Mike Pompeo Says He Wouldn’t Resign Over Mueller’s Firing

Trump’s pick to be Secretary of State has been interviewed by the Russia probes.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo.Tom Williams/Congressional Quarterly/Newscom via ZUMA Press

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CIA Director Mike Pompeo repeatedly refused to comment on President Donald Trump’s attack on Special Counsel Robert Mueller during his confirmation hearing Thursday to be the next Secretary of State.

Several senators on the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee asked Pompeo to comment on Trump’s sustained attack on Mueller’s investigation into possible ties between Trump associates and the Russian effort to interfere in the 2016 US presidential election. Time and time again, Pompeo avoided taking a position.

“As the director of the CIA I’ve been involved in that investigation,” Pompeo told Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) who asked about Trump’s attacks in the context of respecting the rule of law. “I have been a participant in Special Counsel Mueller’s activity. I think anything anything I say with respect…I want to avoid that today.” 

Pompeo acknowledged cooperating with the investigation, specifically citing interviews he sat for with Mueller and relevant congressional committees concerning a summer 2017 Washington Post report that Trump had asked Pompeo and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats to intervene with then-FBI Director James Comey to help halt an investigation into former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn. Pompeo told the senators that he didn’t “recall if [Trump] asked anything that particular day” but added that whatever was discussed was not inappropriate.

“Everything that I was asked to do in my role as CIA director related to any of these investigations I’ve done with as much thoroughness, as much depth, and as much alacrity as our organization could achieve,” Pompeo said.

Coons asked Pompeo if, in the event Trump were to fire Mueller or Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, he would resign as Secretary of State to demonstrate that the US is a nation of laws.

“I haven’t given that question any thought,” Pompeo said. “My instincts tell me no. My instincts tell me that my obligation to continue to serve as America’s senior diplomat would be more important in increased times of political domestic turmoil.” 

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) cited Coons’ remarks during his own questions, and gave Pompeo another chance to condemn Trump’s attacks on Mueller. Pompeo again declined, saying he didn’t want to “create challenges” for Mueller or the congressional committees reviewing the matter. 

“By refusing to condemn attacks on the special counsel, I mean really over-the-line attacks that aren’t shared by Republicans here in Congress, you are frustrating the work of the special counsel because you’re associating yourself with some very poisonous political attacks,” Murphy said.

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Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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