Secretary of State Pompeo Testifies Before House Foreign Affairs Cmte CSPAN March 27, 2019 12:33pm-4:57pm EDT
chairman, ranking member, thank you, distinguished members of the subcommittee, thank you for being with me this morning and thank you for the opportunity to disus g the fy2020 budget. i'm glad i'm here with you all. in order to support the president's national security strategy we this year submitted a request for $40 billion from the state department and u.s. aid. it will support our allies and partners overseas. you should know there are difficult choices when budgets are to be made. you face these constraints too. we should always be mindful of the burden that american taxpayers have in our obligation to deliver exceptional results on their behalf. this budget request will help us achieve our diplomatic goals in several ways. first we'll make sure that china and russia cannot gain a
>> the committee will come to order. without objection, all members may have five days to submit statements, questions, and extraneous materials for the record subject to the length, limitation in the rules. so, this afternoon we will hear testimony from secretary of state mike pompeo on the trump administration's 2020 international affairs budget request and a range of other issues dealing with the administration's foreign policy and management of the state department. welcome back to the house, mr. secretary. i know you spent many good days here. and i appreciate your reaching out shortly after the election when you were first nominated as secretary of state. i value our open line of communication. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
>> welcome to the public and members of the press as well, especially our friends from c-span who are celebrating its 40th birthday this week. let me first of all start with the budget. the administration's first budget request before you were secretary, mr. secretary, was deeply disappointing, slashing investments in diplomacy and development by nearly a third and met resounding bipartisan rejection in congress. the second budget was baffling after congress made it clear we would not gut american diplomacy. the administration made essentially the same request to do just that. again, it was rejected. and the third budget which was once again and seeks to hobble the state department and other agencies, this in my view demonstrates contempt for diplomacy and democrats and the congress who's job it is to
decide how much to spend on foreign affairs. first year it was rejected and we came up with our budget, bipartisan way, i should say. and then the second year, the administration came to low ball us once again. and now the third year, the same time when the budget has been rejected twice before, why would the administration send a similar budget only to be rejected a third time? so, mr. secretary, let me be clear. this budget request was dead the moment it arrived on capitol hill. i don't know whether the administration really believes we can mount an effective foreign policy, one that advances american interests, values, and security on a shoe string budget or if the people calling the shots just don't care. but congress won't stand by and see american leadership on the global stage undermined and that's not just our opinion. that's the power of the purse. that's what we're supposed okto do. so, that's the good news.
the bad news comes when the administration shows the world just how little stock it puts in diplomacy and development and building bridges of friendship and forging alliances and resolving conflict and crises. this budget in my opinion signals to the world that the trump foreign policy is one of disengagement, of pulling back from places where american leadership is fleeded the most. and we know other countries don't ashare our values like china and russia and iran. those countries are more than happy to fill the void. it tells the diplomatic work force that the efforts are not valued. that's had impact we can already see. we see in the plummeting morale of the state department and the ub in of diplomats chased to the exits. we see it in report after report after report of politically motivated targeting and harassment of career employees, allegations on which the department has failed to respond to multiple committee requests for information.
we see it in the drop of number of civil servants at the department and the sharp decline in employee satisfaction according to the partnership for public service. and when i look at the administration's policies, i'm left wondering how often if state department experts are being ignored completely. from denigrating our alliances, nato, to cozying up to strong men, to walking away from international agreements and obligations from an abortive summit with north korea to save a rattling in venezuela to clearing the way for iran and russia to run over syria if we leave, then waging a trade war with china and slamming the door on vulnerable people around the world seeking to come to our country. those don't seem like policies to me built on the expertise and experience that our diplomats offer. they seem like what i call fly by the seat of your pants
diplomacy. when congress exercises congress tugs nal responsibility in rejecting the budget request, this committee will also conduct oversight to deal with what i consider major problems in foreign policies and at the state department. mr. secretary, i was hopeful that the department would work collaboratively with us to allow this committee to carry out its constitutionally mandated oversight duties. i must say three months into the congress, the response to the department and our request is ranged from foot dragging to outright stone walling. it's very frustrating and thats not acceptable. i believe you would feel the same way since i know you if you were still a member of this body. i hope the trend changes, but if it doesn't, i will use every tool at this committee's disposal to get the answers we need. and i hope we can get some of those answers today. i look forward to a frank conversation and to your testimony, mr. secretary. and before i introduce you, i
will call on my friend, the ranking member, mr. mike mccall of texas for any opening statement he may have. >> thank you, mr. chairman. welcome mr. secretary. i applaud the work you're doing for your country. my recent visit to the state department, i found that the morale is very good. over the last two years, the administration has embarked on a forward leaning agenda which is putting america back where it needs to be. and i want to thank you for ending the era of leading from behind and strategic patience. the importance of our diplomatic mission cannot be overstated. with a growing crisis in venezuela and unpredictable north korea, china and russia creating mischief around the globe, terrorism on the rise in africa and iran threatening israel, we must show our strength through hands of diplomacy. the president's request identifies our most challenging threats. it includes $662 million to
counter russia's malign influence in europe and your asia. this counter attacks and propaganda come pains. in regards to up coming elections, i will watch and you will as well, how the russians interfere. it may be a precursor to what we'll see here in 2020. the president's budget proposal also contains much-needed reforms. however, i agree with the chairman. i believe that certain cuts have unintended consequences that cost us more in the long term. this is especially true of cuts to critical humanitarian and developmental assistance programs that promote democracy, support economic growth, and provide life-saving resources to
bolster stability in areas of terrorism. as jim mattis once said if you don't fund the state department more fully, i need to buy more ammunition. on terrorism, a few years ago you and i had the opportunity to travel to africa and i remember watching the f-18s taking off in the persian gulf from the deck of the harry truman to hit isis targets in syria. today it feels almost surreal to say their so-called caliphate is gone. and i applaud your efforts in that mission. but we also still note the threat from isis, al quaeda, and others still remains. on fragile states, a key lesson from violent states is they provide fertile ground for
terrorists. this broken model can be fixed and we need to do more in terms of prevention. that is why chairman engel and i reintroduced our fragile states bill, this congress. it will require the administration launch a new initiative to counter assistance to these broken states. on the middle east, any strategy there must always include strengthening our ties with israel. and for starters, i was very proud of your efforts and the president's to see our embassy move from tel aviv to jerusalem. mr. secretary, i want to applaud your efforts also in countering iran. some don't see their true menace. they are still the number one state sponsor of terror. they support holding americans hostage, they have an assassination campaign in europe, a wreck less missile program, suppress their peoples'
freedom and let's not forget want to wipe out israel and chant "death to america." i applaud last week's sanctions that target iranian weapons of mass destruction prolive ray tors. we cannot let iran get nuclear weapons either. china's government steals our intellectual properties, threatens taiwan, partakes in military advent churism, and threatens through the one belt one road initiative. i'm supportive of the actions laid out in your speech last year. as you know many countries tell us america is just not there the way the chinese and other countries are. that is why i introduced the champion american business through diplomacy act with chairman engel. in sum, it bolsters u.s.
diplomats ensure countries do business with american countries rather than with the chinese. on venezuela, we can all agree that the socialist policies of nicolas maduro have turned the once rich country into a failed mafia state with little food and medicine. millions of people are suffering more every day and forced to flee to other countries in the region. maduro's armed thugs are blocking the delivery of humanitarian aide. they've shot innocent civilians, kidnapped the chief of staff of interim president guaido and just yesterday attacked guaido's mote motorcade. i would also like to know he has taken four texans and put them in a venezuelan prison.
i support taking back their country through free and fair elections and applaud countries like brazil and the lima group for their effort. secretary pompeo it's a great honor to welcome you today as a secretary and former colleague and friend. i've always said that partisanship as the chairman says must end at the water's edge. this hearing gives us a chance to put partisan politics aside and offer solutions to complex issues. i look forward to your testimony, and i yield back. >> thank you mr. mccall. now let me introduce our witness. michael pompeo is the 70th united states secretary of state, taking office april 26th of last year. from january 2017 until he became our top diplomat, mr. pompeo served as the 6th director of the central intelligence agency. from 2011 until 2017 he
represented kansas fourth congressional district right here in the u.s. house of representatives. he's a lawyer, entrepreneur, and from 1986 until 1991 served in the united states army. mr. secretary, welcome back to the house. we are pleased to have you with us today. i now recognize you five minutes to summarize your testimony. >> thank you chairman engel and ranking member. i will be brief. thank you for the chance to discuss the fy2020 budget. it's designed around the national security strategy to achieve foreign policy goals. the request for $40 billion for state department and usad puts us in position to do just that. these moneys will protect citizens at home and abroad, advance american values, and support partners overseas. we make this request mindful of the burden on american taxpayers and take seriously our obligation to deliver
exceptional results on their behalf. this budget will achieve our key diplomatic goals. let me walk through many of them. first, we'll make sure that china and russia cannot gain a strategic advantage in an age of renewed great power competition. we'll continue our progress for the final denuclearization of north korea. and we'll support the people of venezuela that has towards democracy and we'll continue to confront the threat proposed by iran and its maligned behavior and we'll work to help our allies to become more security and self-reliant as well. i take it as a personal mission to make sure that our diplomatic personnel have the resources they need in the 21st century. mr. chairman, i know that you too care deeply about the
welfare of our dedicated professionals. they get up every day and carry out the foreign policy missions. and we want to ensure we have the resources to recruit, hire, retain and empower them. we especially need the extremely qualified individuals we needed to serve, many of whom have been waiting senate confirmation since last year. i appreciate this committee's focus on ensuring that the department's workforce are treated respectfully a. when i served in this chairman, i served administration officials hard and my team will continue to work with your to fulfill your request for briefings, meetings information
from the work and work to identify our we can do oversight and requests. i look forward to work with you on these key priorities and many, many and i will end my remarks to well have fulsome time for a good conversation. thank you. >> thank you very much, mr. secretary. i will now begin with my questions and after my time has expired, i will recognize members for five minutes for the purpose of questioning the witness. so i'm going to have three questions. i'm going to try to get them in and so if you could give us a short chance, perhaps, it would work and then we'll follow it up. mr. secretary, from your experience in congress you know of course we cannot conduct our constitutional oversight duties effectively if the executive branch stone walls or drags its feet on committee requests for information. i want you to know for over a
year the state department has not responded to my concerns about allegations that senior officials targeted career employees for improper reasons including their work for previous administrations, their sexual orientation and even their national origin. and the inspector general will finish his investigation of this matter shortly. you testified last may that people engage in such targeting should not be working at the state department. i'm holding two e-mails from 2017 right here. from a certain official, he pledges to gather entail on an employee who was born in iran on the other he makes a list of employees. i was shocked to see how he characterized these employees not by anything related to their job performance but by national origin, political affiliation and even gossip. so i want to ask you an easy question is targeting for these
employees for these reasons appropriate? >> i came on board and immediately made sure that both office of special counsel and the oig had all the information they needed to complete their investigation and i am disappointed that they have not completed their work yet and hope they will do so soon. other than that, i'm not going to respond to anything about any particular person, but i can assure you, i want every employee at the department of state treated with the dignity that they deserve because of their humanness. >> can you tell us then why haven't you shared with us any of the information? >> so i think we have shared a great detail. we've come over and talked with you, talked with folks on the senate side as well. we're working to comply with the requests you have. it's complicated when you have special counsel investigations. you would be the first to remind me if we started asking hard questions of the ig, you would
suggest i might be trying to interfere with their work and i've tried to do everything i can to make sure -- >> i just want you to know that i have here the oig's e-mail that they have no problems with the department providing these documents to congress. it's been very frustrating the stonewalling we've been getting for over a year now. it's very frustrating. what we want to have been is what we're entitled to know and it's a call from your staff just days before this hearing in which they didn't agree to produce any documents, there's really not a good faith effort. i would hope, based on what you've said that you will provide us the documents the committee requested and i hope you can do that within one week. there's nothing out landic or outrageous, we're just trying to do our jobs. i want to ask you a question about syria.
