On Friday US comedian Bill Maher invited New York Times columnist Charles Blow, Democratic Rep. Katie Porter, and national security analyst Clint Watts as members of a guest expert panel on his HBO show. Speaking in a dead serious tone, he recalled dubious US media reports saying that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ordered the execution of the entire team responsible for nuclear talks with President Trump.
Maher asked his guests to speculate on what would happen if Trump killed his own negotiation team — namely US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton.
"What if Trump killed his negotiating team," Maher asked, sparking a burst of laughter from the audience. "What if he killed Mike Pompeo and John Bolton?"
"Is that a real question," Blow asked, bewildered.
"Yes, it is. What would [GOP Sen.] Lindsey Graham do? What would [Fox News host] Sean Hannity do?" Maher said.
Clint Watts was the only one who came up with something to say.
"Would this bring us to some sort of stability, where everything was calm or would it make everything worse?" he mulled.
Trump seeks to strike a deal with Pyongyang that would lead to the total denuclearization of the hermit state. During the second round of talks in Vietnam in February, Trump abruptly ended negotiations and left Hanoi early.
"They wanted the sanctions lifted in entirety, and we couldn't do that," Trump said after the failed talks, adding that North Korea wanted all sanctions removed in exchange for closing only one nuclear facility.