Trump reverses North Korea sanctions a day after they were announced

Donald Trump

President Donald Trump “likes Chairman Kim” of North Korea and no longer feels sanctions are necessary, according to a White House statement. | Tuan Mark/Getty Images

President Donald Trump on Friday declared he would unwind new sanctions on North Korea that his administration rolled out just a day before, announcing the remarkable reversal in a tweet.

“It was announced today by the U.S. Treasury that additional large scale Sanctions would be added to those already existing Sanctions on North Korea,” he wrote. “I have today ordered the withdrawal of those additional Sanctions!”

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In a follow-up statement explaining the reversal, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, “President Trump likes Chairman Kim and he doesn’t think these sanctions will be necessary.”

Trump appeared to be referring to an announcement on Thursday in which Treasury said it was sanctioning two China-based shipping companies accused of helping North Korea evade existing economic sanctions.

Trump’s directive comes almost a month after his second summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, which was cut short when it became clear neither side could come to an agreement on a path toward denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.

Trump and the North Koreans offered differing reasons for the breakdown of negotiations, with Trump saying North Korea demanded full sanctions relief for only incremental steps toward denuclearization, and North Korean officials disputing that account.

The president on Friday did not explain the reason for reversing his administration’s policy, which Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement Thursday were aimed at “making it explicitly clear that shipping companies employing deceptive tactics to mask illicit trade with North Korea expose themselves to great risk.”

Trump says he’s reversing North Korea sanctions imposed by his Treasury Department

President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate GOP budget ignores Trump, cuts defense Trump says he’ll nominate Stephen Moore to Fed White House: ISIS territory in Syria has been 100 percent eliminated MORE said Friday he would reverse sanctions against North Korea that were recently announced by the Treasury Department, a surprise declaration that sparked confusion in Washington and raised fresh doubts about the White House’s policy process.

In a tweet, Trump wrote that “it was announced today by the U.S. Treasury that additional large scale Sanctions” would be imposed in addition to “already existing Sanctions on North Korea.”

“I have today ordered the withdrawal of those additional Sanctions!” the president added.


In a brief statement, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders attributed the decision to Trump’s relationship with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

“President Trump likes Chairman Kim and he doesn’t think these sanctions will be necessary,” she said.

White House officials did not specify which sanctions Trump was reversing, but the Treasury Department on Thursday announced it was imposing new penalties on two Chinese shipping companies accused of helping North Korea evade existing sanctions.

That announcement, however, was not made within the timetable included in Trump’s tweet.

Regardless of the target, it was remarkable that Trump would publicly rebuke an effort by his own Treasury Department to sanction a major U.S. adversary.

Trump’s rationale for reversing the sanctions appeared to directly contradict his own national security adviser, John Bolton, who argued Thursday they were a significant step toward ensuring North Korea remains isolated over its nuclear ambitions.

The president’s surprise statement came weeks after the conclusion of his failed nuclear summit with Kim, which threw his attempt to broker a historic nuclear deal with the authoritarian head of state into doubt. 

Trump has appeared more upbeat than members of his own administration and foreign policy experts about his ability to reach a deal with the elusive Kim.

In response to mounting evidence North Korea is rebuilding key missile sites, Trump said earlier this month he would be “very disappointed” in Kim if they were, in fact, being rebuilt, but added that “I don’t think I will be.”

Gaetz drafting ‘Green Real Deal’ climate resolution

Matt Gaetz

The draft resolution circulated by Rep. Matt Gaetz acknowledges climate change as a threat to national security but does not set targets for future carbon cuts. | Alex Wong/Getty Images

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) is circulating a “Green Real Deal” resolution to counter the “Green New Deal” floated by Democrats, according to a draft copy obtained by POLITICO.

The resolution acknowledges climate change as a threat to national security and says the government should promote innovation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but it does not set any targets for future carbon cuts and calls for keeping the door open to all types of energy production. It would be the most detailed GOP response to the Green New Deal resolution that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) introduced last month. Republicans say the Green New Deal would invite Big Government solutions and an expansion of public spending, but many in the party are increasingly acknowledging the reality of climate change and looking for alternative approaches.

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Gaetz is a prominent supporter of President Donald Trump, and in the previous Congress even sponsored a bill to abolish the Environmental Protection Agency, but he also represents a coastal Florida district exposed to the danger climate change presents to aquatic ecosystems, tourism and fisheries. He was a member of the Climate Solutions Caucus, a bipartisan collection of House lawmakers that critics said gave Republicans political cover but supporters said demonstrated a potential breakthrough for GOP action on climate.

“Climate change is real. Humans contribute,” Gaetz tweeted last week.

The five-page, nonbinding resolution says, “It is the duty of the Federal Government to create a Green Real Deal.” It calls for removing regulations that hinder “advanced energy,” investing in innovation and encouraging voluntary reporting of greenhouse gas emissions, according to a copy labeled “DELIBERATIVE DRAFT.”

Gaetz’s resolution has been circulating among energy lobbyists ahead of an expected introduction in the coming days. Gaetz’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Senate is expected to vote on the Markey Green New Deal resolution next week. It is unclear whether any GOP senators are working on a companion to Gaetz’s resolution.

Gaetz does not establish any goal for future emission reductions, but his resolution cites the fact that U.S. emissions have fallen about 10 percent since 2005. The Green New Deal, meanwhile, encourages getting on a path within 10 years to neutralize carbon emissions, a goal that’s aligned with warnings from the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for keeping temperature increases below 1.5 degrees Celsius to avoid locking in the worst effects of climate change.

The draft Green Real Deal resolution highlights the National Climate Assessment’s findings that “Climate change creates new risks and exacerbates existing vulnerabilities in communities across the United States, presenting growing challenges to human health and safety, quality of life, and the rate of economic growth.”