i am very worried about president trump's statement that we're going to pull out of syria. i don't want the united states to be in a foreign country any more than they have to, but pulling out of syria would be a betrayal to the kurds, our faithful allies for many, many years, it would create problems for israel because it would put the iranian regime right on israel's order. and if we would have to come back, it would result in more american casualties. right now we seem to have the situation pretty much in hand. so i hope that the president's precipitous statement after he spoke with mr. erdogan of turkey, that we were going to pull out of syria soon me,
immediately, or whatever is not the truth. and we've rethought it. can you give us some assurances on that? >> i don't want to speak about particular troop levels but i can talk about the policy. the president's made clear he wants to put as few american soldiers' lives at risk and do so while achieving america's foreign policy. by the way, i have a senior state department official who is working to implement security council. the real estate that separates syria and turkey so we can continue to maintain the individual lens that led to the caliphate. this fits inside our policy throughout the middle east whether it's in iraq, syria, the work that we're doing to help lebanon. the work we're doing with our gulf partners to achieve what it is you've described. a secure situation for the
american people and an increase in the civility throughout the middle east. >> and of course we don't need iran in syria or russia in syria right up to israel's northern border. >> that's correct. >> let me finally ask you this question. the balkans, how is the u.s. pushing back on russian encroachment in the balkans? i am very supportive of the independence of kosovo, very supportive of the u.s. alliance with kosovo. i would like to see kosovo in the united nations, in all the international organizations. i know they're having negotiations with serbia. but serbia is trying to undermine them the minute the --
they walk away by trying to get other nations to withdraw their recognition of kosovo by allowing -- by making noise in terms of preventing them from getting into interpol and some of the other international organizations. i hope the administration stands by our ally, i think of no country that is many pro-american than kosovo and i would like to hear you respond to that. >> thank you, mr. chairman. we're watching the situation closely. we understand all the risks. the secretary was in the region. he reported back to me on the challenges. we understand russia's efforts to influence and use various forms of power to control that region and i'd be happy -- i know you want short chances. i'd be happy to talk to you in detail about how it is we're trying to achieve those through the tools that we have, not only
the soft power of diplomacy but through other tools as well. >> let me first say that the chairman and i will be working in a bipartisan fashion to plus up your budget. i think we need stability throughout the globe and we look forward to working with you on that issue. tomorrow the chairman and i will be traveling to the venezuelan border in columbia. and i have a two-part question. the first is i don't think failure is an option here, but what would be the consequences for the united states and the region if maduro succeeds in venezuela and second part is, if maduro does not succeed, what would a post maduro reconstruction strategy look like? >> so i'm of the nature that i try not to contemplate failure. but we have considered what the risks are associated with the efforts that we've provided to
date and the efforts you mentioned the lima group, all the groups in the region now, some 50 some that have recognized the proper leader as designated by the venezuelan people through their constitution. we've seen russia trying to continue to exert influence. the cubans are providing support to the maduro regime. it will have a negative outcome, continued destruction of the venezuelan economy and real hardship for the venezuelan people. there's lots of downside if the venezuelan's people objective is not achieved. the day and week after is going to be a long process. the maduro regime's destruction of the economy in venezuela is not as a result of the sanctions that the united states has put in place over the last months.
this is years of socialist leadership that has completely put their primary revenue source, their fossil fuel resources in a place that's going to cost -- i've seen estimates between 6 and $12 billi $12 billion and years to repair. we need to make sure the influence is out, maduro and his cronies are all gone and we begin to rebuild the democracy and the world will have to provide the economic stabs to get them through this transition period. the united states will be part of it. but the coalition will be part of that as well. >> it's an historic opportunity for the region, the hemisphere, it will transform venezuela which is now a failed state. it was a prosperous nation and now it's in utter chaos. i think it would impact cuba, it
could transform the western hemisphere and be a major victory. on china, you know, as i get my briefings, islamist terror has always been the focus, but china is becoming more the number one threat in nation states. can you tell me about the threat from china and particularly what i'm concerned about is the one belt one road initiative. their theft of intellectual property, they're in our medical institutions our universities. but they're overleveraging countries and particularly in africa where they can take over these countries without a shot fired and they're in slee lawn ka now, they have that port. what is the administration doing to counter the chinese threat? >> we identified it. something previous administrations were loathed to
do. i get it. we have important economic interests with china. president trump is doing his best to set the trade relationship so it's fair. so i would describe that as the first thing the administration did. we recognize this is a great power battle and we're engaged in it across the world. it's our support of -- our identifying the threat from chinese state-owned enterprise technology companies, sharing that with other countries, identifying this risk. western democracies around the world will make up to the risks and will push back. you mentioned one belt one road in particular. we are doing our best to make sure that there are western competitors every place, there's a project that -- we're happy to compete. if it's fair, transparent, open transaction, the chinese may win a few, but i'm confident that american businesses will do well
there. we've seen transactions that weren't fair, that weren't designed with a national security interest and not an economic interest for the people of their country. the state department has shared with these countries the risks from entering into these and i think countries throughout asia, southeast asia are waking up to this concern as well. >> let me close, i know my time is expired, just commending you for your engagement with kim jong-un and north korea. i think that's important given the threat that we face in the region. i also commend you for walking away from the table. i think the best thing ronald reagan was walking away from the table with the soviets and we saw the end of the cold war. and i think to get a deal like the iran deal, it's not adequate. we need a good deal. so thank you, sir. i yield back. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. secretary of state, thank you
and welcome. i want to talk a little bit about the western hemisphere and what's going on. i see a bigger plan in what's going on in venezuela i think than most people. i see a lot of celebrates of what happened in cuba, and what happening in venezuela. in cuba they allowed the people to leave. in venezuela, there were 5,000 people leaving every day. they expect by the end of this year to be about 5 million people who have left venezuela. i really believe that there's a bigger plan here to destabilize the western hemisphere with what's going on in venezuela. you have a million people putting a great deal of pressure on columbia and they have opened their doors and they've done a
great job in helping these people. you have seven hundred thousand people going into peru. you have people all the away down to argentina. some of these people cannot absorb the quantity of people who are leaving venezuela daily. so to me, i think this is part of a bigger plan to destabilize this whole region and continue to keep us busy and make america the bad apple in all this. and i would hope that we will continue to put pressure on maduro. i do not believe in military action, but i do believe that sanctions will be effective in working with the lima group will be very effective. this afternoon i'm meeting with the wife of guiado. she's very concerned about her husband. she feels that any day now they're going to pick him up and
good knows where they're going to put him. are we prepared to increase our sanctions and make it even harder for maduro to continue being in power if anything like this happens? >> yes. >> do you know -- can you share with us what kind of sanctions would you be considering? >> what we've done so far is historic. >> i agree with what you're doing so far. >> and your analysis i share, of the risks to the region, idaho prefer not to get out ahead of what we're prepared to sanction and not. but you have this administration's commitment to continue to work to deliver for the venezuelan people and whether that's economic sanctions, sanctions on military leaders, our outreach through diplomats to try to convince the armies of the fool's errand it is to stand with this thug,
we're hard at it. >> i'm concerned it's going to go from venezuela to nick rag ga. they bought $80 million worth of tanks from russia. they're one of the poorest countries, if not the poorest, in the region. so to me they're going on the same path. they're having this dialogue now, they keep walking away from this dialogue with the opposition and it's only a matter of time before they pull one of these maduro issues, where they become absolute power. are we willing to put sanctions on that country as well? >> i'm confident -- if the threat is similar and the risks are similar, we will respond in a similar fashion. >> and the last thing i have, uruguay, mexico, they were talking about dialogue to see if
they could move maduro out. has the administration talked to these two countries in terms -- i think brazil was probably involved in it as well. to see if they could help moving this guy out of there before more people die. >> yes. we've been in conversations with each of those two governments and i must say there is no evidence that there's any value in speaking with maduro at this time. there's just -- his time has come, his time has gone, it's time for him to leave. >> i have so many questions. and my time is running out. >> i tried to be brief. >> you have been. the turks, the iranians are in venezuela, very concerned, and thank you for being here. >> yes. and i'll add to that, and they're provided financial assistance and support to the maduro regime at a time when it was incredibly unconstructive.
>> and the russians had soelds as well. >> that's correct. >> thank you, mr. smith. >> thank you for your great leadership and for being here today. a few months ago i chaired a hearing on the chinese's government in complicity in trafficking of fentanyl. 29,000 people in the united states have been killed, most recent numbers in 2017. i have a bill called the combatting fentanyl act of 2019 and what we're looking for is a listing of people who are complicit. at the hearing i walked away thinking we're not doing all we can do. i know you're doing much. but it seems to me that the magnitsky act sanctions and other things ought to be brought to bear against those people. and thank you on ambassador john richmond for two very superb choices, special envoy on
anti-semitism, so thank you for that leadership because they are two wonderful people that are doing a good job already. let me ask you too, announced by ronald reagan at -- let me jump back. last night i was at a premier of a brand-new film called "unplanned." based on the life of abby johnson and her book "unplanned" which i've read. it chronicles her life as a planned parenthood student activist followed by eight years of a director where over 20,000 abortions were performed. in that movie, she points out that she assisted in the first ultrasound guided abortion at that clinic and she says the details startled me. at 13 weekends you could see the
profile of the head, arms and legs. with my eyes glued on the imagine of this baby, i watched as a new image emerged. an instrument attached to the end of the suction tube, it looked like an invader out of place. she then says that first the baby didn't seem aware of that, the next moment there was a sudden jerk and then as it pressed in, the doctor's voice broke in and said "beam me up, scotty" and the child crumbling before her eyes. we lost 61 million unborn babies to abortion. a number that equates with the entire country, the population of italy. and yet there are many of those who would like to export abortion through our foreign policy. i want to thank you for your
implementation of the protecting health and life policy which is an expansion of president reagan's mexico city policy. members might recall it was announced in 1984 in mexico city, hence its name. the policy was and is designed to ensure that u.s. taxpayer funding is not funneled to foreign ngos that perform or promote abortion as a method of family planning. 34 years ago, in july of 1985. i authored the first of several successful amendments to preserve this policy. people said then that ngos won't accept those conditions, we found out that they would and they divested themselves if they're complicit in the taking of life to some other program. let me remind my colleagues and you know this so well and special thanks that president
trump has said he will veto any bill that weakens or nullifies any prolife policy, any of them, and we will sustain that veto. more than 169 members have signed the letter to the president in the house, 49 in the senate saying clearly if it's on any bill, that bill, we will sustain your veto, mr. president, and i want to ensure you because life is so precious, we need preserve to protect it. we will do that. on those issues, if you could briefly, fentanyl, speak to that, if you would. >> let me take two of them briefly. president trump has made this a priority. he got a commitment from president xi that he would do all he could in his space to stop fentanyl from moving out of china. we have not seen as much action as we had anticipated. the day i was there, i heard president xi make that
commitment. this crisis is real, it's tragic. we don't have our hands around it yet. but know the state department and other -- my colleagues across the cabinet understand the risk that this presents to the united states and its people. second, your statements on the mexico city policy i appreciate. we made an extension of it yesterday. i'm very confident that the things we did yesterday will be absorbed by the ngo community, they will continue to deliver on the health needs that you and i are committed to delivering. we'll make sure those dollars go to the right place and not $1 of taxpayer funding goes to the tragedy of abortion around the world. >> thank you, mr. secretary, you can see we have a vote on the floor right now on this. there's only two votes so i'm going to recess for now. we can get mr. secretary the room we were in before and we'll
continue with the live coverage. we'll look at the hearing from the beginning, starting with opening remarks from the committee chair. >> the committee will come to order. without objection, all members will have five days to commit statements, questions, for the record, subject of the length, limitation in the rules. this afternoon, we will hear testimony from secretary of state mike pompeo on the trump administration's budget request and a range of other issues dealing with the administration's foreign policy and management of the state department. welcome back to the house, mr. secretary. i know you spent some many good days here and initiated your reaching out shortly after the election when you were first dominated as secretary of state. i value our open line of
communication. >> thank you. >> welcome to the public and members of the press as well. especially our friends from c-span who are celebrating its 40th birthday this week. so let me first of all start with the budget. the administration's first budget requests before you were secretary was deeply disappointing. slashing investments in diplomacy and development by nearly a third. it met rejection here in congress. the second budget was baffling after congress made it clear we would not gut diplomacy. the administration made the same request. again it was rejected and the third budget which once again in my opinion seeks to hobble the state department and other agencies, this in my view, demonstrates contempt for
diplomacy. first year when the budget was sent, it was rejected and we came on with our budget a bipartisan way, and the second year the administration came to low ball us once again and now the third year, at the same time, when the subject has been rejected twice before, why would the administration send a similar budget only to be rejected a third time. so, mr. secretary, let me be clear, this budget request was dead the moment it arrived on capitol hill. i don't know whether the administration really believes that we can mount an effective foreign policy, one that advances american interests, values and securities on a shoe string budget or if the people calling the shots just don't care. but congress won't stand by and see american leadership on the global stage undermined and that's not just our opinion. that's the power of the purse. that's what we're supposed to do. so that's the good news.
