“I have asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo not to go to North Korea, at this time, because I feel we are not making sufficient progress with respect to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
Trump’s last-minute cancellation of a major diplomatic trip comes at the close of a week that saw his former “fixer” Michael Cohen implicate him in a criminal conspiracyand his former campaign manager Paul Manafort convicted on eight counts of bank and tax fraud.
“If criminal investigations surrounding Trump tighten to the point that his political base starts to show signs of cracking, then he may decide that the time has come to try that ultimate diversionary tactic.”
Lawmakers and legal experts say these momentous developments—combined with reports that some of Trump’s closest business and media allies have flipped on him and are now cooperating with federal prosecutors in exchange for immunity—indicate that the walls are closing in on the president.
If Trump’s legal troubles continue to intensify—and if Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation continues to reach deeper into his sprawling business empire—analysts are warning that the president could try to use his substantial executive authority to launch a military conflict overseas in an effort to divert media and public attention from his countless domestic scandals.
This will be the first of many efforts by Trump to distract attention from the legal hurricane that is gathering force around him.
BREAKING: President Trump tweets that he has asked Sec. Pompeo to not go on his planned next trip to North Korea “because I feel we are not making sufficient progress with respect to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
“If criminal investigations surrounding Trump tighten to the point that his political base starts to show signs of cracking, then he may decide that the time has come to try that ultimate diversionary tactic,” Pillar wrote.
“For two reasons, Trump is even more likely to go that route than other presidents under similar pressures would be. One is that Trump already has shown a strong inclination to rely on destructive diversion, mostly through tweets and oral statements,” Pillar wrote. “The other reason is that Trump is always tactically focused on whatever immediately affects his personal standing and support, and he shows little sign of thinking strategically about what is in the larger and longer-term interests of the nation.”
While investigative journalist and Korea expert Tim Shorrock noted that he was not “unduly concerned” about the cancellation of Pompeo’s trip, he also stated his belief that Trump’s swirling controversies at home likely played a role in Friday’s announcement.
Which is why I always go first to @TimothyS feed to get a read of what’s up. Domestic politics always driving foreign policy.
I read this as Trump saying he’s overloaded with Mueller and knows he’s running into stiff resistance from South Korea on his North Korea strategy. So he’s turning the field over to the DC naysayers trying to sabotage the peace process & will be back. I’m not unduly concerned. https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1033045273361178624 …