Egos collide as Trump gives a ‘world exclusive interview’ his apprentice Piers Morgan

Morgan used a picturesque snapshot of a snow-covered Swiss street as a teaser for the interview in Davos, where global leaders have congregated for the World Economic Forum.

Half an hour later, the cat was out of the bag with Morgan sharing a photo of himself and the now-president looking chummy.

Although Morgan has managed to secure what he calls his “world exclusive interview,” the controversial British broadcaster has quite a history with the property tycoon turned president. Much of which was alluded to by the Twitterati, with the ex-Mirror editor being called out by Lord Alan Sugar and Gary Lineker among others. 

In 2007, Morgan appeared on the US TV show ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ – presided over by none other than Donald Trump. Morgan won the competition, earning more than $750,000 for his chosen charity. Trump reportedly calls Morgan ‘Champ’ as a throwback to his time on ‘The Apprentice.’

“Trump is a good friend,” Morgan told The Mirror. “I have spoken to him every three or four weeks for years. When I have had tough times, he has called me.”

Despite their apparent friendship, Morgan has been openly critical about Trump since his ascendance to the White House.

In May 2016, Morgan called Trump “President Paranoid Snowflake” in an opinion piece for the Daily Mail. The op-ed came after Trump said that “no politician in history has been treated worse or more unfairly,” than he had been over the Russia probe.

“As many rushed to point out, assassinated US Presidents Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy probably had it worse,” Morgan wrote.

“Oh, and on the wider world stage, Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in a tiny prison cell and Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi was kept under house arrest for 15 years. By comparison to all these politicians, Mr Trump, you’ve indisputably had it easy,” he added.

In October, Morgan – a consistent anti-gun voice during his time in the US – wrote a no-holds-barred opinion piece, slamming the president for allowing the NRA to hold the US to ransom with the second amendment after the Las Vegas massacre.

“This is YOUR call, President Trump. This happened on YOUR watch,” Morgan wrote, pointing the finger squarely at the US leader.

“Silence, apathy and kicking this can down the road are not an option. Cowardice in the face of the NRA’s disgusting and ruthlessly commercial bullyboy tactics is not an option.”

Morgan even weighed in on American politics in December, tearing strips of the president in another column that called on Trump to learn from the results of the special Senate election in Alabama.

“If Trump doesn’t heed the gigantic alarm bells that went off last night, he’s a fool,” Morgan said.

“Momentum is everything in politics and the pendulum just swung dramatically back toward the Democrats. Alabama turned blue last night, driven largely by black men and women, and this astonishing turnaround may have potentially very far-reaching consequences for not just for 2018 but also the 2020 General Election.”

It hasn’t been all sour grapes between the two – only days before his Alabama rant, Morgan took to his column again to talk about what seems to be his favorite topic: Trump.

In the op-ed, Morgan wrote that “we’ve NEVER had a president like Trump – he actually keeps his promises,” even if Morgan doesn’t necessarily agree with Trump’s decisions.

“In the past week alone, there were three perfect examples,” he said. “First, Candidate Trump repeatedly vowed to ‘wipe the hell out of ISIS.’ Now, within a year, the Islamist terror group that gained so much ground and support during Barack Obama’s tenure – he dismissed them as a ‘J.V. team’ – has been routed from Syria and Iraq.

“Second, the president has enjoyed similar success on the domestic economic front. Third, Candidate Trump promised to confirm Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to move the US Embassy there from Tel Aviv. Last week, he announced both things,” Morgan continued.

“I personally think it’s a dangerous and unnecessary move, but you can’t say he didn’t vow to do it if he got elected because he did, repeatedly,” he added.

The controversial British journalist also lashed out at the US president for retweeting videos originally posted by far-right party Britain First on Twitter.

“Good morning, Mr President ‪@realDonaldTrump—what the hell are you doing retweeting a bunch of unverified videos by Britain First, a bunch of disgustingly racist far-right extremists? Please STOP this madness & undo your retweets,” Morgan said.

Piers Morgan is no stranger to heated interviews – and has shown that he won’t hold back, even for friends. For Trump, who is notorious for his hatred of criticism, it may be a recipe for disaster.

