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Japan’s Abe under pressure at home for ‘shameless pandering’ to Trump while trying to keep him from doing ‘bad stuff’

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On Thursday, a report in The Washington Post explained that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is facing pressure at home for trying to sooth President Donald Trump’s ego.

Abe is scheduled to travel to the White House for a two-day summit on Friday. Abe has spoken with Trump on multiple occasions, however, aides said that a “turning point” in their relationship is not expected.

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“Beyond the pleasantries lies a more difficult reality for Abe and a test of his resilience at a time when Trump is demanding that Japan engage in negotiations for a bilateral free trade agreement that Tokyo has long resisted and is ratcheting up threats to impose tariffs on Japanese automobiles,” the report said.

The report explained that there is growing criticism on Abe’s relationship with Trump.

“There’s a certain amount of domestic dismay and criticism of Abe for what is perceived in many quarters in Japan as shameless pandering to Donald Trump,” Daniel Russel, former assistant secretary of state for East Asia and the Pacific in the Obama administration said. “I’ve certainly heard that from [legislative] Diet members in Abe’s own party. But my suspicion is that Abe feels justified based on the principle of, ‘whatever it takes’ — that Japan does not have the luxury of being cast adrift in this uncongenial geopolitical climate.”

Adding that Abe feels like need to help the White House stay strong on sanctions

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“Abe will attempt to reinforce the position of Trump administration hard-liners, such as national security adviser John Bolton, that the president should hold firm on sanctions until Pyongyang fully commits to denuclearize, Japanese officials said,” the report said.

Michael Green, former Director of Asian Affairs at the National Security Council in the George W. Bush Administration, said that Abe has tried to counsel Trump on multiple occasions.

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“Abe has talked to Trump about North Korea before every summit and the Japanese side says they have the same discussion every time,” Green said.

Adding, “Trump’s view is that he knows how to negotiate and doesn’t need Abe’s advice. I’m told Trump told Abe that ‘it’s bad to prepare too much because on big deals you have to go with your gut,’” Green added. “But Abe’s goal ‘is at least stopping the bad stuff.'”

“Abe, whose Liberal Democratic Party faces challenging upper house elections in Japan’s parliament this summer, is eager to avoid a blowup with Trump. Yet he appears to have little leverage to force concessions from the United States on trade that could help him win ratification in Tokyo for any potential deal,” the report explained.

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Read the full report here.

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Why was Jeffrey Epstein buying size 5 women’s panties — while in jail?

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The Miami Herald has another bombshell report on Jeffrey Epstein, who died in a Manhattan jail while waiting to stand trial on federal sex crimes charges.

"A decade ago, during a brief stint in Palm Beach County Jail, convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein made an odd purchase at the facility’s store: two pairs of small women’s panties, size 5," the Herald reported Saturday night.

The newspaper noted, "the panties raise questions about why a childless male inmate, accused of sexually abusing girls as young as 14, would be allowed to buy female undergarments so small that they wouldn’t fit an average-sized adult woman."

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White nationalist Republican ridiculed after only 2 people show up for his town hall meeting

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Embattled Rep. Steve King (R-IA) suffered further humiliation on Saturday when only two people showed up for his town hall meeting with Iowa constituents.

King, who was stripped of all committee assignments for his white nationalism, was been an embarrassment for Republicans with his constant racism and misogyny.

A photo of the town hall meeting was posted on Twitter by Reuters photo editor Corinne Perkins.

https://twitter.com/corinne_perkins/status/1162806565109473280

Rep. King was quickly mocked in the comments.

Here's some of what people were saying:

https://twitter.com/sedespres/status/1162811223186006018

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2020 Election

Democrats could flip the Texas state house in 2020 — and reshape the national map

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Blue Texas? Democrats have long dreamt of winning Texas’s 38 electoral votes in the presidential election. That may still be a long shot, but a recent “Texodus” from Congress has given new talk to a political transformation across the Lone Star State that could have massive ramifications down the ballot and for decades to come.

This article was originally posted at Salon.

Four of the state’s GOP members of Congress have announced their retirements in recent weeks, an unusual torrent of departures signaling that a storm is coming. And evidence shows that it’s not just hitting Texas’s federal delegation. It’s coming to Austin, too.

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