North Korea might have met its match, butting up against President Donald Trump and his unconventional ways, the director of national intelligence during the Obama-era suggested Sunday.
Trump did a good job handling the potential summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, James Clapper said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Clapper has been a frequent critic of the president’s often-belligerent attitude toward the intelligence community.
“I support the letter that President Trump sent to Kim Jong Un. I think it was a good thing to do,” Clapper said, referring to a letter Trump wrote Friday telling Kim he was cancelling a long-awaited meeting between the two leaders.
Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper on the cancelled North Korea summit: “Having gone this far, there’s value in meeting and greeting, gripping and grinning, and just establishing a rapport” #CNNSOTU https://t.co/r5xvwG3Jk2
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) May 27, 2018
“I was very much looking forward to being there with you,” Trump wrote in the letter. “Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting.”
North Korea called the move regrettable while expressing a strong desire for dialogue.
North Korea “would like to make known to the U.S. side once again that we have the intent to sit with the U.S. side to solve [the] problem regardless of ways at any time,” the North Korean foreign ministry said in an official statement.
The North’s “warm” and “productive” response led Trump to reconsider his decision to cancel the summit.
Trump initially cancelled the June 12 summit after Kim raised objections late Thursday about joint military exercises on the North Korean border between the U.S. and South Korea.
Kim had not previously noted any concerns about the exercises.
The North Korean leader’s actions are not surprising, Clapper said.
“In some ways, Kim Jong Un may have met his match here with our very unconventional president,” he said.
Clapper’s praise for the president’s handling of North Korea talks comes at a weird time for Clapper, who found himself defending the use of an FBI informant inside the Trump campaign during the election.
Obama had “no knowledge” of an FBI informant, Clapper said Friday. He also said “it’s a good thing” there was an informant inside Trump’s inner circle during the election cycle, and Trump should be glad there was a mole embedded in the campaign to defend him from Russian tinkering.
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