“You may think these questions are silly, but when someone works for their entire career for the state ministry and they are gossiped about lying and fired for good reason, they send out a message that couldn’t be clearer to other state ministry officials,” Kaine said. “And it can just be a big joke – I mean, hey, look at you with a smile and a laugh and he calls it stupid.” I don’t think it’s stupid Marie Yovanovitch or the people who work for you. “
Pompeo also defended the Trump administration’s approach to Russia, as well as its pressure to expel the Inspector General, reassuring criticism from Senate Democrats.
Pompeo outlined several steps the administration had taken, including imposing sanctions on leading Russians to protect the United States from efforts to disinform the Kremlin and other measures.
However, citing concerns about the classification, Pompeo would not specifically say whether he pushed his Russian colleagues on allegations that Moscow was offering a reward to the Afghan Taliban to kill US troops. More generally, he insisted that the State Ministry raises all issues concerning Russia.
“I can assure you and the American people that every time I speak [Russian Foreign Minister Sergey] Lavrov, I have raised all the issues that threaten any American interests, be it our troops on the ground in Syria, the troops on the ground in Afghanistan, the activities taking place in Libya, the events in Ukraine, “Pompeo said at a meeting of the Foreign Affairs Committee. relations of the Senate.
Pompeo̵7;s comments followed a confirmation from President Donald Trump in a recent interview that he did not address the issue of reward in talks with Russian leader Vladimir Putin. Trump indicated that he did not believe in reward reports and that intelligence was not definitive.
It was the first time in more than a year that Pompeo had appeared before a Republican-led Senate committee. The hearing was supposed to be about Trump’s latest request for a budget for the state ministry – he again proposed massive cuts that Congress certainly ignores – but senators took the opportunity to ask Pompeo about a number of foreign policy issues.
In particular, the Democrats imprisoned the secretary and argued that the state ministry was fighting under his leadership. Earlier this week, Democratic committee members issued a report highlighting the department’s numerous problems, including the number of vacancies in key positions.
“It seems the best people don’t want to work for you,” Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey told Pompe on Thursday.
Pompeo rejected moral concerns at the ministry. He also accuses democratic senators, especially Menendez, of filling candidates for vacancies. Democrats say the candidates are unqualified or otherwise wrong.
Pompeo also faced questions about his decision to ask the president to fire Inspector General Inspector Steve Linick. Trump expelled Linick in mid-May. Linick happened to be supervising two probes that looked at Pompeo’s behavior.
Pompeo again insisted on Thursday that he knew of only one of the investigations, pointing to a probe in his decision to push arms sales to Saudi Arabia, despite opposition from Congress. The second probe is whether Pompeo and his wife Susan misused state resources.
In defense of the guard dog fire, Pompeo claimed that Linick was not doing a good job and did not support the state ministry mission.
He claimed on Thursday that Linick had failed to properly monitor the ministry’s funding. He claimed, for example, that the Inspector General’s Office had conducted fewer audits of diplomatic posts worldwide. He also insisted that Linick’s office had low morale.
“He refused to take care of his team in important ways,” Pompeo said of Linick.
Linick told lawmakers that his release surprised him. In recent months, he has been one of several inspectors general fired by Trump. According to Democrats, the president’s attempt is to escape responsibility.