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HALA GORANI TONIGHT
Awaiting United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's Senate Hearing; The United States' Relationship With The E.U; Trump and Cohen Audio Tape; Violence Along Gaza's Border, Three Palestinians Killed, One Critically Wounded; Wildfires Lay Waste to a Village in Greece; Is There More Undiscovered Deadly Novichok Nerve Agent In Salisbury?; Trump Meets With E.U. President Who Called His Tariffs "Stupid"; Pompeo To Face Questions About Trump-Putin Summit. Aired 2:30-4p ET
Aired July 25, 2018 - 14:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
HALA GORANI, CNN HOST: Hello and welcome everybody to an extended version of our show this evening. I am Hala Gorani, tonight, we're coming up early
because we are keeping an eye on a number of big stories coming out of the United States. We're expected to hear from the secretary of state, Mike
Pompeo soon. He's going to be quizzed by Congress on what's going in U.S. foreign policy and spoiler alert -- a lot is going on if you have been
following the news, you are well aware of that.
Expect to hear about Iran and North Korea and the bombshell meeting between President Trump and Vladimir Putin and there will be some news made about
the U.S.' position on Crimea. That's something that the secretary of state will address in his opening statement and he will be asked questions on
during the session. The other big story in Washington is Donald Trump is meeting the E.U. president, the very E.U. president who called his tariffs
He's speaking to Jean-Claude Juncker, the head of the European Commission right now, it should make for an interesting chat given that Mr. Juncker
had apparently said his hopes for the meeting were low. U.S. tariffs and fears of a trade war have overshadowed these talks, but the tone was at the
very least diplomatic when the pair spoke earlier at the White House. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Over the years the United States have been losing hundreds of millions of dollars with the European
Union and we just want it to be a level playing field for our farmers, for our manufactures, for everybody and we also want (inaudible) -- so we think
it could be good for everybody and that's what we're here to discuss.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Well, reminder that Mr. Trump has referred to the E.U., the traditional ally of the United States, including Germany and France as a
foe. He has also said that tariffs are quote, "the greatest."
And today he tweeted "Every time I see a weak politician asking to stop trade talks or the use of tariffs to counter unfair tariffs, I wonder what
can they be thinking? Are we going to continue and let our farmers and country get ripped off, lost $817 billion on trade last year. No weakness,
exclamation mark. There is a lot to talk about here -- let's get to our guests, CNN global affairs correspondent, Elise Labott in Washington, our
senior international correspondent Matthew Chance is in Moscow. Josh Rogin is a CNN political analyst and also in Washington and Larry Sabato is
director for the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, he joins us from Charlottesville.
Elise, let's first of all talk about Mike Pompeo on Capitol Hill today. There is so much to talk about and we know North Korea will be addressed,
NATO, as well as the formalizing the U.S.'s position on Crimea. Tell us what to expect.
ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: That's right Hala, well Secretary Pompeo just issued a statement moments ago formalizing the U.S.
position on Crimea, let me read a little bit to you.
He says the United States calls on Russia to respect the principles to which it is a long claim to adhere and its end of its occupation to Crimea
and goes on to say that the U.S. recognizes Crimea as part of Ukraine and we expect him to follow that with comments in his testimony a little bit
As you said, we're expecting also to hear a little bit more meat on the bones, probably not all that much about his meeting -- President Trump's
meeting with President Putin. Officials telling me that Secretary Pompeo has been fully briefed even though we have not heard many details about it.
GORANI: All right, Josh Rogin, we heard there will be no Trump/Putin summit in Washington this year after all. The White House issuing a
statement a few minutes ago from the National Security Advisor John Bolton saying the president believes the next bilateral meeting with President
Putin should take place after the Russia witch hunt is over, that's what he calls the Mueller's investigation.
So, we've agreed it will be after the first of the year. Josh, what do you make of that?
JOSH ROGIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it was pretty clear that after Press Secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted that Trump was inviting Putin to the
White House. The Russians actually threw cold water on the idea. Doesn't seem like Putin does not want to come to Washington, so now they're
pretending it was their decision to call off the meeting or at least postpone it.
I mean it's just 1 of like 20 different examples of confused or chaotic Russia policy since the president met with Putin in Helsinki, which was
only a week ago -- but seems like a year ago. And you know, this Crimea issue is a part in parcel of that, because you know it was the U.S.
position that Crimea is part of Ukraine and we weren't going to recognize the Russian occupation. And that was called into question only because
President Trump reportedly told world leaders that at G7 private that -- why shouldn't Crimea be a part of Russia? They all speak Russian, which is
exactly Putin's position.
ROGIN: So Pompeo's entire -- well a large part of his job today -- is cleaning up Trump's mess and that's going to be difficult enough. And then
the second part of what he's gotta do is give us some information on how we're doing on the things that he's working on.
North Korean diplomacy, which frankly doesn't seem to be going well, his new initiative to you know, scold Iran into being a better country, how is
that going? Yeah, you know, I think lawmakers are really at their wits end in both parties and that's adding (ph) the trade stuff into that too.
GORANI: We'll see what kind of questions you will get. Matthew Chance, so we are learning and our viewers see this breaking news story on their
screen now. That there will not be a Trump/Putin bilateral this year. Will this come as a surprise to the Kremlin?
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, I wouldn't not be surprised at all if the Kremlin didn't have a hand in
making that second summit go away because, you know they saw how the two presidents interacted with each other in Helsinki initially, that was
greeted here in Russia as a success for Vladimir Putin. He was clearly dominant out of the pair.
But there is also been a set of growing realization that could spell extremely bad news for Russia. It could lead to a political backlash in
the United States and indeed backlash that's already started. And so I think the calculation here in Moscow is that let's hold off on any summits
until the political situation in the United States has calm down a little bit. So I think we'll be breathing some sigh of relief for Moscow which is
this is now off the agenda for the foreseeable.
GORANI: Right and also in the fall, in the autumn -- which really was very, very soon. That was kind of the expectation up until today, the
White House clarifying it won't happen this year. And Larry Sabato, I was just reading the prepared remarks of Mike Pompeo that he'll deliver on
Capitol Hill at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing today and as Josh mentioned, it is kind of cleaning up a lot of what Donald Trump has
said, reiterating the faith the president has in the intelligence committee, that Crimea is part of Ukraine and that's still the U.S.'s
position et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. So here you have a secretary of state whose job is to walk back a lot of what the president himself have
LARRY SABATO, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR POLITICS, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA: Well, that's true for Secretary of Pompeo and frankly it's true for most members
of the cabinet, and also members of Congress. You know, about the Putin summit in the fall in Washington, the people who were emitting the loudest
sighs of relief were actually republican congressional leaders.
They have enough problems that they may well at least lose the House of Representatives. The last thing they wanted -- and they made this clear to
the White House -- was a Putin summit in Washington right prior to the election or right afterwards, since the speculation would have taken up to
GORANI: Right, and Elise, back to you, North Korea, I found interesting that there was a section in his remarks saying that the U.S. is engaged in
"patient diplomacy" with North Korea, which is interesting because this is not what the president has said in the past. And it sounds a lot like the
strategy of other administrations that they've criticized so virulently.
LABOTT: Well, I think it is a little bit different in the sense that the Obama administration's theory of strategic patience was wait for North
Korea to come to us and let us know they are willing to denuclearize, whereas there is some diplomacy going on with North Korea right now. Of
course, it is being dictated on the time and pace and scope of North Korea. My understanding is that there are some working-level talks going on and
what they're trying to nail down is when this so-called denuclearization would start. What's the start date?
We're e are waiting later this week for the North Koreans to start returning the remains of those U.S. servicemen from the Korean War, that
will be a sign of -- I guess -- good faith of the North Koreans. But clearly this isn't going as quickly as President Trump or Secretary Pompeo
GORANI: Well Elise, basically he -- the president just weeks ago said this nuclear threat is over and it's not and the process of dismantling the
facility has barely begun and this is a process that could take years. I wonder Matthew Chance in Moscow, how will this -- what the secretary of
state is expected to say about Crimea be received in Moscow? Presumably not very well.
CHANCE: Well, I am not so sure about that. I mean this is the -- this is the long stated American position that -- the annexation of Crimea by
Russia back in 2014 was illegal, it's sanctioned by the United States as a result of it and they want to return it to Ukraine.
