Garrett Graff: “Many of those around Donald Trump had evinced a certain moral or political flexibility, but few have eclipsed the purely distilled, cynical hypocrisy of Mike Pompeo. As a Tea Party, Koch-backed congressman, he built his political reputation almost solely on two issues: lambasting Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about the Benghazi attack and her email server and, more broadly, attacking the Obama administration’s Iran deal at every turn.”
“Now, though, Pompeo—who in April passed his two-year mark as the nation’s top diplomat—has spent much of the last year mired in a widening series of questions about his own leadership of the State Department and alleged use of taxpayer resources for personal errands and to bolster his own political ambitions…”
“For a politician who spent years in Congress railing about the misuse of government funds and proper behavior, it’s a remarkable turn-about. Amid the controversaries, time and again, Secretary Mike Pompeo has conveniently taken stances that Congressman Mike Pompeo never would have tolerated.”
“Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was a driving force behind President Trump’s decision to kill a top Iranian general, a high-stakes move that demonstrates Pompeo’s status as the most influential national security official in the Trump administration,” CNN reports.
“According to multiple sources close to Pompeo, the secretary of state has believed throughout his career that Iran is at the root of all the Middle East’s problems and has focused on Soleimani, Iran’s ‘shadow commander,’ as the mastermind behind the country’s state sponsored terrorism throughout the region.”
“Revelations that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was unwilling to defend career State Department officials under political attack have damaged his standing within the Department and devastated morale there,” CNN reports.
Daily Beast: “When Rudy Giuliani appeared on cable news programs last week, he hammered home one talking point over and over again: The State Department knew he was trying to dig up dirt on Joe Biden and his son Hunter.”
“Giuliani’s on-air appearances threw the department into a tizzy, forcing Mike Pompeo to try to put a lid on the crisis of confidence bubbling up under him. For Pompeo, solving the problem meant finding someone to blame—and there was only one individual who fit the mold: former U.S. representative for Ukraine negotiations Kurt Volker.”
“Several U.S. officials told The Daily Beast the former Ukraine negotiator said openly that he was not ready to leave his position… Volker is set to go to Capitol Hill on Thursday with the backing of a cadre of current and former diplomats.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo vowed to block efforts to “bully” State Department officials to testify about President Trump pressuring Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The Washington Post reports that those officials will not show up for their depositions this week.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “downplayed climate change as a longstanding trend, suggesting that that modern societies could adapt to a changing environment, possibly with people moving to different places,” CNN reports.
Said Pompeo: “The climate’s been changing a long time. There’s always changes that take place.”
He added: “Societies reorganize, we move to different places, we develop technology and innovation. I am convinced, I am convinced that we will do the things necessary as the climate changes.”
“Secretary of State Michael Pompeo made scant progress persuading European Union counterparts to take a harder line toward Iran during a quick visit to Brussels, with the EU standing behind the nuclear accord abandoned by Washington — and warning of a potential military conflict,” Bloomberg reports.
“Pompeo presented what the U.S. says is fresh intelligence on the threat posed by Iran in meetings with counterparts from the three EU nations that joined the landmark 2015 accord that President Trump abandoned a year ago. The top U.S. diplomat received a cool initial response to the surprise visit as foreign ministers from the 28-member bloc convened in the Belgian capital.”
“Secretary of State Mike Pompeo abruptly canceled a scheduled trip to Germany where he was planning to meet with Chancellor Angela Merkel ‘due to pressing issues,'” CNN reports.
“No specific reason was given for the cancellation. The press pool traveling with Pompeo has not been told where they are going next, and have been warned they may not be able to report from the country they are going to until after they leave.”
“Only Congress can declare war. You do not have our permission to go to war with Iran.”
— Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), quoted by CBS News, to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
“President Trump has dismissed the prospect of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo leaving his post to run for a Senate seat, even as Pompeo has signaled that he is open to the possibility,” the Washington Post reports.
Trump said Pompeo told him he was not leaving his current position and voiced confidence that he would not bolt to pursue a Senate seat in Kansas: “I asked him the question the other day. He says he’s absolutely not leaving. I don’t think he’d do that. And he doesn’t want to be lame duck.”
In a phone call with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell last month, Pompeo “had not shut the door on the possibility of a run.”
“Fear that Kris Kobach will capture the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate is driving the effort to recruit Secretary of State Mike Pompeo into the race,” the Kansas City Star reports.
Said GOP steategist David Kensinger: “No one wants to relive the disaster that was the Kobach campaign.”
“Kensinger said attempts to entice Pompeo, who is fourth in line to the presidency as the nation’s top diplomat, to run to replace the retiring Roberts can absolutely be traced to concerns about a possible Senate run by Kobach, the party’s 2018 nominee for governor.”
First Read: “But what does it say about working in the Trump administration that Pompeo running for the Senate is even a possibility? Normally, it’s the other way around – a senator becomes a secretary of state.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “is slated to meet with veteran Republican strategist Ward Baker on Sunday afternoon to discuss a possible 2020 run for the vacant Kansas Senate seat,” Politico reports.
“Pompeo and Baker are expected to talk about what a Senate campaign would entail. Baker has deep political experience, having served as National Republican Senatorial Committee executive director during the 2016 election cycle. During the 2018 midterms, he helped to spearhead Tennessee Republican Marsha Blackburn’s successful Senate bid. He is also close to McConnell.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “hinted that Rod Rosenstein could be in jeopardy, after reports on Friday said the deputy attorney general discussed wearing a wire to record conversations with Donald Trump and the possibility of invoking the 25th amendment to remove the president,” the Guardian reports.
Said Pompeo: “If you can’t be on the team, if you’re not supporting this mission, then maybe you just ought to find something else to do.”
Asked by Fox News host Chris Wallace if Rosenstein’s reported behavior would constitute “being on the team,” Pompeo said: “Not remotely.”
Politico: Trumpworld divided on Rosenstein – not whether to fire him, but when.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blasted his predecessor, John Kerry, for holding “beyond inappropriate” private meetings with Iranian officials, asserting that Kerry was undermining U.S. foreign policy in an “unprecedented” manner, Politico reports.
Said Pompeo: “What Secretary Kerry has done is unseemly and unprecedented. This is a former secretary of state engaged with the largest state sponsor of terror.”
Pakistan has called for the United States to amend what its foreign ministry described as a “factually incorrect” account of a phone call between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and new Prime Minister Imran Khan, Reuters reports.
The State Department readout of the call said Pompeo wished Khan success and also asked Khan to take “decisive action against all terrorists operating in Pakistan.”
Said a Pakistani spokesman: “Pakistan takes exception to the factually incorrect statement issued by U.S. State Dept on today’s phone call. There was no mention at all in the conversation about terrorists operating in Pakistan. This should be immediately corrected.”
Wichita Eagle: “The beige-and-white storage units in Wichita – as well as nearly $1 million earning interest in Pompeo’s still-active campaign account – serve as a reminder that the former Kansas businessman may have powered down his political machine, but he’s keeping it tuned and ready for a potential future run.”
“To those back in Kansas who’ve monitored Pompeo’s political career, the question isn’t whether he will run again for elected office but when and for which one.”
“The Senate on Thursday easily confirmed Mike Pompeo as the nation’s 70th secretary of state, elevating the current C.I.A. director and an outspoken foreign policy hawk to be the nation’s top diplomat,” the New York Times reports.
“His agenda is already packed, with crucial deadlines in the coming weeks involving Russia, North Korea, Syria and Venezuela. And he must face these challenges while trying to a repair a State Department damaged under the tenure of Rex W. Tillerson, his predecessor, and with crucial alliances frayed during the Trump presidency.”
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