Last week the big story was that Joe Biden was entering the 2020 process……but everybody knew he was going to do what he did….big story.
The true big story was the one that hit while the country was focused like a laser on the Biden announcement…….when Otto Warmbier was a bigger story.
We all have watched the antics of Don the Orange and Li’l Kim……but think back to their first “summit” one aftermath was the release of Otto Warmbier from a North Korean prison…..
North Korea insisted the U.S. agree to pay $2 million in medical costs in 2017 before it released detained American college student Otto Warmbier while he was in a coma, a former US official said Thursday. An envoy sent to North Korea to retrieve the 21-year-old student signed an agreement to pay the $2 million on instructions passed down from President Trump, the former official told the AP, speaking on condition of anonymity. The bill went to the Treasury Department, where it remained—unpaid—throughout 2017, per the Washington Post. CNN reported the bill has not been paid since then.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said the administration does not comment on hostage negotiations. US policy is to refuse to pay ransom for the release of Americans detained abroad. While the majority of Americans detained by North Korea have been released in relatively good condition, Warmbier, a University of Virginia student, died last June after he was flown home comatose after 17 months in captivity. Warmbier was seized from a tour group while visiting North Korea in January 2016, convicted of trying to steal a propaganda poster, and sentenced to 15 years of hard labor. Joseph Yun, the US envoy, told CNN he could not confirm the payment report, saying, “These are diplomatic exchanges and negotiations.” Fred Warmbier, Otto’s father, said he was never told about the hospital bill, per the Post. He said it sounded like a “ransom” for his son.
Was this the big decision that was made at the first “summit”?
If so, it is pathetic!
Further reading on this news story…….
And Bolton says it is true…..
National security adviser John Bolton confirmed on “Fox News Sunday” that a Trump administration official signed a document pledging to pay North Korea a $2 million hospital bill to release Otto Warmbier, though he said no money was ultimately transferred.WALLACE: Did North Korea demand money for the release of Otto Warmbier?BOLTON: It appears that they did. This occurred before I came into the administration, but that’s my understanding.WALLACE: Did the U.S. official who was there to get him out of the country, Joseph Yun, did he sign a document pledging the money in order to get him out.BOLTON: That is what I am told, yes.WALLACE: I guess the bottom line question is, did the U.S. pay any money to North Korea, however it was disguised, after Warmbier was released?BOLTON: Absolutely not. And that’s the key point.
The backdrop: President Trump called the Washington Post story that first reported the hospital bill “fake news,” though the report notably said it was “unclear” whether the administration actually ended up paying the bill. Nothing in the story has been proven inaccurate.
Is not this negotiating with “terrorists” and I thought the US does not do this.
Some stories are more important than others.