Trump returns to the attack on North Korea with fresh threats

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There were conflicting explanations offered Wednesday to news organizations by the Trump Administration on why President Donald Trump had threatened a vigorous military attack against North Korea, when he vowed Tuesday to unleash "fire and fury like the world has never seen" on the Pyongyang regime of Kim Jong Un. President Bill Clinton stood on the border between North and South Korea to declare that if Pyongyang deployed nuclear weapons, "it could be the end of their country". White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the "tone and strength of the message were discussed" but that the exact phrasing was "his own".

Humphrey said the escalating crisis with North Korea compels Congress to act. At times, the White House has tried to deprive North Korea of the attention experts believe its erratic leader seeks with each nuclear test. The Weekly Standard reported that the president's national security team had no idea Trump was going to say what he said, while the New York Times quoted White House sources saying yesterday's comments were "entirely improvised" and hadn't been presented to aides in advance. If carried out, it would be its most provocative missile launch to date. "Traditional diplomacy is not created to deal with threats of nuclear attacks, and it is not created to deal with the repeated defiance of the United Nations".

Administration spokespeople tried to assure the public that Trump's apocalyptic "fire and fury" language was improvised and, as US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said, Americans should not be concerned about the worsening rhetoric from both sides.

Speaking to reporters Thursday, Trump insisted that "there are no mixed messages" - and then he mixed the message some more.

"Over the past couple days, President Trump has taken one of this world's gravest threats - nuclear conflict - and treated it in a way that is both reckless and needless", said Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH).

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