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Photo: Xinhua/Lu Rui via Getty Images

President Trump said early Thursday North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un "felt very badly" about the death of Otto Warmbier and only learned of what happened to the U.S. student afterward.

Details: Trump said after his summit with Kim he took him "at his word" when asked about Warmbier, who was allegedly tortured by North Korean officials while in prison for allegedly stealing a propaganda poster. Warmbier died after he was returned to the U.S. in 2017 in a vegetative state.

  • “I don't believe that he would have allowed that to happen," Trump said of Kim. "I don’t believe he knew about it. He felt very badly about it, I did speak to him, he knew about it, but he knew about it after ... Big country, a lot of people in those prisons and the camps, there are some bad people."

The big picture: Commentators likened Trump's remarks to previous expressions of admiration for political strongmen including Russia's President Vladimir Putin, Philippine leader Rodrigo Duterte and Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Go deeper

23 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Hundreds of Biden staffers receive COVID vaccine

Screenshots of an email inviting White House staff to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, obtained by Alayna Treene/Axios

A week into the job, President Biden's White House medical team has administered the coronavirus vaccine to several hundred staffers — and aims to vaccinate all in-person staff over the next few weeks, officials tell Axios.

Why it matters: The new administration is ramping up steps to protect President Biden and all staff working inside the White House complex. The administration is also requiring daily employee COVID tests and N95 masks at all times.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

The Leon Black clock strikes midnight

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Leon Black is "retiring" as CEO of Apollo Global Management, the alternative investment giant he has led since co-founding it in 1990. But he is not making a full break, as Black will remain chair of Apollo's board of directors.

Why it matters: This is the culmination of 18 months of head-in-the-sand obfuscation of Black's dealings with Jeffrey Epstein.

Reddit traders look to pummel Wall Street's old guard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Reddit traders are taking on Wall Street pros at their own game with this basic mantra: Stocks will always go up.

Why it matters: Their trades — egged on in Reddit threads — have played a role in historic market activity in recent days.