the bad news comes when the administration shows the world just how little stock it puts in diplomacy and development in building bridges of friendship and resolving conflict and crisis. this budget signals to the world that the trump foreign policy is of disengagement. and we know other countries who don't share our values, those countries are more than happy to fill the void. it tells our development workforce that their efforts are not valued. that's had an impact that you can already see. we see it in the plummeting morale of the state department and the number of diplomats chase today the aexits. we see it in allegations on which the department has failed to respond to committee requests
for -- and when i look at the administration's policies, i'm left wondering how often if state department experts are being ignored completely. from denigrating our alliances, nato, to cozying up to strong men, to walking away from our international agreements and obligations, to save venezuela for clearing the way for iran and russia to run rough shot over syria if we leave, for waging a trade war with china, to slamming the door on people around the world seeking to come to our country, those don't seem like policies to me built on the expertise and experience that are our diplomats offer. they seem like fly by the seat
of your pants diplomacy. so as congress exercises it's responsibility in rejecting the budget request, this committee will conduct oversight to deal with what i consider major problems in foreign policy and of the state department. mr. secretary, i was hopeful that the department would work with us for us to carry out the oversight duty. but i must say three months into this congress the response from the department to our requests has changed from foot-dragging to outright stonewalling. it's frustrating and that's not acceptable. i believe you'd feel the same way since i know you if you were still a member of this body. i hope the trend changes but if it doesn't, i will use every tool at this committee's disposal to get the chances we need. and i hope we can get some of those chances today. i look forward to a frank conversation and to your testimony, mr. secretary, and before i introduce you, i will
call on my friend, the ranking member, mr. mike mccall from texas. >> welcome, mr. secretary. i applaud the work that you're doing for our country and in my recent visit to the state department, i found that the morale is very good. over the last two years, the administration has embarked on a forward-leaning agenda which is putting america back where it needs to be and i want to thank you for ending the era of leading from behind and strategic patience. the importance of our mission cannot be overstated. with a growing crisis in venezuela and unpredictable north korea, china and russia creating mischief, we must show our strength through hands of diplomacy. the president's budget request identifies our most challenging threats. for example, it includes 662
million to counter russia's influence in europe and asia. it will support our allies like ukraine to help enhance their cyber security to counter russian attacks. in regards to ukraine's upcoming elections, i will closely wash and i know you will as well how the russians interfere. it may be a precursor to what we will see here in 2020. the president's budget proposal also contains some much needed reforms. i do agree with the chairman, i believe that certain cuts have unintended consequences that cost us more in the long term. this is especially true of cuts to critical humanitarian and developmental assistance programs that promote democracy, support economic growth and provide life-saving resources to bolster stability in areas at
risk of terrorism and extremist ideologies. as jim mattis once said, if you don't fund the state department fully, then i need to buy more ammunition. on terrorism, a few years ago, we had the opportunity to travel to northern africa and the middle east and i remember watching the f18s taking off in the persian gulf from the deck of the harry truman to hit isis targets in syria. today it almost feels a little surreal to be able to finally say that their so-called caliphate is gone and i applaud your efforts in that mission. but we also still note the threat from isis, al qaeda and others still remains. on fragile states, a key lesson from conflicts and fragile states is they provide recruiting ground for
terrorists. this broken model can be fixed and we need to do more in terms of prevention. that is why chairman engle and i reintroduced our state's bill this congress. it will require that we launch a new initiative to counter our assistance to these broken states. on the middle east, any strategy there must include strengthening our ties with israel. and for starters, i was very proud of your efforts and the president's to see our embassy move from tel-aviv to jerusalem. i want to applaud your efforts in countering iran. some don't see their true menace. they're still the number one state sponsor of terror, hold americans hostage, they have an assassination campaign in europe, a reckless missile program, suppress their people's freedom, and let's not forget
want to wipe out israel and chant death to america. i applaud last week's sanctions that target iranian weapons of mass destruction prolive ray tors. we cannot let iran get nuclear weapons ever. on china, they're government steals our intellegence property and targets both developed and underdeveloped nations through their one belt one road initiative. i am very supportive of the action items laid out in your indo-pacific speech last weeks. as you know many countries tell us america is just not there the way the chinese and other countries are. and that is why i introduced the championing american business through diplomacy act with chairman engle. in sum, it bolsters diplomacy by mandating that our diplomats
have better training and do more to ensure countries do business with american countries rather than with the chinese. on venezuela, we can all agree that the socialist policies of nicolas maduro have turned the once rich country into a failed mafia state. with little food and medicine, millions of people are suffering more every day and forced to flee to other countries in the region. maduro's armed thugs are blocking the delivery of humanitarian aid. they've shot innocent civilians, kidnapped the chief of staff of interim president guiado and just yesterday, attacked guiado's motorcade. maduro has taken four texans and put them in a venezuela prison. i commend the president for supportiving the people of venezuela in their quest to take back their country through free
and fair elections. and applaud neighbors like columbia, brazil and the lima group for their effort. secretary pompeo, it's a great honor to welcome you today as a secretary, as a former colleague and a friend, and i've always said that partisan must end at the water's edge. this hearing gives us a chance to put partisan politics aside and offer solutions to complex issues. i look forward to your testimony and i yield back. >> thank you, mr. mccall. and now let me introduce our witness. michael pompeo is the 70th united states secretary of state taking office april 26th of last year. from january 2017 until he became our top diplomat, mr. pompeo served as the sixth director of the central intelligence agency. from 2011 until 2017, he
represented kansas's fourth congressional district right here in the u.s. house of representatives. he's a lawyer and an entrepreneur and from 1986 until 1991, served in the united states army. mr. secretary, welcome back to the house. we are pleased to have you with us today and now recognize you for five minutes to summarize your system. >> thank you. i will be brief. thanks for the opportunity to discuss the administration's fy 2020 budget. it's designed around the national security strategy to achieve our foreign policy goals. the request for $40 billion for state department and usad puts us in position to do just that. these monies will protect our citizens at home and aboard, advance american prosperity and values and support our partners overseas. we make this request, mindful of the burden on american taxpayers and take seriously our
obligation to deliver results on their behalf. this budget will achieve our key diplomatic goals. let me walk through many of them. first, we'll make sure that chaens and russia cannot gain an advantage in an age of reviewed power competition. we'll continue our progress throughout the denuclearization of north korea. and we'll support the people of venezuela as they work towards a peaceful -- and we'll continue to confront the threat posed by the islamic republican of iran and its maligned behavior. and we'll work to help our ally and is partners around the world become more secure and economically self-reliant as well. i take it as a personal mission to make sure that our diplomatic personnel have the resources they need to execute america's diplomatic in the 21st century. i know that you too care deeply
about the welfare of our dedicated professionals. they get up every day and carry out the department's missions. and like you, my priority is to ensure we have resources to recruit, hire, and retain and empower them. we especially need extremely qualified individuals we nominated to serve in important management positions across the department, many of whom have been waiting confirmation since last year. i also appreciate this committee's focus on ensuring that the 75,000 men and women are treated respectfully and justly, and i work to ensure that those commitments are carried out. when i served in this chamber, i pressed hard about their responsibility and my team will continue to work with yours for briefings, meetings and information from the department.
i look forward to continuing to work with you on all of these key foreign policy priorities and i'll now end my remarks so we'll have fulsome time for a good conversation. thank you. >> thank you very much, mr. secretary. i will begin with my questions and after my time is expired, i'll recognize members for five minutes for purposes of questioning the witness. i have three questions. i'm going to try to get them in and so if you can give us a short chance, perhaps, it would work and then we'll follow it up. from your experience in congress investigating benghazi, you know of course that we cannot conduct our constitutional oversight duties effectively if the executive branch stone walls or drags its feet on committee requests for information. i want you to know for over a
year the state department has not responded to my concerns about allegations that senior officials targeted career employees for improper reasons including their work for previous administrations, their sexual orientation and even their national origin and as you know the inspector general will finish his investigation of this matter shortly. you testified last may that people engaged in such targeting should not be working at the state department. i'm holding two e-mails from 2017 right here from a senior official brian hook. he intends to gather intelligence on an employee born in iran. i was shocked to see how he characterized these employees not by anything related to their job performance, but by national origin, perceived political affiliation and even gossip. so i want to ask you an easy question, is targeting employees for these reasons appropriate?
>> i came on board and immediately made sure that both office of special counsel and the oig had all the information they needed to complete their investigation and i am disappointed that they have not completed their work yet and hope they will do so soon. other than that, i'm not going to respond to anything about any particular person, but i can assure you, i want every employee at the department of state treated with the dignity that they need because of their humanness. >> can you tell us, then, why haven't you shared with us any of the information? >> so i think we have shared a great deal. we've talked with you, folks on the senate side as well. we're working to comply with the requests you have. it's complicated when you have ig investigations and special counsel investigations. you would be the first to remind me that if we started asking hard questions of the ig you would suggest that i might be trying to improperly interfere with their work and i have tried
to do everything i can to make sure that accusations like that could not be leveled -- >> i want you to know that i have here the oig's e-mail confirming that they have no problems with the department providing these documents to congress. it's been very frustrating and i'm sure you can understand the stonewalling we've been getting for over a year now, it's very frustrating. we want to know what we're entitled to know and it's a call from your staff just days before this hearing in which they didn't agree to produce any documents is really not a good faith effort. i would hope that you will provide us the documents the committee requested and i hope you can do that within one week. there's nothing outlandish or outrageous, we're just trying to do our jobs. i want to ask you a question about syria.
i am very worried about president trump's statement that we're going to pull out of syria. i don't want the united states to be in a foreign country any more than they have to, but pulling out of syria would be a betrayal to the kurds, our faithful allies for many, many years, saved american lives. it would create problems for our ally israel because it would put the iranian regime right on israel's border. and if we would have to come back, it would probably result in more american casualties. right now we seem to have the situation pretty much in hand. so i hope that the president's precipitous statement that after he's spoke with mr. erdogan of turkey, that we were going to pull out of syria soon, immediately, or whatever, is not the truth, is not so and that we
have rethought it and can you give us some assurances on that. >> i don't want to speak about particular troop levels. but i can talk about the policy. the president's made clear he wants to put as few american soldiers' lives at risk and do so while achieving american's policy interest. i have a senior state department official who is working to implement u.n. security council resolution and work with the turks and kurds, putting the real estate that separates syria and turkey so we can continue to maintain the individual lens. this fits inside our policy throughout the middle east, whether it's in iraq, syria, the work we're doing to help lebanon to achieve whats y it is you
described. >> of course we don't need iran in syria or russia in syria right up to israel's northern border. >> that's correct. >> let me finally ask you this question. the balkans. how is the u.s. pushing back on russian encroachment in the balkans. i am very supportive of the independence of kosovo. very supportive of the u.s. alliance with kosovo. i would like to see kosovo in the united nations, in all the international organizations, i know they're having negotiations with serbia, but serbia is trying to undermine them the minute the -- they walk away by
trying to get other nations to withdraw their recognition of kosovo by allowing -- by making noise in terms of preventing them from getting into interpol and some of the other international organizations. i just want to say that i hope the administration stands by our ally. i know of no country that is more pro-american than kosovo and i just would like to hear you respond to that. >> thank you, mr. chairman. we're watching the situation closely. we understand all the risks. the secretary was in the region. he reported back to me on the challenges. we understand russia's efforts to influence and use various forms of power to control that region and i'd be happy -- i know you want short chances. i'd be happy to talk to you in detail about how it is we're trying to achieve those through our tools that we have, not only the soft power, but through our
economic tools as well. >> thank you, mr. secretary. mr. mccall? >> thank you, mr. chairman. let me say that the chairman and i will be working in a bipartisan fashion to plus up your budget. i think we need stability throughout the globe and we look forward to working with you on that issue. tomorrow the chairman and i will be traveling to the venezuelan border in columbia. and i have a two-part question. and the first is, i don't think failure is an option here, but what would be the consequences for the united states and the region if maduro succeeds in venezuela and second part is, if maduro does not succeed, what would a post-maduro reconstruction strategy look like? >> so i'm have the nature that i try not to -- >> we're about to get some of
our members. you remember the days fondly. >> i do. >> so what we'll do is we'll start -- are you ready, or -- okay. our members are coming back, we'll start immediately and then we'll continue to the end. i'm told we're not expecting any more votes. so that should be a good thing. so mr. secretary, thank you for your patience. it's now my pleasure to call on mr. meeks. >> thank you, mr. chairman. hi, mr. secretary. i missed your testimony but i read it and i thought it was an important point that you made when you mentioned columbia and
this whole scenario dealing with venezuela. i guess you would say that the people of venezuela, i think we would agree on this are in crises, correct? >> yes. >> and so they're fleeing and fortunately they're going do columbia and columbia is doing the right thing by taking care of these folks who are in crises. just seems to me that it's in contrast to the position that we're taking on our southern border because i don't hear any talks -- and i'm speaking to the members of the columbian government, they're not saying they're being invaded. they've got millions of people crossing their border every day, they're not saying they're being invaded. there's no talk about building a wall. but rather they're calling for a coordination of humanitarian assistance and working within
their group, the fact of the medical benef matter is, i was talking to them not too long ago, yesterday, in fact, they expect the possibility of a bigger crisis. two, three million people may be coming across. but they were going to try to do and make sure they took care of them not prevent them from coming across. stark contrast to the policies that we have on our southern border. do you see a difference from people trying to flee from their life and safety? >> in what respect? >> the respect of being a humanitarian and trying to take care of a people who's in crises, people who are fleeing their homeland because of their safety. and what we've seen on our southern border, families, who are fleeing their homeland for
fear in losing their life. and we've had the policy of either building a wall, so they won't come over here, separating them from their families, locking them up, that's been our policy, as opposed to what i see happening in columbia and peru and the other bordering countries around venezuela. and there's nowhere near the amount of people on our southern border that are now crossing the border in columbia. but the response is substantially different from our administration and columbia's administration. >> every nation gets to make its own decisions about how to handle crises of this nation. i think that's to be sure. our -- >> you praise them. so maybe you should say something different about us because we're handling the situation completely different
than they are. let me ask, because you're here about budget also. and i understand that there was a cut somewhere between 17 and 20% reduction for embassy security, construction and maintenance. is that not correct? >> i don't have the numbers in front of me. i know that we've increased our budget for the overall scope of security inside the department of state. it's something i have as a priority. >> i just want to be sure. because the last time we had a conversation, we talked about security and you said at that time that you take a backseat to -- that work for us, cutting their security, given what's going on in our -- i think is -- i know it's concerning to me. i want to make sure we protect our diplomats. do you recall the incident in
bangladesh? >> where was this? >> i don't know what incident you're address them and our teams are fantastic and have kept our people safe. >> let me tell you about it. and on august 4, 2018, armed men on motorcycles targeting our ambassador to bangladesh. while -- >> i recall the incident, yes. >> and so luckily, nobody's hurt. but when i hear, as a matter of policy, that we are cutting back on security, that gives me some real concern, particularly from you, mr. secretary, because when you're on this side of the bench, you requested democrats when we had a democrat administration, on their sincerity with reference to
protection of our embassies but yet you're silent when we're cutting the budgets for security, and the state department, with nothing said, and clearly, our ambassadors are at risk. i think i'm out of time so i yield back, mr. chair. >> thank you. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. mr. secretary, as you know, last congress, i introduced the taiwan travel act and president trump signed it into law last march. the intention of this legislation was to allow our high level officials to go to taipei and to allow their high level officials to come here to the united states, including washington. in fact, as i had mentioned to you when you were here last time, i would absolutely advocate president tsai addressing a joint session of congress here in washington, d.c. sometime in the not too
daytona future. as you know, you and i were elected together back in 2010, the historic 2010 class, majority makers, and you've moved on, it was your first, your first time, my second time, but you moved on to i guess some would argue bigger and better things but you are now secretary of state, and as you may know, i was first elected back in '94 and a member of my class back then, sam brownbeck, was here for a while, and then he moved up and on to the senate, although we don't necessarily think that's up on this side of the building, and of course, then he became governor of kansas, and the reason i bring sam up is not only were we classmates but he's now ambassador at large for international religious freedom and he did visit taipei recently.
