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Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.) pressed U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Kim Jong-un’s human rights record on Wednesday to further probe Pompeo on how President Trump decided last week to retreat from sanctioning North Korea based on Trump’s relationship with Kim.

Between the lines: Although it wasn't immediately clear why Trump was pulling away from sanctioning North Korea, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said last week “President Trump likes Chairman Kim and he doesn’t think these sanctions will be necessary." Malinowski pointed out Kim's reprehensible track record on human rights in contrast.

Details: Malinowski asked Pompeo whether Kim is “responsible for maintaining North Korea’s system of labor camps ... for ordering the execution of his uncle, the assassination by chemical agent of his half-brother…[and] for the decision not to allow Otto Warmbier to come home until he was on death’s door?”

  • Pompeo responded: “Sir, don't make this a political football. It's inappropriate.”
  • Pompeo avoided answering in the affirmative to most of the questions, instead responding that Kim “is the leader of the country” several times. He also directed the representative to Trump’s previous statements on Warmbier’s murder.


Go deeper

Fringe right plots new attacks out of sight

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Domestic extremists are using obscure and private corners of the internet to plot new attacks ahead of Inauguration Day. Their plans are also hidden in plain sight, buried in podcasts and online video platforms.

Why it matters: Because law enforcement was caught flat-footed during last week's Capitol siege, researchers and intelligence agencies are paying more attention to online threats that could turn into real-world violence.

Kids’ screen time up 50% during pandemic

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

When the coronavirus lockdowns started in March, kidstech firm SuperAwesome found that screen time was up 50%. Nearly a year later, that percentage hasn't budged, according to new figures from the firm.

Why it matters: For most parents, pre-pandemic expectations around screen time are no longer realistic. The concern now has shifted from the number of hours in front of screens to the quality of screen time.

In photos: D.C. and U.S. states on alert for pre-inauguration violence

National Guard troops stand behind security fencing with the dome of the U.S. Capitol Building behind them, on Jan. 16. Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Security has been stepped up in Washington, D.C., and state capitols across the U.S. as authorities brace for potential violence this weekend.

Driving the news: Following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by some supporters of President Trump, the FBI has said there could be armed protests in D.C. and in all 50 state capitols in the run-up to President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration Wednesday.

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