North Korea, which has denied accusations by relatives that it tortured Warmbier, has said he was provided "medical treatments and care with all sincerity." A former U.S. official told The Associated Press on Thursday that a U.S. envoy sent to retrieve Warmbier signed an agreement to pay the $2 million on Trump's instructions. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive diplomatic matter. The Washington Post first reported the demand.
Trump dismissed the reports and insisted no money was paid. "We did not pay money for our great Otto," Trump told reporters at the White House. "There was no money paid. "There was a fake news report that money was paid. I haven't paid money for any hostage that I've gotten. We don't pay money for hostages. The Otto case was a very unusual case. But no money was paid for Otto."
North Korea has denied accusations by Warmbier's relatives that the student was tortured during captivity.
This story has been corrected to note that Warmbier died in 2017, not last year.