Pompeo: US airstrikes in February killed 'a couple hundred Russians'

Clay Curtis
April 14, 2018

In response, the Russian embassy said in a statement that Pompeo's rhetoric was once again "unfounded accusations of Russia's meddling in USA electoral processes", earlier made by US legislators.

Appearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday, Pompeo was questioned on a number of different issues, relating to North Korea, the Iran nuclear deal and alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 USA presidential elections.

Throughout the hearing, he drew a sharp contrast between himself and Tillerson, the former CEO of ExxonMobil who Trump unceremoniously fired last month.

"Frankly, both the administrations, every administration, Republican and Democrat alike, we provide arms sales necessary, consistent with that "one China" policy", Pompeo said, in response to questions from Republican US Senator Cory Gardner during a confirmation hearing of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

"A couple hundred Russians were killed". Russia is not engaged in changing regimes and interfering into other states' sovereign affairs unlike the United States, the Russian embassy said on Thursday. "So, in turn, he has come to rely on us", Pompeo said.

"We need to make sure that Vladimir Putin doesn't succeed in what he believes his ultimate goal is."

Under questioning, he said he would be unlikely to resign as secretary of state if Trump were to fire Mueller.

Mr Tillerson, a former chief executive of Exxon Mobil, had a rocky relationship with Mr Trump in just over a year in the job.

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The rift between Russian Federation and the US has deepened in the past few months over various issues but particuarly over Moscow's alleged attempts to inlfuence the 2016 presidential election. Pompeo's views on global issues are well known - he was questioned extensively by senators for his confirmation to run the Central Intelligence Agency - but Democratic senators have raised questions about his fitness to be top diplomat, given his hawkish views and past comments about minorities.

"I spoke with Special Counsel Mueller who interviewed me, requested an interview", he said.

In a letter sent Thursday, Menendez asks Mueller whether Pompeo was forbidden from answering questions about what was discussed in the interview.

"I have cooperated with multiple investigations, while the investigation continues, I think that's the appropriate way to approach it", Pompeo said.

Mr Pompeo was questioned repeatedly over whether he would act independently and stand up to Mr Trump.

If confirmed by the Senate, Pompeo said he would bolster the Iran nuclear deal, adding that fixing the 2015 agreement is in the US' best interest.

Trump's National Security Adviser John Bolton said in a statement that Pompeo is "a talented and experienced public servant" and said the administration needs him as secretary of state "as we support the President and take on some of the toughest foreign policy issues of our time".

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