And I mean in fact, President Putin during the Helsinki summit -- I was in the press conference in Helsinki when this happened -- went to some lengths
to make that point on behalf of President Trump. It was extraordinary to say. Trump did not confront Vladimir Putin on any of these issues and it
was left up to Vladimir Putin to make the point that President Trump had told him behind closed doors that he thought the annexation of Crimea was
illegal and Russia has a different point of view. So I think, again, the Russians will be glad to see the U.S. return to their traditional position
GORANI: All right, thank you very much, Matthew Chance in Moscow. Elise Labottt, we'll let you go, I know you have some reporting to do. To the
rest of our panel, if you could standby. Just minutes away now from Pompeo making an appearance on Capitol Hill and we'll get back to you soon.
And to another big story though we're following. The fallout from that explosive tape of a secret conversation between Donald Trump and the
attorney once known as his fixer. Michael Cohen recorded the conversation unbeknownst to the president just weeks before the 2016 election. His
attorney has given that tape exclusively to CNN. Listen to Mr. Trump and Cohen as they discuss buying the rights to a playboy model's story about an
affair she alleged -- she alleges she had with Mr. Trump.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
MICHAEL COHEN, DONALD TRUMP'S ATTORNEY: I need to open up a company for the transfer of all of that info regarding our friend, David, you know, so
that -- I'm going to do that right away. I've actually --
DONALD TRUMP, U.S. REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE : Give it to me and --
COHEN: -- and, I've spoken to Allen Weisselberg about how to set the whole thing up with --
TRUMP: So, what do we got to pay for this -- ?
COHEN: . funding. Yes. Um, and it's all the stuff.
TRUMP: Yeah, I was thinking about that.
COHEN: All the stuff. Because -- here, you never know where that company -- you never know where (ph) he's going to be (ph) --
TRUMP: Maybe he gets hit by a --
COHEN: -- correct. So, I'm all over that. And, I spoke to Allen about it, when it comes time for the financing, which will be --
TRUMP: Wait a sec, what financing?
COHEN: Well, I'll have to pay him something.
TRUMP: -- (inaudible) pay with cash ...
COHEN: No, no, no, no, no. I got it.
TRUMP -- check --
COHEN: No, no, no I --
(END AUDIO CLIP)
GORANI: And that's a portion of the tape today. The president ripped into Cohen tweeting what kind of a lawyer would tape a client, so sad. He added
he never heard such a thing before. Mr. Trump insisted he did nothing wrong and be sure that authorities will scrutinize every word on that tape
to see what campaign finance laws have been broken. Let's bring in our CNN's legal analyst, Michael Zeldin, he was Robert Mueller's former special
assistant at the justice department. First of all, recording a client without telling that client you are recording him or her. Is that, in the
United States, is that legal?
MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes. It's legal in most jurisdictions. It may not be ethical under Bar rules, but in New York, which is a one-
party consent jurisdiction, it means that if one of the two parties to the conversation consents to it -- and in this case it was Michael Cohen --
then it does not violate the law.
GORANI: What does what we hear on the tape tell us about what happened?
ZELDIN: It tells us, I think, a couple of things. It tells us first, I think that Donald Trump knew of the payment by AMI, the parent of "The
National Enquirer" to Karen McDougal in August. Because when Michael Cohen raised the possibility of buying that back, he seemed completely familiar
with it, the price to be paid and it had been done by them at Cohen's behest.
So the president had prior knowledge. Two, we understand that the president from this tape is trying to establish a limited liability company
to receive the information and through which payment is to be made. So he seems to be wanting to separate himself from the receipt of the information
and the payment back for that information through this limited liability company.
And then third, what we don't know is from the tape alone whether or not this amounts to a campaign finance law violation. I think we need more
information to sort that out.
GORANI: And so what more information would we need? Is it because that money was never then paid out essentially? I mean unlike the Stormy
Daniels's payment? Is that why there might be some question there?
ZELDIN: Yes, two things. That's exactly right -- which is Donald Trump never did pay American Media International for this Karen McDougal
information. But secondly, the question is whether or not the payment by American Media was an in-kind contribution intended to affect the outcome
of the election which was not reported by the Trump campaign.
We need more facts to figure that out. Because if there was a knowing and willful payment of money to Karen McDougal to influence the outcome, and it
wasn't reported, that can be a criminal law violation, but the tape does not answer all those questions for us.
GORANI: And what was Robert Mueller, who's leading the investigation, into potential Russian influence in the 2016 campaign, what would authorities do
with this information potentially? I mean it's not related to Russia obviously, but it could be related to some form, could be some form of
wrong doing in terms of campaign finance laws.
ZELDIN: Right. This investigation is being done by the southern district of New York U.S. Attorney's Office. Mueller gave this case to them. So
it's really not on Mueller's plate directly. So what the U.S. attorney's office in New York would have to do is determine what happened here,
whether there was anything criminal and whether in their full investigation if there is anything they want to return back to Mueller because it had
some form of Russia connection. But right now we don't see any Russia connection in what's been made in public.
GORANI: And then lastly, why would Michael Cohen's lawyer release this tape to the media?
ZELDIN: Well, that's a very good question. The media had the tape and they were going to release it, which is why Rudy Giuliani ended up waiving
attorney-client privilege with respect to it. Why Cohen -- if it was Cohen -- released it to the media of the first instance is really unclear. It's
hard to psychoanalyze Michael Cohen.
It could well be that he did this to sort of trigger the debate that we were having, it could be that he was sending a signal to the president that
you know, I have got a lot of stuff here and we should make some sort of pardon agreement. It is just not clear, but what really is clear by Lanny
Davis, the attorney for Michael Cohen, is that these two parties, Cohen and Trump, or Giuliani and Lanny Davis are going to be at war with each other
for quite a while.
GORANI: Michael Zeldin, thank you so much, always appreciate having you on the program. And that's a picture of Michael Cohen's lawyer, Lanny Davis.
I understand that Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state has just arrived on Capitol Hill, which means that maybe even this hearing will start on time.
It is scheduled for 3:00 p.m., this is a full committee hearing on Capitol Hill. You're seeing live images coming to us from Washington. The
official title of this hearing is An Update on American Diplomacy to Advance Our National Security Strategy. It's a fancy way of saying we're
going to ask the secretary of state for the very latest on the U.S.' foreign policy. We'll bring you that when it starts.
Still to come a bit of other news, wildfires once again laying waste to an entire village in Greece, killing dozens along the way. We will hear from
survivors, we'll be right back.
GORANI: The Israeli army is reporting new violence along the border with Gaza. It says Gaza-based militants fired on Israeli soldiers along the
border fence just a few hours ago. Israel then targeted, it says, seven Hamas military posts with tank-fire in response. The headline being that
three Palestinians were killed according to medics and another were critically wounded.
Now to the devastating outbreak of wildfires sweeping across parts of Greece, the worst in almost a decade. So far at least 80 people have been
killed and only escape for many have been the sea, where they were forced to stand. You see this image, it is jaw dropping. People are forced to
stand helpless, as the flames consumed their homes and belongings. This woman describes the ordeal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We would keep on putting our heads into the sea in an effort to not breathe in the smoke because the pine trees surrounding the
beach were on fire and pieces of fire were falling into the water. The people that were near the pine trees, the pieces on fire were falling on
their hair and on their heads. We spent five yours in terror.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Our Melissa Bell has been reporting from the ground there in the wake of the disaster and she brings us perspective from the survivors
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MELISSA BELL, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): As morning breaks in Attica, a scene of utter devastation. The survivors begin to count the terrible
cost, even as the search for the missing continues.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So we're searching (ph) in burnt houses to see if they have been abandoned or find something more.
BELL: Christiana Fragkou has come back to her home to see what's left.
CHRISTIANA FRAGKOU, ESCAPED FIRE: This is my -- my burnt home. The wind brought an incredible, immense fire which ruined everything. I couldn't
save all my cats and dogs. My mom's house. I thought at the beginning she was dead because she managed to go to another beach.
BELL: Christiana herself only survived by taking refuge on the cliff face, but 26 people died here locked in final embrace.
