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Trump Links Cohen Hearing With Move to Abandon North Korea Talks

U.S. President Donald Trump, waves as he departs the stage during a news conference following the DPRK-USA Hanoi Summit in Hanoi, on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019. Trump’s second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un collapsed without an agreement between the two leaders, plunging future talks on North Korea's nuclear program into question. Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg

President Donald Trump said that the House hearing of his former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen contributed to his decision to walk away from negotiations with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, in a new explanation for the collapsed talks between the leaders.

Trump’s account on Sunday differed from his explanation last week, when the president said that he walked out of talks with Kim because the North Korean leader’s request for sanctions relief was unacceptable.

It remains unclear whether the Cohen hearing affected Trump’s thinking or Kim’s leverage. The White House didn’t immediately respond to request for comment on how the hearing contributed to the failure to reach an agreement.

On Wednesday, Cohen testified before the House Oversight and Reform Committee about Trump’s misdeeds, while the president was in Vietnam to negotiate with Kim. Trump told the press on Thursday that he had “tried to watch as much as I could” of the hearing. DM

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