U.S. pressure on Kim to continue as time set for summit

WASHINGTON — The U.S. campaign to economically isolate North Korea will continue, the White House press secretary said Monday, even as preparations advance for President Donald Trump’s summit next week with Kim Jong Un.

The White House set a time for Trump’s first meeting with Kim: 9 a.m. Singapore time on June 12, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. But she said there has been no change in what Trump has described as a “maximum pressure” campaign on the North Korean regime.

Trump said last week he’d avoid using the phrase because of improving relations between the two countries. “I don’t want to use that term because we’re getting along,” he said on Friday.

“Our policy hasn’t changed, and as the president stated, we have sanctions on, they’re very powerful and we would not take those sanctions off unless North Korea denuclearized,” Sanders said on Monday.

Trump aims to persuade the North Korean dictator to give up his country’s nuclear arsenal in exchange for relief from U.S. economic sanctions. He’s promised American investment in the under-developed country would follow.

The White House has been tight-lipped about Trump’s preparations for the summit. He spent the weekend at Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland, with some of his family.

“The president has been receiving daily briefings on North Korea from his national security team,” Sanders said.

—Bloomberg News

Trump campaign uses Stormy Daniels tactic to keep harassment case quiet

NEW YORK — Donald Trump’s campaign organization is escalating efforts to silence a former manager who claims she he was harassed on the job, borrowing a page from the president’s playbook against Stormy Daniels.

Lawyers for the campaign want to shunt Jessica Denson into closed-door arbitration as she tries to beat back a nondisclosure agreement that she says makes it difficult to proceed with a lawsuit accusing her former supervisors of creating a hostile work environment. The lawyers contend Denson is required by her contract to resolve disputes in the private forum.

Denson is waging simultaneous battles in state and federal courts in New York even as Trump continues tussling with Daniels in Los Angeles. In March he threatened the adult film star, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, with $20 million in damages for violations of a “hush agreement” that requires her to remain silent about a sexual encounter she alleges they had in 2006.

Another woman who claims to have had an affair with Trump in 2006, Playboy model Karen McDougal, also went to court to challenge a nondisclosure agreement. That one was with the owner of the National Enquirer, which bought the rights to McDougal’s story and then buried it. McDougal reached a settlement with American Media Inc. in April that restores her ownership of the experience.

—Bloomberg News

Venezuela charges Pompeo with leading coup d’etat

WASHINGTON — The Venezuelan Foreign Minister accused Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Monday of leading a coup d’etat against the Caracas government.

Jorge Arreaza, the Venezuelan official, promised to fight the “imperialists” to the North. He delivered the strong rebuke following Pompeo’s calls for the Organization of American States to suspend Venezuela from the hemispheric organization.

Pompeo also called on allies to sanction and further isolate the government of Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro.

“We are an independent nation. We are sovereign. We are free and no imperialist will be intervening in our country,” Arreaza said in an emotional response to Pompeo.

In his first remarks to the OAS as Secretary of State, Pompeo called on the foreign ministers and representatives of more than 30 member states to stand up for the Democratic principles they all agreed upon and kick out Venezuela in a vote Tuesday.

“It would show that the OAS backs up its words with action,” Pompeo said. “And it would send a powerful signal to the Maduro regime that only real elections will allow your government in the family of nations.”

Pompeo’s remarks precede a speech by Vice President Mike Pence, who is also expected to call for member states to vote Venezuela out of the OAS.

While this was Pompeo’s first time addressing the United Nations-like organization, it’s not his first time raising concerns about Venezuela. Last month, Pompeo raised concerns after Maduro expelled the top U.S. diplomat in Venezuela and his deputy for, he said, conspiring against Venezuela.

Tuesday’s vote will be a significant test for the Latin American and Caribbean diplomats who have been reluctant to take punitive measures against one of their own.

Despite Venezuela’s dramatic economic collapse, the country can still count on the support of many Caribbean nations. Some remain loyal to Maduro personally. Others are reluctant to set a precedent out of fear that they could be the next target.

—McClatchy Washington Bureau