FRAGKOU: Unfortunately, a lot of people who were trapped, and of course they don't know -- they're not acquainted well of this area. They saw our
two doors, which we left open. They came down but they were just the last ones, as the fire was approaching, it was very, very strong. They couldn't
make it because they could not find their way out to the water. So they were trapped inside the house, that's all I can tell you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Melissa Bell there with that report. Police here in Britain have made a scary admission. Basically, they do not know whether there is more
deadly novichok poisoning around the Salisbury, England area. With more on the investigation into the two novichok attacks and poisonings, here's
CNN's Nina dos Santos.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): Today's five months since investigators have been searching for answers. First, it was the Skripals
in Salisbury, poisoned with the toxic nerve agent novichok.
Then it was Charlie Rowley and his partner Dawn Sturgess in nearby Amesbury.
Speaking to U.K. broadcaster ITV, Rowley revealed how they stumbled across the novichok made to look like a perfume package.
CHARLIE ROWLEY, NOVICHOK POISONING VICTIM: It was three by three inch box and a half inch thick which contains a glass bottle.
[14:55:00] You had to remove the bottle from the cellophane wrapper and put the pump dispenser on the bottle.
SANTOS (voice-over): He says Dawn sprayed some on her wrist, causing her violently sick. Eight days later, she was dead.
ROWLEY: She was a lovely lady. She had a big heart. She would help anyone she could.
SANTOS (voice-over): Rowley was hospitalized too but recovered. It was only later that he was told that the bottle in seemingly intact packaging,
contained the nerve agent.
SANTOS: Scotland Yard has yet been able to determine whether if the same batch of novichok was responsible for the poisoning in Salisbury and in
Amesbury. But sources tell CNN that investigators are working on the theory that two teams may have been involved. One is to drop off the nerve
agent in separate, sealed containers in multiple locations and another, the hit squad, to then pick them up.
That raises the prospect that there could be more novichok still unaccounted for, prompting authorities to again warn local residents to be
DEPUTY CHIEF CONSTABLE PAUL MILLS, WILLSHIRE POLICE: What we can't tell -- probably we'll never be able to tell actually -- is there is anything out
there? So what we can do is be intelligent, go to the locations where we know where they've actually been (ph) and be meticulous with the searching.
SANTOS (voice-over) The U.K. Metropolitan Police Force, which is leading the investigation, said in a statement that the area, the cordon around
Salisbury will remain in place for some considerable time.
The U.K has accused Russia of being behind the novichok and CNN is being told that investigators have identified two suspects, both of whom are
believed to have left the country on a commercial flight. But without a major breakthrough, authorities will be left searching and wondering
whether there is any more novichok out there. Nina dos Santos -- CNN, London.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Well thanks for joining us for this hour, we'll have another hour of Hala Gorini Tonight. Starting just a few minutes from now, the U.S.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is due at any time now at Capitol Hill. He's in the building we understand. There are photographers there waiting
for him to make an appearance. He will be asked some questions -- some of them tough no doubt by Congress on what's going on in U.S. foreign policy
and in particular, the meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin in Helsinki last week. We'll have the live event and all the analysis that
you'll need after the break, stay with CNN.
HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Welcome back to the special edition of the program. I'm Hala Gorani.
Tonight, we are expecting to hear from the Secretary of State of the United States, Micah Pompeo. Congress will be asking him, senators more
specifically will be asking him questions on what's going on in U.S. foreign policy.
Expect a close examination of President Trump's relationship with Russia's Vladimir Putin. Also, the increasing upping of the rhetoric with Iran that
all caps tweet that he sent out a few days ago.
Also, Trump's relationship with America's closest allies, which is not going very well. Just to name a few of the topics that are likely to be
addressed today. Remember it's a few weeks since President Trump called the European Union a foe.
Well, it's a busy day. There's a lot to talk about. Matthew Chance is in Moscow. Atika Shubert is in Berlin, Josh Rogin in Washington, and Larry
Sabato at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.
So, Atika, you're just joining us. We have Jean Claude Juncker, basically the E.U. president in the United States after having called Trump's tariffs
on aluminum and steel stupid and Donald Trump tweeting out, you know, sort not very kind tariff threats directed at the E.U. What's going to come out
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think the best that the E.U. can hope for is some sort of de-escalation. I think the
primary important thing here for Jucker is to make sure that there are no additional tariffs put on car parts or automobiles.
That would be disastrous in the words that the E.U. trade commissioner because of the complicated supply chains across the Atlantic in this
industry. You know, there was some suggestion last week by Trump's top economic advisor, Larry Kudlow, that somehow the E.U. would make an offer
for tariff free trade.
Frankly, the E.U. batted that away and said listen, there is no offer on the table. This is about dialogue and de-escalation.
GORANI: Larry Sabato, we heard some very interesting things coming from the president over the last few days saying first of all that he believes
finally that Russia was interfering in the American democracy, but probably to help Democrats. Just remember what you are reading and what you are
seeing is not what is happening. Let's listen to what he said, Larry, just for a moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Just remember what you're seeing and what you are reading is not what's happening.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: And Larry, many people liken that to the 1984, (inaudible) novel line, the party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears.
What is the president doing?
LARRY SABATO, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR POLITICS, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA: Look, Trump has done wonders for George Orwell's books. My hope is his children
and grandchildren and greatgrandchildren are making a lot of money. What is Trump doing? He's doing what he does best, pumping fog into
controversies to make it more difficult for people, particularly those it is based to understand what actually happened.
But, you know, it isn't working, at least the part concerning Russia. I was surprised today by the national survey by Quinnipiac that showed very
clearly that Americans of all political stripes, including Republicans are becoming suspicious of the Trump relationship with Russia.
And they also understand that Russia is certainly backing Donald Trump just as they did in 2016. So, I don't think it's working. Trump is getting
very nervous and you can tell.
GORANI: Matthew, quickly, we are hearing from the White House that this meeting between Trump and Putin in Washington won't happen this year. That
it will happen after the start of next year. What is likely to be the reaction to that in Russia?
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, just very briefly, Hala, as you can see that Mike Pompeo is about to come in, but I
think they're going to be breathing a sigh of relief to that. They saw how this summit went. It's probably going to backfire politically there in the
Possibly lead to more sanctions against Russia. In a hurry to have Helsinki 2 or whatever they are going to call it. So, I expect again
breathing a sigh of relief here in Moscow. That's not happening soon.
GORANI: I believe I see Mike Pompeo there and the Senators surrounding him and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. We have until they start
talking where now they're mingling, smiles, and handshakes. Until they start talking, we can continue our conversation.
[15:05:07] Josh, in the prepared remarks that Mike Pompeo is going to deliver in just a few minutes, there is a lot of just reiterating of
America's traditional long-standing policy on Russia and other things. Really the opposite of some of the things that the president had been
tweeting or that he's been caught saying off the cuff. Is this kind of an exercise a cleanup exercise?
JOSH ROGIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Cleanup aisle Trump is what we say in Washington. You know, that's going to be a long afternoon of Pompeo
insisting to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the president United States doesn't believe the things that the present United States has
I mean, according to his prepared remarks, he's going to claim that President Trump has supported the intelligence community, believes the
analysis on Russian interference, sees the issue clearly, is very, very tough on Russia.
These are all things the president has said Mondays, Fridays, but on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, is as well could've been anybody --
GORANI: I mean, but Josh, Larry, and the panel, this is being said in a very kind of official, organized, well formulated way on Capitol Hill, but
it takes then one tweet, doesn't it? I mean, Larry, it takes then one tweet to contradict one of the elements of this statement and -- yes.
ROGIN: There is no confident left on Capitol Hill that President Trump, that Secretary of State Pompeo speaks for President Trump. So, you know,
what kind of credibility does he have.
SABATO: This is not called the chaos of ministration for nothing and remember this here is for the Republicans. It isn't for the Democrats.
The Republicans want some cover and they want to get from Secretary of State Pompeo, even though privately they'll tell you there not sure he
knows what was discussed between Trump and Putin.
He wasn't in the room. Maybe he's relying on the interpreter. I don't know, but this is of great concern to these Republicans. They certainly
don't want to lose the Senate too. They may already have lost the House. They're worried about the Senate.
GORANI: So, Larry, Josh, Matthew and Atika, thanks very much for being with us. We are going to go now live to the Senate in Washington, D.C. As
I mentioned, this is a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing with the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and we will hear first from the chairman of
the committee, Senator Bob Corker. Let's listen in.
