Ex-CIA Chief Sees at Least ‘One in Five’ Chance of War with North Korea

In Fordham Law School interview, John Brennan also says Trump is either uninformed or misleading public about Iran deal

Former CIA Director John Brennan estimated that the U.S. has at least a 20% likelihood of becoming engaged in military conflict with North Korea amid President Donald Trump’s discord with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

.. “Having this back-and-forth on the public stage is not the way to de-escalate here,” Mr. Brennan said during an onstage interview at Fordham University School of Law on Wednesday night.

Mr. Brennan said only back-channel negotiations would “allow these two individuals to save face.”

Otherwise, “I can’t see either one of them saying, ‘OK, uncle! You win.’”

.. On Wednesday, Mr. Brennan said that although Russian operatives are “very sophisticated observers of the American political scene,” he nevertheless believed they were assisted by at least some individuals within the U.S. in their campaign to meddle in the election.

“It’s hard for me to believe that the Russians—as good as they are, as sophisticated as they are—were not able to get some Americans to cooperate with them, either wittingly or unwittingly,” he said. “I find it implausible.”

Steve Bannon Declares ‘Season of War’ Against GOP Establishment

In his speech Saturday, Bannon basked in that victory and warned McConnell that his position was more precarious than ever.

“Up on Capitol Hill, because I’ve been getting calls, it’s like before the Ides of March. They’re just finding out who’s going to be Brutus to your Julius Caesar,” Bannon said. “Yeah, Mitch, the donors aren’t happy, they’ve all left you.”

He told the crowd that Moore’s victory has spooked the establishment elites as it shows that money doesn’t matter, even going so far as to say that the more money they spend, “the fewer votes they get.”

.. Bannon warned Republicans who think they can hide from backing President Trump that their failure to support him will haunt them in the midterm primary seasons.

“No one can run and hide on this one, these folks are coming for you,” he warned. “The day of taking a few conservatives votes and hiding is over. These folks aren’t rubes, these folks aren’t idiots.”

.. Bannon also argued that the power of the Alabama vote can be shown in recent developments from the White House. He noted that since Moore’s Alabama victory, the Trump administration has issued an executive order on religious freedom, stopped the Obamacare insurance bailouts, pulled the U.S. out of UNESCO, decertified Iran’s compliance with the Iran nuclear deal, and pushed for a middle-class tax cut.

“Those are not random events folks, that is victory begets victory,” he said.  “We owe that to Judge Roy Moore and the good men and women in Alabama because that all came from them.”

.. He urged Republican lawmakers who were on the fence on Trump to be more vocal in their support of his agenda as a way to avoid the populist storm brewing ahead of the 2018 midterms: “You can come to a stick and say ‘I am not going to vote for Mitch McConnell for Majority Leader’ and you can come to a stick and you can say ‘I’m going to do away with the filibuster so the president can implement his program.’”

“But until that time, they’re coming for you,” he warned.

Football is life in Texas. Then along came Trump vs. the NFL

“As far as these overpaid pro athletes disrespecting our country, it just makes me sick,” Whitaker said. He’s a fairly regular NFL watcher who envisions watching less regularly. “Right now, you know, these athletes that are on the public stage, the world stage, and disrespecting the flag and the country, I couldn’t care less about watching it now.”

He said, “When I saw what was going on, and the wide disrespect, from full teams, you know, not partaking in the national anthem as it plays before games, stuff like that, it really, it set bad on me. Because for as long as we’ve been a country, people have fought for the freedom of the country, and they’re disrespecting that. They’re able to do that and make the money that they make because of the people that have fought for the freedom of this country. Personally, I’d like to see them go to another country and pull it.

“I like it when the players were out there: both teams, on the sidelines, standing up, hand over heart, when the anthem is being played. I honestly think that 99 percent of the veterans out there would say the same thing, because they’re not just disrespecting the anthem. In my opinion, they’re disrespecting everyone that’s serving now, and everyone that has served before that.

.. “As far as the anthem thing, I think that we live in a free country, and I think that you have the right to express yourself, and the Constitution states that you do,” he said. “I don’t agree with it [the method of protest]. I don’t like it. I think that if you’re an American citizen, a professional athlete, especially in a country that pretty much is about the only country that football matters, I don’t see how you can disrespect our flag on a national stage, because you’ve been given that opportunity by this country to go out there and make that kind of money. That’s where I’m feeling.”

.. But he also said, “I get it, man. I mean, I get it. If I made millions of dollars and people wanted to hear what I had to say and I felt strongly about something, I’d probably use that stage to get my opinion across.”

North Korea Calls Trump’s Comments a ‘Declaration of War’

North Korea’s foreign minister escalated tensions with the United States on Monday, saying that President Trump’s threatening comments about the country and its leadership were “a declaration of war” and that North Korea had the right to shoot down American warplanes, even if they are not in North Korean air space.

“The whole world should clearly remember it was the U.S. who first declared war on our country,” the foreign minister, Ri Yong-ho, told reporters as he was leaving the United Nations after a week of General Assembly meetings in New York.

“Since the United States declared war on our country, we will have every right to make countermeasures, including the right to shoot down United States strategic bombers even when they are not inside the airspace border of our country.”

.. North Korea had already deemed Mr. Trump’s threat at the United Nations — to “totally destroy” North Korea if the United States were forced to defend itself or its allies — a declaration of war.

.. The North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, said last week: “Now that Trump has denied the existence of and insulted me and my country in front of the eyes of the world and made the most ferocious declaration of a war in history that he would destroy the D.P.R.K. [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea], we will consider with seriousness exercising of a corresponding, highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history.”

The Pentagon said on Saturday that the Air Force had sent B-1B bombers and F-15C fighters over waters north of the Demilitarized Zone that separates the two Koreas, in response to what it called the North Korean government’s “reckless behavior.”

It was the farthest north “any U.S. fighter or bomber aircraft have flown off North Korea’s coast in the 21st century,” Dana W. White, the Defense Department’s chief spokeswoman, said in a statement.