Pompeo Struggles To Distance Himself From Ukraine Scandal During Incredibly Painful Interview
Appearing on ABC on Sunday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hit a wall when confronted over his involvement in President Donald Trump’s Ukraine scandal.
ABC host George Stephanopoulos started off by asking Pompeo about White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney’s recent press conference.
Mulvaney has been at the center of the news cycle ever since he admitted there was a quid pro quo when President Donald Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his family. Mulvaney has tried to walk back those remarks, but the incident has drawn new scrutiny to Trump.
“I never saw that in the decision-making process that I was a part of,” Pompeo said. He went on to claim that “the people in Ukraine are safer and more secure” thanks to the actions of the Trump administration.
As Pompeo continued to distance himself from Mulvaney’s comments, Stephanopoulos continued to ask him if it was appropriate to hold back foreign aid in this situation.
“I’m not going to get into hypotheticals and secondary things based on what someone else has said,” Pompeo grumbled.
“Except it’s not a hypothetical,” Stephanopoulos responded. “The Chief of Staff said it did.”
Pompeo hesitated after that before once again calling it a “hypothetical” and insisting the administration’s dealings with Ukraine were appropriate.
Pompeo also insisted that he could not discuss President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, who has admitted having a role in talks with Ukraine.
“And we do know that so much — and this is by his own admission — that so much of this activity was being carried out by the president’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani,” ABC host George Stephanopoulos told Pompeo in a Sunday interview. “Was he acting with your blessing and supervision?”
“George, I’ve had one consistent policy as the Secretary of State to not talk about internal deliberations inside the administration,” Pompeo replied. “I’m not going to change that policy this morning.”
Stephanopoulos pointed out that Giuliani is ‘not a member of the administration.”
“This is the president’s personal lawyer who was pursuing this at the president’s direction and going around the normal State Department procedures,” the ABC host pressed.
“George, private citizens often are part of executing American foreign policy,” Pompeo fired back. “You know that. You lived that. You want to talk about Sydney Blumenthal for a while, George? I can go all day.”
“They generally have formal appointments,” Stephanopoulos observed. “They generally go through reviews for conflicts of interest. We now know that Rudy Giuliani, Mayor Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, was pursuing business interests in the Ukraine at the time he was acting as the president’s special envoy.
“I missed Sydney Blumenthal’s conflict of interest,” Pompeo said, ignoring the question. “You must have seen that.”
“Did you know what Rudy Giuliani was doing?” Stephanopoulos demanded to know.
“George, I don’t talk about internal deliberations inside the administration,” Pompeo repeated.
Watch the videos below from ABC.
JUST IN: "I'm not going to get into hypotheticals," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says when asked if it's appropriate to condition Ukraine aid on political investigation after Mick Mulvaney's comments.@GStephanopoulos: "Except it's not a hypothetical" https://t.co/vwL0GRcvq3 pic.twitter.com/VBBTvIVhAk
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) October 20, 2019
Here’s more from the interview:
Was Rudy Giuliani was acting with his blessing and supervision?
Mike Pompeo repeatedly says he won't discuss "internal deliberations inside the administration." pic.twitter.com/M8E81pNVCb
— 𝙰𝚗𝚊𝚋𝚎𝚕𝚕𝚎 (@DemocracyJourno) October 20, 2019