Chris Wallace Grills Bolton on ‘Shocking’ Report Trump Agreed to Pay North Korea’s $2 Million Bill for Otto Warmbier
The question of whether the United States agree to a $2 million dollar “medical bill” for an American imprisoned in North Korea has been a hot topic on cable news shows the last several days.
On Fox News Sunday, anchor Chris Wallace asked Trump national security advisor John Bolton whether reports that there was a bill were accurate, and whether the Trump administration did agree to what could be seen as, effectively, a ransom.
Wallace began the line of questioning by first expressing his genuine surprise that this could have happened.
“There was – I like to think I’m pretty sophisticated, but there was a shocking report even to me this week,” said Wallace, “that before North Korea released Otto Warmbier, that they demanded that the U.S. pay $2 million for his medical care even though he seemed to suffer greatly once he was taken prisoner there.”
He played the clip of President Trump last week telling reporters that no money was paid, and saying reports that money was paid are “fake news.”
“A few quick questions,” said Wallace. “Did North Korea demand money for the release of Otto Warmbier?”
“It appears that they did,” Bolton confirmed. He quickly pointed out that the agreement didn’t take place on his watch. “This occurred before I came into the administration, but that’s my understanding, yes.”
Wallace continued, asking, “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?”
“That is what I’m told, yes,” Bolton confirmed again, again making sure his own distance from the process was top of mind.
“I guess the bottom line question is,” said Wallace getting to the core question. “Did the U.S. pay any money to North Korea however it was disguised, after he was released?”
“Absolutely not, and I think that’s the key point,” he said emphatically. “The president has been very successful in getting for 20-plus hostages released from imprisonment around the world and hasn’t paid anything for any of them.”
“So basically we signed the document fully intending not to honor it?” Wallace asked.
“Well, I don’t know the circumstances. I think when people leave government, sometimes their recollection of things that happened inside tend to be a little bit different from what actually happened,” Bolton replied. “But I — it’s very clear to me from my looking into it in the past few days, no money was paid, that is clear.”
Watch the clip above, courtesy of FOX News Channel.
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