Trump says Kim 'felt very badly' after Otto Warmbier death

President Trump said on Thursday that he confronted Kim Jong Un over the death of Otto Warmbier, the U.S. college student who died in 2017 after being held in a Pyongyang prison — and that he does not hold the North Korean authoritarian leader responsible for Warmbier’s death.

“I don’t believe he would have allowed that to happen,” Trump told reporters in Hanoi, Vietnam, after his second summit with Kim was cut short. “Those prisons are rough. They’re rough places. And bad things happen. I really don’t believe — I don’t believe he knew about it.”

Warmbier, a 21-year-old University of Virginia student from Ohio, was arrested and accused of committing a “hostile act” while on a study tour of North Korea in 2016. He was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor.

Trump took credit for negotiating his release to the United States. Warmbier, who suffered a massive brain injury while in custody, was returned to his parents in a coma in June 2017. He died a few days later.

The president said Kim wasn't aware of Warmier’s deteriorating condition.

“He felt very badly,” Trump said of Kim. “He knew the case very well. But he knew it later.”

“You know, you got a lot of people, big country, a lot of people,” he continued. “And in those prisons and those camps, you have a lot of people, and some really bad things happened to Otto. Some really, really bad things.”

18 PHOTOS
Trump-Kim summit in Hanoi
See Gallery
Trump-Kim summit in Hanoi
U.S. President Donald Trump boards Air Force One after his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, Vietnam, February 28, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis
U.S. President Donald Trump boards Air Force One after his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, Vietnam, February 28, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis
U.S. President Donald Trump prepares to board Air Force One after his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, Vietnam, February 28, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis
U.S. President Donald Trump reacts during a news conference after his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, at the JW Marriott Hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam February 28, 2019. REUTERS/Jorge Silva TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo leaves a news conference at the JW Marriott Hanoi in Hanoi, following talks between U.S. President Donald Trump and the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi, Vietnam, February 28, 2019. Andrew Harnik/Pool via REUTERS
U.S. President Donald Trump accompanied by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at a news conference at the JW Marriott Hanoi, following talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi, Vietnam, February 28, 2019. Andrew Harnik/Pool via REUTERS
A view of the table in the room which was supposed to host a working lunch between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, that was cancelled, during the second U.S.-North Korea summit at the Metropole Hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam, February 28, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis
North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un listens as U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during the extended bilateral meeting in the Metropole hotel during the second North Korea-U.S. summit in Hanoi, Vietnam February 28, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis
White House national security adviser John Bolton reacts beside U.S. President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the extended bilateral meeting in the Metropole hotel with North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un (not pictured) during the second North Korea-U.S. summit in Hanoi, Vietnam February 28, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis
U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un walk in the garden at the Metropole hotel during the second North Korea-U.S. summit in Hanoi, Vietnam February 28, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis
North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump talk in the garden of the Metropole hotel during the second North Korea-U.S. summit in Hanoi, Vietnam February 28, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis
A customer watches a set of TV's broadcasting a news report on a Hanoi summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump, in Seoul, South Korea, February 28, 2019. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un shake hands before their one-on-one chat during the second U.S.-North Korea summit at the Metropole Hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam February 27, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis
People read the Rodong Sinmun newspaper showing coverage of North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un visiting Vietnam for a summit in Hanoi with US President Donald Trump, on Kim Il Sung square Pyongyang on February 28, 2019. - The US-North Korea nuclear summit in Hanoi ended abruptly without a deal, with President Donald Trump saying he had decided to 'walk' in the face of Kim Jong Un's demands to drop sanctions. (Photo by Kim Won Jin / AFP) (Photo credit should read KIM WON JIN/AFP/Getty Images)
North Korean students read the Rodong Sinmun newspaper coverage of North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un visiting Vietnam for a summit in Hanoi with US President Donald Trump, on Kim Il Sung square Pyongyang on February 28, 2019. - The US-North Korea nuclear summit in Hanoi ended abruptly without a deal, with President Donald Trump saying he had decided to 'walk' in the face of Kim Jong Un's demands to drop sanctions. (Photo by Kim Won Jin / AFP) (Photo credit should read KIM WON JIN/AFP/Getty Images)
The motorcade of North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un arrives at the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019. U.S. President Donald Trump and Kim sounded an optimistic note at the start of their second set of face-to-face meetings, as the U.S. leader sought to advance nuclear talks that have largely stalled since their first summit in June. Photographer: Justin Chin/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Police outriders lead U.S. President Donald Trump's motorcade to the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019. Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un sounded an optimistic note at the start of their second set of face-to-face meetings, as the U.S. leader sought to advance nuclear talks that have largely stalled since their first summit in June. Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg via Getty Images
U.S. President Donald Trump's motorcade arrives at the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019. Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un sounded an optimistic note at the start of their second set of face-to-face meetings, as the U.S. leader sought to advance nuclear talks that have largely stalled since their first summit in June. Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg via Getty Images
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

“He tells me that he didn’t know about it,” Trump said of Kim. “And I will take him at his word.”

Trump’s comments defending Kim drew an immediate comparison to his defense of Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman after the CIA reportedly assessed that the Saudi leader ordered the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

In December, Trump said the crown prince “vehemently” denied knowledge of Khashoggi’s murder.

“Our intelligence agencies continue to assess all information, but it could very well be that the crown prince had knowledge of this tragic event,” Trump said in an official press release. “Maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!”

Trump's comments on Warmbier also echoed his defense of Russian President Vladimir Putin over the conclusions of U.S. intelligence agencies that Moscow meddled in the 2016 presidential election.

“I have great confidence in my intelligence people,” Trump said in July after a summit with Putin in Helsinki. “But I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial.”

_____

Read more from YahooNews:

 

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.