SENATOR BOB CORKER (R-TN), CHAIRMAN, U.S. SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: -- and what our strategy is on a number of issues. Last week,
President Trump held a summit with Vladimir Putin, someone who has violated the most fundamental international norms through his efforts to annex
Crimea, has interfered with elections including our own, supported the brutal Assad regime in Syria, used chemical weapons to poison a Russian
agent and his daughter in the United Kingdom, has occupied portions of Georgia, continues to violate the IMF Treaty, has reportedly hacked U.S.
utilities. The list goes on and on and you know the list.
In the face of these hostilities, in the summit's aftermath, we saw the American president who appeared submissive and deferential. We have heard
that some agreements were reached, but as of yet, have little idea what those might be, even though the president has already extended an
invitation to Putin to come to Washington to discuss the implementation, quote/quote, "of these undefined agreements."
The president also recently met with North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un, one of the most ruthless leaders on the planet, who has continued to develop
nuclear weapons that could hit the United States, has executed his half- brother with poison in Malaysia, and reportedly killed his uncle back home and murdered an American college student and enslaved millions of his own
One in ten North Koreans are living in slavery today. One in five children are stunted due to malnutrition. In the face of these realities, the
president has called him very talented and that he loves his people. Really?
At the recent NATO summit, the president not only pushed NATO members, member countries to dedicate more of their defenses, a goal we all share.
He went on to baa rate them, question the very premise of NATO.
In my opinion used false information to turn public opinion in the United States against the alliance. Even went so far as to cast doubt on the
United States' willingness to enforce Article 5 of the NATO Treaty. We want to know if this is real or just another off-the-cuff statement.
And the conjoining of our partners goes beyond traditional security and extends to the economic space as well.
[15:10:04] I know you're aware of my strong feelings about the administration's abuse of its authorities and using Section 232 to
implement tariffs in the name of national security. So far, we have zero clarity from the administration as to what the end game is on the Trump
tariffs, which in reality are a massive tax increase on the American consumers and businesses.
And now the administration appears ready to offer welfare to farmers who would rather have trade than aid. As you know, senators have gone to the
White House in groups to discuss these actions. And not a single person that I'm aware of has left those meetings with the sense that there's a
coherent strategy driving these policies.
The administration tells us don't worry, be patient, there's a strategy here, but from where we sit, it appears that in a ready fire and aim
fashion, the White House is waking up every morning and making it up as they go.
This is a first in a series of hearings we will hold in coming weeks dealing with the troubling dynamic I've described. One in which we are
antagonizing our friends and placating those who clearly wish us ill.
This series will deal specifically with Russia as perhaps the most troubling example of this emerging reality. I hope that in your position
you will do all in your power to provide us with the answers we need today.
And as we move forward in our future hearings, I look forward to your testimony and I want to thank you again for being with us and for the many
outstanding people you are bringing on to this State Department to work with you. With that, I'll turn to Senator Menendez.
SENATOR BOB MENENDEZ (D), NEW JERSEY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Let me start by saying I applaud you for making this the first of a series of
rigorous oversight hearings on Russia. The committee has gone for about a year without a full committee hearing on either Russia or North Korea. So,
I appreciate your leadership in this regard.
Now it seems to have taken a three-ring circus of a debacle of a meeting with President Putin. A walk back of whether the president entrusts his
own intelligence officials. It was suggesting that it might even be OK for a U.S. diplomat to be interrogated by Russian intelligence.
And the reality tv summit that was a little more than a photo op with a brutal dictator to mirror one hearing with the secretary of state. Having
said that, Mr. Secretary, welcome and thank you for your service to our country.
The members of this committee are strongly supported of strategic well- crafted diplomacy to advance America's foreign policy interests. Unfortunately, all we have come to expect is a sabre rattling president who
embraces and provides legitimacy to some of the world's most notorious bad actors and denigrates our closest allies whose sons and daughters have gone
to war alongside Americans.
We have not seen any substantive deals or strategies that put Americans or American national security first. We've seen our president look weak as he
stands besides our adversaries and intends to roll out the red carpet at the White House.
I hear that's postponed until January, but nonetheless, to invite Putin to the White House, a thug, who is actively trying to undermine our elections.
Well, Mr. Secretary, we in this body are taking heat of our intelligence and law enforcement officials in working to protect our country from the
flashing red lights of ongoing Russian aggression.
Senator Graham and I and others plan to introduce legislation in the coming days to ensure we have the toughest tools to go after Russian bad actors.
As of this moment, we find ourselves in an unimaginable situation.
The American people, elected officials in this body and members of the president's own cabinet have heard more about the meeting in Helsinki from
Putin and his associates than from our president.
We know that the Kremlin state-run media operations have a dubious commitment to the truth, but we don't know what the truth is because nobody
else was in the room where it happened. The American people expect, and I believe, they deserve to know what happened.
I also have serious questions about the summit in Singapore that took place nearly two months ago. In that time, we have yet to hear or see anything
that provides us with real confidence that North Korea as the president gloated, quote, "no longer poses a threat" to the United States or that we
have a coherent strategy to achieve a verifiable denuclearization agreement.
We have only seen a vague agreement of promises to make more promises, but if weaker commitments than North Korea has previously made. The United
States and North Korea seemed to remain far apart on the basic issues such as the definition of denuclearization.
In fact, over the past 18 months under this administration's watch, North Korea has perfected the intercontinental ballistic missiles and tested the
largest denuclearization rather than any verifiable steps to dismantle their program.
[15:15:10] It seems Kim Jong-un got everything he wanted in Singapore including international recognition with the suspension of the U.S.
military exercises. Now, this week's report of dismantlement at a launching statement may be good news, but it may simply be a signal that
North Korea has completed all the testing it needs to.
Frankly, the Singapore agreement seems more of the art of concessions than the art of the deal and we are weaker for it. Last week Russia and China
blocked a U.S. request to impose penalties on sanctions violations calling the maximum pressure posture into question.
As you know, I have introduced bipartisan oversight legislation along with Senator Gardner to provide the sort of support and guidance of this
diplomat effort needs and exercise the oversight responsibility Congress owes to the American people.
Goal that you previously laid out before this committee are incorporated. Finally, let me raise one more deeply alarming issue that broke this week.
I understand that despite its ability to stop this ridiculous notion, the State Department is about to allow internet posting of do-it-yourself 3D
printable firearm blueprints.
Why on earth would the Trump administration make it easier for terrorists and gunman to produce undetectable plastic guns? I remain deeply concerned
by the administration's incoherent and contradictory views.
We need comprehensive strategies across the world because the result of the lack thereof is chaos and confusion or even worse. I recognize the
president considers himself to be a masterful deal maker and a stable genius.
But we need to call the president's statements out for what they are, at this point I find them to be misleading and untruthful. So, I look forward
to your testimony to find out what the truth really is. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
CORKER: Thank you. Thank you very much. Mr. Secretary, we welcome you again. And you can summarize your comments if you have any written
materials you would like to enter to the record. We will do so. And with that, we look forward to your testimony.
MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: Good afternoon, Chairman Corker, Ranking Member Menendez and distinguished members. Thank you for the opportunity
to be with you today. During my confirmation hearing, you asked me to work on a host of world problems. And after 12 weeks, I've been doing just
I hope we'll get a chance to talk about each of those today. The last few weeks I've engaged in three areas of particular interest to this committee,
North Korea, NATO and Russia. On the subject of Russia, I want to bring something to your attention right off the bat today.
Today the Trump administration is releasing what we're calling the Crimea declaration. I won't read the whole thing, I will submit it for the
record. It's been publicly released as well.
But one part reads as follows, quote, "The United States calls on Russia to respect the principles to which it will adhere and to end the occupation of
Crimea," end of quote. I want to assure this committee that the United States does not and will not recognize the Kremlin's purported annexation
We stand together with allies, partners and the international community in our commitment to Ukraine and its territorial integrity. There will be no
relief of Crimea-related sanctions until Russia returns control of the Crimean Peninsula to Ukraine.
This Crimea declaration formalizes the United States policy of nonrecognition. There's another indicator of diplomatic progress I want to
mention. This morning, (inaudible) Bradson, who was imprisoned in Turkey for nearly two years has been led out of jail in Boca.
He's still under house arrest so our work is not done, but it is welcomed progress, one that many of you have been engaged in something the State
Department has been working on diligently as well. We will continue to work for the speedy return of all Americans unjustly held captive abroad.