and i would certainly encourage more visits like that, so i guess my question, mr. secretary, would be, do you think that the full implementation of the taiwan travel act would improve u.s. taiwan relations, and can we, and can the people of taiwan count on you to advocate for further implementation of that i think very important legislation, the taiwan travel act? >> so i think it's important to consider all of these things in the context of the challenges from china. and you've seen what we've done with respect to taiwan, it was just in the past few days that we sailed through the straits, that the united states department of -- through the straits. >> the gentleman, if everybody will hold. excuse me. you are out of order.
>> mike pompeo wants to destabilize countries like iran and venezuela -- >> we'll hold for a minute. >> mike pompeo says that the iranian people would -- hands up venezuela, hands up, iran. >> all right. the chair reminds all members of the audience that any manifestation of approval or disapproval of proceedings is in violation of the rules of the house and its committees, and if there are any further disruptions, the police will be called back to remove the person or persons from the hearing room. >> mr. chairman, the secretary was in the process of answering a question. i would ask that ur time be restored. >> yes, absolutely. >> i appreciate that. i would also note that i guess i'll use the word gentleman who
just interrupted this meeting was neither from taiwan nor the prc and had nothing to do with my question or the secretary's answer. so mr. secretary, if you could continue. >> i appreciate you stopping people from disapproval, mr. chairman. if there's approval, you can let them go on. so this is a very serious matter. the tie wab travel relations act is an important piece of legislation, you've seen our administration do a great deal to implement that. i'm sure there is more to follow. i don't want to get too far out ahead of what we're doing but make no mistake about it, we understand the importance of that relationship, and more importantly, we have taken a much fuller view than previous administrations, it's not partisan, it goes back to republicans and democrats alike, of the concerns about the risks that china presents to american wealth creation and our continued democracy. >> thank you. mr. chairman. mr. secretary. i appreciate that. i'd like to move on at this point to burma. a year and a half ago, the
burmese military drove the rohingya out of the state through a campaign of killings and rapes and burning of villages, and some of the most horrific and unspeakable crimes that we've seen on this globe in a long, long time. we all appreciate it when the secretary tillerson, your predecessor, dubbed these atrocious, these atrocities as ethnic cleansing. now, as you know, ethnic cleansing is a powerful message, but it doesn't have legal weight, and since 2017, overwhelming evidence has come out that clearly shows that the burmese military committed crimes against humanity. even the department's own investigation into these atrocities came to similar conclusions. several entity, including the house, have concluded that these crimes constitute genocide. the state department has not made any legal pronouncement at
this point, beyond ethnic cleansing. given all the evidence available to you, could you comment today if you're ready to conclude or where you are in determining whether the crimes committed against the rohingya by the burmese military did constitute at least crimes against humanity? >> let me try and address that. you referenced the report that the state department did. it was amazing work by some really talented state department officers to go and collect that data. i think the data speaks for itself in terms of the horrific nature of what took place there. with respect to making this legal determination, i'm not prepared to provide you an answer today. know that we are still looking at it. frankly, that i am still looking at that more specifically. my objective here is to get a really good outcome, to change
this behavior, then to hold those responsible accountable. i want to make sure that we, i want to make sure that we do this in a thoughtful way. i get the messaging that takes place when a secretary of state makes these designations, i value that, and it is important, but i think we'd all agree the most important thing we can do is get both accountability and behavioral change and that's what the state department is working to do. we are still actively considering how to approach those conclusions. >> thank you very much. georgia and ukraine both face intense continued pressure from putin. both have territory illegally under russian control. despite the risks georgia and ukraine and really many eastern european countries actively pursue pro-western policies. could you describe how the president's budget enhances our support for these two critical partners?
>> so you've seen real tangible ways we've done in ukraine, providing defensive items to the ukrainian people. we've provided intelligence assistance. i saw that in my previous role. and before i was the secretary of state. you've seen our efforts all across the world. ukraine and georgia included. to push back against russian efforts to interfere when elections are approaching, as we are in ukraine today. there are many elements. and i was speaking about things mostly that the state department, the department of defense were involved in. there are elements all across the united states government determined to help the georgian people who are very pro-american and share our understanding of the way that region ought to operate. >> thank you. and i've only got 30 seconds, so i want to conclude on north korea. i want to applaud both you and the president and his team for being willing to walk away from a bad deal in hanoi. it reminded me a lot of a
president who, up to this point, was my most respected president, ronald reagan, walking away from gorbachev, and reykjavik, so thank you for doing that and it is easy to walk away from a bad deal and you get press and it's pov but god bless you for doing that and keep the sanctions up and let's denuclearize that peninsula. thank you for your efforts. >> thank you. mr. connolly? >> thank you, mr. chairman. welcome back, mr. secretary. and thank you for being here. mr. secretary, i don't want to talk at a political level today with you. i want to talk from the heart. and i want to talk about a matter of justice on behalf of one of my constituents, well-known to you, i want to show you a picture. this picture took place on november 19, 201, in my -- 2017, in my direct. i am holding a cane because i
was in a bad accident and still needed a cane to move around. not the most flattering picture of me. next to me is jamal khashoggi. he is a mild mannered man. he and i are discussing middle east issues. he was a saudi citizen. family. children. had on occasion worked for the saudi government. or for member was royal family. he was mild-mannered. soft-spoken. and a moderate critic of the kingdom. he wanted to see modernization. he wanted to see reforms. he was a columnist sometimes for the "washington post," our local newspaper here in washington. on october 2, 2018, 11 months later, my constituent, a legal resident of the united states, who lived in tyson's corner fairfax county, the commonwealth of virginia, was lured into the
sovereign territory, consulate, of the saudi government in istanbul, because he was seeking papers to get remarried. he had his fiance outside waiting for him. he had been through the consulate before. and they had lulled him into believing he would be safe. but of course, he wasn't. what we know was that on that day, two planes under the control of the crown brins prin sau saudi arabia flew in with two teams whose objective was either to kidnap or kill mr. khashoggi. one presumes the objective involved killing because not a diplomatic tool normally, they brought with them a bone saw. we know all of that, because of revelations from turkey. but those revelations, as i understand it, have been confirmed by our intelligence community. you would know better than i.
nonetheless, what we do mow is the saudi government lied consistently, they lied about whether he safely left the consulate that day, knowing full well he did not. they lied about his murder. they lied about the conspiracy to murder him. they lied about who did it and how it was done. and i guess i want to show you another picture, mr. secretary. this is a picture that took place 14 days after the murder. and i suppose you and the crown prince, who many believe orchestrated and ordered the murder of mr. khashoggi, my constituent, and i guess, i guess what this picture raises is a question. at what point as americans do we insist that the inalienable
rights in nume rated in our declaration of independence, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, all three of which were denied my constituent mr. khashoggi, when do they trump diplomatic nicety. is there ever a time when we are going to, as a country, insist, you know what, we're not going to do business as normal, and we are going to hold you to account. now at that meeting, you said, i believe, that they would be held to account, but you were meeting with a man who is assuring you they would be held to account, when he is himself suspected strongly of having orchestrated the murder. and so i guess i want to ask you, mr. secretary, were you affair of the fact at that point of the gruesome details of the murder of my constituent, mr. khashoggi? did you discuss that murder with the crown prince?
and how are we going to, moving forward, hold the crown prince and the saudi government responsible for one of the most grisly episodes ever to occur in a consulate or an embassy in our diplomatic experience? >> so you asked three questions there, i believe. the first one was what was my knowledge base. i think at that time, i knew most of what had taken place, although i don't recall the exact sequence. i certainly have learned more about that since then. i've learned additional facts since that moment in time. second question was did i discuss the murder, the answer is yes. i think i said it that day, that i had discussed the murder with him. and then the third question is how will we hold them accountable. you've seen the trump administration do just that, with respect to 17 individuals. we are continuing all across the government, certainly by overt
means and all of the tools that we have in our capacity to learn more facts about this, and president trump has made very clear that we will continue to work to identify those who are responsible for jamal khashoggi's murder and hold them accountable. we will, i stand by that today. i'm sure president trump will as well. >> just a real quick one. and does that mean, mr. secretary, no matter how high up it might go? >> i said anyone. >> thank you, mr. secretary. >> thank you, sir. >> and i pray we get justice for mr. khashoggi and his family and friends. >> i recognize the gentleman from pennsylvania. >> thank you. mr. chairman. mr. secretary, great to see you. we're proud of your service in this body and your current efforts. i want to begin by applauding the president and your department for taking steps to recognize the israeli sovereignty over the golan heights, as you might recall i
wrote you a letter last year in that regard, encouraging that recognition, and i just think that at this time, with iran, their proxies, terrorist organization, the irgc, hezbollah, all along the border, there is no more of an important time than now to take this action, and i speak for all of the people who are in the district that i'm privileged to represent that are proud of this action supported and just say thank you very much and we offer our support and assistance. moving on, regarding tibet, i'm just wondering, what is preventing the administration from formally placing diplomatic pos posts in lassah? >> it is something that previous administrations and this administration continue to review. we have to place it in the context of our larger policy and the pacific policy even more broadly, we're trying to make sure that we get each of these steps right. what president trump has directed each of us to do is recognize facts on the ground,
and try to apply good nonsense, and then generate policies that actually get outcomes. i think for an awful long time, we've done things that made us feel good, but didn't deliver, and so with respect to this particular issue, and all of the issues that surround it in asia, we want to make sure that we actually deliver for the american people, and so as we consider the appropriateness of a lot of decisions on designations, on sanction, on how the department of defense is going to posture how we work with southeast asian countries we want to make sure we deliver for the american people. >> we hope you do. it's been a long time. and we hope it would be helpful for our broader relationship so to speak. moving on, will the state department consider revoking pout status for housing materials regarding the housing complex on connecticut avenue that china is building in association with their diplomatic mission here until they respond to a rooep reciprocal arrangement with our embassy in beijing?
