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Sen. Warner asks intelligence chief if Trump's North Korea claims are true

The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee has asked the head of U.S. intelligence to assess whether North Korea's posture and actions regarding denuclearization match up with the Trump administration's claims. 

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Mark Warner, D-Virginia, wrote to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats on Thursday, asking him to answer a number of questions related to North Korea's progress, in light of statements made by President Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. 

Warner highlighted the June 12 summit document from Mr. Trump and Kim in which Kim reaffirmed his commitment towards complete denuclearization, Pompeo's comment earlier this week that the U.S. had "detailed, substantive" conversations about total denuclearization, and Mr. Trump's tweet after the summit in Singapore declaring "there is no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea."

"I am writing to ask whether the public pronouncements from this administration regarding North Korea align with the intelligence community's assessments on Kim Jong Un's willingness to make concessions on verifiable denuclearization," Warner wrote to Coats. 

Specifically, Warner asked Coats to provide an assessment on the following by July 27:

  • Kim's willingness to take concrete steps towards significantly reducing the country's nuclear weapons stockpile 
  • Kim's willingness to accept the "intrusive" inspections needed to verify North Korea has abandoned its program
  • What that "complete, verifiable and irreversible" denuclearization process would look like, from the perspective of the intelligence community
  • A description of how North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs pose a threat to the U.S. and her allies 

The president says he believes the North Korean leader wants to denuclearize, and that he "trusts" him. But the president's optimistic outlook about North Korea's willingness to denuclearize and steps in that direction have been brought into question, after an NBC report claiming North Korea has been expanding a nuclear facility. 

When Pompeo most recently visited North Korea, he did not meet with Kim, as he has in the past, and North Korea issued a scathing statement claiming the U.S. is violating the spirit of the Singapore summit and issuing "gangster-like" demands. 

  • Kathryn Watson

    Kathryn Watson is a politics reporter for CBS News Digital.