Secretary of State Mike Pompeo dismissed as “absurd” the Democratic narrative that suggests President Donald Trump’s stance toward Russian President Vladimir Putin is the result of Moscow having “dirt” on Trump.
Sitting down with Fox News’ Shannon Bream on Wednesday, Pompeo was asked to respond to claims the president looked weak and allegations from some lawmakers that Russia must “have something” on him.
“I think those allegations are absurd,” Pompeo responded. “This administration has been relentless in its effort to deter Russia from its bad behavior.”
“We inherited a situation where Russia was running all over the United States,” he continued. “The last few days have been frankly, more heat than light. This administration has been strong in supporting the Ukrainians, strong and making sure that we protect them against Russian expansion in other parts of the world. We all recognize that threat is real. And President Trump has been strong in protecting America from Russian aggression.”
Before Bream tried to pivot into talk of North Korea, Pompeo interrupted to add that Trump has a full grip on what and who he is dealing with when it comes to Russia.
“The president has been very resolute. He understands precisely who it is we are dealing with in Russia,” Pompeo said. “He gets it. He’s trying to take opportunities, places where we can work together and put America in a position to do the things he wants to do on behalf of the American people.
The irony is that the allegations of Trump being blackmailed aren’t coming from just lawmakers, a number of intelligence chiefs who served in the Obama administration have suggested as much.
The latest Obama administration official to entertain notions of Russian blackmail is former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates. Appearing on MSNBC — yet another commonality of ex-Obama officials — Yates mentioned this while talking about Mike Flynn, the former Trump national security advisor.
“The Russians are pretty crafty with this,” Yates said. “They can do the overt type of threats like you just described they also can do the more subtle forms. They can just let you know that they have evidence that would be embarrassing and troubling to you.”
Yates said she was “shaken” by Trump’s Helsinki press conference and went so far as to question “where his loyalties lie,” saying Trump “isn’t all in for our nation.”
Former CIA Director Leon Panetta, appearing this week on MSNBC, made the rather remarkable suggestion that “the Russians have something on [Trump].”
Panetta said: “Whether the Russians have something on this president or not, no one really knows, but the way he behaves, there is a clear signal that the Russians have something on him.”
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) July 18, 2018
Former CIA Director John Brennan, who accused Trump of treason, echoed Panetta’s concern this week — on MSNBC — saying Trump knows what the Russians might be aware of.
“So I think his actions towards Mr. Putin may reflect that concern, in terms of what is in Donald Trump’s past that the Russians have and might use against him,” he said.
And some people are surprised by this president’s alleged lack of confidence in the intelligence community?
Pompeo, also a former CIA Director, told Bream that President Trump “understands” that Russia interfered in the 2016 election and that Moscow has been meddling in US elections “for a long time.”
“He has empowered each of us to make sure that it doesn’t happen again in the 2018 or the 2020 elections here in the United States as well,” Pompeo said.
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