North Korea should give a full accounting of the circumstances surrounding Otto Warmbier’s death, President Donald Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton said Sunday.
“The best thing North Korea could do right now would be to give us a full accounting of what happened and who was responsible for it,” Bolton said to CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.”
Bolton was also asked if he takes North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at his word that he didn’t know of Warmbier’s suspected torture.
“The President takes him (Kim) at his word,” Bolton told Tapper.
Pushed again, Bolton replied, “My opinion doesn’t matter.”
“I am not the national security decision-maker,” Bolton added later. “That’s his view.”
Bolton said he gives his advice and opinions to the President and Trump “makes up his own mind. That’s why he’s President.”
Warmbier, an American student, was taken captive by the North Korean regime for 17 months and released back to the US in 2017. He died a few days after he returned home blind, deaf and with severe brain damage.
After a second summit with Kim in Vietnam last week, Trump said he accepts the North Korean dictator’s denial that he knew of Warmbier’s condition in captivity.
“He tells me that he didn’t know about it and I will take him at his word,” Trump said at a news conference Thursday. The Warmbier family objected to the President’s comments, saying Kim is responsible for their son’s death.
Bolton on Sunday defended Trump’s remarks, telling CNN the President “made it very clear he considers what happened to Otto Warmbier is an act of brutality that’s completely unacceptable to the American side.”