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North Korea ICBM may reach San Diego

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North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missile is “likely” to be able to deliver a 500 kilogram warhead to San Diego within two years, a US monitoring group said Tuesday, after its launch sparked global alarm last week.

The isolated, nuclear-armed state’s first successful ICBM test was described by leader Kim Jong-Un as a gift to “American bastards.”

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The Hwasong-14 missile is currently estimated to have a range of 7,000-8,000 kilometers—enough to reach Alaska or Hawaii—aerospace engineer John Schilling wrote on the respected 38 North website, a monitoring project linked to Johns Hopkins university.

“If the Hwasong-14 is put together the way we think it is, it can probably do a bit better than that when all the bugs are worked out,” he wrote, projecting a range of 9,700 kilometers with a 500 kg warhead on board.

“The North Koreans won’t be able to achieve this performance tomorrow, but they likely will eventually,” he added.

At present it would be “lucky to hit even a city-sized target”, he said, citing limits to its re-entry technology.

But with “a year or two of additional testing and development”, he added, “it will likely become a missile that can reliably deliver a single nuclear warhead to targets along the US west coast, possibly with enough accuracy to destroy soft military targets like naval bases”, such as that at San Diego in California.

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The North’s missile technology—which it is banned from developing by the UN Security Council—has advanced rapidly under Kim, ramping up tensions between Pyongyang and Washington.

The impoverished state has also staged five nuclear tests—including two last year.

Washington is to propose tougher UN sanctions against the North, but analysts say they will have a limited impact unless China—the North’s sole major ally and economic lifeline—steps up pressure on its neighbor.

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Beijing is reluctant to risk destabilizing the North, fearing a potential influx of refugees along the frontier or US troops stationed on its border in a unified Korea.


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Republicans blundered badly as their own impeachment expert witness wrecked their defenses of Trump: columnist

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Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee pinned their hopes on George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley, their sole expert witness on the panel at the hearing on Wednesday, to discredit the impeachment probe into President Donald Trump.

But as anti-Trump conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin wrote for the Washington Post, even Turley's testimony ended up damaging the GOP more than Democrats, because he undercut one of the GOP's most solid narratives in defense of the president: that trying to extort Ukraine with military aid would not be impeachable even if it was proven.

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‘Dirty’ Jared Kushner should be targeted if GOP makes impeachment trial about Bidens: strategist

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President Donald Trump has signaled that he wants Senate Republicans to turn his impeachment trial around on Democrats by actually making it a trial of the Biden family.

The president on Thursday signaled that he wants former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, to testify at his impeachment trial in an effort to make the trial less about his own misconduct and more about purported misconduct by the Democrats.

However, Democratic strategist Simon Rosenberg on Thursday proposed a plan to counter this kind of misdirection: Going after Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, whose shady dealings with world leaders have so far escaped significant scrutiny.

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Democrats crippled their own impeachment effort with a rushed timeline: columnist

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House Democrats made a conscious decision to keep impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump as short and efficient as possible. On one hand, they had sensible reasons for wanting to do so — they were concerned that a protracted impeachment battle that drags into the 2020 election would lose engagement with the American people and draw criticism for attempting to interfere with the election.

But Thursday, NBC News analyst Kurt Bardella argued that Democrats may also have caused problems for themselves by making the impeachment process too short and setting arbitrary deadlines.

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