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Pelosi: Kim 'big winner' of North Korea talks

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiGovernors take heat for violating their own coronavirus restrictions Spending deal clears obstacle in shutdown fight Ocasio-Cortez, Cruz trade jabs over COVID-19 relief: People 'going hungry as you tweet from' vacation MORE (D-Calif.) said Thursday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden adds to vote margin over Trump after Milwaukee County recount Krebs says allegations of foreign interference in 2020 election 'farcical'  Republicans ready to become deficit hawks again under a President Biden MORE's high-profile summit with Kim Jong Un was a diplomatic flop, empowering the North Korean leader at the expense of America's global standing.

"He was the big winner, Kim Jong Un, in getting to sit face-to-face with the most powerful person in the world, the president of the United States," Pelosi said during a press briefing in the Capitol. "And really it's good that the president did not give him anything for the little that [Kim] was proposing."

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Staged in Hanoi, Vietnam, over the last two days, the Trump-Kim summit ended abruptly Thursday morning when the talks broke down over the topic of U.S. sanctions on North Korea.

Trump said Kim had demanded that all U.S. sanctions be lifted, even before North Korea would commit to dismantling all of its nuclear weapons capabilities.

"Sometimes you have to walk," Trump said at a press conference in Hanoi. "This was just one of those times."

Pelosi praised Trump's decision to abandon the talks when it became clear that Kim would not meet the president's demands for complete denuclearization.

"I guess it took two meetings for him to realize that Kim Jong Un is not on the level," Pelosi said.

"What we want is denuclearization. They didn't agree to it in the first meeting, they didn't agree to it in the second meeting, and, as you know, they wanted lifting sanctions without the denuclearization," she continued. "I'm glad that the president walked away from that."

While in Hanoi, Trump drew criticism from both parties when he said Kim had denied any role in the death of Otto Warmbier, a University of Virginia student who was detained in Pyongyang, North Korea, in 2016 and died after being returned to the U.S. in a comatose state a year later.

"I will take him at his word," Trump said of Kim's claim to noninvolvement in Warmbier's treatment. "He knew the case very well. But he knew it later."

The backlash was immediate, with a number of Republicans joining Democrats in condemning Trump's decision to take the side of a leader with a long, violent history of suppressing dissent.

"Americans know the cruelty that was placed on Otto Warmbier by the North Korean regime," Nikki HaleyNimrata (Nikki) HaleyThe Memo: GOP mulls its future after Trump O'Brien on 2024 talk: 'There's all kinds of speculation out there' New administration, House turnover raise prospects for more diversity on K Street MORE, Trump's former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, tweeted Thursday.

Pelosi said she hadn't heard Trump's remarks on the Warmbier tragedy. But she questioned more generally why the president would choose to believe figures like Kim and Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom she characterized as "thugs."

"The president has believed Putin as opposed to believing his own intelligence leadership," Pelosi said, referring to Moscow's interference in the 2016 elections.

"So, again, I didn't know the president had said that, but it's strange," she continued. "And I don't know — there's something wrong with Putin, Kim Jong Un, in my view, thugs, that the president chooses to believe."