Donald Trump's statement on Thursday that he believes in Kim Jong Un when he says he knew nothing about the torture of American student Otto Warmbier in North Korea triggered a series of negative reactions in the United States.
 The American president apparently backed the position of the North Korean leader in the case of Warmbier, a student who died when he returned from North Korea in 2017.
 A US judge ordered Pyongyang in 2018 to pay a $ 501 million compensation for Warmbier's death - which was released by North Korea in a coma and died days later in the United States - considering that the university was likely to have been subjected to the torture.
 "He knew the case very well but found out later," Trump said about Kim at the conclusion of his nuclear summit in Hanoi, adding that when Warmbier was detained he was followed by "some horrible things."
 Kim "told me he had not heard anything about it, and I believe his word," said the president, who has been developing a close relationship with Kim as part of his dialogue for the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
 His comments on Warmbier raised a wave of condemnation among Democratic congressmen who see in the gesture the president's latest example of accepting the denials of autocratic leaders such as Russian Vladimir Putin or Saudi prince Mohamed bin Salman.
 House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she thought there was something "wrong" in the president if he chose "ruffians" like Putin or Kim instead of the American intelligence community.
"Otto Warmbier's false arrest and brutal murder were international incidents, of course Kim knew that," Senator Mark Warner, the Democratic Senate's top Democrat, said on Twitter.
 "Apparently, the president of the United States is the only one who believes this lie so obvious," he added.
 Warmbier, a student at the University of Virginia, traveled to North Korea, but did not return home. He was arrested in that country on charges of crimes against the state for allegedly removing a signal in support of leader Kim Jong Un.
 When he finally returned to the United States in 2017, after 17 months in prison, he was connected to a feeding tube and made incomprehensible noises, as noted in the court decision. He was blind and deaf, and his eyes were swollen and a few days later he died.
 North Korea has denied Warmbier ill-treatment and said he contracted botulism while in detention.
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