[On U.S. President Trump's response to Kim Jong Un] The president has been so vocal and complimentary of Kim refraining from such testing and his own diplomatic ‘success’ that he’s really painted himself into a corner... That also gives Kim leverage: He can threaten privately and obliquely to Trump that he’s thinking about resuming testing to try to goad the president into giving up some concessions.
[North Korea's recent actions were] an attempt to manufacture tension in a calibrated way [to increase pressure on the U.S. to return to the negotiating table]... All the parties in the region have been willing to make excuses for North Korea in an effort to preserve the mood for dialogue, but there are likely to be fissures if North Korea decides to test missiles that fly over Japan or land in Japan's territorial waters.
[Kim Jong Un's relationship with the U.S. president] hasn't constrained Kim, but emboldened him... What I worry about is a North Korea missile flying over Japan or falling in Japan’s territorial waters, forcing a choice on the Trump administration to either dismiss the event, as they have on the previous missile tests, to maintain the mood of dialogue but risking the credibility of the [U.S. security] alliance.
It’s unfortunate that the president deems the DNI’s statement as a sign of disloyalty ... rather than the product of unbiased and expert analytic effort... If the perception is that the president fired Coats for just simply providing the intelligence community’s assessment, it is likely to cause concern — if it hasn’t already — about the potential for a more activist DNI.
[The meeting between Trump and Kim at the DMZ] could prove worthwhile if Mr. Kim really empowered his negotiators, but I’m skeptical. What would be the incentive for him if he can get the president of the United States to cross over into North Korea without having done very much?
[In speaking of the joint statement President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un signed at the Singapore Summit] That laid a very shaky foundation on which to build any substantive working level negotiations, and I think if we trace the genealogy of where we are now the roots are in that very weak Singapore summit.
[Kim Jong Un] has not been shy about purging, demoting, shuffling senior officials -- numbering in the hundreds since he came to power in December 2011 -- and instilling fear in the North Korean populace, but also among the elite who rely on his good will for their survival. [Because of Kim Jong Un's tight control of power, Kim Jong Nam -- like most North Koreans who live outside the country -- probably have little] access to the innermost workings of the Kim regime, much less on decision-making on the most sensitive issues, such as the nuclear weapons program.
[U.S. President Donald Trump took a public stance against the use of CIA informants to spy on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, saying it would not happen on his watch and possibly taking away a valuable tool of the U.S. intelligence community.] The president should understand that to keep the nation safe, the CIA needs to be able to do its job gathering and analyzing intelligence that will support the full range of diplomatic, military, and economic policies and initiatives.