The Note: Trading threats moves Trump toward brink on North Korea


  • That escalated quickly: President Trump warned the North Koreans that if they make further threats, “they will be met with fire and fury.” North Korea quickly responded by saying it’s considering striking Guam.
  • What changed? U.S. intelligence analysts said in a confidential assessment they believe North Korea can now fit a miniaturized nuclear warhead inside an intercontinental ballistic missile.
  • Who trusts the president’s words? “You got to be sure that you can do what you say you’re going to do,” Sen. John McCain told Phoenix radio station KTAR.
  • At home, Trump sides with the establishment. The president endorsed Luther Strange, who’s filling Jeff Sessions’ vacant Senate seat, over Rep. Mo Brooks and Roy Moore in the Alabama Republican primary for that seat.
  • Documents, dumped: The Trump campaign, Paul Manafort, and Donald Trump Jr. have handed over thousands of pages of documents to the Senate Judiciary Committee for its Russia investigation.
  • THE TAKE with ABC News’ Rick Klein

    Welcome to the most dangerous moment of Donald Trump’s presidency. The North Koreans did what the North Koreans do, and then President Trump…did what the North Koreans do, too. Trump’s new line is not just red – it’s fiery and furious and now closer than ever to being crossed, since the president’s warning applies to further threats, not just actions. Perhaps it was a strategic attempt to speak in a manner Kim Jong Un would understand. The president said “fire and fury like the world has never seen” and then repeated much of that phrase. But for all Trump’s inconsistencies, one major theme of his critique of his predecessor was on not following through on threats. This – “power, the likes of which this world has never seen before” – is a doozy in that category. We know, or we think we know, the president doesn’t like to convey weakness. We know almost nothing about what Kim Jong Un is thinking. In any event, this might be a good time to have a president who enjoys the trust of the American people and the lawmakers he serves with.


    The Alabama Senate primary race has been getting particularly ugly, and President Trump has made his choice – an intriguing one that aligns himself with the establishment against the insurgents. A cluster of Republicans has been trying to out-Trump Trump, or at least convince voters of whom would best have the president’s back, in advance of next Tuesday’s…

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