What Fresh Hell Is This?

August 12, 2018

Senator Toomey RESPONDS To Another Letter

Yestiddy, I received another response letter from Senator Pat Toomey.

It's dated June 20, 2018 and it begins thusly:
Thank you for contacting me about North Korea. I appreciate hearing from you.
Nice to know he still appreciates hearing from me. Good to know. Now let's go see to which of my letters my Jr Senator is responding.

It's this one, my sixty-fifth.

The letter frames my question thusly:
We have to talk about this week's G7 meeting and the summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

In the space of a couple of days this week, Donald Trump, the man whose administration and policies you support...picked an unnecessary fight with Canada...and yet took time out to say it was "an honor" to meet Kim Jong Un, the North Korean dictator, a man who is guilty of committing some of the most horrific crimes against humanity.
And now my question to Senator Toomey:
Simple question for you this week: If this isn't enough for you to finally turn your back on the leader of your own party and say, "Enough!" what then, is?
After that, I basically point out that unless he's resisting Trump's policies, he's complicit in them.

And here are the first two "substance" paragraphs in Senator Toomey response (full letter found at the end of this blog post):
Through its nuclear weapons program, human rights violations and illicit activities, North Korea continues to pose one of the gravest threats to the U.S. and our allies. Under the repressive rule of Kim Jong-un, the U.S.-North Korean relationship has maintained deadlocked. North Korea has successfully launched several more advanced intermediate range nuclear-capable ballistic missiles, in violation of numerous UN Security Council resolutions. I also remain concerned over North Korea's treatment of Otto Warmbier, an American student who died after being detained by the North Korean government for over 14 months. The inhumane treatment of Otto and other prisoners in North Korea, along with the nation's disregard for human rights, is deeply troubling.

For these reasons, I have supported the strongest possible sanctions on North Korea. Last Congress, the Senate voted unanimously, and with my support, to pass the North Korea Sanctions Enforcement Act (Public Law 114-123), which puts mandatory sanctions on North Korea for its nuclear and ballistic missile activities, human rights abuses, malicious cyber activities, and illicit mineral trade. I also introduced with Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) the Banking Restrictions Involving North Korea, or BRINK Act. Our bill, which has passed the Senate Banking Committee and awaits further action by the full Senate, places mandatory sanctions on financial institutions that facilitate trade with the North Korean regime.
As you can see he's pivoted away from my question and turned it into a promotion for S.1591, the BRINK Act. Sad to say, but he never actually addresses my question.

Toomey continues:
Even as efforts to isolate North Korea continue, President Trump met with Kim Jong-un on June 12, 2018 in a new effort to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula. As a result of this meeting, both sides agreed to a general framework for denuclearization and the return of the remains of American soldiers killed during the Korean war. President Trump also announced a suspension of large joint military exercises between South Korea and the United States.

As discussions with North Korea continue, it is critical that strong sanctions remain in place until tangible steps toward complete, verifiable, and irreversible nuclear dismantlement are taken. President Trump is right to seek an agreement that compels North Korea to stop this pursuit and I hope he will be successful. The regime in North Korea has made lofty promises to previous administrations only to renege shortly thereafter. For real progress to happen, much work is left to be done.
Surely the Senator already knows that the "general framework" agreed to has already failed, doesn't he?  Here, I'll remind him. This is from NBC on June 29:
U.S. intelligence agencies believe that North Korea has increased its production of fuel for nuclear weapons at multiple secret sites in recent months — and that Kim Jong Un may try to hide those facilities as he seeks more concessions in nuclear talks with the Trump administration, U.S. officials told NBC News.
On the other hand, this is from Donald Trump on June 13:
Back to NBC:
Analysts at the CIA and other intelligence agencies don't see it that way, according to more than a dozen American officials who are familiar with their assessments and spoke on the condition of anonymity. They see a regime positioning itself to extract every concession it can from the Trump administration — while clinging to nuclear weapons it believes are essential to survival.
Now go take a look at what Senator Toomey wrote me a full month after the NBC report. He said this:
The regime in North Korea has made lofty promises to previous administrations only to renege shortly thereafter.
What he left out was that this has already happened to the president and administration he supports.

So back to my initial question:
If this isn't enough for you to finally turn your back on the leader of your own party and say, "Enough!" what then, is?
Very scary to ponder what that answer is - what will finally trigger Senator Pat Toomey say, "Enough!" Text of the letter
Thank you for contacting me about North Korea. I appreciate hearing from you.

Through its nuclear weapons program, human rights violations and illicit activities, North Korea continues to pose one of the gravest threats to the U.S. and our allies. Under the repressive rule of Kim Jong-un, the U.S.-North Korean relationship has maintained deadlocked. North Korea has successfully launched several more advanced intermediate range nuclear-capable ballistic missiles, in violation of numerous UN Security Council resolutions. I also remain concerned over North Korea's treatment of Otto Warmbier, an American student who died after being detained by the North Korean government for over 14 months. The inhumane treatment of Otto and other prisoners in North Korea, along with the nation's disregard for human rights, is deeply troubling.

For these reasons, I have supported the strongest possible sanctions on North Korea. Last Congress, the Senate voted unanimously, and with my support, to pass the North Korea Sanctions Enforcement Act (Public Law 114-123), which puts mandatory sanctions on North Korea for its nuclear and ballistic missile activities, human rights abuses, malicious cyber activities, and illicit mineral trade. I also introduced with Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) the Banking Restrictions Involving North Korea, or BRINK Act. Our bill, which has passed the Senate Banking Committee and awaits further action by the full Senate, places mandatory sanctions on financial institutions that facilitate trade with the North Korean regime.

Even as efforts to isolate North Korea continue, President Trump met with Kim Jong-un on June 12, 2018 in a new effort to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula. As a result of this meeting, both sides agreed to a general framework for denuclearization and the return of the remains of American soldiers killed during the Korean war. President Trump also announced a suspension of large joint military exercises between South Korea and the United States.

As discussions with North Korea continue, it is critical that strong sanctions remain in place until tangible steps toward complete, verifiable, and irreversible nuclear dismantlement are taken. President Trump is right to seek an agreement that compels North Korea to stop this pursuit and I hope he will be successful. The regime in North Korea has made lofty promises to previous administrations only to renege shortly thereafter. For real progress to happen, much work is left to be done.

Thank you again for your correspondence. Please be assured that I value your input and will keep your thoughts in mind. Do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of assistance.

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