Pompeo cites Russian aggression, says diplomacy must go on

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"The actions of this administration make clear that President Trump's national security strategy, rightfully, has identified Russian Federation as a danger to our country", according to the testimony.

Director Mike Pompeo testifies during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on "Worldwide Threats" on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., February 13, 2018. "That's now over. The list of this administration's actions to raise the cost for Vladimir Putin is long".

Pompeo is a known entity for Trump, someone who briefed the president nearly daily and shares a gung-ho attitude towards Iran.

His remarks touch on the biggest foreign policy issues faced by the US, a reflection of how many daunting challenges the administration faces.

On Iran, Pompeo will criticize Tehran's activities in the Middle East and pledge to work with US allies to revise the nuclear deal clinched in 2015 between Iran and six major powers - Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States. Pompeo's views on global issues are well known - he was questioned extensively by senators for his confirmation to run the Central Intelligence Agency - but Democratic senators have raised questions about his fitness to be the top diplomat, given his hawkish views and past comments about minorities.

"A lot of us are anxious about the combination of Pompeo and Bolton putting a set of military options on the table for the president", Senator Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat who serves on the Foreign Relations Committee, told reporters on Tuesday.

"Internally, the Department faces uncertainty about its place and its future with a hiring freeze, a pending reorganization, and a concern about its place in the national security process", they wrote.

Pompeo, who was confirmed for the CIA job by a 66-32 vote, developed a reputation for being more outwardly political than many past directors of the traditionally apolitical agency.

Pompeo will need bipartisan support to clear the panel, which Republicans govern with a narrow 11-10 majority. Rand Paul of Kentucky, has already announced he will oppose Pompeo's nomination.


The nomination hearing will be a test on whether Pompeo will be prepared to disagree with Trump on issues, according to some lawmakers.

"A lot of us are anxious about the combination of Pompeo and Bolton putting a set of military options on the table for the president that could do real damage to our national security", Murphy said. "And there is a great deal of room between a military presence and war".

Pompeo will reject the label that he is a "hawk" and argue that war should always be the last resort.

He also intends to say he'll champion human rights. Pompeo plans to say. Drawing a sharp contrast with predecessor Rex Tillerson, Pompeo will vow to promote democracy and human rights while ending "demoralizing" vacancies at the State Department.

"That will be my first priority", Pompeo will say. The source, who wasn't authorized to comment by name and requested anonymity, said Pompeo promises a relevant State Department that will find "its swagger once again".

Those gaps, as well as Tillerson's firing, have contributed to a freeze in decision-making at the State Department, where acting assistant secretaries don't feel empowered to make decisions and subordinates don't have anyone to approve their work. "He understands the gravity of the challenge before him".

And with Trump recently appointing hawkish conservative John Bolton as his national security advisor, Murphy said he wanted to scrutinize Pompeo over potential flashpoints like North Korea and Syria.

In preparation for a likely contentious confirmation process, former CIA Director and Secretary of State nominee Mike Pompeo is turning to every possible resource for help-including recent secretaries of state who he lambasted while in Congress.

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