President Trump will never forget about our own. Our diplomacy on these issues is advancing the goals of President Trump's national security
strategy laying down guided principles for the American foreign policy in December.
In late April, I started executing the strategy as secretary of state. Today on July 1st, excuse me, today, here we are, and I want to present you
some progress. The national security strategy established protecting the American people, the Homeland and the American way of life as the pillars
of our national security.
On July 17th, President Trump stated his firm conviction that the diplomacy and engagement are preferable to conflict and hostility. These principles
have guided our actions on North Korea. President Trump's diplomacy deescalated a situation, which the prospect for conflict was rising daily.
Americans are safer because of his actions. As far as the Trump administration's goals on North Korea are concerned, nothing's changed.
Our objective remains the final fully verified denuclearization of North Korea has agreed to by Chairman Kim Jong-un.
[15:20:01] It's a follow-up to the president's successful summit with Chairman Kim, on July 5th I traveled to North Korea to make progress on the
commitments that were made in Singapore. We are engaged in patient diplomacy, but we won't let this drag out to no end.
I emphasize this position in the productive discussions I had with Vice Chairman Kim Yong-chol. President Trump remains upbeat about the prospects
for North Korea denuclearization progress is happening.
We need chairman Kim Jong-un to follow through on his commitments that he made in Singapore. Until North Korea eliminates its weapons of mass
destruction, our sanctions and those that at the United Nations will remain in effect.
Multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions require North Korea to eliminate all of its weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs.
Those resolutions were passed unanimously, and they remain binding.
We absolutely need every single nation to maintain the enforcement of the sanctions to which every nation is committed. The path ahead is not easy,
but our hopes for a safer world and a brighter future for North Korea endure.
The national security strategy also calls for peace through strength. President Trump's engagement on NATO has resulted in greater burden sharing
that will strengthen the entire alliance against the myriad conventional and unconventional threats.
Allies have spent more than $40 million in increased defense spending since 2016. There will be hundreds of millions or billions of dollars more in
the years ahead. Last year's $14.4 billion in new spending was a 5.1 percent increase. It was the largest in a generation.
Eight allies will meet the 2 percent this year, 18 are on track to do so by 24. The Trump administration is demanding that every country make its own
commitment. NATO will remain an indispensable pillar of American national security.
We know weakness provokes our enemies, but strength and cohesion protect us. The more every NATO member contributes the better the alliance can
fulfill its mission of deterring threats to each of our nations.
This is the increased commitment that the president wants. From outset of this administration, the national defense strategy and the Russian
integrated strategy, our approach has been the same.
To steadily raise the cost of aggression until Vladimir Putin chooses a less confrontational foreign policy while keeping the door open for
dialogue in our national interest. Between our two nations, the United States and Russia possess over 90 percent of the world's nuclear weapons.
President Trump believes two great nuclear powers should not have a contentious relationship. This is not just in our interest but in the
interest of the whole world. He strongly believes that now is the time for direct communication, our relationship in order to make clear to President
Putin that there is the possibility, however remote it might be, to reverse the negative course of our relationship.
Otherwise, the administration will continue imposing tough sanctions against Russia in response to its maligned activities. We can't make
progress on issues of mutual concern unless we're talking about them.
I've heard many of you on this panel say that for years and years. I'm referring to key issues like stopping terrorism, on tainting peace in
Ukraine, stopping the civil war in Syrian and delivering humanitarian assistance and securing assurance for Israel and shutting down all of
Iran's maligned activity.
On the subject of Iran, President Trump said that Iran is not the same country it was five months ago because our campaign of financial pressure
and withdrawal from the nuclear deal and the full-throated support for the Iranian people articulated in speech this past Sunday are having an impact.
In Helsinki, we sought to explore whether Russia was interested in improving our relationship but made clear that the ball is in Russia's
court. We defended the America's fundamental strategic interest in Syria and Ukraine.
And I personally made clear to the Russians that there will be severe consequences for interference in our democratic processes. I would also
add that President Trump is well aware of the challenges that Russia poses to the United States and our partners and allies.
He's taken a staggering number of actions to protect our interests. As just a few pieces of proof I want to state the following, 213 sanctions on
Russian entities and individuals in the Trump administration.
Sixty Russian spies expelled from the United States of America in the closure of the Russian consulate in Seattle in response to the Russia's
chemical use in the United Kingdom. The closure of Russia's consulate in San Francisco. Cutting U.S. diplomatic staffing by Russia by almost 70
A 150 military exercises have been latter participated in Europe this year alone. More than 11 billion had been put forward for the European defense
initiative. We made defensive weapons available to Ukraine and to Georgia.
And just last week, the Department of Defense, this is after Helsinki, added an additional $200 million in security operation funds to Ukraine.
None of this happened for the eight years that preceded President Trump.
[15:25:03] It's not enough for you, there's a long list, I'm happy to go through them. I'm guessing sometime today I'll get that opportunity. I
look forward to it.
Finally, I want you to know, President Trump has stated that he accepts our intelligence community's conclusion that Russia meddled in the 2016
election. He has a complete and proper understanding of what happened. I know, I briefed him for over a year.
This is perfectly clear to me personally. I am also certain he deeply respects the difficult and dangerous work our patrons in the intelligent
community do every single day. And I know that he feels the same way about the amazing people that work at the United States Department of State.
Thank you, Chairman Corker.
CORKER: Thank you. Thank you very much. The secretary staff has asked that we state the 7-minute deal. So if we cannot ask questions and end at
6:58. If you could give the respondent time to answer within the 7 minutes, I appreciate it. With that, I'll defer to Senator Menendez. I'll
withhold my time for interjections along the way. Senator Menendez?
MENENDEZ: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Secretary, when the president meets alone with President Putin, it allows the Kremlin-sponsored state
media and the Russian Ministry of Defense to provide more information, at least from their perspective, not only to the American people, but
sometimes it seems to members of the president's own cabinet.
So, I would like to ask you some questions to get to understand what actually happened. Has the president told you what he and President Putin
discussed in their two-hour closed-door meeting in Helsinki? You can put your microphone on.
POMPEO: Excuse me, I'm sorry. The president has a prerogative of choosing meetings. I'm confident you had private one-on-one meeting in your life as
well. You've chosen that setting as the most efficient way --
MENENDEZ: I just asked you a simple question. Did he tell you whether or not what happened in those two hours?
POMPEO: Yes. The predicate of your question implied some notion that there was something improper about having a one-on-one meeting. I
completely disagree with the premise of the question.
MENENDEZ: I didn't ask you a predicate. I asked a simple question. I hope we can get through this. Did he tell you what transpired?
POMPEO: I have had a number of questions with President Trump about what transpired in the meeting. I was present when he and President Putin to
give what was discussed during the meeting after. And I spoke to Sergey Lavrov twice about the Russian's view on what took place. I think I have a
pretty complete understanding of what took place in that meeting.
MENENDEZ: Did you speak to the translator who was at the meeting?
POMPEO: No, I haven't.
MENENDEZ: Have you seen any of her notes?
POMPEO: Senator, I have never -- I have been in lots of meetings and lots of note takers and translators. I have never relied on the work they did.
I understand what took place in the meeting and it won't be discussed here.
MENENDEZ: Did the president discuss relaxing U.S. sanctions on Russia including sanctions?
POMPEO: Senator, the U.S. policy, with respect to sanctions, remains completely unchanged.
MENENDEZ: So, the president, what you're telling me, I asked a very specific question. Did the president tell you that he discussed relaxing
Russia's sanctions or not, yes or no?
POMPEO: The president is entitled to have private meetings. I'm telling you what U.S. policy is. I came here today --
MENENDEZ: You told me that he had a conversation in which he told you what transpired. I think the nation and all of us who are policymakers deserve
to know so that we can fashion policy accordingly. Did he tell the Putin that I'll release or ultimately relax sanctions?
POMEO: Senator, what you need to conduct your role, your appropriate role, I will provide you today. That is the United States policy with respect to
the issues you request. You asked me about U.S. policy with respect to sanctions, and I can confirm to you that no commitment has been made to
change those policies in any way.
MENENDEZ: Did the president at this meeting call upon President Putin to withdraw from Crimea or Eastern Ukraine?
