Senate Holds Confirmation Hearing for Mike Pompeo to be Secretary of State

Muslim lawmakers call on senators to oppose Pompeo

While Pompeo will likely be confirmed by the full Senate if his hearing goes well, he could be the first nominee to be secretary of state not to be approved by the foreign relations committee, where Trump's Republicans have just an 11-10 majority.

He was confirmed as Central Intelligence Agency director past year by a vote of 66 to 32, with 14 Democrats voting for him. "Not only is it good policy for Sen".

"I've articulated my own personal views on this", Pompeo told the committee.

Menendez asked if Trump had ever asked him to "interfere" in the probe by special counsel Robert Mueller.

In an interview with CBS News March 11, Pompeo described Trump's approach to earlier allegations of chemical attacks on rebel-held neighborhoods in the East Goutha neighborhood of the Syrian capital.

Pompeo refused to discuss his conversations with the President, but said that Trump has "never asked me to do anything I consider improper".

Asked whether, for the moment, Iran remains in compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the Iran deal's implementation mechanism, Pompeo said: "I've seen no evidence that they are not in compliance today".

"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".

Critics in both parties have looked on in alarm as the State Department's role in shaping and communicating US policy faded during Tillerson's tenure.

"I would urge you to give it some thought", Coons replied.

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"Meetings are being set up right now between myself and Kim Jong-un".

"I hope you'll take this the right way". Rand Paul of Kentucky, has also said he is voting "no".

"Each of those tools that Vladimir Putin is using, we need to do our best to make sure he doesn't succeed", Pompeo said. "I think Pompeo as Secretary of State will bring a strong commitment to those goals. Get ready Russian Federation, because they will be coming, nice and new and 'smart!' You shouldn't be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!" He continued, "so, from the administration's perspective, the most important thing we can do is separate those two".

Pompeo, seen as a close ally of Trump's, has faced criticism for his foreign policy views and his hawkish attitude toward countries hostile to the USA, like Iran and North Korea.

Trump has vowed to pull the USA out of the accord unless Congress and America's European allies find a way to revamp the deal by May 12.

Among the first issues Pompeo was pressed on in the hearing was whether Trump had talked to him about the Russia investigation looking into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 United States presidential election. In his testimony, he will try to shed the label of being a "hawk", arguing that he would prefer "unrelenting diplomacy rather than by sending young men and women to war". "Should I be confirmed, the regular contact we've established throughout this process will continue", he said. "Even after May 12th, senator, there's still much diplomatic work to be done".

"I want to fix this deal. No Collusion, so they go insane!" the president tweeted Wednesday.

Further questioned about a previous assertion (paywall) that "silence" has made "Islamic leaders across America potentially complicit" in acts of terrorism, Pompeo clarified that he saw speaking out as an "opportunity" not an "obligation".

But Russia came up repeatedly. "That's the objective", he told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. "I know I'm serving a president who feels the same way".

Shaheen also pointed out that the administration still hasn't fully implemented sanctions that were passed overwhelmingly by the House and Senate.

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