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Countdown to disaster: Doomsday Clock now 2 minutes to midnight

Managed by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, a group of scientists and academics, the clock was moved 30 seconds on Thursday. The clock’s hands had been at two-and-a-half minutes to midnight in 2017.

Rachel Bronson, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists CEO, said this year that nuclear weapons and the unpredictability of nations holding them were a major consideration.

“All of the major weapons states are investing in their nuclear arsenals,” said Robert Rosner, research professor in the Department of Astrophysics and Physics at the University of Chicago.

“North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests demonstrated an accelerating of building a new generation of weapons of mass destruction. In south Asia, the emphasis on missile capabilities grows.

“The nuclear arsenals of all of the major weapons states are being updated and imbued with enhanced capabilities. The Trump administration’s Nuclear Posture Review appears likely to increase the types and roles of nuclear weapons in US defense plans,” he added.

Sharon Squassoni, from George Washington University, said US-Russian relations were key element to the board’s decision.

“Both countries still possess about 95 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons and without bilateral progress there is little incentive for others to move forward. However, for the first time in many years no US-Russian nuclear arms control negotiations are underway,” Squassoni said.

“If the draft US Nuclear Posture Review is any guide to US policy, there will be no US-Russia nuclear arms control negotiations for the foreseeable future. Instead we could see a return to a nuclear arms race.”

Set for official release in February, a leaked draft of the US review on nuclear strategies indicated that it will push to develop more ‘low-yield’ nukes due to concerns over China, Iran, and Russia’s capabilities.

For decades the clock has been used as an ominous reminder of how close humanity is to destroying the world. Midnight represents total disaster or an apocalypse.

Originally decided on by Bulletin Editor Eugene Rabinowitch, the clock is now in its 71st year. It’s settings are now based on an academic board’s view on the advancement of nuclear arms, climate change and artificial intelligence.

The Doomsday Clock originally featured in a magazine back in the 1940s, when the development of nuclear arms first became a global fear. In its first outing the clock read seven minutes to midnight. The furthest away from midnight it has ever been came in 1991 after the end of the Cold War – when it struck 17 minutes to midnight.

Earlier this year, the Bulletin’s Nuclear Notebook warned of North Korea’s nuclear missile potential.

“Based on available information, we cautiously estimate that North Korea might have produced sufficient fissile material to build 30 to 60 nuclear weapons, and that it might possibly have assembled 10 to 20 warheads,” the report, co-written by Federation of American Scientists researcher Hans M Kristensen, stated.

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‘US Democrats engaging in Neo-McCarthyism’

Senior US Democrats in Congress are claiming that Russia is behind an online campaign to release a classified Republican memo. At the same time, a number of US Republican congressmen are calling for the release of a top secret intelligence document, as it may expose political bias against Trump in the Russia probe.

Meanwhile, Americans launched a new hashtag “#NotARussianBot” on Twitter, affirming that they are real people and don’t work for the Kremlin.

RT:  American Twitter users are objecting to this allegation that the campaign is being driven by Russian bots. Do the Democrats have any evidence to back up this claim?

John Griffing: No, and this is growing quite tiring. Will the ‘little green men’ conspiracies ever cease? This is the same party that for the last 50 years engaged in open treason with the Soviet Union. Ted Kennedy in a memo – memos get the Democrats in trouble – asked the general secretary at the time to intervene in the 1984 US elections to unseat (Ronald) Reagan. Keith Olbermann only in the last year called on all foreign intelligence services – I would assume that includes Russia – to undo our elections.

The Democrats have a massive double standard when it comes to election intervention. President Obama intervened in the Ukrainian elections, intervened in the Israeli elections. This is not a party that believes in election integrity. They believe in winning and keeping power. And that is a very different issue. 

RT:  The campaign is all about a House Intelligence Committee memo that has already been seen by members of Congress. Is there any good reason why the contents should not be made public?

JG: No good public-interest reason. There is definitely, I believe, evidence of criminal conspiracy in this memo. Frankly, the people that should be concerned are Hillary Clinton and all the Democrats in the DNC (Democratic National Committee) that took part in trying to undermine election integrity in the US. So, there is a good reason why a number of Democrats do not want it to be seen by the public. But for the sake of the democratic process and for the sake of openness and transparency we should all see this. In a long run, that will be good for everyone concerned. 