POMPEO: Senator, I began my statement today with the United States government policies --
MENENDEZ: I understand the declaration, I welcome it. I'm glad that it seems like we had to do a lot of effort to get there, but the question is,
when he had a chance, did he confront Putin and say, we don't recognize your annexation of Crimea. We don't recognize your continuing hostilities
in Eastern Ukraine, and there's consequences for this?
POMPEO: Senator, the president was very clear with Vladimir Putin about the U.S. positions. The U.S. positions that are Trump administration's
positions and spoke about them clearly and firmly when he met with Vladimir Putin.
MENENDEZ: He told you that?
POMPEO: Senator, I'm telling you what he had a conversation with Vladimir Putin about and telling you what U.S. policy is. Senator, I understand the
game that you're playing.
MENENDEZ: Mr. Secretary, with all due respect, I don't appreciate you characterizing my questions. My questions is to get to the truth. We
don't know what the truth is. And the only way we will know what the truth is, what transpired in the two hours, in a highly amazing period of time to
spend alone one-on-one is my understanding at least if you were briefed by the president what he told you.
I don't think that's unfair to know. To understand what policies -- let me ask you this, did the president say we're going to change our four-
structure in Syria?
[15:30:12] POMPEO: Senator, presidents are permitted to have conversations with their cabinet members that aren't repeated in public. I
owe the president the capacity for him that conversations with him, but I provide him the best foreign policy advice that I can. It's what I was --
MENENDEZ: Let me ask you think, Mr. Secretary. Here's something you can answer from me. Because you're not going to answer any of the questions
that would get us to the truth. As CIA director, you stated in an interview with the BBC that you fully expect Russia to continue its attacks
on our democracy by attempting to interfere in our midterm elections as we speak. In his conversation with Putin, I hope the president laid out the
consequences of interference in the 2018 election, but I know you can't tell me that so--
POMPEO: Actually I can tell you that, Senator.
MENENDEZ: Oh, you want to share that one with me. That one you want to share that with me?
POMPEO: No, senator. I can tell you that, because the president has disclosed that. The president disclosed what he said to Vladimir Putin
about Russian interference in our elections and he said that he is confident that as a result of that conversation, Vladimir understands that
it won't be tolerated.
MENENDEZ: I wish he had said that in public in Helsinki. Let me ask you this. Senator Graham and I and others are working on a new bill to hold
Russia accountable. Given that you assert the administration is tough on Russia, will you commit to working with us on a new Russia sanctions bill?
POMPEO: Yes, sir.
MENENDEZ: Thank you. North Korea. When you last appeared, I asked you a series of critical questions about what's our policy North Korea. And to
your credit, I must say that I largely agreed with what our goals are. I want to ask you since we haven't heard anything, not a classified briefing,
not anything as it relates to North Korea. Did North Korea agree with our definition Of Denuclearization meaning the dismantlement, removing of all
nuclear weapons facilities, technology and material for North Korea?
POMPEO: I think I can answer your question. But let me begin by saying, I'm engaged in a complex negotiation with the North Koreans. So I don't
intend in this public setting to share the details of every conversation that took place in those. But I will attempt to answer your questions
without disclosing the contents of the negotiation. I am confident that the North Koreans understand our definition denuclearization. A very broad
one that it goes from infrastructure of nuclear warheads, through chemical biological weapons --
MENENDEZ: We understand, because you laid it for the record. Did they -- have they agreed with you that that --
POMPEO: I believe they thoroughly understand that.
MENENDEZ: They understand it but they didn't agree. Did they agree to end the production and enrichment of uranium and plutonium for military
POMPEO: Senator, I would welcome the chance to respond to your question, if you let me finish. It would be most --
MENENDEZ: It's a simple yes or no.
POMPEO: It will be most illuminating for the folks -- can you repeat the question, please senator? It was the previous I do have the chance to
MENENDEZ: Surely. Did North Korea agree to end the production and enrichment of uranium, plutonium from military programs?
MENENDEZ: They have agreed to denuclearize fully. Yes, senator.
MENENDEZ: OK. We don't have --
POMPEO: Yes, and it certainly includes -- it certainly includes --
MENENDEZ: Well, I would love for you to come to a classified setting and tell all members what exactly transpired because we don't know.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you. Senator Risch.
SEN. JAMES RISCH (R), IDAHO: Mr. Secretary, thank you for doing this job. The president made a wise decision appointing you as secretary of state.
And you're quitting yourself very well here today and we appreciate that. You've always been straightforward with us and I appreciate that. I know
many of my colleagues, not all, but many of my colleagues fully appreciate that.
I want to talk --
POMPEO: You're prepared to say most, senator, you're just going to stay with many.
RISCH: Yes. I'm going to stay with many. Let me say that as far as what happened at the NATO summit, very few Americans heard anything except the
argument that went on about funding. Now, I know the president believes and I know you believe and I believe and I think most everyone believes
that NATO is the most successful military alliance in the history of the world. And as you pointed out, it's certainly one of the pillars of our
national security and one that we need to support and one that we need to work well.
There are very few downsides of NATO, but there is one blemish and the president has underscored that publicly and well. His predecessor
attempted to do it. All their predecessors attempted to do it. All those of us that meet with the Europeans from time to time underscore it. And
that is the funding or the lack thereof that the Europeans have done. Only eight of the NATO nations are actually meeting with commitment of two
First of all, the president is to be commended for underscoring this as only he can do in his unique way and actually getting them to start talking
about it and now finally starting to agree to that. But there were other things that were lost as far as that meeting is concerned. And I'd like
you to talk about those things for a few minutes.
[15:35:07] Number one is on the deterrent side, the Four 30s commitment to increase NATO readiness. And speed up the time it takes allies to assemble
and deploy forces. And that's a huge step forward. The effort to improve mobility and establish the process to enhance the speed at which NATO can
make decisions. The fight against terrorism and increase in allied resilience against terrorist threats through a new framework to share
biometric data is a major accomplishment. And find the opportunity for Macedonia to receive an invitation to join NATO and fulfill the promise
from the Bucharest Summit. That was a positive step for the alliance and for the Baltics (ph).
Could you comment on those very important steps forward that happened at this NATO summit?
POMPEO: Senator Risch, it was an incredibly productive NATO summit for my conversations with Secretary Jens Stoltenberg. He said among the most
productive that he had ever been part of. He's been doing this a little while. You talked about the Four 30s, 30 squads or 30 battalions, and 30
naval combatants ready to go in 30 days, is something NATO has not been able to do, for quite some time.
There's now a real commitment. We have to follow through to make sure that the implementation that occurs, it would be -- it would be a great thing to
deter Russia. If we can get those countries and our allies to get to that level.
You talked the increase in burden sharing. It seemed to get all the focus. It's certainly important that the Europeans are as committed to deterring
Russia as the United States of America and need to demonstrate that through their defense. Not only dollars but readiness as well. We've seen reports
about the absence of German readiness. They need to truly be ready.
The president also raised another issue about energy and energy security at the NATO summit. He talked about the Nord Stream II Pipeline and the risk
that that creates to the alliance in the event that Russia should decide to use energy as a weapon to coerce either formally or informally. Germany or
other European countries. You raise it to the forefront and frankly, there are European countries that understand that risk and support America and
our position on that as well.
And I finally talked a little bit about the NATO mission, it's new role in fighting terrorism. I want to say thanks to so many of the European
countries that have stepped forward. Even just this past few, I guess, it's not two weeks since the NATO summit over a thousand additional
commitments from allied NATO partners headed to assist us in operation resolute support in Afghanistan. It's a great commitment. Something that
President Trump worked hard on at the summit and really good outcomes for America.
RISCH: Well, thank you so much. You're to be personally commended for those great successes as is the president for leading in that regard. It's
unfortunate that our friends and allies feathers were ruffled a little bit just because we said they weren't paying their bills. But that's been
going on for some time. And I think we're going tolerate that. But they've got to step up. And I know you underscored that and the president
has certainly underscored that with him.
I want to talk about Iran for just a moment. One of the big unreported stories as far as foreign relations is concerns is the issues and the
difficulties that the Iranian people are having internally, financially and otherwise. And I know we're not in a classified setting, but there is some
open reporting on the sources. And the regime that's there is struggling with this. Indeed, I think that's probably why they tried to poke the
president the other day to try to take the heat off they're getting at home.
Could you talk a little bit about what's going on internally, again, knowing that we're in an open setting?
