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 ClapperEx-CIA chief worries campaigns falling short on cybersecurity Former DHS, intelligence leaders launch group to protect presidential campaigns from foreign interference Senate braces for brawl over Trump's spy chief MORE on Sunday disputed President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump watching 'very closely' as Portland braces for dueling protests WaPo calls Trump admin 'another threat' to endangered species Are Democrats turning Trump-like? MORE’s claim that North Korean leader Kim Jong UnKim Jong Un North Korea launches missile tests, insults South Korean president Trump crosses new line with Omar, Tlaib, Israel move North Korean media: New US missiles in South Korea would trigger 'new Cold War' MORE refused a meeting with Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaForget conventional wisdom — Bernie Sanders is electable 2020 Democrats fight to claim Obama's mantle on health care Obama shares summer reading list 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."

ADVERTISEMENT

"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.”