From NBC's Libby Leist
Hillary Clinton's spokesman Ian Kelly said today that scheduling conflicts are the reason the secretary of state won't participate in the meeting on North Korea between President Obama and her husband, former President Bill Clinton in the Situation Room this afternoon.
Kelly pushed back any suggestion that it was suspicious for Clinton not to be there. He insisted that it is "simply a matter of trying to juggle schedules." Clinton is scheduled to meet with the Colombian foreign minister and hold a news conference about the same time as the Obama-Bill Clinton meeting.
Instead, Clinton has designated her chief of staff Cheryl Mills to attend the meeting. According to Clinton aides, Mills played a key role in planning Bill Clinton's mission to North Korea and Clinton thinks Mills is the "appropriate" person to participate today because of that role.
As to what Bill Clinton has told the secretary of state about his visit to North Korea and the condition of Kim Jong Il, Kelly said he has "no doubt" the former president has briefed his wife, but he wouldn't go beyond that.
"It's our longstanding policy not to discuss the substance of conversations between the secretary and either of the two presidents she deals with," he said, "one former, one present."