CNN national security reporter Kylie Atwood said Thursday that then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and President Donald Trump leaned on then-Special Representative Joseph Yun to “do whatever you need to do” to bring home Otto Warmbier, the American college student sentenced to hard labor in North Korea — so he agreed the US would pay North Korea’s “bill” of $2 million for Warmbier’s care. Warmbier arrived back in the US comatose, and died a few days later, never regaining consciousness.
“We’re learning about how the North Koreans approached these negotiations,” said Atwood, who said the revelation was “stunning.”
“They shocked the Americans by handing US Special Representative Joe Yun, who was on that trip to get Otto back to the US, a bill of $2 million,” she said. “That is a hefty, hefty bill for getting an American who had been wrongly detained in North Korea, a 22-year-old, he’d been there over a year, back to the United States.”
“What I’m learning from my sources is that Ambassador Yun then called Washington. He called then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and said ‘what do I do here?'”, Atwood said. ” Tillerson then had a conversation with the president, and President Trump essentially said ‘do whatever you need do to get Otto Warmbier back to the United States.”
“That’s when ambassador Joe Yun signed an agreement that the US would pay this $2 million,” Atwood continued.
“However, I am told that the US has not yet paid that, and that as the US and North Korean negotiations have continued, the bill has not been brought up by the North Koreans in the Singapore summit or in the recent Hanoi summit.”
Watch the video below.
’Let ‘em go’: Ex-police commissioner lays into Buffalo cops who quit Emergency Response Team
On CNN Friday, former Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey slammed the 57 Buffalo police officers who resigned from the city's Emergency Response Team in solidarity with a pair of officers investigated for shoving an elderly man to the ground and then lying about it.
"If they want to resign, they should resign from the department," said Ramsey. "They don't have a vote in what unit they're in or the running of that department. They would not be allowed to step down from those positions. If they want to resign from the police department, let 'em go, and I would not bring them back, it just means you have some slots you have to fill. That kind of stuff is ridiculous and can't be tolerated."
Trump accused by ex-Defense Secretary of putting US on ‘the trail toward a dictatorship’
During an appearance on CNN on Friday morning, former Defense Secretary William Cohen - who also served in the U.S. Senate as a Republican -- denounced Donald Trump in no uncertain terms, saying his use of military personnel against anti-police brutality protesters is a sign he has set the country on the path to a dictatorship.
To emphasize his point, he later called Trump the "dictator-in-chief."
Speaking with host Jim Sciutto, Cohen didn't mince words after the CNN host noted that the president and his former attorney called the protesters "terrorists."
"What does it mean for you to hear a sitting president dismissing a whole range of protesters, who in fact were largely peaceful around the White House, dismissing a whole range of them as terrorists? What does that mean to you?" the CNN host asked.
Richmond mayor schools white lawmaker complaining removal of Confederate statue strips her of her history
Appearing on CNN's "New Day" on Friday morning, the mayor of Richmond, Virginia set a white state lawmaker straight over her comments that the imminent removal of a statue commemorating Confederate General Robert E. Lee was erasing her history.
Speaking with host John Berman, Mayor Levar Stoney expressed pleasure at the upcoming removal of the massive statue, saying it was a long overdue -- before the interview turned to comments made by State Senator Amanda Chase (R) made in a Facebook post.
Noting that the white lawmaker complained, "Let's be honest here, there is an overt effort here to erase all-white history," Stoney had a few words for the lawmaker.