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) MalinowskiVulnerable Democrats feel heat ahead of impeachment vote Democrats reach cusp of impeachment Pelosi's whiplash moment brings praise and criticism 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 TrumpRepublicans aim to avoid war with White House over impeachment strategy New York Times editorial board calls for Trump's impeachment Trump rips Michigan Rep. Dingell after Fox News appearance: 'Really pathetic!' 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 CollinsIs a trap being set for Trump in the Senate trial? The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by AdvaMed — House panel delays impeachment vote until Friday Senate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial 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 PortmanOn The Money: Trump, China announce 'Phase One' trade deal | Supreme Court takes up fight over Trump financial records | House panel schedules hearing, vote on new NAFTA deal Here are the Senate Republicans who could vote to convict Trump Lawmakers call for investigation into program meant to help student loan borrowers with disabilities 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.