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North Korea’s top three military officials have been removed from their posts,

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – North Korea’s top three military officials have been removed from their posts, a senior U.S. official said on Sunday, as U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un prepare to meet on June 12 in Singapore.

The U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, was commenting on a report by South Korea’s Yonhap news agency that all three of the North’s top military officials were believed to have been replaced.

Trump on Friday revived the summit after canceling it a week earlier. The United States is seeking a negotiated end to North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.

U.S. officials believe there was some dissension in the military about Kim’s approaches to South Korea and the United States.

The U.S. official did not identify the three military officials. Yonhap identified them as defense chief Pak Yong Sik; Ri Myong Su, chief of the Korean People’s Army’s (KPA) general staff; and Kim Jong Gak, director of the KPA’s General Political Bureau.

Trump wants North Korea to “denuclearize,” meaning to get rid of its nuclear arsenal, in return for relief from economic sanctions. North Korea’s leadership is believed to regard nuclear weapons as crucial to its survival.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks during The first enlarged meeting of the seventh Central Military Commission of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK), in this undated photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang May 18, 2018. KCNA/via REUTERS

Citing an unnamed intelligence official, Yonhap said No Kwang Chol, first vice minister of the Ministry of People’s Armed Forces, had replaced Pak Yong Sik as defense chief, while Ri Myong Su was replaced by his deputy, Ri Yong Gil.

The White House, State Department, CIA and Office of the Director of National Intelligence did not immediately respond to requests for official comment.

South Korea’s unification and defense ministries declined to confirm the report, while an official at the Unification Ministry said the government was watching the leadership situation in the North very closely.

All of the newly promoted officials are younger than their predecessors, according to Yonhap, especially Ri Yong Gil, 63, who is 21 years younger than Ri Myong Su.

“This points to two things: the consolidation of Kim Jong Un’s power as the sole leader of North Korea and strengthened cooperation between the North’s party and military as the country works towards further economic development,” said Yang Moo-jin, professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul.

“They’re all young but capable people,” Yang added.

Army General Kim Su Gil’s replacement of Kim Jong Gak as director of the KPA’s General Political Bureau was confirmed in a North Korean state media report last month when Kim Su Gil accompanied North Korea’s Kim Jong Un on a field guidance trip to a beach tourist zone with other officials.

Lower-level U.S.-North Korean talks to prepare for the summit are continuing but have made only “halting progress,” according to a second U.S. official briefed on the discussions.

That official said U.S. negotiators’ efforts to press for definitions of immediate, comprehensive, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization by North Korea had run into opposition from the White House.

FILE PHOTO: A North Korean flag flies on a mast at the Permanent Mission of North Korea in Geneva October 2, 2014. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo

In a remarkable shift in tone eight days after canceling the summit, citing Pyongyang’s “open hostility,” Trump welcomed North Korea’s former intelligence chief, Kim Yong Chol, to the White House on Friday, afterward exchanging smiles and handshakes.

(This version of the story has been refiled to fix typographical error in spelling of analyst’s name in paragraph 11)

(Reporting by John Walcott in Washington; Additional reporting by Christine Kim in Seoul; Writing by Arshad Mohammed; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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FACT CHECK: Did President Obama lie about his knowledge of Hillary Clinton using a private email address

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BNL News tweeted that President Obama ‘lied’ about his knowledge of Hillary Clinton using a private email address

However this claim is misleading,

News reports from that period back up the claim Obama denied knowledge of the use of a private email however The White House clarified that he was referring to his knowledge of the fact that she ran it out of her home.

New York Times Report (Click To View)

However the White House later clarified that Obama was referring to Clinton’s apparently lack of compliance with State Department rules by not submitting the communications as formal records for nearly six years.

“Yes, he was aware of her email address. He traded emails with her,” Earnest said. “But he was not aware of her personal email server or that she was using it exclusively for all her business.”

Time Report (Click to View)

A FactCheck.org article goes through this in depth, Click Here To Read

NewsThisSecond rates the claim misleading due to the tweet suggesting former President Obama lied.

 

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READ: Inspector General Report on Justice Department, FBI, Clinton emails

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READ:House GOP interim findings on Clinton email investigation

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A Republican-authored document detailing some of the preliminary findings of a joint investigation by the House Judiciary and Oversight committees into the Hillary Clinton email investigation.

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