Mike Pompeo testifies on Russia and North Korea

By Veronica Rocha and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 7:00 p.m. ET, July 25, 2018
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4:01 p.m. ET, July 25, 2018

What Putin and Trump talked about in Helsinki

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was asked to describe what President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin talked about during their summit in Helsinki, Finland.

Here are some of the things Pompeo said they talked about:

  • The leaders made an agreement to establish a business-to-business leadership exchange.
  • The President talked about reestablishing counterterrorism council.
  • They talked about Syria and finding a "political resolution there."

And here's what they didn't talk about:

  • They didn't talk about sanctions on Russia.
  • No agreements were made on Ukraine.

Watch more:

3:35 p.m. ET, July 25, 2018

Pompeo: I told Russia "there will be severe consequences" for election interference

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo defended President Trump's meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki last week.

Pompeo said he personally "made clear that there will be severe consequences for interference in our democratic processes."

Trump's performance at the meeting drew criticism after he declined to endorse the US government's assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election, saying he doesn't "see any reason why" Russia would be responsible. (Trump later said he misspoke).

Here's how Pompeo put it just now:

"In Helsinki, we sought to explore whether Russia was interested in improving the relationship, but made clear that the ball is in Russia’s court. We defended America’s fundamental strategic interest in Syria and Ukraine, and I personally made clear to the Russians that there will be severe consequences for interference in our democratic processes."

3:38 p.m. ET, July 25, 2018

Pompeo: Trump has "complete and proper understanding" of Russia's attack on election

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, speaking before senators, told lawmakers that President Trump fully understands Russia's attack on the 2016 presidential election.

"Finally, I want you to know, President Trump has stated that he accepts our intelligence community's conclusion that Russia meddled in the 2016 election," Pompeo said.

"He has a complete and proper understanding of what happened," he added. "I know, I briefed him on it for over a year."

3:15 p.m. ET, July 25, 2018

Happening now: Pompeo testifies before lawmakers

Sen. Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, just opened the hearing where Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will testify.

In his opening statement, Corker shared his concerns about the Trump administration's conduct on foreign policy.

Here's a portion of what Corker said:

"You come before a group of senators here today that are filled with serious doubts about this White House and its conduct of American foreign policy. There are a number of reasons to be concerned. Among them is the lack of information the administration has provided to members of this committee. It's our hope that you will reduce our level of concern by providing us with clear answers that might help convince us that those at the White House know what they are doing and that to be candid you know what they are doing. I can't say it more forcefully, we really need a clear understanding as to what is going on, what our President is agreeing to and what our strategy is on a number of issues."

3:07 p.m. ET, July 25, 2018

Pompeo will talk tough on Russia in opening statement

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will defend the administration’s handling of Russia and the Helsinki summit, lay out what he says are a list of tough Trump administration responses to Russia, and say that US would not recognize Russia’s annexation of Crimea, according to a copy of his prepared remarks obtained by CNN.

Pompeo will also talk about the importance of NATO and take a tough stance on Iran.

From the statement:

"In Helsinki, we sought to explore whether Russia was interested in improving the relationship, but made clear that the ball is in Russia’s court.
We defended America’s fundamental strategic interests in Syria and Ukraine, and I personally made clear to the Russians that there will be severe consequences for interference in our democratic processes." 
He also declares “progress” in North Korea talks and says they will not let the talks drag out - and are engaged in “patient diplomacy”

Pompeo also says President Trump understands that Russia interfered in the 2016 elections, based on his many hours of briefings.

2:49 p.m. ET, July 25, 2018

5 key questions that will likely come up at today's hearing

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is likely to face tough questions from lawmakers at today's Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Here are a few questions that could come up:

  • President Trump met one-on-one with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki. Did the President tell him what the two leaders talked about and what was discussed?
  • The White House says the next summit between Trump and Putin won't happen until 2019 "after the Russia witch hunt is over." Does Pompeo, the former CIA director, believe special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into the Russia's attack on the 2016 election is a "witch hunt"?
  • Trump said Tuesday he is "very concerned" that Russia will look to impact the 2018 midterm elections and said he believes Moscow will look to boost Democrats this time. What is the US doing to safeguard the 2018 midterm elections and does Pompeo believe Putin is looking to boost Democrats?
  • Images show North Korea has started to dismantle key facilities at the satellite launch station. Analysts said the move represents "an important first step towards fulfilling a commitment" made by Kim during his summit with Trump. Does Pompeo think North Korea is making attempts to denuclearize?
  • Trump held a historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore last month, but the President has privately expressed frustration over the perceived lack of progress in talks, a US official told CNN. Have talks between the US and North Korea stalled?
2:49 p.m. ET, July 25, 2018

Pompeo: US will never recognize Crimea as part of Russia

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a statement Wednesday to reaffirm the United States' refusal to recognize Russia’s annexation of Crimea

"Through its actions, Russia has acted in a manner unworthy of a great nation and has chosen to isolate itself from the international community," Pompeo said.

Read his full statement:

"Russia, through its 2014 invasion of Ukraine and its attempted annexation of Crimea, sought to undermine a bedrock international principle shared by democratic states: that no country can change the borders of another by force. The states of the world, including Russia, agreed to this principle in the United Nations Charter, pledging to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state. This fundamental principle — which was reaffirmed in the Helsinki Final Act — constitutes one of the foundations upon which our shared security and safety rests. As we did in the Welles Declaration in 1940, the United States reaffirms as policy its refusal to recognize the Kremlin’s claims of sovereignty over territory seized by force in contravention of international law. In concert with allies, partners, and the international community, the United States rejects Russia’s attempted annexation of Crimea and pledges to maintain this policy until Ukraine’s territorial integrity is restored. The United States calls on Russia to respect the principles to which it has long claimed to adhere and to end its occupation of Crimea. As democratic states seek to build a free, just, and prosperous world, we must uphold our commitment to the international principle of sovereign equality and respect the territorial integrity of other states. Through its actions, Russia has acted in a manner unworthy of a great nation and has chosen to isolate itself from the international community."
2:25 p.m. ET, July 25, 2018

Mike Pompeo is testifying before a Senate committee today

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this afternoon.

He is expected to talk about President Trump's meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland, and the Trump administration's ongoing talks with North Korea, according to the committee's website.

Trump has yet to publicly discuss what he and Putin talked about their one-on-one meeting with translators.