RT:  If we look at what Republicans are saying – Iowa representative Steve King wrote: “I’ve read the memo, it’s worse than Watergate.” Florida Representative Matt Gaetz says: ‘If we get this memo into the public square, heads are going to roll at the FBI.” How serious could this be?

JG: The evidence we already have access to reveals what we already need to know. It creates the pretext for reasonable suspicion. We already know and have proven that Russia did not hack US vote tallies, they did not intervene at least to the extent that was previously thought in the US elections. The Democrats have been engaging in Neo-McCarthyism. It’s kind of switched the roles here. 50 years ago they were ‘taking the fifth’ because they were being called to the mat for collaborating themselves with the Soviet Union. Now they are turning the tables and saying that Russia did it in every turn. It’s become a little silly; it’s become a little ridiculous. This is a broken record. We need to have a real conversation about the real data and the real facts, and not about this fantasy.

‘Memo could show that CIA and FBI engaged in conspiracy to topple Trump presidency’

Allegation that intelligence agencies worked to change national policies instead of protecting country is “very dangerous,” Philip Giraldi, former CIA officer, told RT.

RT:  This is a four-page Justice Department memo that has already been seen by members of Congress. Is there any good reason not to make the contents public?

Philip Giraldi: No, there is no good reason at all, unless there is classified information in it, which I don’t think is the case. It should be made public. And if it is true – as some Republicans are saying, that this four-page document will prove that there was no Russiagate, that most of what took place was a conspiracy by the CIA and FBI to destroy the Trump presidency – then it is very important that it became public.

… The fact is, if we discover that our intelligence and police services have been engaged in a conspiracy, that is something that is very important to know. That will prove that all of this investigation to try to convince the world that Russia was behind this will finally go away.

RT:  Republicans say the memo shows the FBI used illegal wiretaps on Trump campaign officials when looking for evidence of collusion with Russia. If that’s true, could it undermine the entire “Russian meddling” story?

PG: First of all, I would not believe anything a politician says. So, if a Republican politician is saying something, he is probably lying. But I think the fact is that, if this document is even half as significant, half as important as they are claiming, this could be a very important story. As I say, when you have the services, the agencies that are supposed to protect the country actually working to change its politics – this is very dangerous.

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S. Korea takes legal action against United States over ‘excessive’ tariffs

“Korea considers these measures to be inconsistent with the United States’ obligations under the relevant provisions of the GATT 1994 and Agreement on Safeguards,” the complaint said, according to Reuters.

Earlier this week, Seoul warned it would complain to the WTO about Washington’s decision to slap tariffs on imported washing machines and solar panels. It called the action “excessive” and “regrettable.”

China has also expressed strong dissatisfaction regarding American tariffs, saying that could further deteriorate global trade environment. Beijing hinted it could take similar action.

“With regard to the wrong measures taken by the United States, China will work with other WTO members to resolutely defend our legitimate interests,” the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said.

On Monday, US President Donald Trump slapped steep tariffs on imported washing machines and solar panels. The move was described as a blow to South Korea’s Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics. Together they ship up to 3 million washing machines annually to the US, with sales of around $1 billion.

The United States will impose a 20 percent tariff on the first 1.2 million imported large residential washers in the first year, and a 50 percent tariff on additional imports. The tariffs decline to 16 percent and 40 percent respectively in the third year.

A 30 percent tariff will be imposed on imported solar cells and modules in the first year, with the tariffs declining to 15 percent by the fourth year. The tariff reportedly allows 2.5 gigawatts of unassembled solar cells to be imported tariff-free in each year.

Both Samsung and LG expressed concern over the new tariffs, claiming they would hurt American consumers and jobs.

Two weeks ago, Canada filed a wide-ranging trade complaint against the US, accusing it of breaking international trade rules. A 32-page complaint by Ottawa has cited around 200 examples of alleged US wrongdoing, almost all of them concerning other trading partners too, such as China, India, Brazil and the European Union.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

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