Quick Takes: Not So Fast on That Meeting With North Korea

A roundup of news that caught my eye today.

* The big story of the day has been the announcement last night that Trump agreed to meet with North Korea’s President Kim Jong-un. Here is something that should be leading every discussion of this development:

Right on cue come the voices saying, “Not so fast.”

* The Wall Street Journal is reporting on the latest from Trump’s lawyers.

The president’s legal team is considering telling Mr. Mueller that Mr. Trump would agree to a sit-down interview based on multiple considerations, including that the special counsel commit to a date for concluding at least the Trump-related portion of the investigation. One idea is to suggest a deadline of 60 days from the date of the interview, the person said.

Another consideration for the legal team is reaching an agreement with Mr. Mueller on the scope of his questioning of the president, which they expect to focus largely on his decision to fire former national security adviser Mike Flynn and former FBI director James Comey, according to people familiar with the matter.

* Apparently Fox News is serving as Trump’s Office of the Pardon Attorney.

A former Navy sailor who pleaded guilty to a felony count of unauthorized possession and retention of national defense information for snapping photos on a nuclear attack submarine has received a pardon from President Donald Trump — and his attorney says Fox News deserves the credit.

The legal team for Kristian Saucier, who served a year in federal prison, had compared his case to the handling of the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server. That grabbed Trump’s interest, and it’s now paid off in the form of a presidential pardon…

Ronald Daigle, a lawyer hired to advocate for Saucier’s pardon, told HuffPost that Fox News played a key role in getting the case on Trump’s radar.

“Absolutely,” Daigle said when asked whether going on Fox News was a big part of their strategy.

* What’s going on at the VA is absolutely nuts.

Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin is managing the government’s second-largest bureaucracy from a fortified bunker atop the agency’s Washington headquarters.

He has canceled the morning meetings once attended by several of President Trump’s political appointees — members of his senior management team — gathering instead with aides he trusts not to miscast his remarks. Access to Shulkin’s 10th-floor executive suite was recently revoked for several people he has accused of lobbying the White House to oust him. He and his public-affairs chief have not spoken in weeks.

And in a sign of how deeply the secretary’s trust in his senior staff has eroded, an armed guard now stands outside his office…

The rift has simmered for months, driven by personality and policy differences over shifting more health care for veterans to the private sector.

* For a while now I’ve thought that one of my roles in life is to connect the dots. But Josh Marshall beat me to it on this one. Who knew that there was a way to link Trump’s payment to a porn star ($130,000) to a door at the Department of the Interior ($139,000)?

Zinke paid more for that door than Trump and Cohen paid to silence Stormy Daniels.

* Finally, this could be interesting:

Former President Barack Obama is in advanced negotiations with Netflix to produce a series of high-profile shows that will provide him a global platform after his departure from the White House, according to people familiar with the discussions.

Under terms of a proposed deal, which is not yet final, Netflix would pay Mr. Obama and his wife, Michelle, for exclusive content that would be available only on the streaming service, which has nearly 118 million subscribers around the world. The number of episodes and the formats for the shows have not been decided…

The deal is evidence that Mr. Obama, who left the White House when he was just 55 years old, intends to remain engaged in the nation’s civic business, even as he has studiously avoided direct clashes with Mr. Trump about his concerted efforts to roll back Mr. Obama’s legacy. It is also a clear indication that the former president remains interested in the intersection of politics, technology and media.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.