Dem lawmaker to introduce bill blaming Kim Jong Un for Otto Warmbier's death

Dem lawmaker to introduce bill blaming Kim Jong Un for Otto Warmbier's death

Rep. Tom MalinowskiThomas (Tom) MalinowskiCracks form in Democratic dam against impeachment Cracks form in Democratic dam against impeachment California Democrat in swing district calls for Trump impeachment inquiry MORE (D-N.J.) announced Friday he intends to introduce a bill officially blaming North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for the death of U.S. student Otto Warmbier. 

“I’ll be introducing a bipartisan resolution next week affirming that Congress holds Kim Jong Un responsible for the death of Otto Warmbier,” Malinowski tweeted.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpBooker hits Biden's defense of remarks about segregationist senators: 'He's better than this' Booker hits Biden's defense of remarks about segregationist senators: 'He's better than this' Trump says Democrats are handing out subpoenas 'like they're cookies' MORE sparked a furor when he said he believed Kim was unaware of Warmbier’s treatment.

The student was detained in North Korea for allegedly taking a poster while studying there in 2016. He was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor but returned to the United States in a comatose state in 2017 and died shortly after. 

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“He tells me he didn’t know about it, and I take him at his word,” Trump said Thursday during a denuclearization summit with Kim.

Republicans on Capitol Hill were quick to pan the remark, expressing skepticism that the North Korean leader was unaware of the circumstances around a high-profile prisoner.

“I personally find that statement extremely hard to believe,” said Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSenate confirms Trump judicial nominee criticized for being hostile to LGBT community Senate confirms Trump judicial nominee criticized for being hostile to LGBT community GOP frets about Trump's poll numbers MORE (R-Maine).

“We can’t be naive about what they did to Otto, about the brutal nature of the regime that would do this to an American citizen,” Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanSenate panel advances bill to protect government devices against cyber threats Senate panel advances bill to protect government devices against cyber threats House passes bill to establish DHS cyber 'first responder' teams MORE (R-Ohio) warned. “I can’t tell you specifically who was knowledgeable of it but I would assume it goes straight to the top.” 

Trump backtracked his statements Friday, saying he had been “misinterpreted” and that he “of course” holds North Korea accountable for Warmbier’s death.