>> i'm familiar with the challenges we're having with delivering diplomatic materials consistent with international treaty obligations there in bay bing. we're considering lots of different ways to convince the chinese to do this basic diplomatic function. >> isn't it part of the agreement that they can't be shipping their materials in via diplomatic poufrp. didn't they agree to that provision? >> i'm not certain if that is the case or not. >> it is my understanding but if there is something other than, that maybe we'll follow-up afterwards but it seems to me that this is a circumstance that should be easy, when our construction, our building over there, needs assistance, and needs attention, that we should be able to do that. and certainly under the exact same provisions that they are. and the fact that they would not allow that, while we allow them to build on connecticut avenue, on the high ground, mind you, as a military officer, that concerns not only me but many
americans greatly. moving on, with the advent of the mueller report, i'm wondering if your department is starting to investigate people at the state department that use their official position to distribute and, elements, discuss elements of the steele dossier, with the intent of sparking an investigation into the president of the united states that work in the state department, folks folks. is there, are there ongoing investigations or are you considering investigations at this time? >> i'm going to honor the commitment i made when i signed up for this gig, i'm not going to talk about ongoing investigations that we have, but you can rest assured that if we see malfeasance, misbehavior, those doing things that are inappropriate, the team understands their mission set which is to hold every officer accountable against the mission set that the constitution and president trump have laid out
for us. >> and i appreciate not discussing ongoing investigations, but now that the mueller investigation is complete, the report at least the summary is issued and we expect the full report or at least a portion of that, when able, do you envision any new investigations or opening any investigations subsequent to that, based on what you know now, about some of the people at the state department who have engaged in, in circulating or being a part of the steele dossier? >> i'm not going to speculate on investigations that we might or my not open. >> all right. may, mr. secretary. i yield. >> the chair recognizes himself. i have four question force the record that i just want to have my colleagues be aware of. the first of these is whether we can count on you to support continued assistance to
negrona-canabar artsock, especially for mining efforts and expanding for health care and rehabilitation services especially those issued in mines, the second is whether we can count on you to support aid to armenia, for the 25,000 syrian refugees that they have taken in. the third is, i'm chair of the sind caucus, southern pakistan sind has faced extra-judicial killings, forced conversions of hindu girl, after they've been kidnapped, and in forcible marriage, and dr. anwar lagari, the breather of a dear friend of mine, was subject to extra judicial killing four years ago, so i hope that you can pledge to raise gross human rights violation in sind, with the pakistani diplomats that you interact with, and i hope that you will also be able to support more outreach in the sind-i
language, from our karachi consulate and to support a million and a half dollars a year, so that the voice of america can broadcast in the sind-i language. now i want to pick up on mr. connolly's comment, khashoggi was brutally murdered. so far our sole response has been to tell 1 thugs that they can't vis -- 17 thugs that they can't visit disneyland. these 17 button men who won't get u.s. embassies. that's be a inadequate response. i'm going to suggest a better response. there are a lot of things that we could do to saudi arabia that may not be our traditional policy, may not be in our interest, but one thing that is in our interest is to prevent saudi arabia from getting a nuclear weapon. for three reasons. if you cannot trust a regime with a bone saw, you should not trust them with nuclear weapons. second, even if you think mbs is a tremendous leader for the future, he's not a democratically elected leader. he could be overflown by the
clerics at any time. and of course, the middle east doesn't need a new nuclear weapon. what i've seen in this administration recently, and it's just come out, is an effort to evade congress and to some extent evade your department and provide substantial nuclear technology and aid to saudi arabia, while saudi arabia refuses to abide by any of the controls we would like to see regarding reprocessing, enrichment, et cetera, and we see strong advocacy of this coming from a group called ip-3, and others who seem very close to the saudi regime. in particular, we've seen your assistant secretary of state, chris ford, say that the department will conduct some nuclear cooperation through memorandums of understanding, which don't require congressional oversight.
or approval. rather than through a one, two, three agreement. and we see that there were some six licenses, granted by the department of energy, which in normal course are made available to the public, but are instead being kept secret, all of which provide for the transfer of nuclear technology to saudi arabia. so can i count on you, and the administration, to release these six, they're called part 810 authorizations, by the middle of this month? >> i'll have to look into it. >> can your staff prepare for us, or you prepare for us, a list of all the types of nuclear commerce the administration believes it's entitled to engage in, without a 123 agreement, that's gone through congressional review. >> we can certainly take a look
at. that i can assure you that we will do our level best to comply with the law every day and if you believe that we are not doing that in our obligations, please let me know. >> it appears to be in one case, it appears that this is an end run around the law, in an effort to achieve a policy. do we want to provide nuclear technology to saudi arabia before they enter into agreements for no reprocessing, and no enrichment? >> we've been working, we, collectively, the runs government, the department of energy, the state department and others have been working to get, the saudis have indicated they want civil nuclear power and we have been working to make sure they do -- >> why wouldn't they want controls except for the reason that they want nuclear weapons? how do you generate an extra kilowatt by keeping the iaea
inspectors out? >> you know, i can only tell you that the islamic, they very much wanted to do the same, they didn't want any of these things in, either. >> we treated iran like an enemy. if saudi arabia is hell-bent on nuclear program and that is nuclear controlled and designed to make them a possible nuclear state, will we treat them as an enemy. >> we are working to ensure that the nuclear power that they get is something we understand and doesn't present that risk. that's the mission statement. >> these six secret part 810 authorizations are consistent with that, and i look forward to you making them available to the public or at least to this committee, and with that, i recognize my fellow head of the asian subcommittee, the ravage ranking member there of. >> good to see you again, mr. secretary and thank you for the great job you and your
administration is doing. it is good to see ms. mary elizabeth you with. when you came into office, what were the biggest threats to the u.s. and the world that you guys saw or inherited from the previous administration? >> goodness, i get asked to rank all the time. it's always a challenge. there are some that are immediate, the threat from terrorism is on top of us, it's real, it's a threat every day. we've done our best to make progress. we've made progress in certain parts. in other place, we still have a tremendous amount of work to do. but the threats, our renewed effort to build out coalitions to push back against what i call the traditional power rivalries have been very real. the threat from china, the threat from russia, the flreat iran and then of course we've spent a lot of time on proliferation issues. iran there, too. north korea. >> that's what i wanted to bring up. terrorism, isis, obviously, dprq, china, afghanistan, the situation. has that threat of isis been lessened?
in the two years you've, this administration has been there? >> yes, i believe that it has. i think the numbers are different. it's still there. >> it is and it will never go away but i think the immediate threat has been, the dynamics have changed drastically. has the dprk threat been lessened? and that's an obvious because if we look at the last ballistic missiles or bombs launched or detonated it has been over 15 months and so i think the results that you guys are doing and pursuing, are doing a great job. has the administration backed or signed into law legislation to counter china's bri? i almost feel guilty asking that. >> we have. president trump did sign. >> he did sign the bill. and that is a way that we can stant up to what they are doing with the b-r-i. >> do you have sufficient resource, ie people or budget, to accomplish your mission to advance america's diplomacy?
>> yes. >> is staffing short fall, in the staffing shortfalls, my understanding is many people have been nominated and positions have been nominated. where is the holdup? >> you know, as staffing, i brought the data with me. staffing levels were actually in pretty good shape. the overall size of the work force, the foreign service officer work force by the end of this year, will have at or near more foreign service officers than ever in the history of the united states of america. we are challenged, i have in front of me a list of 40 hb plus senior leaders, i haven't had a chief operating officer in two years. i don't have a head of near east affairs. these are highly qualified people that have been held up. >> by the senate. >> they're sitting in the united states senate today. i made a commitment to get the team on the field. i've got an ambassador waiting to go to the kingdom of saudi arabia a topic we just talked about. i want to get these folks out there so we can deliver american diplomacy in every corner of the world. >> i'm going to give a shout-out to you because i had the
opportunity to travel with you for a better part of a day, and what i saw you and your team doing, i thought it was pretty phenomenal, because i've never seen this done before, where you were traveling within the states, to promote what the state department does, you were talking to young students, to get them involved in thinking about going into a career in the state department, and i commend you and your team for doing that. because you know, i look back when i grew up as a pretty sheltered life, you know, i didn't even think that was a realm of possibility, and again, i can't tell you however much i appreciate that. i share the same beliefs as mr. sirries, my colleague in regards to russia, cuba, china, and iran, that there is maybe destabilizing coordinated effort under way to destabilize the western hemisphere and i think you and i have talked about this, venezuela could be but the rubicon because if venezuela fails it will show that cuba, you know, they can't survive, because they're the ones that have been propping that up. how do you assess that?
and along with that, how should we respond to russia's interference under the guise of support, to the maduro regime in venezuela? and do we need to reemphasize the monroe doctrine? >> so i've spoken to my russian counterpart no less than three times on the issue of venezuela and their interference. the fact that they're undermining venezuelan democracy. it was met with precisely what you would expect from them. we're doing our level best to push back against the capacity of cuba who's had intelligence officer, security officers on ground there, today, protecting maduro. it shocks me that the venezuelan military will tolerate these foreigners, right, coming to run their security service. as a former u.s. army officer, it would have been embarrassing if a third country had to come in and provide security for the leadership of our country but that's where we are today. we are doing our level best to put sanctions in place, to put restrictions in place, and to more importantly build out coalition, not just in south
america and central america with the oas and the lima group but european country, countries from all around the world, who understand the democratic venezuela is the only path foofrd forward and maduro has to go before we -- >> i look forward to working you with, i'm out of town, mr. chairman and i yield back. >> thank you, mr. deutsche? >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. secretary, thank you for being with us. thank you for your service. march 9 marked the 12th anniversary of the disappearance of bob levinson from fish island. bob is my constituent, part of our community back home in coral springs. he is a patriot, as you know, who devoted 30 years to serving his country first with the d.e.a. then a quarter century with the fbi, a husband of 40 years, a father of seven, a grandfather of six, five of whom he has never met. iran's despicable practice of holding americans and other foreign nationals hostage should not be tolerated by any responsible nation. mr. secretary, i know you are
well familiar with bob's case, and the elevenson family. bob's son doug is here today. i appreciate that you have always been willing to engage with the elevensons and with me on this matter and i would ask that you look for every opportunity to raise bob's case, also to make bringing bob home a priority. i would ask that you implore the president himself to sit down with the levinsons and the other families of others detained in iran and i'm willing to work with you, mr. secretary, others in the administration, anyone, anyone who could help bring bob home. i would like to turn to syria. mr. secretary, i'm troubled by your syria policy because i frankly don't understand it. i don't understand how freezing a assistance and pulling back u.s. troops and ceding american leadership to russia and iran will help protect our national security questions and i have a series of related questions, national security interests, i have a series of related questions, the first has to do
with the role syria in russia. back now, there have been several requests for information so that we can do the job that we're supposed to be, providing oversight. requests information about the meetings that the president has had with vladimir putin, particularly the summit that took place in helsinki, that took place without anyone there, we have an obligation on behalf of the american people to know what was said, and as the chach of the middle east subcommittee it is important to understand what may or may not been said on the topic of syria and my question why has the administration refrained from providing information of those trump/putin meetings to congress. >> let me begin by saying it is not remotely unusual for senior le leaders to have private conversations with counter parts around the world so to suggest otherwise is surprising, i might use a different destript
scripter but it is surprising. and as far as the white house, ultimately makes those decisions and so the inquiries would probably be lodged there. >> well, and we have, and you're the secretary of state before us, and as a former member of this body, you also understand the constitutional obligation we have to provide oversight of the administration. the fy '20 foreign affairs budget eliminates all economic assistance to the syrian people and all security assistance known as foreign military financing, since the re-emergence, that's to iraq, since the re-emergence of isis, iraqis have looked at urgent counter-terrorism requirement and the state department claimed those funds were critical to iraq's effort to defeat isis and improve the security environment in iraq. given these statements by the state department, why the decision to cut fmf, when it seems, based on those statements that it would undermine efforts in iraq, our efforts in iraq, to then create the conditions that would allow isis to revive? >> look, i'm proud of what this
administration has done in iraq. i think we've been prepared to do things, take risks, act against iran, the true maligned actor inside of iraq today in ways the previous administration had no interest in whatsoever. so i'm very proud of the work we've done. i've traveled now to baghdad, as secretary, i've been there before in my preers year, i have senior officials on the ground, i would love it if i could get my ambassadors from the region confirmed if you talk to your colleagues on the senate side that would be most helpful to us in executing american policy. but i'm convinced we will have the resources we need to deliver all of the assistance to build out the iraqi security forces in a way that give the iraqly leaders. the speaker of the house will be here this week, i will have a chance to speak with him, so iraq will be independent, free and sovereign. >> we will have an opportunity to talk more about those budget decisions. moving to a different part of the world and continuing on a
discussion we started on human rights. mr. secretary, there are more than a million uighurs, without due process, kemp in detainment copies under the guise of anticipate terrorism efforts and there are reports that china is considering implementing the same approach in tibet. can you tell us what the state department has done to raise these human rights abuses with the chinese government and to elevate these issues which are so critical to us, as we try to advance our values around the world? >> thank you, mr. kinsinger? >> could the secretary answer? >> yes, certainly. >> thank you. >> let me try and do it briefly. the human rights violations that you identified, we've spoken about strongly, if you watch our human rights report, what i said and what the head of drl said, that morning when the human rights report came out, we have elevated this. we have raised this.
