Lawmakers to Hear From Pompeo, Mattis in Midst of Syria Crisis

Mike Pompeo

"We expect Director Pompeo to be able to explain exactly what financial entanglement he had with the Chinese government and why he failed to disclose it", Juan Pachon, the committee's communications director, told MClatchy.

Mindful of Tillerson's reputation as a disengaged leader whose failure to fill critical positions at State alarmed lawmakers, Pompeo acknowledges he has heard firsthand from U.S. diplomats about "how demoralizing it is to have so many vacancies and, frankly, not to feel relevant".

However, when pressed by senators about his solutions toward hostile foreign actors, Pompeo advocated for aggressive military strategy overseas, stating his belief that the president doesn't need authorization from Congress to strike Syria or North Korea.

This could cause Senate Democrats to refuse to vote for Pompeo.

Meanwhile, Pompeo and Trump are fast friends. One of those is a direct and explicit congressional authorization.

Colorado Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet hasn't decided how he'll vote and will evaluate Pompeo's performance at his hearing, according to a Bennet spokesperson.

Pompeo - who once hinted he would not be bothered if North Korea's Kim were assassinated - was asked whether he favours U.S. military action to overthrow the nuclear weapon-armed government in Pyongyang.

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"Will you be working from crisis to crisis?"

"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.

But Pompeo suggested his closeness to the president would be an asset, not a liability. His backing of the USA taking an aggressive posture against Iran and North Korea has led opponents to label him a hawk - and contributed to concerns he might help push Trump to take more aggressive military action around the globe.

But Sen. Bob Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, says that is simply the baseline expectation for the role. "I intend to ensure that the Department of State will be just as central to the president's policies and the national security of the United States".

Shaheen asked if Pompeo agrees with President Trump's twitter attacks on Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

Coats later reported that conversation with other officials, and decided that it would be improper to intervene with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, according to the Post.

That's like saying "I am certain I have never left my house for the last three days" but also noting that "I can't recall what I did on Wednesday night". As the briefing was wrapping up, Trump asked everyone to leave the room except for Coats and CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

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But Pomepeo didn't really answer any of these questions.

Code Pink protested Pompeo over his advocacy for military intervention and his wish to dismantle the Iran nuclear deal, which they feel would "bring the U.S. closer to war, and could destroy diplomatic talks with North Korea". Paul asked. "Who wants to send their kid to that?"

"Imagine we're close to achieving the fix that the president has asked the State Department to achieve?" This list is much longer, and I'm confident I'll have the opportunity to add to it today.

"The historic conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union, and now Russia, is caused by Russian bad behaviour", he said.

There is one month to go until a May 12 deadline that President Donald Trump set to either address what he calls flaws in the 2015 agreement, or withdraw from it. Pompeo said Thursday that fixing the deal is in America's best interest. The outreach to Clinton is especially notable, as Pompeo called her "morally reprehensible" following the Behghazi attacks, while he was a member of the House Intelligence Committee. Thursday was no exception.

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