US President Donald Trump rejected his own security agencies' information on North Korea's missiles, saying instead that he trusts Russian President Vladimir Putin, former FBI acting director Andrew McCabe told the CBS programme 60 Minutes.
McCabe, who was fired in March 2018, claimed that Trump "launched into several unrelated diatribes" during one of the meetings on the weapons capability of North Korea. According to McCabe, he did not attend the meeting with Trump and his FBI colleague told him about it later.
"One of those [diatribes] was commenting on the recent missile launches by the government of North Korea. And, essentially, the president said he did not believe that the North Koreans had the capability to hit us here with ballistic missiles in the United States. And he did not believe that because President Putin had told him […] that the North Koreans don't actually have those missiles," McCabe argued.
He added that intelligence officials at the meeting responded by saying that it was out of sync with "any of the intelligence our government possesses" to which the president replied, "I don't care. I believe Putin".
McCabe admitted that he was shocked when he found about the president’s alleged remarks, which he said was "just an astounding thing to say".
"To be confronted with an absolute disbelief in those efforts and an unwillingness to learn the true state of affairs that he has to deal with every day was just shocking", he noted.
In January, Reuters cited a report by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) as saying the DPRK's Sino-ri missile operating base allegedly serves as the HQ for developing ballistic missiles capable of reaching other countries, including South Korea, Japan, and even the US territory of Guam in the Western Pacific.
On 12 June 2018, Trump met North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore, in a first-ever bilateral summit.
The two men clinched a joint declaration, in which Kim pledged to work towards the complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula, while Trump pledged to provide certain security guarantees to North Korea.