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Trump is encouraging ‘hostage taking’ by negotiating a ‘ransom’ with North Korea: Retired rear admiral

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On Monday, Retired Rear Admiral John Kirby explained to CNN host Brianna Keilar the impact of President Donald Trump’s relationship with North Korea.

A former State Department Special Representative for North Korea, Joseph Yun told CNN that he “signed an agreement to pay North Korea $2 million for the release of American student Otto Warmbier in 2017.”

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Yun said he did this under the direction of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and with the understanding that President Donald Trump approved.

Kirby explained that if Trump paid this $2 million fee that it would, in the long run, be harmful to Americans.

“So what is your interpretation of what happened here?” Keilar asked.

“They certainly agreed to pay a ransom. You can’t call it anything other than that. They will say they didn’t change policy because they never paid it but they certainly agreed to it. It’s extortion and not atypical for the North Korean regime to demand exorbitant payments for these sorts of things,” Kirby said.

He added, “The policy is important because you don’t want to encourage other terrorist reigns or nation states to hold Americans hostage in their country. [Trump just encourage] the hostage-taking regime all the more.”

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“So what does it mean if it’s not paid, and there’s this agreement to pay it?” Keilar asked.

“They are damned if they do and damned if they don’t,” he said.

Watch the full interview below via CNN:

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MSNBC’s Dr. Gupta blasts ‘weak leadership’ of GOP governors: ‘It’s too little too late’

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On Thursday's edition of MSNBC's "Meet The Press," medical analyst Dr. Vin Gupta laid into Republican governors' mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic as new cases explode across the country.

"Dr. Gupta, we have the governor of Texas issuing an order for Texans to wear masks. Not seeing the same thing in Florida," said anchor Katy Tur. "What is your medical take?"

"I think it's too little, too late. Both in Texas and Florida," said Gupta. "Florida especially, given what is happening with day-to-day caseloads. If I was Governor DeSantis, you need to be thinking about how to save lives. That's bringing in portable ICUs, making sure you have enough dialysis nurses. This is potentially even mobilizing National Guard. I know we are not talking about military forces, reserves."

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Young Americans urged to be more responsible in coronavirus fight

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Accused of failing to uphold their civic duty, younger Americans are behind the current COVID-19 surge, with several states moving to close bars, beaches and other places that saw huge crowds when lockdowns were eased.

The median age for new cases in Florida in the past few days has fluctuated between 34 and 36. In Los Angeles, 40 percent of new cases are among those under 40. And in the greater Phoenix area, the major center of the contagion in Arizona, half are under the age of 35.

In total, half or more of all the cases in California and Arizona since the start of the pandemic have been among the 18-49 age group, and the rate is expected to rise.

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Texas conservatives lose their minds after GOP Gov. Greg Abbott mandates masks in public

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Texas' Republican Gov. Gregg Abbott finally acknowledged that there is a serious problem as COVID-19 takes down the state's population.

It was just a few months ago that municipalities were deciding for themselves when and if they would reopen. But Abbott shut it down, saying that his orders "overrule any local jurisdiction."

In April, "Abbott and the state’s other Republican leaders have blasted local officials in Dallas and Houston for what they called overzealous enforcement of COVID-19 regulations, first zeroing in on Democratically led Harris County’s decision to fine residents for not wearing face masks, a penalty Abbott banned in his April 27 reopening order," ProPublica reported. "The fights came to a head this month with the arrest of a Dallas hair salon owner who refused to shutter her business, an act of defiance that was supported by a right-wing group that launched a GoFundMe campaign a day before she reopened that raised $500,000 before it was disabled."

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