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Clapper disputes Trump claim that Obama wanted to meet with Kim

Clapper disputes Trump claim that Obama wanted to meet with Kim
© Greg Nash

Former Director of National Intelligence James ClapperJames Robert ClapperThe biggest example of media malfeasance in 2020 is... Meet Biden's pick to lead the US intelligence community The new marshmallow media in the Biden era MORE on Sunday disputed President TrumpDonald TrumpSenators given no timeline on removal of National Guard, Capitol fence Democratic fury with GOP explodes in House Georgia secretary of state withholds support for 'reactionary' GOP voting bills MORE’s claim that North Korean leader Kim Jong UnKim Jong UnUnholy war: The few evangelicals who stood up to Trump Trump offered North Korea's Kim a ride home on Air Force One: report North Korea continued work on nuclear program despite sanctions, UN says MORE refused a meeting with Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaTrump and Obama: The odd couple who broke 'extended deterrence' for the Indo-Pacific The US is ripe for climate-friendly diets Obama says he once broke a classmate's nose for calling him a racial slur MORE when he was president.

A puzzled look came over Clapper’s face during an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” when he saw a clip of Trump claiming that "President Obama wanted to meet, and Chairman Kim would not meet him."

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"The Obama administration was begging for a meeting. They were begging for meetings constantly, and Chairman Kim would not meet with him," Trump added during a news conference earlier Sunday with South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

Clapper flatly denied that claim.

“In all the deliberations that I participated in on North Korea during the Obama administration, I can recall no instance whatever where President Obama ever indicated any interest whatsoever in meeting with Chairman Kim,” Clapper said. “That’s news to me.”

Trump’s claim was also disputed earlier in the day by Obama’s deputy national security adviser.

“Trump is lying. I was there for all 8 years. Obama never sought a meeting with Kim Jong Un. Foreign policy isn’t reality television it’s reality,” Ben Rhodes tweeted.

Clapper on CNN, however, acknowledged that it was historic for Trump to become the first U.S. president to set foot on North Korean soil during a visit on Sunday to the Demilitarized Zone.

“I think it’s a great historic moment, almost to the day of the 27th of July, marks the 66th anniversary of the beginning of the armistice,” he said.

But Clapper said he did not think Trump’s visit is a breakthrough moment in negotiations between the U.S. and North Korea on arms control.

“I personally don’t believe the North Koreans have long term any intent to denuclearize,” he said. “Why should they? It’s their ticket to survival, and they’re just not going to do that.”