“I saw Little shifty Schiff,” is the way the President of the United States referred to the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee recently when addressing the CPAC Conservative conference. The following article summarizes appearance(s) by John Bolton and Adam Schiff as part of “Face the Nation” on March 3, 2019 (today).
“The President’s ready to keep talking” (John Bolton).
Q: So, is North Korea a growing threat?
A: President Trump’s objective has always been denuclearization. The president opened the door in Singapore. He kept the door open during that 8 month period. The North Koreans can walk through it. It’s really up to them.
Q: Within a year? That is what you said after Singapore.
A: Operationally, how long would it take, you asked then. With a few exceptions, our judgment was that we could do it within a year, once the progress was started. There’s no expiration date. The President is fully willing to negotiate at lower levels. I think we will keep the maximum pressure in place. Relief (from the sanctions) they can get, if they de-nuclearize.
Q: Did you know that (complete de-nuclearization) was not on the table?
A: We don’t know what’s on the table from North Korea until it comes out of the mouth of Kim Jong-Un. We didn’t walk away with a failure. We honestly didn’t know. We’ve tried to make it clear to them: we’re not going to make the mistakes of previous administrations (Obama in Iran mentioned).
Q: You’ve tested this proposition on negotiating from the top down now. But the success rate has not been any more than in the past. Would you go back to doing it from the bottom up?
A: The success rate in the past has been zero, so that’s not a hard bar to overcome.
Q: But they can still produce nuclear fuel. He no longer looks like a pariah. Didn’t Kim Jong-Un gain from this? He sat across from the President almost as an equal.
A: I’m the national security advisor. I’m not the national security decision maker. My job now is to help the President and give him my advice. He’ll make the decisions. The position of the administration is de-nuclearization and that’s what we are prepared to negotiate on.
Q: When was Otto Wermbeer brought up?
A: In Singapore. The best thing North Korea could do now is come up with a complete explanation of what happened to him. I’ve heard the President talk about Otto on numerous occasions in the past. I know how concerned he was.
Adam Schiff from Boynton Beach, Florida
Q: The President personally attacked you yesterday at CPAC (calling him “Shifty Schiff”). Can you clarify what the Democrats and the Investigation Committee you head up are looking for?
A: We have seen from our own investigation and the Special Counsel’s just how perilous it would be to limit our investigation. (Mentioned Trump Tower Moscow) That was a deal that stood to make him more money than any other in his life and that is the most compromising position I can imagine. We’re also looking at persistent allegations that the Russians have been laundering money through the Trump properties.
Q: Who can answer those questions?
A: We’ll need to talk to Deutsche Bank and some of the banks that did business with Mr. Trump (mentioned that most banks would no longer do business with Trump, except for Deutsche Bank) and we’ll also want to talk with the accountants and chief financial officers for the Trump organization. We’re bringing Felix Sater in to speak about Trump Tower. There are any number of people who can testify as to whether America’s national security has been compromised because the President has been doing business with the Russians.
We have a deep and compelling interest as to whether others know more about his (Cohen’s) false statements to Congress.
Q: Cohen said he had no direct evidence of collusion with Russia.
A: I think there is direct evidence in the e-mails offering dirt on HRC, offering that dirt to Donald Trump, Jr. There is an acceptance of that offer in writing from Don, Jr. Apparently the President took part in the lies to cover that up. Mananfort and the polls…Roger Stone…(these are germane, he implied).
Q: Impeachment grounds?
A: While there’s abundant evidence of collusion, but is there proof beyond a reasonable doubt of criminal conspiracy? We will have to look at the whole body of improper acts. We will have to await the evidence from Bob Mueller to see if there is evidence of collusion.
Q: Kevin McCarthy has called for your recusal because of your contact with Cohen.
A: That’s pretty frivolous. I invited Michael Cohen to testify and he accepted. That is what Kevin McCarthy is upset about. The extent of my contact was just inviting him to testify and laying out what were the threats against him and his family. Mr. McCarthy can be excused for not knowing how to run a criminal investigation. The degree to which Mr. McCarthy and others have prostrated themselves before this president is one thing he cannot be excused for. For Mr. McCarthy to debase himself and go along with this is, I think, unforgivable.
(After his remarks were over, Adam Schiff asked that the cameras be turned back on so he could respond to the remarks of John Bolton):
I was struck by how Bolton responded. This is indication of a President and a staff that is not well prepared that is flying by the seat of its pants but whose actions have world wide consequences. (Schiff added this observation on the heels of John Bolton’s previous comments, and said that even the President’s own security advisor could not agree with his own president. Touche, Mr. Schiff.)
The 2 leaders spent far longer traveling to the summit than they did negotiating. Sixty hours for Kim Jong-Un and 17 for Trump to fly halfway across the world. (Kim’s people are forbidden to travel).
North Korea depends on state-owned businesses, like small business that send money to North Korea from Vietnam. Kim does not want to be isolated. He wants the financial strain on North Korea lifted. At least neither side seemed willing to escalate to war, leaving the door open to future diplomacy, but Kim Jong-Un won a footing almost equal to that of the United States as he sat opposite the President. What did the U.S. get?- The team of talking heads, including the chief correspondent for the New York Times said that usually the President would only come in for the final 10% of such negotiations, but this administration seemed to have done no prior planning. As they put it, “Nothing was pre-cooked.”