you have seen that publicly. i met with a group of uighurs just yesterday in my office. ambassador brownbeck has been relentless if nothing else with respect to this issue and you she know that we have done that nonnot only publicly in ways that you can see but each time we interact with our chinese counterparts this issue is raised as well. >> mr. kinsinger. >> thank you mr. chairman. mr. secretary, thank you for being here. we talk a lot about politics and at the water's edge, i believe it does and should and under the prior administration, i very much religiously held that, but what kind of an effect does it do for our politics when we don't have ambassadors in place? just briefly. i plene what kind of -- how does that hurt you? >> i don't want to criticize any of the sarges who running doing their level best to manage the chief of mission responsibilities in theater in the countries they're in but other country, no, it is different when you have a senate-approved nominee who has gone through, and is now the dedicated ambassador it reduces
your capacity to speak on behalf of america. >> thank you. would you trust iran with a bone saw? in other words, earlier the question is, would you trust saudi arabia with a bone saw, therefore we can't give them nuclear weapons or engage with them at all. i think an important to note is i wouldn't trust iran with a bone saw. they have quite a few bodies frankly on their conscience from syria, from a lot of places, and so i just want to commend you and the administration for your decision to get out of the iran nuclear deal. i think that was a smart move. i think it sent a very strong message, that it is not just about the development of nuclear weapons over a period of ten years, it is also about behavior in the region and development of ballistic missiles, so i just want to commend you on that. closer to home, on, actually, i want to hit yemen real quick. the very first thing this committee did, and i hate to obsess about it, and channelize on it, but it's really stuck with me, the very first thing this committee did, mr. secretary, in the new congress,
was basically take away the authority of the administration to be involved in any way with yemen. and i think most of the members of this committee have never had a classified briefing on what is occurring in yemen. they've never had a preferring in the skiff. and i think there is a perception out there that it is the united states and saudi arabia who are raeting a humanitarian crisis in yem be. mr. secretary, if you could briefly talk about maybe the muthies role in the humanitarian crisis in yemen and the actions in iran and maybe some of the roles we don't hear about in terms of who is really driving the crisis. >> i'm not sure if i can briefly, but let me try in a complicated space. >> take whatever time. >> i will start with something that often gets neglected, there is still active al qaeda on the arabian peninsula, the united states is trying to crush it there in yemen as well and it sits on the southern border of saudi arabia and launched hundreds of missiles into saudi arabia out of yemen and they
were arranged by the houthis and brought in across the borders in pieces and ports and the iranians are attempting to establish the capacity to build out missiles inside of yemen. the united states has a responsibility to do all that it can to deny the, or too prevent the humanitarian crisis which is ravaging that nation. we've done that, i think the numbers now close to a billion that the united states has provided, the saudis and the emiratis each have provided billions of dollars as well. the one country that hasn't provided a single dollar to aid the human tahumanitarian crisiss the islamic republic of iran and they have used their money to have others killed and put americans at risk. you all fly. members of congress fly into the international airport in riyadh. they are launching missiles that can range to riyadh. this is a very real risk. and the saudis have a right to
defend their nation just the same we would if we had missiles falling in denver or l.a. or new york and at its root iran is driving this behavior. >> and what is, because you obviously represent one instrument of power, which diplomacy, and actually you have a few others in your tool kit, but when you think about diplomacy and you think about the message of this congress and the yemen issue and there are hundreds of defense cooperation agreements that frankly for the first time could be brought up and brought under privileged negotiation, including our agreement with israel, what does that do to your ability for instance to try to solve diplomatically the crisis in the middle east when congress is sending kind of contrary messages. >> look, the good news is, i'm hopeful that martin griffith, the u.n. special envoy in yemen in the next handful of days will make progress. he hay nomay not. he had a great agreement in stockholm and hasn't been able to enforce it, and the houthis
have not withdrawn. and i wouldn't bet against it but one would hope. congress has the independent right to act as it so chooses as its constitutional authorities. i would say this, i hope everyone who cares about the people of yemen understand the legislation in the part did not remotely benefit them. indeed, it will work to their detriment. >> thank you for your service, sir, appreciate it, and i will yield back to the chairman. >> thank you. mr. keating? >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, mr. secretary, for being here. i do want to go back to the instance where a bone saw was used, and just had a couple of questions. i know that you reiterated that every sing person who is responsible for the murder of jamal khashoggi needs to be held accountable. you said that in january in saudi arabia. and thank you for saying that. i do want to ask, however, along those lines, 17 people were sanctioned out on that, so was it, there seems to be, is there
a discrepancy between the people that were arrested, and the ones that were sanctioned under that? is there a difference in that number? >> congressman, can i get back to you? there's a large overlap. i couldn't tell you that they're completely continent dense completely coincidentally. >> did you or anyone from our country, have discussions with the saudis about who was going to be sanctioned or how that list was determined? >> no, we did not. indeed the sanctions decisions were based on information that we had in our possession. it was information that the american department of treasury was able to validate. >> well, i know that it is my understanding that the intel chairs had a briefing. now, you mentioned that you had some information when you met with the crown prince. did you hear the tapes, and what was the nature of that? did you hear the tapes at that point that turkey sent us? or tapes that we had ourselves? either one?
>> i have not to date heard the tapes. >> do you think it would be, it would have been a good idea before you sat down, with the crown prince, to get as much intelligence as you can, to deal with that? >> i did. >> but you didn't, you didn't do that, or du, you didn't have acs to the tapes at that point, is that right? >> i don't recall the precise timing of when the information transitted. i am very confidence dent i have a deep intelligence of all of the information the united states government has in its possession and i would have had every bit df that was in its possession at that time. >> you said a few minutes ago, that you got more later on. >> we continue to learn new things. i'm confident we will learn some more things this afternoon and tomorrow as well. >> thank you for that. i believe that the senate has requested that their members have a classified briefing on the intelligence surrounding the khashoggi murder. is that correct?
>> it wouldn't have come to the state department. i assume it would have come to the intelligence -- >> i thought i might know since you new everything about what was going on, so let me ask you this, would you join us, if we requested, as a committee, that classified briefing, so we could be informed, and indeed, we're the committee that would be involved in arm sales to saudi arabia, it would be important for us to have that access. can you see, in your current capacity, or your former capacity, as cia director, why this committee shouldn't have that information? >> i'll say this. i know this often gets caught up on your side, in the legislative branch. there are jurisdictional debates about which members see certain pieces of classified information. i'm not about to wade into that briar patch. >> i see. okay. i think we should and mr. chairman, i think we should make that request formal in terms of our committee, if not for the whole membership of the house. yesterday, i had a hearing, here
in subcommittee on europe, eurasia, and as part of that hearing, we dealt with the historic 70-year alliance that we had with europe. one of the most successful alliances in the modern history, if not the history of europe itself. and one of the things that came across to me in a recent trip there, about three and a half weeks ago, was the concern with the officials there. let me give you within are one example that real was difficult for me to address when i was asked. the eu officials that we met with, they used words like painful and hurtful, and they meant it sincerely, when they were talking about how they felt from actions of the united states, and one thing they said in particular, was that the emergency security powers that we use to assess the tariffs that were there, struck them, because they asked the question,
you're using emergency security powers to create tariffs on our closest allies, and they were asking us, and maybe you could help us with this, when did they become a security risk to the united states? >> i will tell you, i don't know with whom you were speaking, if you want to share it with me who you spoke with and tell me exactly what they said, i'd be very happy -- >> it was repeated to all. >> i was in the room, it was a high-ranking eu leader. as a matter of fact, i would like to know the answer to that. if, you know, it doesn't matter who asked, i'm asking. >> so i'm happy, if it is from you, i'm happy to answer. >> well, it's from me, but you know what, it's important that our allies know this, too. >> this administration has worked with european countries in ways the previous administration simply refused it. i get it. sometimes when we ask them to do more, when we ask hard things, when we ask for the american taxpayers for money in america for our department of defense, i
know many americans would prefer we spend those resources some place else. when i encounter european officials and say boy it is time for us to get to our own promise for 2%, it is hard to convince our people, i'm -- >> my time is out i want to quickly say there, that the president said, you know, again, the nato officials we met with, they're great allies, they remain great allies but there was some comments that were made that article five concern, and that came up at yesterday's hearing, too, and the president said mont montenegro is a tiny country with very strong people, aggressive people, and congratulations you're in world war three. is that how we should approach the article five agreement with our nato countries. >> next week i will host here in washington, d.c. the 70th anniversary of the nato alliance. i'll be with secretary general stoltenberg, america will once again, this administration will
once again reaffirm our commitment to our nato allies and we will again ask them, because it is important, to do their share, to make sure that nato is around for the next 70 years. >> thank you. i look forward to the information, the personnel information that the chair requested, and hopefully you can provide that to the committee in search days. i yield back. >> thank you. and i want to remind everyone that mr. stoltenberg will speak before a joint session of congress, i believe it is next week. mr. zelden? >> thank you, mr. chair. mr. secretary, thank you for being here. great respect for your service to our country. first in your class, at west point, great colleague of ours, an exceptional job as the cia director and i'm really big admirer of your work, so far as secretary of state. i do have some concerns i want to bring up. i've been working with chairman angle and other colleagues, with regard to the pekechi brothers who were skaents of the first congressional district of new york, and they were murdered 20 years ago, in serbia.
and the chairman and i recently met in munich with president uzec and asked them about this. there really needs to be justice delivered and anything you and your team can do and any opportunities that present it several, we really like to see justice in that case. i'm concerned about turkey's acquisition of s-400s and what that means especially with our upcoming transfer, potential transfer of f-35s. i'm greatly concerned with the human rights violations that we see around the world. but i also want to touch on a number of other topics that i think are just going really well. and one of the words that have been mentioned at this hearing was the term disengagement. and over the course of these last few years, isis has been nearly wiped off the map in iraq and syria. the caliphate is gone.
thank you for the recognition of golan heights and israel's sovereignty over the golan. the embassy move in israel to jerusalem and encouraging other countries to follow suit, as we are seeing now. helping the taylor force act to get passed and signed into law so the palestinian authority does not financially reward, as they continue to do, terrorists whom are innocent americans and israelis. we should be cutting off our u.s. tax dollars when that happens. it is a better policy for us to go forward with the taylor force act and the principles behind it. the use of the mohap, when president trump first came into office, i was in afghanistan shortly thereafter, and a direct positive response with morale and effects, but our troops know that their president and this administration has their backs. standi
stand with guaido, recognizing him at the constitutional interim president of venezuela and all your efforts to combat anti-semitism, recently appointing a special envoy, i thank you for doing. that that was a position that was long vacant and it is great to see it filled with elon carr. in syria, to be noted that we followed through with air strikes, after assad's use of chemical weapons against his own people. in the past, there have been threats that use of chemical weapons would result in consequences from the u.s. and the united states now follows through, and i believe that the assad regime and their allies know what the consequence is of use of chemical weapons. now, in russia, the imposition of sanctions in response to the use of biological or chemical weapons in the uk, as far as engagement with regard to north korea, when president trump first came into office, putting the military option back on the table, but understanding that the military option should always be the last possible option anywhere on the entire globe between tane any nations.
the usmca which congress should pass. i met with president trump yesterday on this. i believe this should be a participate effort. republicans and democrats in house and the smat, to get speedy passage and china, confronting the currency manipulation and p infringement and trade deficits. the imposition of tariffs if china doesn't positively chaifr change their behavior. i know a congressman is following something he is deep ny compassionate about and working with him with the lgbt community in other parts of the world where they are being criminalized, they are being murdered simply because they are lict. over the course of recent week, i've seen that the state department has taken ang important leadership role in confronting that. but in our brief time, i just hope you could talk about your upcoming efforts as it relates to religious freem. i know it is a personal topic. there is a lot of religious minorities who are being persecuted across the world and
with our remaining time, i'm hoping you could touch on that. thank you. >> on religious freedom, protecting religious minorities, we talked about the minorities in china and christian muslims in iraq, we talked about, of every children, we are hosting regal yose freedom at the state department this summer, we have i've gore gotten the number, dozens and dozens of frrms to talk about religious fremont. not of them is where we want to them but each present that day is making real progress in places one might not important. it is america's first freedom. all of our other freedoms build from that. and i hope we can expand that around the world. >> our secretary contacted me, at 1:58 a.m., on your time, to talk business, on monday morning, and the last person that secretary pompeo and his team, the last thing they should be accused of is disengagement.
i appreciate your continued service and i yield back. >> it was a different time in my time zone. >> we will go out of order quickly because one of the members has to be on the floor. i will call on ms. wild. >> thank you, mr. chairman. secretary pompeo, i am deeply concerned about the unprecedented lack of transparency and potential conflicts of interest in this administration. members of congress and the american people don't always know what foreign policy decisions are being made or whose interests they are intended to serve. earlier this month, on march 18, you held a telephone press briefing, focused on, quote, international religious freedom, end quote, that was only open to faith-based media outlets. this briefing was closed to the state department's press corps and closed to major independent news organizations. the state department has said it will not release a transcript of the preferring to the public, which is highly unusual for this
type of high level briefing. to me, this instance raises concerns about first amendment violations. the administration should not be granting some media outlets access to briefings, while selectively excluding others based on the administration's preferences. as a public official, what you say, especially during a press briefing, is inherently of interest to the public and the media. and i am concerned, also, that the department during your tenure has greatly reduced the frequency with which it holds regular open press briefings on foreign policy matters of the day. my question to you is why did you want to limit the type of participants who could join this press briefing call on march 18? and why are you not releasing the transcript of that briefing and the call participants who participated? >> congresswoman, i talked to the press all the time, i talk
to different groups of the press all the time. indeed sometimes i talk to single members of the press, i do that with great frequency, and when i do, i don't release transcripts of those conversations, those are interviews that i grant to individual reporters. they write certain pieces of it and certain other pieces they don't. this was, this was no different from that in any material respect. i am confident i will do so again. >> excuse me, secretary, my question was very specific about the march 18 press briefing. >> yes. >> which was specifically focused on international religious freedom. and was made open only to faith-based media outlets. so my question to you is not about individual press discussions that you may not have on a daily basis, but about a very specific briefing. >> yes, that was answering that question. >> and so it's your position, so will you release a transcript of that briefing? >> no. >> will you identify who the
participants were in that preferring? >> no, preferring. >> no. >> and irrationale it is something you like to do. >> and it is something every secretary has issing is it's something y it's something you like to do? >> i plan to continue that practice. >> that was made on your own, not anybody else from the administration? >> yes. yes, it was my decision. >> all right. secretary, my colleague, commended you open your travels through the united states, sharing the message of the state department. i noticed that you visited iowa, an interesting choice, along with texas and kansas this month on one to two-day visits. can you reassure this committee that you are not using your travels and engagement as
secretary of state to advance your own personal brand or political ambitions? >> of course i can. >> the purpose again for these travels throughout the united states? >> look, it's true, i didn't go to martha's vineyard. >> that's not my question. >> it's the -- the fact i went to places outside the corridor somehow seems to have alarmed people here in the beltway. >> i'm not alarmed by travel throughout the united states. >> let me tell you what my mission was, what i said when i was on the trip. when i went to houston, i was talking about american energy and its important to diplomacy. when i went to kansas, it was a summit that we will repeat in the nej netherlands in june. when i went to iowa, i was talking about president trump's mission. i want the most talented people electric across the country to
apply and become foreign service officers working as america's finest diplomats. i spoke at each event, some cases numerous times. it would track with what i told you. >> thank you. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. mr. secretary, welcome back to this sea of tranquility compared to what your current job is now. i have a couple questions. we have seen a riesing level of anti-semitism in our government institutions. several have spouted off anti-israel rhetoric. the administration is currently attempting to craft a peace agreement between israel and the palestinians. the two questions, mr. secretary, are, do these statements damage our standing with israel and make us a weaker ally?
