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Trump tweets on N. Korea talks: 'Maybe' they’ll work out

People watch a TV screen showing file footage

People watch a TV screen showing file footage of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump during a news program at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, on Saturday. Credit: AP/Ahn Young-joon

President Donald Trump raised the possibility Sunday that denuclearization talks with North Korea could fail, setting lowered expectations for a breakthrough in upcoming negotiations in a tweet that said “maybe they will work out, and maybe they won’t.”

“We are a long way from conclusion on North Korea, maybe things will work out, and maybe they won’t — only time will tell . . . But the work I am doing now should have been done a long time ago!” Trump tweeted.

The missive came as the president took to Twitter to deride NBC “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd, who questioned whether Trump had provided too many concessions to North Korea ahead of an upcoming summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

“Sleepy Eyes Chuck Todd of Fake News NBC just stated that we have given up so much in our negotiations with North Korea, and they have given up nothing,” Trump tweeted. “Wow, we haven’t given up anything & they have agreed to denuclearization (so great for World), site closure, & no more testing!”

Last week North Korea announced it was temporarily suspending its nuclear missile tests and shuttering a nuclear testing facility, ahead of the pending meeting that is still in the planning stages.

Todd, on Sunday, in an interview with White House Legislative Affairs Director Marc Short, asked whether the United States had handed Kim a “gift” by allowing him to meet with Trump without North Korea committing to denuclearization before the meeting. He also noted that Kim has yet to commit to releasing three U.S. citizens detained in a North Korean prison.

Short responded that the administration has “cautious optimism” about the upcoming summit, and noted that Trump has said if the talks are not fruitful the United States “can walk away from the table.”

“We’re going to keep up maximum pressure,” Short said. “We’re not going to stop that until we denuclearize.”

Some Republican lawmakers also struck a cautious tone about North Korea’s willingness to dismantle its nuclear weapons program.

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), who serves as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union,” called Kim’s recent overtures “a great public relations effort,” that administration officials and Congress viewed with “skepticism and caution.”

“To think that somebody’s going to go in and charm him out of that is not realistic,” Corker said of Trump striking a deal with Trump. “Is there some progress that can be made? I hope so.”

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), appearing on CBS’ “Face The Nation,” said North Korea halting its nuclear testing was “better than continued testing, but it’s not much better than that.”

“It’s [an] easily reversible decision,” Cotton said. “They made no announcement about their medium or short range ballistic missiles that threaten hundreds of thousands of Americans in Korea and Japan just like it threatens our allies there.”

Trump, who returned to the White House Sunday afternoon after spending a week in South Florida, responded to all the Sunday talk show chatter on North Korea, writing on Twitter: “Funny how all of the Pundits that couldn’t come close to making a deal on North Korea are now all over the place telling me how to make a deal!”

Corker, Cotton and Short, in their respective Sunday show appearances made the case that the pending negotiations underscored the need for the Senate to quickly confirm CIA Director Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State.

Pompeo, who was tapped for the secretary of state post after Trump ousted Rex Tillerson from the role, has faced opposition from the 10 Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.).

With the committee set to vote on Pompeo’s nomination on Monday, the block of opposing votes could result in his nomination being forwarded to the full Senate for a vote with an “unfavorable” recommendation. Even without the panel’s endorsement, Pompeo is expected to have the necessary votes from the full Senate.

Corker said Democrats were acting in a partisan fashion by not supporting Pompeo, noting that former President Barack Obama’s nominees were easily confirmed by the committee.

“Under ordinary times, he would be confirmed overwhelmingly,” Corker said of Pompeo.

Cotton said on “Face The Nation” that Democrats’ opposition to Pompeo’s confirmation is “driven 100 percent by politics.”

Democrats on the panel, several of whom voted in favor of Pompeo’s CIA nomination, have questioned Pompeo’s ability to act as an independent voice in advising Trump on foreign policy matters.

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