Watch Mike Pompeo Play Dumb About Trump’s Phone Call With Ukraine

The Secretary of State goes to stunning efforts to avoid divulging that he was on the call.

Alexander Shcherbak/ZUMA

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The Wall Street Journal’s report late Monday revealing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took part in the July 25 phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky is attracting fresh scrutiny of an interview Pompeo gave during a September 22 segment of This Week, in which he appears to have gone to extraordinary lengths to avoid revealing his involvement in the phone conversation at the center of Trump’s impeachment proceedings.

“I want to turn to this whistleblower complaint, Mr. Secretary,” ABC’s Martha Raddatz said. “What do you know about those conversations?”

“So, you just gave me a report about an IC whistleblower complaint, none of which I’ve seen,” Pompeo responded with a chuckle, sidestepping her question. Instead, he repeats one of Trump’s misleading talking points on the Ukraine scandal. “I remember the previous administration was begged by the Ukrainian people to deliver defensive arms so that they could protect themselves from Vladimir Putin and Russia—and they gave them blankets.”

But Raddatz wasn’t having it. Clearly sensing evasion, she interrupted: “You say you know nothing about this. Let me ask you this question…Do you think it’s ‘perfectly fine’ to ask a foreign leader to investigate a political opponent?”

“I think I saw a statement from the Ukrainian foreign minister yesterday say there was no pressure applied in the course of the conversation,” Pompeo said. He then launched into an attack against the Biden family. 

Let’s contrast that to what we learned this week: According to the WSJ, “Pompeo was among the administration officials who listened in on the July 25 phone call between President Trump and Ukraine’s president, a senior State Department official”—a crucial detail the secretary of state conveniently fails to mention in his September 22 interview.

On Tuesday, Pompeo announced that he’ll block State Department officials from testifying to Congress about the Ukraine call. 

 

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REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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