Bolton: US 'absolutely' did not pay for Warmbier's release

Bolton: US 'absolutely' did not pay for Warmbier's release
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National security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonCongress has a shot at correcting Trump's central mistake on cybersecurity The 'pitcher of warm spit' — Veepstakes and the fate of Mike Pence Senate-passed defense spending bill includes clause giving DHS cyber agency subpoena power MORE said Sunday that the U.S. "absolutely" did not pay North Korea for the release of Otto Warmbier, but confirmed that a U.S. envoy did sign a pledge agreeing to make a payment.

“Absolutely not. And I think that’s the key point. The president’s been very successful in getting 20-plus hostages released from imprisonment around the world and hasn’t paid anything for any of them," Bolton said during an interview on "Fox News Sunday."


Bolton added, however, that Joseph Yun, a State Department envoy sent to retrieve Warmbier from North Korea in 2017, signed a pledge to pay the country for Warmbier's release. 

“That is what I am told, yes," Bolton said.

Bolton's remarks come after The Washington Post reported last week that North Korea issued a $2 million bill to the U.S. for the hospital care of Warmbier and that Yun signed a pledge saying the U.S. would pay the bill. The Post reported that it was unclear whether the bill was ultimately paid.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpWhite House sued over lack of sign language interpreters at coronavirus briefings Wife blames Trump, lack of masks for husband's coronavirus death in obit: 'May Karma find you all' Trump authorizes reduced funding for National Guard coronavirus response through 2020 MORE on Friday also denied that the U.S. paid any money to North Korea for Warmbier.

"No money was paid to North Korea for Otto Warmbier, not two Million Dollars, not anything else," he tweeted. 

North Korea in 2016 sentenced Otto Warmbier to 15 years of hard labor, and the former University of Virginia student fell into a coma shortly thereafter. Warmbier was still in a coma when he was returned to the U.S. in 2017 and died without regaining consciousness.