President Trump late Sunday tweeted that the call to have his former attorney Michael Cohen testify Wednesday in front of the House Oversight Committee may have contributed to the “walk” that resulted in his second nuclear summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Trump initially blamed North Korea for demanding too much in sanction relief that would only come with total denuclearization. Trump said last week simply that he “had to walk away” from the table. Trump was asked about the Cohen hearing on Thursday while in Hanoi and said “having it [the hearing] in the middle of this very important summit is really a terrible thing.”
Trump was apparently still considering where the summit went wrong on Sunday night and tweeted, “For the Democrats to interview in open hearings a convicted liar & fraudster, at the same time as the very important Nuclear Summit with north Korea, is perhaps a new low in American politics and may have contributed to the “walk.” Never done when a president is overseas. Shame!”
Cohen, who pleaded guilty last year to lying to Congress about the Moscow real estate project and reports to prison in May for a three-year sentence, gave harsh testimony about Trump on several fronts Wednesday. He said Trump knew in advance that damaging emails about Democrat Hillary Clinton would be released during the 2016 campaign — a claim the president has denied — and accused Trump of lying during the 2016 campaign about the Moscow deal.
The hearing was seen as politically bruising for Trump who hoped to approach the meeting with Kim from a position of political strength.
Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho commented on the talks during an abruptly scheduled middle-of-the-night news conference after Trump was flying back the the U.S.
Ri said the North was also ready to offer in writing a permanent halt of the country’s nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests and Washington had wasted an opportunity that “may not come again.”
North Korean state news agency KNCA’s report Friday offered an upbeat takeaway of the meeting, saying both leaders walked away with a deeper commitment to forging ties between the two historically hostile nations.
The report said Kim was appreciative that Trump had made “active efforts towards results” and that he regarded the summit talks as “productive,” Reuters reported.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in called for new talks between the U.S. and North Korea on Monday, reportedly saying that he believes there will eventually be an agreement.
Fox News’ Bradford Betz contributed to this report