POMPEO: Senator, it's enormous economic challenge inside of Iran today. It's an economic structure that simply doesn't work. When you foam into
that, when you're a country of that scale that ferments terror through Lebanese Hezbollah, through Shia militias in Iraq, into Yemen, conducts
assassination attempts in European countries. Provides enormous support for Hafez Assad outside of Lebanese Hezbollah in Syria. That's expensive.
And I think the Iranian people are beginning the see that that's not the model that they want. That the Iranian expansionism that the supreme
leader Qasem Soleimani so favor is not what they're looking for and I think you're beginning to see the economic impact combined with understandings
inside of Iran of the kleptocracy that it is, leading to fundamental decisions that the Iranian people ultimately have to make.
[15:40:00] RISCH: You agree with me that then acceleration of that understanding by the Iranian people has been very rapid over the last six
POMPEO: Yes. I think it's been going on longer than that. But, yes --
RISCH: It's been going on longer, but I'm talking about the acceleration.
POMPEO: Yes, Senator, I think that's a fair statement.
RISCH: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: If I could just one interjection. I know the phrase paying their bills has been used. And we need them every NATO
country needs to be contributing two percent to defense. And I've noticed those near the Russian border always do. But that's a misnomer, is it not?
What we want them to do is contribute at least two percent. There's not -- these NATO countries are not paying bills to the United States as sometimes
as projected, is that correct?
POMPEO: The shortfalls that the president identified really are in two buckets. There is a NATO common fund that is contributed to by every
nation and the United States is, by far, the largest contributor of that fund. And then there are moneys that are paid for nations to raise their
own militaries and to defend themselves. That's the two percent number to which we've been --
CORKER: It would be a mischaracterization to say to make it appear that they're not paying bills, the United States.
POMPEO: That's correct.
CORKER: Senator Cardin.
SEN. BEN CARDIN (D), MARYLAND: Mr. Secretary, thank you for being here. It's my understanding that the president is going to invite Mr. Putin to
the United States to follow up on the understandings reached in Helsinki. Can you just briefly tell me what those understandings or agreements
reached in Helsinki at the meeting?
POMPEO: Sure. I can certainly share with you the things that we've bene tasked to follow up on by President Trump following that meeting. There's
So there is an agreement to establish some business to business exchanges historically have been undertaken but had fallen away. It could be
business leaders that would participate in this. I understand that this what I'm for years and years and would seize --
CARDIN: We could do it briefly. I understand you want to give a complete thing, and I appreciate that.
POMPEO: It's what you ask for.
CARDIN: I understand that. Business to business. Next issue.
POMPEO: The president has asked us to look at reestablishing a counterterrorism council that was held the level of the deputy secretary of
state for many years. But had also seized to happen. I think at this point, I think that make sense.
CARDIN: Counterterrorism cooperation.
POMPEO: We are working to see in Syria, what are the possibilities that can be achieved so that the now, between six and seven million displaced --
first externally, displaced persons have the opportunity to return. We may clear this to happen to the political process in Geneva. But we are
working to see if we can get Russia to be more cooperative in towards -- in terms of driving towards a political resolution that would take down the
violence levels and create some opportunity to begin a political resolution of the process in Syria.
CARDIN: Any discussions on sanctions on -- you said there was no easing on the sanctions?
POMPEO: No, senator. No easing of the sanctions. I'm sorry. Go ahead.
CARDIN: Was there any discussion about Magnitsky? Because certain names associated with Magnitsky came out in Helsinki. Was there any discussion
with the president on the Magnitsky sanction?
POMPEO: There's been no change in U.S. policy with respect to Magnitsky. I think I know what you're referring to. Let me make clear.
The United States will defend our team in the field and the team that's been in the field when he retires and leaves the field. We understand that
Americans deserve the protection the United States of America, both during their time in service and thereafter.
CARDIN: Was there any agreements reached in regards to Ukraine?
POMPEO: No, senator. That's agree to disagree. But the U.S. policy hasn't changed and you can see that, right? $200 million since the
Helsinki summit provided to the Ukrainians. I think there was lots of concern that -- and I saw it. I could find those quotes, if you'd like me
to go drag them out. Concerns that President Trump wouldn't make a change in position with respect --
CARDIN: Let me make that clear --
POMPEO: And there is none -- and it is a policy that the previous administration refused to undertake. And so I hear comparative -- it's
important, senator, comparison matters here because there's a narrative that has developed that somehow President Trump is weak on Russia and when
in fact --
CARDIN: I heard you talking brag about the number of sanctions --
POMPEO: These were just facts.
CARDIN: The fact is that the Congress pay as the council statute that it required sanctions to be imposed and there are sanctions that are to be
imposed under council that have not been imposed. And the facts are the administration sought a waiver in regards to council and regards to
National Defense Authorization Act. So I just really want to point out and we've had this from previous administrations, but not as much as something
we're hearing today that what Congress is requiring you to do, all of a sudden, you found religion and take credit for. But in reality, you
haven't implemented one time the sanctions that has paid by Congress.
[15:45:17] POMPEO: Senator, first of all, that's not true. We've passed the number of sanctions under the council's provision. And it is also
true. It was my best recollection the constitution is the president signed that law, as well. So I thank you for presenting that law. We appreciate
it. We think it makes good sense. The president signed it as well. We have passed sanctions, under that very law. And we have passed sanctions
that -- previous administrations that didn't do.
CARDIN: Please (INAUDIBLE) president's comment when he signed the law, because it's very interesting, his comments.
Let me move on to our policy in regards to nuclear proliferation in Iran and in North Korea, because I'm having a hard time understanding the
comparison between these two countries.
In North Korea, we have a country that has a nuclear weapon. The president has met with the president, the leader of that country and has at least
given a signal to some countries that in fact there may be relaxation of those. We're having problems with China today, as I understand.
In Iran, we had a commitment for a short-term ending of their nuclear program. We were able to isolate Iran, getting the support of China,
Russia, and Europe and we were able to keep the temperature down in regards to their nuclear program. Now, by pulling out, we were now seeing -- we
don't have any commitments on the short-term if Iran walks away from the agreement, because there are already sanctions now under the United States.
We've been isolated, not Iran. And of course, Iran today was not pursuing a nuclear program. I agree with you. There may be long-term issues.
So I'm having a hard time understanding our strategy in regards to preventing nuclear proliferation. Let us point would make. We had a
hearing in this committee as to what is necessary to move forward with North Korea on giving up nuclear weapons. And the first thing they talked
about, you had a full declaration of its nuclear arsenal and a timeline for dismantling.
And I'm taking my information now from the South Koreans, not from the American. South Koreans have been reported to say that you've asked for
that information and you have not been able to get that information from Kim Jong-un or his representatives. So, what have we gotten in North
Korea? And why are we allowing North Korea to continue to have a nuclear weapon when the strategy is that as long as Iran is doing any types of
enrichment, we're going to impose sanctions against them?
POMPEO: Senator, let me try -- that was a long question. Let me try and unpack it a little bit. So let me give you the common thing. We want
neither Iran nor North Korea to have the capacity of proliferating nuclear weapons, to enrich uranium or build their own weapons program. That's the
mission set. It draws them together. That's the conditions for President Trump's understanding of how one achieves non-proliferation in the world.
And that's the mission state we're undertaking in each of those two countries. They're in different places. And we are working on and
approaching each place that we think increases the likelihood that we're able to successfully achieve that. A mission I know you share.
CORKER: We're turning to Senator Rubio's second and interjection. I know mentioned was made of a waiver in the NDAA by Senator Mattis -- I mean,
Secretary Mattis, actually. He was not to be demoted to that level. I know. But I support that. And the purpose of that waiver was it not was
to allow countries that we're dealing with that we wish to buy American military equipment, to be wane off Russian equipment. They still had to
buy parts to do so, so that we can more fully implement strategies with them, working with them to really push back against other countries, is
POMPEO: Senator Corker, you captured it very well. It's Secretary Mattis and I both put forth this proposal and request to the Senate these waivers.
For these are countries that have historic Russian weapons systems, if we deny them the capacity to have spare parts or to round out that process,
then we're likely to drive them into the hands of the Russians. I don't think that was the aim of the sanctions themselves. And so we're working
to effectuate the intent of the statute by seeking this waiver. It's pretty narrow.
