President Trump is toughening sanctions on North Korea, and praising China for going along. But where he hopes to take “madman” Kim Jong Un remains unclear. Administration officials have been unwilling to discuss even the broad outlines of what a deal to denuclearize the peninsula would look like, other than maintaining it would be unlike the Iran deal Trump so frequently derides. In that case, they are correct: North Korea is far further along in its nuclear program, having conducted multiple tests both of bombs and its missiles. Officials say the sanctions are intended to force North Korea to the negotiating table, but they are running out of levers to apply pressure.
Facebook is turning over records of Russian ads from the 2016 campaign, as it finds itself under fire for allowing its platform to be exploited by a foreign adversary. McConnell lays it on the line as he brings up a healthcare bill once again. And the Alabama Senate race is a new test for Trump and the GOP.
Here are your must reads:
No CBO score, and conflicting predictions [TIME]
Company pledges more human involvement in ad sales [Associated Press]
TIME’s Elizabeth Dias scoops
Executive order gives Treasury more power to target Pyongyang’s trading partners [Wall Street Journal]
HHS secretary chartered flights even to cities with frequent, inexpensive commercial options [Politico]
Expanding rules of engagement outside Afghanistan and Iraq [New York Times]
And prepares for new level of defiance in Washington [Washington Post]
The Senate leader could be a GOP hero or goat depending on how the next week goes [Politico]
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“We’re not going to run scared. If for any reason North Korea attacks the United States or our allies, the U.S. will respond. Period. That’s what’s going to happen,” — U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley to reporters
“Kim Jong Un of North Korea, who is obviously a madman who doesn’t mind starving…