Mike Pompeo

Pompeo Seen As Likely Presidential Candidate

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.”

Pompeo Easily Confirmed as Secretary of State

“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.”

Trump Convinced Paul to Support Pompeo Nomination

“President Trump personally intervened to convince a committed Republican naysayer to back Mike Pompeo for secretary of state, possibly securing the backing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for a favored adviser whose committee vote, if not his ultimate confirmation, seemed in grave jeopardy,” the Washington Post reports.

“Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who pledged to oppose Pompeo the day after he was nominated, tweeted about Trump’s outreach and his newfound support for Pompeo on Monday just moments before the committee vote started, seemingly saving face for the nominee, who was expected to fail the panel vote but secure the support of the full Senate later this week.”

Pompeo Still Doesn’t Have Votes for Confirmation

Jonathan Swan: “If Paul and Flake vote no, they’ll need two red state Democrats to vote yes. They’ve already got Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), and Republicans involved tell me they’re optimistic about getting Joe Manchin (D-WV), Doug Jones (D-AL), and Joe Donnelly (D-IN).”

The Pompeo confirmation process has been revealing — and has shown the White House how difficult it will be for Trump to get anybody confirmed should he fire any more cabinet secretaries. It was only a little over a year ago that the Senate voted 66-32 to confirm Pompeo as CIA chief; and now his vote is down to the wire.”

Top Senate Democrat Will Vote ‘No’ on Pompeo

Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), the top Democrat on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he will oppose President Trump’s nomination of Mike Pompeo as secretary of state, “making it unlikely he will have the committee’s backing before the full Senate votes,” Reuters reports.

“Pompeo, currently director of the Central Intelligence Agency, can still be confirmed by the full Senate without the committee’s support. However, he would be the first secretary of state nominee, at least since such votes were made public in 1925, not to win the panel’s backing.”

Related for members: Why the Pompeo Secret Mission Leaked

Pompeo Secretly Met with Kim Jong Un

CIA Director Mike Pompeo “made a top-secret visit to North Korea over Easter weekend as an envoy for President Trump to meet with that country’s leader, Kim Jong Un,” the Washington Post reports.

“The extraordinary meeting between one of Trump’s most trusted emissaries and the authoritarian head of a rogue state was part of an effort to lay the groundwork for direct talks between Trump and Kim about North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, according to the two people, who requested anonymity because of the highly classified nature of the talks.”

Pompeo and Haspel Face Confirmation Headwinds

Wall Street Journal: “Mike Pompeo, the current CIA director and Mr. Trump’s pick to be the next secretary of state, is in danger of receiving an unfavorable committee recommendation, over concerns that his past hawkish statements complicate his ability to conduct diplomacy. While the full Senate could still vote to confirm him, that would mark the first time in more than 70 years the chamber would have bypassed a committee to do so.”

“Gina Haspel, the nominee to lead the CIA and now the agency’s deputy director, is expected to face questions about her involvement in a post-9/11 interrogation program that detractors say amounted to torture. Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.) said he would oppose her nomination over her role in the interrogation program, while Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.)—who was tortured while a prisoner of war in Vietnam—has asked for additional details about Ms. Haspel’s involvement. Several other Republicans have told The Wall Street Journal they have concerns about Ms. Haspel and haven’t decided whether to support her nomination.”

GOP Will Push Forward on Pompeo Nomination

“Senate Republican leaders are pressing ahead with plans for a floor vote on CIA Director Mike Pompeo’s nomination as secretary of state as soon as next week, despite the prospect of his getting an unfavorable recommendation in committee,” Politico reports.

“After a confirmation hearing marked by contentious exchanges with Democrats on the Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) — one of 15 members of the minority who backed Pompeo to lead the CIA — became the fifth Democrat on the panel to announce he would vote no. Coupled with opposition from Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), unified resistance to Pompeo from the committee’s 10 Democrats would deal him an unfavorable recommendation, but top Republicans are still vowing to ensure his confirmation.”

Paul Opposes Pompeo Nomination

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said that CIA Director Mike Pompeo’s earlier support for the Iraq war and defense of enhanced interrogation techniques — or ‘torture’ in the view of Paul and many other senators — is disqualifying for his nomination to be Secretary of State, Politico reports.

“And the Kentucky senator indicated he may be willing to filibuster both Pompeo’s nomination and CIA director nominee Gina Haspel, who he says is ‘gleeful’ in her defense of torture techniques.”

Trump Ousts Tillerson as Secretary of State

“President Trump has ousted Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and replaced him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo, orchestrating a major change to his national security team amid delicate negotiations with North Korea,” the Washington Post reports.

“Pompeo will replace him at the State Department, and Gina Hapsel — the deputy director at the CIA — will succeed him at the CIA, becoming the first woman to run the spy agency, if confirmed.”

New York Times: “Mr. Tillerson has been out of favor with Mr. Trump for months but had resisted being pushed out and vowed to remain on the job. But his distance from Mr. Trump’s inner circle was clear last week when the president accepted an invitation to meet with Mr. Kim, to the surprise of Mr. Tillerson, who was traveling in Africa at the time.”

North Korea Months Away from Being Able to Attack U.S.

CIA director Mike Pompeo told CBS News that North Korea is only “a handful of months” away from delivering an attack on the United States.

Said Pompeo: “We’ll never know the exact nature of what’s taking place…. The core risk is that North Korea’s nuclear weapons program is continuing to expand, advance, become more powerful, more capable, more reliable.”