CORKER: Senator Rubio. Rubio might yield. Go ahead. Go ahead.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My point is that this is an issue we talked about in the development of the CAATSA bill. There was absolutely no debate in this
committee on the waiver request by the administration. I take -- I disagree, distinguished chairman, as to whether it was handled right. The
country's had over a year to solve that.
[15:50:13] CORKER: Had it been an acute issue and it is a defense related issue. And I'm glad that we've been able to resolve it in a manner that
will allow these countries to wane off Russian equipment and begin buying ours. Senator Rubio?
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: Thank you. Watching to see if they reset my clock like an NBA game. All right. Let me start.
CORKER: Reset the clock.
RUBIO: That's all right.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll figure it out.
RUBIO: I'll tell you when it's time's up. Don't worry. When Vladimir Putin decided to interfere in our elections, you would agree he undertook a
cost benefit analysis. This is what the price would be for doing this. This is the benefit, I think I would gain from it. And so where it leaves
us is we have to do two things. We have to defend against potential interference, election systems and the like. But I think the other is we
have to make sure that the price is higher than the benefit. And that actually points to one of the things you've already mentioned and that is
what we've already done. If you start to line up some of the things that we've done in response to that and other things, it's a pretty extensive
list, including things even asking for four years that are finally happened.
The Javelin anti-tank missiles for Ukraine and Georgia, the support of NATO's new posture in Central and Eastern Europe. The variety of
designations under both Ukraine and cyber-related executive orders that were from the Obama administration. Sanctions under CAATSA. And I know
there's more to come for cybersecurity. Several rounds of designation of individuals. The weapons proliferation, terror and transnational crime.
Export restrictions on entities that violated the INF Treaty.
We closed consulates in San Francisco and in Seattle. We closed an annex in D.C. We closed a trade office in New York after they poisoned nerve gas
attack in the U.K. We expelled 60 other diplomats. All of those things happened under this administration. And these are pretty substantial.
Including the sanctions. But obviously even that price is not high enough because the intelligence community continues to tell us that they are
postured and are actively engaged in both attacking our democracy and posturing to do more of that in the future.
So my question is, along the lines of a piece of legislation that Senator Van Hollen and I and the group of other senators have jumped onboard on and
then aims to do three things. One is sort of define interference. It's not just five Russians guys on Twitter. I mean it's define it in terms of
its meaning to our republic. To require the director of national intelligence to issue a report within 30 days of the election about whether
or not interference occurred, and then put in statute a menu of very crippling sanctions. And the purpose of that would be so that Vladimir
Putin knows before he makes this decision going to 18 or in the future this is the price, I will pay if I do this again.
That's why it's called the deter act to get on the front end of it. I don't ask you to opine on the bill. Because I know you don't have it
before you. But on the concept of building in deterrence on the front end, is that not an approach that we can take to hopefully deter him from doing
this in the future by making clearly understand how high the price would be in compression to the benefit?
POMPEO: Senator, I completely agree with you that there is a cost benefit calculation that's undertaken before the Russians act. So it follows
necessarily that putting on notice with essentially a fail-safe, if you will, about things that will follow has the likelihood of being successful
in raising the cost in terms of how he calculates risk associated with -- a wide range of actions.
RUBIO: You'll be asked plenty about Russia. So I don't want to undermine that. But I think the single biggest national security threat in the long-
term of the United States is China. I mean, for the first time since the end of the cold war, we are in competition with a near to your adversary
and it's not just military, it's economic, it's technological, it's geopolitical and the like. We've seen their impressive and massive
military buildup, the quantum leaps they're making in technology. We see that the work they're undertaking to sort of destroy the U.S. world order
and rebuild it to one more of their liking.
We've seen the gains they've made and just in 5G alone, I mean, what China mobile will be the only company in the world that can build standalone 5G
networks by 2020. And it's really outrageous is many of these advances are not the result of hard work and ingenuity, they're also the result of
intellectual property theft, forced transfers and the like. This is part of a tactic that they've been using for a while. The Chinese and I think
the South China Sea is a great example of it. They don't make this big sweeping changes. It's sort of a sustained -- sort of flow and
incremental, but more assertive demands each time creating new normals along the way. And what they've done in the South China Sea is evidence of
And the only ways that seemed to work in response to their aggression are two things, the first is committed and sustained escalation across the
relationship and carve out pieces of it. They do it that way. We have to do it that way. Our whole relationship sustained and committed pressure.
And the other is invoking the help of our foreign partners.
[15:55:07] And what I'm troubled by in regards to the administration posture on this on the working with, you know, invoking the help of our
foreign partners is become complicated because we're currently engaged with this trade disputes with the E.U. and Japan, Mexico and Canada which we
should have teamed up with to confront them. And I understand trade is an issue that needs to be addressed. But I don't know why we didn't address
China first together and then dealt with our allies second.
And the other is the sustained and committed escalation across the entire relationship. And on that front, I'm puzzled by the decision the
administration made on ZTE. And I know that was not a state department decision. It was a commerce one. Because I agree that if the ZTE issue
was simply a sanctioned violation, the penalties imposed would have been devastating. But ZTE is more than a sanction threat to the United States.
It is part of a broader telecommunication threat that the Chinese industry's posed to the United States and to threaten to shut them down and
then pull back from it is not the sort of committed and sustained escalation across the entire relationship.
The carving out of one company sends them the message that they can pick away at different parts of that relationship and undermine our willingness
to sustain pressure on them to get a better equilibrium. So, I don't know what the state department's role was in that decision. But moving forward,
what is our broader strategic approach to the threat that China poses? Because they don't seek parody. They seek to overtake us.
POMPEO: Sir, you have laid out what I think is the principle challenge for the United States over the coming years. Maybe decade. The issue of China
they are. You talk about lot they've got a lot folks and a big economy. That puts them in the position to be a competitor of the United States and
the way a country like Russia with an economy smaller than Italy's can't maintain over some period of time. And so we do need a broad comprehensive
So I think all of the west not just the United States was too slow in seeing this. Your point about how they turned up the heat slowly over
time. I think that recognition is there. But I don't believe that the structures are in place today to respond to that in a way comprehensively.
I was with our Australian partners yesterday at a meeting with Secretary Mattis and myself and our Australian counterparts. They too. They just
passed -- set an interference rules on China. They're getting up to speed in the same way that as you all took a look CFIUS and FIRRMA. We're
getting up to speed. We are beginning to strike that comprehensive response versus China that I think will ultimately do what has historically
happened, allow America to prevail.
CORKER: Thank you very much. Senator Shaheen.
SEN. JEANNE SHAHEEN (D), NEW HAMPSHIRE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Secretary, I want to thank you, Assistant Secretary Mitchell (INAUDIBLE) in Turkey, Phil Kosnett for your hard work and coordination on
the efforts to release Pastor Brunson. As you pointed out, his move from prison to house arrest is a positive development. Obviously, we have a lot
more work to do in terms of getting him back to the United States. And also pressing the Turkish government to release the other Americans that
they're holding. But it is a positive step. And thank you for that.
I am concerned, Mr. Secretary, because it's been one week since -- a little over a week since the Helsinki meeting between President Trump and Vladimir
Putin. And, yet, other than the brief description you just gave us, we don't really know what was discussed in that meeting. We've heard general
DNI Coats, General Votel and a number of state department officials including those who were present in last week's committee meeting on Iran
indicate that they still don't have a full understanding of what was discussed in that meeting. And we're seeing almost daily attempts by the
Kremlin to take advantage of this opportunity as they release their own readouts of the conversation and broadcast news of various agreements that
they say were reached in that meeting. So, for me, that's why I'm so concerned and why I want to know exactly what was agreed to in that
On Syria, President Trump said, at his joint news conference, that the two leaders discussed Syria at length. The Russian ministry of defense has
indicated that the two leaders agreed to military cooperation in Syria. Did they do that?
POMPEO: Senator, that policy with respect to de-confliction with Russia has not changed. I will defer to the Department of Defense for details
around that. But that -- but I can tell you that the policies that were in place with respect to their efforts to keep American pilot safe and keep
American forces safe in Syria, that policy has not changed.
SHAHEEN: Do you know if they discussed that policy?
POMPEO: I do know that they discussed here and they absolutely discussed Syria. The focus of that discussion, I think President Trump assured this
was an effort to find a political resolution there and to get the displaced person the opportunity to return to Syria.