National Security Adviser John Bolton said on Sunday no money was paid to North Korea to secure the release of Otto Warmbier, an American college student and hostage who died shortly after being released.
Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace asked Bolton about a report which claimed North Korea demanded the United States pay $2 million for Warmbier's medical care prior to releasing him. President Donald Trump insisted no money was paid.
"Did North Korea demand money for the release of Otto Warmbier?" Wallace asked.
"It appears that they did. This occurred before I came into the administration, but that's my understanding, yes," Bolton said.
Wallace then asked if the American official assigned to secure Warmbier's release signed a document promising payment to North Korea.
"That is what I'm told, yes," Bolton said.
"And I guess the bottom line question is, did the U.S. pay any money to North Korea, however it was disguised, after Warmbier was released?" Wallace asked.
"Absolutely not, and I think that's the key point. The president has been very successful in getting 20-plus hostages released from imprisonment around the world and hasn't paid anything for any of them," Bolton responded.
"So basically we signed the document fully intending not to honor it?" Wallace asked.
"I don't know the circumstances. I think when people leave government, sometimes the recollection of things that happened inside tend to be a little bit different from what actually happened, but it's very clear to me from my looking into it in the past few days, no money was paid, that is clear," Bolton said.
The Washington Post reported last week that North Korea "presented an invoice for Warmbier’s care in an extraordinarily brazen act even for a regime known for its aggressive tactics."
After the story was published, Trump tweeted that no money was paid.
"No money was paid to North Korea for Otto Warmbier, not two Million Dollars, not anything else. This is not the Obama Administration that paid 1.8 Billion Dollars for four hostages, or gave five terroist hostages plus, who soon went back to battle, for traitor Sgt. Bergdahl! [sic]" Trump tweeted.
No money was paid to North Korea for Otto Warmbier, not two Million Dollars, not anything else. This is not the Obama Administration that paid 1.8 Billion Dollars for four hostages, or gave five terroist hostages plus, who soon went back to battle, for traitor Sgt. Bergdahl!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 26, 2019