secondly, do these types of anti-semitic acts and rhetoric damage the united states' credibility in the middle east nations that will be involved in the final agreement? >> the answer to both questions is yes. anti-semitic language is abhorrent regardless of the u.s. diplomatic outcome. yes, it makes it more difficult undoubtedly. >> what we say here, particularly when it's way off base, does make the job of our diplomats more difficult when they are attempting to reach a peace agreement in a part of the world where real peace has cot come to centuries. >> language is, by members of congress, matters. these countries are listening to you all. they're watching. they're watching to see if this is a government of united states process. they watch voices, even if they are outliers.
they don't aullways know what t make of it. >> as you know, the opioid and fentanyl epidemic has been plaguing our nation for almost a decade now. congress has taken aggressive steps to better fund treatment programs and curb the implementation of these deadly substances. my good friend mr. connelly introduced an act. it would add fentanyl to the list of substances of the foreign assistance act which makes any exporting nation ineligible for u.s. taxpayer foreign aid or export/import bank loans if it fails to cooperate with american narcotics control efforts. mr. secretary, do you believe that this section of the foreign assistance act is an effective tool of combating illegal drug imports into the united states? do you believe that the legislation, bipartisan, would be an effective additional tool
in combating illicit fentanyl in the country? >> your first question of is that effective and important, the answer is yes. with respect to the particular language you are proposing, my gut tells me it's right. i would love to actually review it and make sure i understand that its full context. >> we will talk to you later about that. i yield back. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, mr. secretary, for being here. you and othere officials claim military action is an option in venezuela. as a former member of congress, i assume you are familiar with the war powers act? >> i am. >> there is no current statutory authorization for a military intervention in venezuela. is the administration planning any military action against venezuela? >> i'm not going to speak to that. i will leave the department of defense to speak about their planning. we will -- any action we take
with respect to venezuela, whether military or otherwise will be in full compliance with u.s. law. >> i take it that that's an agreement you will honor the constitution and seek congressional authorization before any military engagement in venezuela? >> we will fully complete with the constitution. >> i will take that as a yes. the u.n. body provides a life line and vital assistance but needs reform. your spokeswoman pledged that the united states will intensify dying l dialogue with the u.n. can you please tell me about this intensified dialogue? what concrete steps has the united states taken? what specific reforms are you working on? how many reforms has the administration submitted to the
u.n. as of today? >> i couldn't tell you numbers. i can tell you we have lived up to the commitment that you described there. i spoke about it with the egy egyptian foreign minister yesterday. >> what steps have you taken with respect to these reforms? >> this is how you do reform. this is how you work on them. you build a coalition that are designed to resolve the very problems that we identified. we are working -- may i answer? >> yes. i'm waiting. are there actions the u.s. has taken or reformed you have poe po proposed? >> yes. the resources go to the right place s and achieve american outcomes. >> will you provide a summary?
>> if they were private conversations, i won't be able to. >> around the globe, lgbt people have been targeted, rounded up and killed for who they are. we have seen this. the united states recently refused to join a statement delivered to the u.n. human righ rights counsel calling for the perpetrators to be held accountable. why did you u.s. not join over 30 other nations in signing the statement calling for an investigation into the anti-lgbt crimes being committed? >> i will have to get back to you on the reasons. i will defend the work that we have done. i hope you have seen that. i hope when you talk to our diplomats, you see our commitment. >> it makes the refusal to sign this important document particularly concerning. i would like an answer on that. mr. secretary, you made reference to nato a moment ago. are you familiar with the report
prepared by ambassador burns and loot? >> i am not. >> they identify the single greatest challenge to nato today is the president of the united states. they detail conversations with nato officials who explain for the first time in the history of nato, there's an american president who does not seem to support or understand its significance, who has said that he considered withdrawing from nato, that nay knto is obsolete. i wonder what steps you are taking to reassure our allies the u.s. remains committed to nato and we understand its critical role in our shared values of advancing democracy, human rights and the very important alliance that provided peace and stability around the world. >> i have not read the report. i have known doug loot.
i have respect for him. he is wrong. if the conclusion he drew that president trump is the biggest impediment to nato, he is work. we have worked to make nato stronger. >> my final question is to go back to the question about your march 18 briefing, it has been the practice of every other secretary of state, not own individual meetings but when there are press briefings or press roundtables, that transcripts are prepared and the state department press corps are present. you have changed that. when you say it's been the practice, with respect to one on one, you may be right. with respect to press briefings, the state department press corps is there and there's a transcript provided. i'm asking whether you will go back to that past practice and bring greater transparency? we are all concerned about a significant reduction in press access and a significant reduction in access to
transcripts of the proceedings which goes against a basic principal of freedom of the press and is very dangerous for our democracy. >> i'm happy to take a look at it again. >> thank you. >> mr. chairman, i have a unanimous consent request. >> thanks for recognizing me. >> yes. if you will hold for a second. go ahead. >> mr. chairman, i request unanimous consent to put into the record remarks delivered by senator menendez on the floor today directly refuting the president and the secretary's claim that senate appointees are being held up by the u.s. senate. i would ask that be placed in the record. >> without objection. so moved. >> mr. secretary, i want to say thank you to you and the state department for the truths that you have gone out there and made it a point to address that have been ignored year over year. there's an extensive list that many of my colleagues have
brought up. you have addressed the truth that jerusalem is the capital of israel. if folks have a problem with that, they should take it up with god. you have addressed the truth that if your enemy wants to shoot you, you don't take them out to buy a gun. we don't allow nations like iran, who threaten to kill us who would be more than happy to slit the throat of every person in this room, we don't give them access to weapons of mass destruction. that's a truth that your state department went out there and addressed. you addressed the truth that we should seek peace with nations like north korea. we should attempt to reach denuclearization agreements but that we should also walk away electric b from bad deals that don't benefit the citizens of the united states of america. awe dress the tru you address the truth that china has been ripping us off year after year.
said that's not going to happen further. awe dre you addressed the truth that many in europe want us to defend them from russia while at the same time they're doing business with russia and not picking up their piece of the check in terms of defense. you have addressed the truth that we have exhausted tremendous treasure and lost far too many sons and daughters of the united states of america in our 18 years of war. you have addressed the truth about the people crossing our border illegally on our southern border, whether it be for the purpose of bringing drugs for trafficking humans or for seeking a better life, they are crossing our border illegally. you have addressed those truths. my question for you today is we're supposed to be having a hearing on strategy of the state department going forward. is what truths do you want to see us go out there and confront
moving forward for the united states and for the state department for the betterment of our citizens? >> one of the things i have focused on is ensuring that our team had what it immediated it sure america was leading in a way that wasn't from behind but was rather building coalitions. we have been successful at that. i think the world needs to see that. when we supported venezuelan democracy, we built out a coalition. i sent folks to every corner of the earth explaining what was taking place and why the recognize of guaido made sense. when we wanted to take on north korea, got the largest coalitions and the biggest sanctions voted on by every member of the u.n. security council, uniformly, to achieve the objective there, the denuclearization, the risk of proliferation. the counter-isis campaign that
has taken down the last piece of syria and iraq from isis. work continues. we built out coalition to do that. that was the work of the team that i have the privilege to lead. i want everyone to know that we are prepared to do that, where problems are and challenges confront are, the united states department of state will lead and build out organizations so we can confront these challenges that present risk to america and to the world. >> i thank you for that leadership, mr. secretary. i yield my time back. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, mr. secretary, for appearing here. pleased to hear in your opening comments that you recognize the important role congress has and the role that congress has with regard to oversight and investigation. as the new chair of the subcommittee on oversight investigation, i want to thank the chairman of the full committee for giving us broad jurisdiction to take a look and a deep dive into the state of
america's diplomacy and development. it's a big task. i'm sure i share your commitment that we want to have the best state department, we want to have the best development agencies, we want to have the best people out there serving the interests of the united states of america and our soft power. i can't do this by myself. i'm going to need your help and your commitment to allow your staff to work with us as we take this deep dive. do i have your commitment that you will make your staff available to us? >> yes, sir, you do. >> thank you. also, in your opening, i was glad to hear you talk about the important work the men and women around our country who serve and represent us abroad every day, the work that they do is incredibly valuable. they are pat oriotic americans working in difficult environm t
environments. i have one concern. a report found that 13% of the overseas foreign services positions were vacant as of march 2018. that's not your doing. these are similar vacancy levels as such positions in 2008 and 2012. also in aininterviews, they fou staff at overseas posts told us they are increasing their workload, contributing to low morale and high stress levels. this seems to be in other reporting. the latest annual ranking of best places to work in the federal government, produced by the partnership for public services and the boston consulting group, the state department dropped from eighth to 14th place amongst the 17 large federal agencies. meanwhile, i think as you have mentioned, the registration for foreign service officer tests saw a 22% decline from october 2017 and october 2018, according to an nbc news report.
i'm glad you are out there recruiting. i'm glad you are trying to get the next generation of america's diplomats to think about service to country. we realize that morale is taking a beating. what i would like to do is -- obviously, it's important for us to fill those positions. in our oversight role, i would be curious, who is the person responsible for implementing your plan to help fill the positions? you can't do it by yourself. who should we be working with? >> the person you would work with would be my undersecretary for management. but i don't have one. so it would be great if i did. we have gone two years without a confirmed undersecretary for management, the chief operating officer. it took too long, we did get carol perez who is a talented career foreign service officer who is director general for human resources. >> do you have a nominee? >> we do. the secretary one we have put
forward. >> let's try to get that position filled so we have someone to work with. >> every member of the united states senate believes. we have not been able to get him across the floor. she's a career foreign service officer. she runs the director general of human resources. >> i can get your commitment we can work with that to get these positions filled. lastly, i have got a concern. i want to thank you for being here. over the years in democratic and republican administrations, we have had a process that has served us well where the various agencies working together to make sure the president has the best advice before the president makes a decision. i have a couple yes/no questions. i do have some concerns about the decision making process currently. on the decision to withdraw troops from syria, general votel, the central command commander said, quote, i was not
consulted before the decision was made. our special envoy to defeat isis said he spoke with you after the president has made up his mind. i wrote in a public op-ed, during the december call, pompeo informed us there had been a sudden change in plans. president trump, after a phone conversation with his turkish counterpart, planned to declare victory over the islamic state and direct our forces to withdraw from syria. did you president consult with you before deciding to withdraw troops? >> yes. >> five days ago the president tweeted that it was announced today by the u.s. treasury that additional sanctions would be added to those existing sanctions on north korea. i have ordered the withdrawal of those sanctions. bloomberger er inews reported president was referring to sanctions the treasury department announced the day
prior against two chinese us shipping companies. did the president discuss removing those sanctions with you prior to the tweet? >> they were treasury sanctions, as i recall. >> but again, was the state department consulted? >> we have had lots of discussions. the reason i can't answer that yes or no is because we have had discussions on sanctions issues with respect to iran, with respect to venezuela, with respect to china. we have these discussions consistently and over time. there does come a point where presidents make decisions. at that point, we inform our team and we execute and implement. i must say, if i may, you made a statement about some of the things that mr. mcgurk said. what he said in that was classified. it should not have been uttered publically. i regret that very much. >> i will let you get one more question in.
