Tags: Donald Trump | North Korea | richard blumenthal | trump | hyperbole | north korea | judgement

Blumenthal: Trump's 'Hyperbole' on NKorea Raises Questions

MSNBC's "Andrea Mitchell Reports"

By    |   Thursday, 10 Aug 2017 02:15 PM

President Donald Trump's "hyperbole and overheated rhetoric" toward North Korea are raising questions about whether he is showing the kind of judgment and temperament that are appropriate for handling the growing tensions between the two nations, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a frequent critic of the president, said Thursday.

"Not since Harry Truman, in fact, has this kind of 'reign of ruin,' I think those were Harry Truman's words after the Hiroshima attack to pressure the Japanese into surrendering, in effect, a threat of another nuclear attack, has any president used this kind of rhetoric," the Connecticut Democrat told MSNBC's "Andrea Mitchell Reports" program.

Further, he said, the fact that Trump threatened North Korea with "fire and fury" without his words being reviewed or vetted by his national security team raises even more questions about the processes being used in the White House.

"[This is] a process that will involve the most serious decisions about war and peace, and we should all recognize there's no such thing as a quick, easy preemptive strike here," said Blumenthal. "We're not talking about sending a missile or 60 missiles as was done in Syria to wipe out a hangar. A preemptive strike leads to war. And as Gen. [James] Mattis observed so powerfully, it is war that will be more devastating than we've seen many of us in our lifetime."

Blumenthal said he is also "deeply concerned" about North Korea's capabilities for cyber warfare.

"The cyber capabilities of the North Koreans and our adversaries are well beyond what the public understands," said Blumenthal. "In some of the briefings we've had in the Armed Services Committee, we've asked what some of the greatest threats are, [and] some military leaders say cyber."

The nation needs to be mindful about building its cyber defenses, but also declaring what would construe an act of war on the United States during the course of a cyberattack.

"Sen. [John] McCain, the chairman of the Armed Services Committee and I have repeatedly raised with officials of this administration and of past administrations the lack of clear policy to define what is an act of war that will prompt the kind of response that we need to do," he said. "The Russian attack on our election system, in my view was an act of war."

That attack used cyber warfare, not a military strike, but it still was an attack, Blumenthal said.

He told the program that in his view, if North Korea uses such warfare to attack financial institutions in the United States or South Korea, that "may well" constitute an act of war.

Blumenthal also commented on the news that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort's home was raided by the FBI last month, calling it a "stunning development."

He said he knows as a former U.S. attorney that such tactics are used in the "most serious investigations" when dealing with a target or witness who is uncooperative and not trusted.

"A judge would demand clear, persuasive evidence of probable cause that a crime has been committed and that the individual, Paul Manafort, is connected with that crime," he said.

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President Donald Trump's "hyperbole and overheated rhetoric" toward North Korea are raising questions about whether he is showing the kind of judgment and temperament that are appropriate for handling the growing tensions between the two nations, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a...
richard blumenthal, trump, hyperbole, north korea, judgement, questions
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2017-15-10
Thursday, 10 Aug 2017 02:15 PM
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