Secretary of State Mike Pompeo rebuked Sen. Bob Menendez’s (D-NJ) suggestion that President Trump conspired with Russian President Vladimir Putin during his testimony to the Foreign Relations Committee on Capitol Hill.
“When the president meets alone with President Putin, it allows the Kremlin-sponsored state media and Russian Ministry of Defense to provide more information… to the American people but sometimes it seems to the members of the pres own cabinet,” Menendez said. “Has the president told you what happened?”
Pompeo saw through Menendez’s attempt to score political points and shut him down.
“Senator, presidents are entitled to have private meetings,” Pompeo said. “The predicate of your question implied some notion that there was something improper with having a one-on-one meeting. I completely disagree.”
Hearing quickly turns tense as Sen. Bob Menendez presses Sec. of State Mike Pompeo on what transpired in Trump-Putin private meeting.
— ABC News (@ABC) July 25, 2018
Other Dems and neocons also unloaded on Pompeo over Trump’s handling of the summit, including Bob Corker (R-TN) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.).
“You come before a group of senators today who are filled with serious doubts about this White House and its conduct of American foreign policy,” Corker told Pompeo.
The former Kansas congressman hit back against the establishment and mainstream media’s claim that Trump has been soft on Russia.
“There is a narrative that has developed that somehow President Trump is somehow weak on Russia, when in fact the converse is true,” he said, citing several concrete actions his administration have taken against it up until the Helsinki meeting.
“He has a complete and proper understanding of what happened. I know, I’ve briefed him on it for over a year,” he added.
You can watch Pompeo’s hearing with the Foreign Relations Committee in full below: