President Donald Trump posted a tweet on Sunday that appeared to blame his failure to achieve an agreement at the summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on the timing of Michael Cohen’s congressional testimony.
Trump had arranged a dinner with Kim last Wednesday night, but only after House Democrats announced that Cohen would testify on Capitol Hill at about the same time.
Trump tweeted about the testimony’s apparent negative fallout just hours after National Security Adviser John Bolton hailed the truncated talks in Hanoi, Vietnam. Bolton told “Face the Nation” that the summit should be seen as “a success, defined as the president protecting and advancing American national interest.”
The issue, Bolton said, was whether North Korea would accept what the president called “the big deal, which is denuclearize entirely under a definition the president handed to Kim Jong Un ... [or] do something less than that, which was unacceptable to us.”
At a hastily-arranged press conference on Thursday, Trump attributed the failure of the talks to the fact that Kim wanted sanctions against his nation to be “lifted in their entirety and we wouldn’t do that.” He also said that while Kim had offered to “denuke a large area that we wanted,” including the Yongbyon site, the North Korean leader was not willing to meet U.S. demands to dismantle a number of other nuclear facilities.
Pyongyang representatives said Trump’s comments weren’t true. They said Kim only wanted economic sanctions imposed since 2016 lifted, not older ones, and none concerning armaments.
State Department officials later confirmed North Korea’s version of the breakdown on sanctions.