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North Korea threatens to resume referring to Trump as a ‘dotard’

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North Korea has threatened to resume referring to US president Donald Trump as a “dotard”, raising the prospect of a return to a war of words with a negotiating deadline approaching.

Pyongyang has set Washington an end-of-year time limit to offer it new concessions in deadlocked nuclear negotiations, and has said it will adopt an unspecified “new way” if nothing acceptable is forthcoming.

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Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un — whose countries and their allies fought each other to a standstill in the 1950-53 Korean War — engaged in mutual insults and threats of devastation in 2017, sending tensions soaring before a diplomatic rapprochement the following year.

But denuclearisation negotiations have been at a standstill since a summit in Hanoi broke up in February.

Trump on Tuesday indicated military action was still possible when he was asked about Pyongyang on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Britain.

“He definitely likes sending rockets up, doesn’t he? That’s why I call him ‘Rocket Man’,” Trump said, reprising one of his previously favoured nicknames for Kim.

Pyongyang reacted stiffly late Thursday, with vice foreign minister Choe Son Hui saying the comments were made with “no courtesy when referring to the supreme leadership… of the DPRK”.

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“If this is meant to make expressions, reminiscent of those days just two years ago when a war of words was fought across the ocean… it will be a very dangerous challenge,” she said in a statement carried by the North’s state news agency KCNA.

Referring to Trump by name and reprising Kim’s own previously preferred insult, she said that any repetition “must really be diagnosed as the relapse of the dotage of a dotard”.

North Korea’s comments came a day after it warned that if the US used military force against the North it would take “prompt corresponding actions at any level” in the event of military action by Washington.

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At the Nato summit, Trump said: “We have the most powerful military we’ve ever had, and we’re by far the most powerful country in the world.”

“Hopefully, we don’t have to use it, but if we do, we’ll use it. If we have to, we’ll do it,” he added.

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KCNA, known for its flamboyant and sometimes antiquated language, has previously labelled former US President George W. Bush a “half-baked man”, ex-South Korean leader Park Geun-hye a “crafty prostitute”, and called former US leader Barack Obama her “pimp”.

The North has issued a series of increasingly assertive comments in recent weeks as its negotiating time limit approaches. Kim’s New Year speech, a key political set-piece in the isolated country, is also due on January 1.

On Wednesday another Pyongyang official said, in response to Trump’s comments made Tuesday, the use of armed forces is “not the privilege of the US only”.

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John Roberts caused a ‘crisis of democratic legitimacy’ — it’s ‘entirely fitting’ he has to preside over his mess: columnist

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Supreme Court Justice John Roberts was blasted in The Washington Post on Thursday for his culpability in creating the dynamics that resulted in President Donald Trump -- and his impeachment.

"There is justice in John Roberts being forced to preside silently over the impeachment trial of President Trump, hour after hour, day after tedious day," Dana Milbank wrote. "Roberts’s captivity is entirely fitting: He is forced to witness, with his own eyes, the mess he and his colleagues on the Supreme Court have made of the U.S. political system. As representatives of all three branches of government attend this unhappy family reunion, the living consequences of the Roberts Court’s decisions, and their corrosive effect on democracy, are plain to see."

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2020 Election

Democrats have a powerful case against Trump — but they keep making a key mistake

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On the floor of the Senate, House impeachment managers have delivered a thorough, factual and compelling case for removing President Donald Trump from office. He abused his power by using his office to induce Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky into launching investigations of his political enemies, and then he obstructed Congress in its efforts to uncover the details of this scheme.

The managers’ ability to present the evidence for these charges for hours on end has been impressive, and they’re earning plaudits for their furtive efforts, even though removal of the president remains supremely unlikely.

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Internet cheers as Val Demings lays out President Donald Trump’s wrongdoing in powerful speech

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On the third night of the impeachment trial, Rep. Val Demings (D-FL) stood up and forcefully laid out President Donald Trump's misconduct in Ukraine on the floor of the Senate.

Demings, a former police chief and a longtime voice for the president's removal, was roundly cheered on by commenters on Twitter:

I had never heard of Rep. Val Demings of Florida, until now on @NPR, but man, #valdemings for President. She was fantastic. Excellent speech. @RepValDemings #impeachment

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