Mike Pompeo testifies on Russia and North Korea
Our live coverage has ended. Scroll through the posts below to read more about today's hearing.
Sen. Ed Markey, member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said today's hearing with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo shed little light on what happened during President Trump's one-on-one meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki.
"At the end of the day, we now know more about the substance of the conversations between Donald Trump and Michael Cohen than we know about the substance of the conversation between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin," the Massachusetts Democrat said.
He added: "That's the dilemma that the American people have a right to know what the President is doing in their name in protecting the national security of our country."
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee just wrapped up a hearing, where Secretary of State Mike Pompeo testified.
Here are the key takeaways:
- On North Korea's nuclear weapons: Pompeo would not say publicly if North Korea is still moving forward with its nuclear program. He told senator he'd answer the question "in a different setting."
- On North Korea-US relations: When Sen. Ed Markey expressed concerns that the US was being "taken for a ride" by North Korea, Pompeo quickly responded, saying, "Fear not, senator. Fear not."
- On the Trump-Putin summit: Pompeo revealed some of the things that Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin talked about during their summit last week. He said they agreed to establish a business-to-business leadership exchange and talked about reestablishing counterterrorism council, but did not discuss sanctions on Russia.
- On Russian election interference: In his opening statement, Pompeo said the President believes Russia interfered in the 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."
Republican Sen. Bob Corker, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said President Trump's actions "create tremendous distrust in our nation, among our allies."
With those concerns in mind, he asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo: "What is it that causes the President to purposely ... create distrust in these institutions and what we are doing?"
Pompeo snapped back and said he disagreed with Corker.
He said the Trump administration has been "tougher than previous administrations."
"The idea that this administration is free floating, this is President Trump’s administration make no mistake who is fully in charge of this and was directing each these activities that has caused Vladimir Putin to be in a very difficult place today."
Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded on Twitter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's statement today reaffirming the United States' refusal to recognize Russia’s annexation of Crimea
"We welcome the #US position on territorial integrity of #Ukraine and non-recognition of Russia’s attempt to annex Crimea,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs tweeted. “No one has the right to change the borders of free sovereign states by force."
In a second tweet, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: "It is a strong message of int. community on illegal and aggressive actions of #Russia in the territory of #Ukraine aimed at disruption of European and global security."
Sen. Cory Gardner asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo if North Korea is making progress with its nuclear program. Pompeo said he couldn't give his answer during the hearing.
Here's how the exchange went down:
Gardner: Is North Korea still moving or making advancements undertaking a nuclear program?
Pompeo: May I answer that question in a different setting?
Gardner: You can’t answer that question here?
Pompeo: Yeah. I’d prefer not to.
Pompeo then explained further: "I'm not trying to be cute. We're engaged in a complex negotiation with a difficult adversary and each of the activities that we undertake is not going to be fully apparent to the world at the moment it is undertaken."
Sen. Ed Markey expressed concerns that the US was being "taken for a ride" by North Korea.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo quickly responded, saying, "Fear not, senator. Fear not."
"Fear not. This administration has taken enormously constructive actions that put us in a place far better than in either of the two previous administrations. One Democrat, one Republican. We have put in sanctions in place that is unequaled. We are continuing to enforce that sanctions regime. We have made it incredibly clear to continue to enforce that sanction regime until such time as denuclearization as we have defined it is complete. Pressure on the regime is clearly being felt. We have lots of work to do. But unlike previous administrations, senator, we have no intention of allowing the (United Nations) sanctions, the world's sanctions, that we led the charge to have put in place to allowing the sanctions to either be lifted or not enforced. And until such time Chairman Kim (Jong Un) fulfills the commitment and I'm hopeful he will, those sanctions remain. We have not been taken for a ride, senator. I hope you can sleep a little bit better tonight."
Watch the moment:
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova responded to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s testimony that the US “rejects Russia’s attempted annexation of Crimea."
In her response, she pointed to changing policies in past administrations.
Zakharova wrote on her Facebook page that the Iran deal and Paris climate accord were “also recently … official US policy” under the Obama administration. “And then Trump looked at it and reconsidered,” she said.
“We know the value of these ‘fateful declarations,’" she added.
Sen. Ben Cardin asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo if President Trump and Vladimir Putin spoke about Magnitsky.
That appears to be a reference to reports that surfaced after the summit that the White House was considering a Putin request to question the former US ambassador to Russia over his role in the passage of the Magnitsky Act.
Pompeo responded, "Let me make clear, the United States will defend our team in the field. And the team that's been in the field when it retires, that's been in the field. We understand that Americans deserve the protection in the United States of America both during their time in service and after."