The resolution proposes a “commitment to innovation” as part of an effort to “achieve robust, economywide greenhouse gas emission reductions” and “to position the United States as a global leader in clean energy and capture global markets as countries invest in low- and zero-emissions technologies.”

It suggests spurring investment in carbon capture and storage technology to potentially reach net-zero emissions from fossil fuels, zero-emissions sources such as renewable energy and small modular nuclear reactors, changing the National Environmental Policy Act to clear obstacles for building transmission lines needed to bring renewable power onto the electric grid and creating a voluntary reporting system to track emissions reductions, renewable energy procurement and energy efficiency investments, among other things.

It also aims to “reduce and modernize regulations” to speed clean energy deployment while taking steps to “affirm that the government should not pick winners and losers” and “to empower individuals, states, and the marketplace” to promote cleaner energy sources.

Trump offers Fed job to conservative economist Moore

Donald Trump

President Donald Trump’s selection of Stephen Moore, who is also a regular contributor to CNN, indicates that Trump is looking for a more sympathetic voice on the Fed. | Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Donald Trump has offered conservative economist Stephen Moore a seat on the Federal Reserve board, choosing a nominee who shares his view that the Fed is an obstacle to economic growth.

“It is my pleasure to announce that @StephenMoore, a very respected Economist, will be nominated to serve on the Fed Board,” Trump tweeted today. “I have known Steve for a long time – and have no doubt he will be an outstanding choice.”

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Moore, a visiting fellow at the Heritage Foundation, is being vetted for the position, according to a senior administration official.

The president’s selection of Moore, who is also a regular contributor to CNN, indicates that Trump is looking for a more sympathetic voice on the Fed. The president has lambasted the central bank for months over its interest rate hikes and the reduction of its multitrillion-dollar bond holdings — both of which can make it harder for borrowers to obtain credit.

If confirmed, Moore would become the fifth Trump appointee to sit on the Fed’s seven-member board, including Chairman Jerome Powell, wo has been the target of much of the president’s wrath. Businessman Herman Cain, a former Republican presidential contender, is still under consideration for the Fed’s other open slot, the administration official said.

Moore co-authored an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal last week titled, “The Fed Is a Threat To Growth,” praising the president’s deregulatory moves and tax cuts and arguing that the economy is on track to grow 3 percent to 4 percent “over the next several years.”

That’s in contrast to the Fed’s latest projection of 2.1 percent growth for this year, which is more in line with forecasts from private-sector economists. Fears about slowing growth contributed to the Fed’s message this week that it might not raise rates at all this year.

“The last major obstacle to staying on this path is the deflationary monetary policy of the Federal Reserve,” Moore and investor Louis Woodhill wrote, arguing that the Fed’s most recent rate hikes in September and December “caused a severe dollar shortage, a fall in commodity prices, and a rapid slowing of growth — accompanied by wild swings in the stock market.”

The two men said the Fed should link its monetary policy moves to changes in commodity prices.

Moore, who is also a close friend of National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow, founded the conservative Club for Growth and has long been an advocate for smaller government. He holds a masters in economics from George Mason University.

Together, he and Kudlow wrote Trump’s tax plan on the campaign trail. Unlike Trump, he is a proponent of free trade.

He has also called for fewer rules on the banking sector, referring to last year’s financial deregulation law as a “half a loaf.”

“I don’t know if this would even be considered half a loaf, but it does make some reforms,” he told POLITICO after it was enacted in May.

Fox’s Roberts: Trump ‘glared at me like I’ve never seen him glare at me before’

Fox News White House correspondent John Roberts reported Friday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate GOP budget ignores Trump, cuts defense Trump says he’ll nominate Stephen Moore to Fed White House: ISIS territory in Syria has been 100 percent eliminated MORE “glared at me like I’ve never seen him glare at me before” over questions on criticism of the late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainLou Dobbs: Political criticism of McCain ‘not an exhumation of his body’ Trump rips McCain, says he gave Steele dossier to FBI for ‘very evil purposes’ The Hill’s Morning Report — Washington readies for Mueller end game MORE (R-Ariz.).

The remark came after Trump was asked by Fox Business’s Maria Bartiromo about McCain in an interview that aired Friday.

Trump has repeatedly been in the news over his criticisms of McCain, and in the interview with Bartiromo he said he only talked about McCain in response to questions.


“Oh, it’s never a dull moment,” Roberts replied to Fox News co-anchor Jon Scott, who had said that covering the Trump White House “keeps your beat interesting, doesn’t it?”

“[The] president not happy with us this morning either,” Roberts said. “He glared at me like I’ve never seen him glare at me before.”

“Whoa,” replied Scott. “We’ll have to get to the bottom of that.”

The glare Roberts was referring to was captured by ABC News White House correspondent Jonathan Karl in a video he posted on Twitter.

“Just now on the South Lawn, the President took questions from several reporters, but ignored @johnrobertsFox, avoiding eye contact with him until he started walking away and glared at him,” Karl wrote to his more than 200,000 followers.

In an interview that aired Friday morning, Trump told Fox Business anchor Bartiromo that McCain gave a controversial dossier of claims related to Trump and Russia to the FBI for “very evil purposes.”

“If you realize, about three days ago it came out that his main person gave to the FBI the fake news dossier. It was a fake and a fraud, it was paid for by Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocratic Socialists of America endorses Sanders for president How to end the Electoral College and elect our next president by popular vote CNN town halls put network at center of Dem primary MORE and the Democrats. They gave it to John McCain, who gave it to the FBI for very evil purposes. That’s not good,” the president told Bartiromo.

“It was a rather chilly March morning,” Roberts tweeted of Trump’s look.