like we saw during the Cold War, but a cold war by definition," Michael Collins, deputy assistant director of the CIA's East Asia mission center, said of China in a security summit speech Friday.
Collins defined cold war as a "country that exploits all avenues of power licit and illicit, public and private, economic and military, to undermine the standing of your rival relative to your own standing without resorting to conflict," adding, "The Chinese do not want conflict."
But a desire to avoid military conflict does not preclude competition "far more [significant] by any extreme than what the Russians could put forward," Collins continued, labeling China the "broadest, most challenging, most significant threat we face as a country." The next step for the United States, he advised, is to decide whether to treat China as a "true adversary or a legitimate competitor" on the world stage.
These remarks came the same day as President Trump's threat in a CNBC interview to levy new tariffs on all $500 billion in imports the U.S. buys from China each year unless Beijing waves a white flag in Trump's trade war. Bonnie Kristian
Disney on Friday cut ties with James Gunn, who was set to direct Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, after prominent conservative Twitter users unearthed Gunn's old tweets referencing pedophilia and rape, reports Deadline.
Gunn was removed from the Marvel Comics franchise, with Disney calling his tweets "indefensible." The offending comments, which also included jokes about 9/11 and the Holocaust, have since been deleted. Right-wing bloggers who resurfaced the tweets have criticized Gunn's political beliefs, reports Fox News, and have condemned his outspoken opposition to President Trump.
Gunn defended himself by describing his tweets as an attempt to be a "provocateur," and said he's "very, very different" than he was in 2010 and 2011 when he posted the "shocking jokes" online. Read more at Deadline. Summer Meza
President Trump's military parade keeps getting bigger.
Between 5,000 and 7,000 service members are now set to march in Trump's military extravaganza, which is estimated to cost $12 million, U.S. defense officials have told ABC News. That's nearly the cost of the $14 million joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises Trump canceled for being "tremendously expensive," and almost the size of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
About a year ago, Trump saw a Bastille Day military parade in France and decided he wanted to bring that patriotic spectacle to D.C. In February, he gave official "marching orders" to the Pentagon to organize an all-American version, and later told reporters he'd "have to try and top" the French one.
A March memo suggested the parade run from the White House to the Capitol, complete with vintage aircraft displays. Tanks wouldn't make an appearance, as they'd tear up the D.C. streets.
Planning appeared to stall for awhile after that, as White House officials weren't exactly feeling the pomp, NBC News reported. But about 50 Defense Department personnel have now been dedicated to working on a Nov. 10 parade, scheduled to celebrate Veterans Day and the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. That number will probably grow to about 3,000 by November, ABC says.
Add in 100 military vehicles, 50 aircraft, and 100 horses — no puppies like Chilean military parades — and Trump will have a crowd close to the 8,000 marching on Thanksgiving in New York later that month. Kathryn Krawczyk
The giant balloon that depicted President Trump as a cantankerous, diaper-clad baby was a big hit when thousands of protesters took to the streets during Trump's U.K. visit. Apparently, it's not just the #resistance of Britain that thought the "Trump baby blimp" was fantastic — museums are hoping to add it to their collections.
The inflatable president is in high demand, with the British Museum and the Museum of London battling it out with other institutions who want to document the moment in protest history, The New York Times reported Friday.
While the British Museum wants to display the 20-foot balloon in an exhibition on the history of dissent and protest, the Bishopsgate Institute wants to keep the inflatable in its permanent collection of protest artifacts. The Design Museum in London and the Victoria and Albert Museum are also interested in collecting the balloon, which traveled from London to Edinburgh to protest Trump while he visited last week.
Kevin Smith, a Londoner who was part of the group that created the Trump baby, said that museums are not the only ones interested in making the project a more permanent fixture of Trump protests. He said the group has raised around $44,000 to take the balloon on a "Trump baby world tour." Read more at The New York Times. Summer Meza
No one knows why Cats was able to rise from nightmare fodder to Broadway legend. Nevertheless, nearly four decades after it should've died, the disturbing production is hitting the big screen.
A movie adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's implausible hit is set to start filming in Britain this November, Variety reports. And it's not some low-budget, straight-to-Netflix production. Talented famous people Jennifer Hudson, Ian McKellan, James Corden, and Taylor Swift have all been cast as cats.
Hudson is the only cast member whose fursona has been confirmed, per Variety. She'll play Grizabella, a cat who's been exiled by the Jellicle Cat clan, just as we all wish to be. McKellan will likely play the wizened Old Deuteronomy, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter. And cat lady turned actual cat Swift will probably be the flirtatious Bombalurina, which isn't a surprise the more you think about it. James Corden hasn't been connected with an oddly named cat yet, but he uncomfortably channeled one of Webber's feline roles on his Late Late Show last month and can leave it at that.
The King's Speech director Tom Hooper will direct, and Billy Elliot writer Lee Hall has already adapted the show for the big screen, shrinking chances of preventing its existence even further.
The only upside to this adaptation seems to be the promise of Hudson belting the show's noteworthy track "Memory." Listen to it on a video-less cast recording and let the rest of this show fade like the moonlight. Kathryn Krawczyk