Pompeo To Face Lawmakers After Trump Summits With Foreign Leaders Raise Questions
After weeks of headlines dominated by White House actions on the international stage, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will face questions from lawmakers Wednesday afternoon about how the Trump administration is managing foreign policy.
Pompeo is set to testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He is expected to provide updates on President Trump's approach to Russia, North Korea and Iran.
Lawmakers have said they want to know more about the outcome of Trump's high-profile meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
"I am looking forward to testifying tomorrow — will testify about a lot of things, including the relationship between the United States and Russia," Pompeo told reporters at a briefing in California on Tuesday.
Trump's sit-down with Putin last week in Helsinki stirred up a firestorm of criticism from Republican and Democratic lawmakers after Trump questioned the assessment of U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia interfered in the 2016 election.
Once he was back in the United States, Trump attempted to correct his statement on Russian interference, saying that he does accept the findings of the U.S. intelligence community.
Questions remain about what exactly Trump and Putin agreed to during their two-hour sit-down when no other advisers were present. The White House has not released a detailed readout of the meeting.
Pompeo said on Tuesday that "many things" came out of the meeting between the leaders, but he offered few specifics other than mentioning an agreement to set up a business council.
He defended the summit, saying that ultimately the world will benefit from the talks.
"I think one of the things that gets lost is the determination this administration has had in pushing back against Russian malign behavior around the world," he said.
Lawmakers will likely also grill Pompeo on another historic summit Trump held this year.
Trump has boasted that his meeting with North Korea's Kim in Singapore in June was a success. He even went so far as to tweet that the country was no longer a nuclear threat.
The news out of North Korea since those talks were held has been mixed, though. After Pompeo held a follow-up meeting with senior North Korean officials in Pyongyang earlier this month, North Korea's foreign ministry called the discussions with Pompeo "regrettable."
But, a recent report from a North Korea expert concluded that Pyongyang has begun dismantling key facilities at a satellite launching station.
"It'd be entirely consistent with the commitment that Chairman Kim made to President Trump when the two of them were in Singapore together," Pompeo told reporters on Tuesday when asked about the finding.
"We've been pressing for there to be inspectors on the ground when that engine test facility is dismantled," Pompeo added.
Another topic that will likely be broached at Wednesday's hearing is Iran. Pompeo gave a speech Sunday that called the country's leaders corrupt. He made a direct appeal to the Iranian people, saying the U.S. stands with them.
Trump followed Pompeo's speech with a tweet in all capital letters that warned Iran against threatening the United States.
The White House has said Trump was simply responding to rhetoric from Iran and that the administration will do what is necessary to ensure that Iran does not get nuclear weapons.
Trump pulled the U.S. out the Iran nuclear agreement in May, arguing it was a bad deal that did not do enough to rein in bad behavior from Iran.
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