a mystery
April 26, 2020

No one can say for sure what the real situation in North Korea is, but the latest development bolsters evidence that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is alive.

Satellite imagery has shown a train believed to belong to Kim parked at his compound in the coastal resort of Wonson, suggesting that he is currently staying outside of the capital, Pyongyang.

Rumors began swirling after Kim missed the April 15 commemoration of the 108th birthday of his grandfather, which is unusual, and Reuters reported Saturday that China dispatched a medical team to "advise on" Kim. But veteran North Korea analysts have downplayed the idea that his health is critical, noting that it's not the first time the leader has vanished from the public eye. South Korean intelligence has maintained the belief that Kim is alive, and U.S. officials are similarly skeptical. The images seem to back that up, but they also don't confirm anything about the state of his health.

The Washington Post notes that some experts have pointed out that Kim could have left Pyongyang in light of the coronavirus pandemic — North Korea has insisted it has no cases, a claim doubted by many outside observers.

Regardless, North Korea is one of the world's most secretive and isolated nations, making it difficult to gather accurate reports, and it could be some time before there's any clarity on Kim. Read more at The Associated Press and The Washington Post. Tim O'Donnell

May 16, 2018

On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee released some 2,000 pages of documents related to a highly-scrutinized meeting between President Trump's top campaign officials and a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower in June 2016. Among their number was a rather odd email sent by Anthony Scaramucci — just days after he was appointed as communications director in 2017 — to British publicist Rob Goldstone, who famously arranged the meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and the Kremlin-linked lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya.

Adding to the mystery, Scaramucci sent the email just weeks after news broke about Goldstone offering Trump Jr. in 2016 "some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary [Clinton]" as "part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump."

Here's the email:

"If we remain consistent and united, I don't envisage any issues we can't ride out," Scaramucci assured Goldstone. In comments to CNBC on Wednesday, Scaramucci denied that the email was referring to anything to do with Russia. "I understand what people are trying to imply, because they are obviously after the president," he said, referring to the ongoing investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Scaramucci added: "I supplied all of my emails as requested by both the House and Senate and have never been asked to testify before the Mueller investigators or the House or the Senate."

Scaramucci did not explain what the email was about. Jeva Lange

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