Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was on Capitol Hill Wednesday for testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and to say it got heated is quite the understatement.
While most of the media’s attention was focused on Pompeo’s duel with RINO Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, there was another exchange that’s worth reviewing with Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico.
Udall, like most Democrats, was looking to tie President Donald Trump to Vladimir Putin in any way possible. This included via his taxes.
“After Helsinki, do you think the American people deserve to know what’s in President Trump’s tax returns and business interests that are intertwined with Russia?” Udall asked.
This is an interesting question, given the tacit assumption that there are business interests “intertwined” with Russia and that Helsinki has anything at all to do with them.
Pompeo decided to take Udall apart in brutal fashion.
“Senator, I’m going to try to stay out of the same political circus that you and I ended up in last time I was sitting here,” Pompeo began.
Instead, Pompeo said he would “simply respond by saying this same president which you seem to express such deep concern (about) is engaged in a massive defense buildup which threatens Vladimir Putin’s regime.
“He instructed us to put together a nuclear (posture) review that has set Vladimir Putin on his ear because of its robustness, and the recapitalization of our nuclear program,” Pompeo continued.
“He kicked out 60 spies, we banned Kaspersky (Labs, the Kremlin affiliated cyber-security firm), he put $11 billion into European defense –“
Udall then interrupted Pompeo: “Secretary, you’ve already –“
“I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface,” Pompeo continued.
“You haven’t answered my question, so let me try it a different way,” Udall said. “Wouldn’t you want to know, as secretary of state … whether all these Russian financial interests, oligarchs and others are part of the decision-making of the president? I mean, wouldn’t you want that out in the open to understand what went on in Helsinki?”
“Senator, I don’t need second-hand understandings of what President Trump is instructing his administration to do to push back against Russia,” Pompeo said. “I have firsthand understanding.”
Udall tried to ask the question a bit differently again, to which Pompeo responded that the administration had opposed the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, strengthened pledged NATO spending and other major anti-Russia achievements.
This is what the media doesn’t want to report: For all the innuendoes and attempts to turn Helsinki into a conspiracy, President Trump has been far tougher on Russia than the previous administration. That’s not what the media (or Sen. Udall) wants to talk about, but those are the facts.
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