CIA Director Mike Pompeo met directly with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, The Washington Post reported Tuesday night. The Post reported the two met over Easter weekend, citing two people with direct knowledge of the trip.
The report comes after President Trump, meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at his club Mar-a-Lago in Florida,with North Korea at "extremely high levels." Mr. Trump said the U.S. is looking at "five" possible locations ahead of an intended meeting between the U.S. and North Korea about North Korea's nuclear weapons program.
"We've also started talking to North Korea directly. We have had direct talks at very high levels, extremely high levels, with North Korea," Mr. Trump said Tuesday. "I really believe there is a lot of good will, good things are happening — we'll see what happens."
Mr. Trump has nominated Pompeo to replace former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and the Post reports the meeting took place after Pompeo was nominated to be secretary of state.
Pompeo took part in a marathon, five-hour confirmation hearing last week before a Senate panel. In that confirmation hearing, Pompeo said he wants to keep up the pressure campaign on North Korea, and didn't rule out the possibility of a preemptive strike if absolutely necessary. Pompeo said he is optimistic that a diplomatic approach will "set us down the course to achieve a diplomatic outcome that America and the world so desperately need."
Pompeo's confirmation isn't entirely certain — a handful of Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, including Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire have said they will vote against him, and Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona said he is unsure. Democrats were taken aback by the report.
Sen. Chris Coons, D-Delaware, who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told CBS News' Nancy Cordes he had "no idea" Pompeo may have secretly met with Kim Jong Un.
If the report is true, Coons said, it could be a sign that the Trump administration is actually taking preparations for a Trump-Kim meeting seriously
"My key concern all along about the potential for a Trump-Kim Jong Un meeting is that Trump needs to really prepare and develop an agenda in consultation with key allies, diplomats and security advisors and open a direct line of communication," Coons said. "It's encouraging if Trump is meeting with Shinzo Abe of Japan and Pompeo has met in person with Kim to lay the groundwork, but there's much more to do, both in consultation and preparation. I think this makes it more important to stay in JCPOA with EU allies to show them we keep commitments and to show how an inspection regime can work to restrain a nuclear program. I'm also concerned by the signal ofso publicly mis-communicating about plans for new Russia sanctions. In the lead up to any negotiations with North Korea we will need Trump to be steady and his diplomatic and national security team to be all on one page."
The CIA had no comment on Tuesday night.
CBS News' Margaret Brennan has previously reported that the CIA has been the lead in a back channel line of communication.
This is a developing story and will be updated.