Mar 27, 2019

Pompeo punts questions of Kim Jong-un’s responsibility for Warmbier murder

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

Coronavirus spreads to more countries, and U.S. ups its case count

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus continues to spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 — while noting those are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the U.S. Meanwhile, Italy reported its first virus-related death on Friday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,359 people and infected more than 77,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel, Lebanon and Iran.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 8 hours ago - Health

Wells Fargo agrees to pay $3 billion to settle consumer abuse charges

Clients use an ATM at a Wells Fargo Bank in Los Angeles, Calif. Photo: Ronen Tivony/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Wells Fargo agreed to a pay a combined $3 billion to the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday for opening millions of fake customer accounts between 2002 and 2016, the SEC said in a press release.

The big picture: The fine "is among the largest corporate penalties reached during the Trump administration," the Washington Post reports.