head scratcher
May 11, 2019

Rudy Giuliani wants you to know he's changed his mind.

President Trump's personal lawyer said on Friday evening during an interview with Fox News' Shannon Bream that he is no longer planning to travel to Ukraine to encourage the country's president-elect, Volodomyr Zelensky, to push forward on an investigation with ties to former Vice President Joe Biden's son, Hunter.

The younger Biden was on the board of a Ukrainian company that was previously the subject of a probe in Ukraine, which is what Giuliani wanted to help encourage during his trip. Since the elder Biden is a potential 2020 presidential opponent for Trump, Giuliani has faced criticism about the plan with many viewing it as election meddling.

The lawyer decided to forego the journey, however, citing an unspecified trap designed by Trump's political enemies. "I think this was a set-up," Giuliani told Fox News, which is somewhat ironic since Giuliani drew up the plan to go in the first place. Still, he maintains there was nothing illegal or immoral about his initial plan. Watch an excerpt of the interview below. Tim O'Donnell

September 26, 2017

North Korean government officials have been reaching out to Republican analysts in Washington to try to get a better read on what is going on in President Trump's head, The Washington Post reports. "My own guess is that they are somewhat puzzled as to the direction in which the U.S. is going, so they're trying to open up channels to take the pulse in Washington," former State Department official Evans Revere told the Post. "They haven't seen the U.S. act like this before."

Bruce Klingner, a North Korea expert who is now with the Heritage Foundation, said that Pyongyang reached out to him but he declined their invitation. Still, Klingner observed the country is "on a new binge of reaching out to American scholars and ex-officials."

At a recent meeting at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy in Switzerland, North Koreans attendees additionally "displayed an 'encyclopedic' knowledge of Trump's tweets, to the extent that they were able to quote them back to the Americans present." But as anyone who has tried to parse Trump's tweets and actions knows, just following the president on Twitter doesn't necessarily give any insight into what he might say or do next.

Reflecting North Korean officials' confusion are the questions they're bringing to Americans: "Why, for instance, are Trump's top officials, notably Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, directly contradicting the president so often?" The Washington Post writes as one example. Read the full report at the Post. Jeva Lange

See More Speed Reads