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Trump: No, the US didn't pay North Korea for Otto Warmbier's medical bills
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday said the United States did not pay any money to North Korea as it sought the release of Otto Warmbier, a day after a report said Trump had approved a $2 million bill from Pyongyang for the American student's care.
"No money was paid to North Korea for Otto Warmbier, not two Million Dollars, not anything else," Trump wrote in a tweet.
The Washington Post reported on Thursday that Trump had approved payment of a $2 million bill from Pyongyang to cover its care of the comatose college student, who was held in a North Korean prison for 17 months until June 2017.
The Treasury Department received the bill from North Korea and it remained unpaid through 2017, the Post reported. It was not clear whether the administration paid the invoice later.
Trump's tweet did not address whether any agreement had been made, and representatives for the White House and the State Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Warmbier, a University of Virginia student from Ohio visiting North Korea as a tourist, was imprisoned in January 2016. He was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for allegedly trying to steal an item with a propaganda slogan from his hotel, North Korean state media said.
Warmbier died six days after his release from North Korea. An Ohio coroner said Warmbier died from a lack of oxygen and blood to his brain. North Korea, which has dismissed claims that it tortured the student, blamed food poisoning and a sleeping pill.
Last December, a U.S. court ordered North Korea to pay $501 million in damages for the torture and death of Warmbier.
Fred and Cindy Warmbier follow the casket of their son, Otto Wambier, to the hearse after his funeral at Wyoming High School in Wyoming, Ohio, U.S. June 22, 2017 (Reuters/John Sommers II)
In his tweet on Friday morning, Trump defended his handling of hostage negotiations and slammed efforts by his Democratic predecessor Barack Obama.
He noted that the Obama administration had swapped five Taliban prisoners to secure the release of Bowe Bergdahl, a U.S. Army sergeant who has since been dishonorably discharged. Trump also accused Obama officials of paying ransom money in exchange for the return of four detained Americans in 2016, a charge the Obama administration has denied.
The Obama administration had said the payment of $400 million to Iran settled a longstanding Iranian claim at the Hague that coincided with four detained Americans' return but was not a ransom.
Obama had also defended the deal that led to Bergdahl's release and later changed the way the U.S. government handles cases in which Americans are detained by militant groups following a six-month review of the issue.
A spokeswoman for Obama's office had no immediate comment on Trump's tweet.
NAVAL BASE SAN DIEGO — An enlisted Navy SEAL sniper testified on Wednesday that Chief Eddie Gallagher told his platoon prior to their deployment that if they ever captured a wounded fighter, their medics knew "what to do to nurse them to death."
In early morning testimony, former Special Operator 1st Class Dylan Dille told a packed courtroom that he had heard the phrase during unit training before the men of SEAL Team 7 Alpha Platoon deployed to Mosul, Iraq in 2017.
Navy SEAL under investigation for allegedly manipulating (and hitting on) the widow of the Green Beret he helped kill
A Navy SEAL sentenced to one year in prison for the death of Army Special Forces Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar is under investigation for allegedly flirting with Melgar's widow while using a false name and trying to persuade her that he and another SEAL accused of killing her husband were "really good guys," according to the Washington Post.
Soldiers with the 3rd Cavalry Regiment from Fort Hood, Texas, returned from a deployment to Iraq, Syria, and Kuwait, in February 60 combat badges richer.
Army Staff Sgt. Albert Leon Mampre, who served during World War II with the famed Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division depicted in the HBO series 'Band of Brothers,' was laid to rest on June 15th, the Army announced
Mampre, who died on May 31 at 97 years old, was the last living medic from Easy Company, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. A number of soldiers assigned to his unit provided an honor guard for his funeral service.
Fired Marine one-star general was ‘abusive, bullying, toxic, abrasive, and aggressive,’ investigation finds
In his seven months as legislative assistant to the commandant of the Marine Corps, Brig. Gen. Norman Cooling proved to be an abusive, bullying boss, who openly disparaged women, ruled through intimidation, and attempted to spread a rumor about a female officer after the Senate complained about him to the defense secretary, according to a Defense Department's Inspector General's Office investigation.
"The adjectives a majority of witnesses used to describe his leadership were abusive, bullying, toxic, abrasive, and aggressive,"a DoD IG report on the investigation into Cooling's conduct found. "Some subordinates considered him an 'equal opportunity offender,' disparaging men and women. BGen Cooling denied making some of the comments attributed to him, but more than one witness told us they heard him make each of the comments described in this section of our report."