Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The surprise has now worn off on the abrupt end to the U.S.-North Korea summit in Hanoi, with the two sides disputing even the terms of what was being negotiated.

Driving the news: The U.S. side claims North Korea offered to close one nuclear facility in exchange for lifting all economic sanctions.The North Korean side claims it only wanted a partial reprieve from economic sanctions.

Why it matters: "Further progress could be difficult now that Mr. Trump has broadcast that he and Mr. Kim have staked out conflicting bottom lines," the N.Y. Times' Edward Wong reports.

The other side: "Trump could have left Hanoi with a deal of any kind just for the sake of it, but he decided that no deal was better than an insubstantial one that could hamper future negotiations," Stanford professor Gi-Wook Shin writes for Axios Expert Voices.

  • "By doing so, he not only appeared as a tough negotiator to his North Korean counterpart, but also shielded himself from the potential criticism of a bad deal, affording him more domestic political slack than the alternative might have."
  • "His decision also sends a warning signal to North Korea that he will not let the country continue to set the tone and pace for the negotiations."

Between the lines: Trump also faced a furor today over comments where he said he believes Kim Jong-un's denial about the mistreatment of Otto Warmbier, the U.S. student who was in a coma when released by North Korea and died shortly after returning home.

  • "He felt badly about it. He felt very badly," Trump said today. "He tells me that he didn't know about it and I will take him at his word."
  • "I don't think that the top leadership knew about it ... I don't believe that he [Kim] would have allowed that to happen."
  • Flashback to January 2018: "You are powerful witnesses to a menace that threatens our world, and your strength inspires us all," Trump told Warmbier's parents during the State of the Union.
  • Former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley today: "Americans know the cruelty that was placed on Otto Warmbier by the North Korean regime. Our hearts are with the Warmbier family for their strength and courage. We will never forget Otto."

The bottom line: Diplomacy is happening and the freeze in nuclear tests will continue, North Korea confirmed today. But that's about it.

Go deeper

The cliffhanger could be ... Georgia

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

It hasn't backed a Democrat for president since 1992, but Georgia's changing demographics may prove pivotal this year — not only to Trump v. Biden, but also to whether Democrats take control of the Senate.

Why it matters: If the fate of the Senate did hinge on Georgia, it might be January before we know the outcome. Meanwhile, voters' understanding of this power in the final days of the election could juice turnout enough to impact presidential results.

Amy Harder, author of Generate
6 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Climate change goes mainstream in presidential debate

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty

The most notable part of Thursday’s presidential debate on climate change was the fact it was included as a topic and assumed as a fact.

The big picture: This is the first time in U.S. presidential history that climate change was a featured issue at a debate. It signals how the problem has become part of the fabric of our society. More extreme weather, like the wildfires ravaging Colorado, is pushing the topic to the front-burner.

Finally, a real debate

Photo: Morry Gash/AP

A more disciplined President Trump held back from the rowdy interruptions at tonight's debate in Nashville, while making some assertions so outlandish that Joe Biden chuckled and even closed his eyes. A Trump campaign adviser told Axios: "He finally listened." 

The result: A real debate.