No deal is signed as Michael Cohen testifies to Congress in public hearing
President Donald Trump suggested on Twitter that Michael Cohen’s congressional hearings contributed to the failure to reach an agreement with North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un in Vietnam.
Cohen spent three days testifying last week — one of which was public — in front of both Democrat and Republican led committees.
These testimonies come ahead of a three-year prison sentence for various crimes including lying to Congress and campaign finance violations.
Trump also faces controversy after he said that he would take Kim Jong-un “at his word” that he was unaware of Cincinnati native Otto Warmbier’s imprisonment in the secluded nation.
Warmbier’s parents did not believe this explanation, saying after the summit, “We have been respectful during this summit process. Now we must speak out. Kim and his evil regime are responsible for the death of our son Otto…No excuses or lavish praise can change that.”
Trump’s National Security adviser, John Bolton, offered a different interpretation during television interviews on Sunday. “It doesn’t mean that he takes it as reality,” Bolton said. He also refused to offer his opinion on the matter, saying on CNN’s State of the Union that he was no longer a Fox News contributor and that he “doesn’t do that anymore.”
The summit was the second with Kim Jong-un within the past year. The first took place in Singapore in June of last year. That summit ended with Trump and Kim signing a joint statement that called for new diplomatic relations, the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, the recovery of soldiers’ remains and more follow up negotiations between the two countries.
The summit in Hanoi, Vietnam, was thought to be the culmination of almost a year’s worth of continued talks between the two countries after the Singapore summit.
However, the leaders ended up coming just short of an agreement despite a planned “signing ceremony” that was scheduled.
“(Kim Jong-un) was fully aware of what happened to (Warmbier), and his impact of being inside North Korea,” sophomore psychology major Abrielle Krekeler said.
Trump claims he left the summit after he was not willing to give into the dictator’s demand that the U.S. lift sanctions on North Korea. North Korea’s government has disputed this account. Trump said he still believes that the summit was a success because he did not give any concessions to Kim.
“(Trump) did accomplish something by actually talking to Kim Jong-un by forming a relationship instead of being confrontational over the news. Meeting him in Vietnam was a step in the right direction,” Krekeler said.
The biggest hang-up of the deal appeared to be that Trump demanded Kim give up his nuclear arsenal. North Korea has rejected similar deals in the past and did not change its stance in Hanoi.
Currently there are no plans for another summit to be held.
However, Krekeler believes that there will eventually be peace on the Korean Peninsula, but it’s more of a question of whether or not Kim Jong-un is willing to let Trump achieve peace.
“Trump might be willing to do everything in his power to accomplish (peace), but Kim Jong-un might not be willing to do the same,” she said.
By: Jack Dunn | U.S. & World News Editor