***VIDEO RELEASE*** Menendez Presses Pompeo on Lack of Clear Foreign Policy Strategy

***VIDEO RELEASE*** Menendez Presses Pompeo on Lack of Clear Foreign Policy Strategy


WASHINGTON, D.C. – During a second round of questioning at his confirmation hearing today, U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, Ranking Member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, pushed Secretary of State Nominee Mike Pompeo to articulate a clear foreign policy strategy as it relates to the escalating situation in Syria, and the Trump Administration’s inclination to pull out of the Iran Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“Here’s my problem with the nominee, Director,” Sen. Menendez lashed out after CIA Director Pompeo continued to evade his questions.  “You want me to put my faith in you, but I can’t do that blindly.  I have to have some sense of what you’ll be advocating, even if it’s not what the President decides…. That’s what I’m trying to glean here, and I’m not getting it.”


The senator showed CIA Director Pompeo a photograph of the leaders of Russia, Iran and Turkey shaking hands, noting that United States has abdicated any role in Syria, asking, “What’s our strategy?”

“They were there for the purposes of discussing how they were going to carve up Syria…," Director Pompeo told Sen. Menendez. "The American people need to be represented at that table so we can be part of that conversation.”

Sen. Menendez asked Director Pompeo if it’s in the United States’ national security interest to unilaterally withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal without a strategy for what comes next, and whether he would recommend reinstating snapback sanctions against Iran the senator authored.  Pompeo offered no specifics.

“I was asking you for a strategy, not goals,” Sen. Menendez continued.  “It would make it a lot easier for me when I have to vote on you to understand what you’ll be advocating.”

The senator also revisited the issue of Russia, after Director Pompeo dodged the senator’s earlier questioning regarding whether the President asked him to intervene in the ongoing Russia probe.

“Your first answer to me was…‘I’m not going to talk about the conversations the President and I had.’ Then, when I pressed you further, you said you couldn’t recall,” Sen. Menendez said.  “It’s concerning to me, because we need a Secretary of State who will be forthright with us and who will be forthcoming as well.”

Following a March 22, 2017 intelligence briefing at the White House, the President reportedly asked everyone to leave the room except for Pompeo and Coats, and then proceeded to complain about the Russia investigation and former FBI Director James Comey’s handling of it.  


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