>> quickly, a final statement. i think it's very concerning that there may be a lack of dialogue where our leaders at state, defense, are being consulted prior to these decisions being made, does that sound like sound foreign policy? you don't have to answer that question, because we're out of time. >> thank you. ms. wagner? >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. secretary, over here. >> i got you. >> thank you for your time today and for your service. i have to say it is appalling the number of nominees that this administration still has in state and other agencies that have not been confirmed by the senate. we hope they can move much more swiftly and wave the 30 hour rule. sir, the genocide and atrocities prevention act, a bill i interest introduced, that was signed into
law in january, affirms the critical importance of coordination to prevent genocide and mass atrocities. how is state supporting atrocity prevention and response activities? >> there are multiple mechanisms inside the department of state. we have teams that have responsibility for the implementation, state department's element of implementing that. we have a broader group of kids who work on human rights issues. we have another group that have regional responsibility. each has tasks to ensure that we do all we can to reduce the risk there would be genocide atros 't atrocities, all of these horrific activities. >> are they reaching post? >> i'm sure we could get this information out more broadly and execute this. i'm happy to look at how effective we are at getting this
out into the missions. >> i have some ideas about that as a former u.s. ambassador. i would love to share them with your team. china has been working to isolate taiwan through diplomatic channels. we have heard about this earlier. in the past year, china convinced three countries to cut diplomatic ties with taiwan and recognize beijing. how is state working to prevent china from further eroding taiwan's international support? >> we are using every tool we have in the tool kit. we used our economic tool kit to convince countries it wasn't the right thing to do. we used our diplomacy political tool kit to convince them it was something that mattered to america. we have a commitment with respect to taiwan and how we will deal with that, a
longstanding set of policies that goes back decades. the united states is committed to enforcing that set of understandings. inside of that, doing our best to make sure that we honor the commitments to taiwan as well. >> i was glad to see us in the taiwan strait recently. >> yesterday. >> speaking of recently, on sunday, mr. secretary, thailand held its first elections since the military seized power in 2014. voting was expected to be free and fair. there were reports that emerge that cast doubt on the election's legitimacy. how will state work with civil society and government officials in thailand to facilitate a return to genuine democracy? thailand has a chair of the caucus, of which i am a co-chair and care about this region, especially counterbalance to china. >> i have been to bangkok.
we have reengaged in ways that the american leadership hasn't engaged since 2014. i have seen the reports from the election yesterday. only what i would call first reports. i want to see more about what actually transpired. our team on the ground there worked diligently to ensure we would be able to make determinations about the election and, in fact, to ensure we provided whatever support we could to make sure there was a free and fair election. thailand is an important place, a place where i believe america can find an important counterbalance to the risk that china presents to the united states. >> i couldn't agree more. i care about the entire region from a security standpoint, a trade standpoint, from a humanitarian standpoint. most of all, as a counterbalance to china. given the bermese government has
cut off aid, how is state working to direct aid to those who need it most? >> state department is is on the ground. there are commercial partners, non-governmental partners as well. it's tough. it's heavy slogging. our capacity to deliver that is unfortunately limited. we're working. >> these atrocities, they are horrific. we thank you for your service and support in this area. i yield back. >> thank you. mr. castro. >> thank you, chairman. thank you, secretary, for your testimony today. i have a question about what seems in some parts of the world to be the growing cooperation between russia and china.
to pursue mutual interest. in venezuela, it seems both have been involved to some extent. i came across not too long ago a quote by an african leader that said that china is the money and russia is the muscle. do you find that to be true? what do you see in terms of their cooperation? >> it's a very important question. we have seen russia and china work together in ways that they hadn't done 15, 20 years ago. that's a trend that's gone on for a handful of years. they found themselves in places where they have overlapping interest. they have strategic challenges between the two, long term strategic challenges place their interests. i don certainly, we see that today. venezuela is a good example. we have seen it in other places. we see it at the u.n. whereas members of the u.n. security council, they work together as well.
almost always against freedom, democracy, liberty, the things the united states and democracies hold dear. >> let me ask you about recent news that italy is joining the effort on china's one belt one road initiative. obviously, major european country, friendly to the west. what that means for the unit and china in its efforts in expanding its economic and military might around the world. >> it's disappointing any time any country engaged in behavior and commercial interaction with china that aren't straight up. china has every right to move around the world and compete, private companies engaging. i'm convinced we will do great if there are rule of law transactions that are open and transparent. that's not the case withoiishii.
we think the people of the countries will lose. we have seen that in some smaller, less wealthy countries. when you engage in these non-economic transactions with essentially state-owned or state-directed enterprises, nothing good happens for your testimony. it may feel good in the moment. you think you have a cheap product or a low-cost bridge or road built. in the end, there will be a political cost attached to that which will exceed the economic value of what you were provided. >> we support your efforts to allow chie na to compete but no to cheat. let me ask you one last question with respect to north korea. i want to get your perspective on whether you think north koreans think or know whether north korea's nuclear capacity has and capabilities have
increased or decreased since the first trump/kim summit. >> the fact that they have not conducted missile test or nuclear testing is a good thing. reduces their capability, their systems become less reliant. we have not yet seen them make the big move that we were hoping frankly they would do in hanoi. we have not seen them take the big step that i spoke about the very first time i met chairman kim almost exactly a year ago where we talked about the fact that there would be a brighter future for the north korean people but it had to be this complete denuclearization. we have not seen them take a step in that direction. aim ho i am hopeful we can negotiate and get to the right outcome. chairman kim, even in this last visit between the president and conversations between my team and his team, they still tell us they are committed, it's time we begin to see real action in that regard.
>> where does it go from here with north korea? >> my team is engaging at every level, not only with north korea. the special representative has been in china. he may be open his way back now. he has been working with our allies in the region, south korea and japan, to ensure we keep the pressure campaign, we continue to enforce the u.n. security council resolutions and then continue our diplomatic efforts to achieve this outcome. >> thank you, secretary. yield back. >> thank you. mr. curtis. >> thank you, mr. chairman and mr. secretary, greetings from utah. it's a delight to be here with you today. i'm not sure all of us can appreciate that one of your skill sets is sitting there answering our questions. we have paid homage to c-span for their 40-year anniversary. but i think we missed one of the most significant 40-year anniversaries.
40 years ago yesterday, president carter, sadat signed the peace treaty. i happened to be 19 and living in jerusalem at the signing of the treaty. i grabbed a newspaper and for years and years i kept it in a file in my office. when i came to congress, i took that newspaper and i had it framed. this now hangs in my office as a reminder of the many lessons that came out of that. among other things, that he with can do what seems near impossible. that we can bring these groups together that seem so far apart. we can be bipartisan in the way that we approach these. i worry that our relationship with israel is becoming a partisan issue. i hope that it's not. i think our success depends on this being a bipartisan issue. could you touch a minute on what the administration is doing that might take us back to a point like this in our relationship
with israel and their arab neighbors? >> sure. your point is well taken. i'm also reminded, if i have history right of that day, that if you looked at the outsiders, the day before, at least a week before, months before, it seemed almost -- >> it wouldn't happen. >> i'm mindful. we were talking about north korea a little bit ago. as difficult as the problems look, if you continue to work at them, if you continue to engage in good faith negotiations and try to grind away and resolve these, sometimes things happen quickly and big. i'm hopeful that trump administration will achieve some of those. with respect to the middle east, there has been a lot of groundwork laid. working with each of the countries in the region, i'm going to miss a few along the way, we have worked with the iraqis. i was in lebanon. i was in israel. i met a number of times with
palestinian leadership, working to try to understand the conflict as it sit s today, not as we imagined it five or 10 or 30 years ago. to try to identify those places where we can find overlap, places where we can acknowledge the history but move past it. we will lay out our vision for that in the not too distant future. i hope every one of the countries will take a good look at it. there will be something in there they don't find too whippy. i hope they will take a serious look at it and take it as a good faith effort to resolve this. >> to your point about the naysayers, i was in gallilee th night it was signed. syria said they would invade. i remember seeing the golan heights wondering if they were coming. a great testament that we can do hard things. unfortunately, we have seen rockets launched at israel from
hamas from gaza. there's some belief that iran had a hand in this. can you address that? does that show us one of the flaws in the iran nuclear deal with the missiles not being addressed? is this an example of why that's a problem? >> with respect to the recent rocket attacks, when i came this morning, i think both sides agreed that they had gotten to a good place. whether that will hold, i don't know. it was fragile. i'm hopeful it will. secretary, i couldn't tell you if the iranians were involved in this. i can tell you they underwrite had hamas. finally, your third question was about the jcpoa. most of the behavior that has led to iran being the world's largest sponsor of terrorism
increased during the jcpoa. you need to look at the activities that they engaged in. they permitted iran to expand. they gave iran resources. they opened up economic wealth for hezbollah and for shia militias across iraq. those are the things that our policies are trying to reduce the capacity for the islamic republican of iran to take -- to engage in terror behavior, whether in gaza strip or assassination campaigns in europe or missing launches coming out of yemen. >> thank you. i yield my time. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. secretary, thank you for being here. it has been reported that jared kushner offered prince mohammed of saudi arabia and i quote, advice about how to weather the storm in the aftermath of the murder of jamal khashoggi. do you know if that's true or not?
>> i don't. >> don't you think it would be important for the secretary of state to know what the senior white house officials are telling world leaders, including -- >> yes. i believe i know everything that he toeltd hld him. you suggested some report i have not seen. >> do you know if he gave him pr advice? >> to the best of my knowledge, he did not. >> do you think it -- >> i talk with mr. kushner all the time. i think we are fully in sifrync how we are handle gs the iss li around the world. >> i want to ask about some of our relations, whether through you or through mr. kushner. that's the setting up of an air marshal program with saudi arabia. i know this was begun under a previous administration. i wonder if you have any reservations about continuing the program now since it comes in the wake of the murder of the
"washington post" journalist and the wake of arrest and detentions and abuses of women's rights activists, in the wake of air strikes that have hit schools and hospitals, even a bus carrying 40 children, thousands of people in yemen have died as a result of it, both houses have voted in opposition to it. do you think that we might want to reassess a program that we have set up with saudi arabia to create this special air marshal type program? >> i'm not familiar with the program. i'm happy to look at it. >> you are not familiar with the program because it's supposed to go into place fairly soon? >> i am happy -- >> i vaguely recall. i don't have responsibility for tsa. >> i know you don't. >> that might be why i'm not as familiar with it as i might otherwise be. i'm happy to look at it. >> great. maybe you will look at the other countries in the middle east where we already have these
programs. are you familiar with those? >> i know of the existence of the programs. >> can i ask you what you might think if we set up a program with saudi arabia, what we can do to put some safe gartd safeg slur it won't be used against our interests and fall into the wrong hands that might be used against us? >> most importantly, dhs would be the best place to lodge those questions. i'm happy to look at them and see if they have important state department equity or foreign policy elements to them. >> thank you. i appreciate if would you get back to us on that. i'm disappointed you are unaware of a major program that's taking place. let me ask you about another program that maybe you have more information about. it's been reported that the u.s. citizenship and immigration services -- i know that's not under you -- but they are closing 23 international field offices. these are offices that work on refugee applications, family reunification and foreign
adoption. they plan to transfer those over to the workload of the state department that would be what you are in charge of. >> yes, ma'am. >> i wonder, did you sign off on that decision? >> yes, ma'am. i'm very familiar with this, with how our teams interacts su with uscis. >> there's nothing that shows how you are going to take up this work. you can explain how you will cover these new assignments? >> i'm comfortable we can deliver on that. >> will this be a priority? what's going to be the impact on refugee applications as a result of your absorbing this process? >> when you say this, i'm not certain what you are -- >> the family reunification visa, refugee applications, those activities that used to be done by the u.s. citizenship and immigration services that are being transferred to you that you are so comfortable about taking up. >> i'm confident we can deliver
these services. >> we will be watching that and be sure that's the case. it seems it would be a little more responsible if you had made some mention of it in your budget, that this will be a new task you are undertaking as opposed to dhs. do you have any problem with that? >> do you have a question? >> my question was, why didn't you put it in your budget? >> i would have to look at that and see what we did and where it is that line item fits. i have talked with the team on the budget. they were involved in delivering the budget and comfortable they can deliver on all of missions that we have provided to them. >> i'm glad you are comfortable, because i'm not very comfortable. i'm not comfortable with the answers that you don't seem to know what's going on. i would be more comfortable if you would get back to us and tell us about this tsa air marshal program that you are setting up with saudi arabia. >> i will ensure that dhs gets back to you. >> i appreciate that. thank you. >> thank you. mr. buck. >> thank you, mr. chairman. welcome back, secretary pompeo.
>> thank you. >> during your training at the -- during your time at the cia and state department, did you receive training on how classified information should be handled? >> yes, sir, i did. >> does everyone handling classified information at the state department receive a briefing or training course on how to handle classified information? >> i believe that's correct. >> did this training cover the designations indicating a document's level of classification? >> anyone who receives a clearance and has access to classified information, would receive training on the various levels and how those levels are required to be handled. >> does a classification marker indicate -- of ts indicate that it's top secret information contained in that document? >> that's what those two letters would normally indicate, yes. >> if it's an s, would it indicate it's a secret classification? >> also correct. >> if it's a c, would it indicate that it's a classified
document? >> c typically means confidential. i suppose it could -- yes. >> okay. you were taught these designations at the training that you received as secretary of state? >> you know, i know i went through that as director of cia. i don't know that i went through the course again when i became secretary of state. i may have. >> i don't want to suggest something about your age. were you grandfathered in to that as a result? >> i don't know. here is what i'm confident of. if i was required to go through the process, i did. >> have you ever gone home for the night and left classified documents on your kitchen table? >> not to the best of my knowledge. >> have you ever left them in your car? >> not to the best of my knowledge. >> have you ever taken classified documents home with you and had them outside of your
possession? >> i have only because i have a location that i can store classified information in my home. >> so it has -- >> they would have been stored in an appropriate location inside the secure facility that is inside of the house in which i live. >> a security official has approved that as a secure location? >> that's correct. >> do you have a private server in your home? >> no, i do not. >> if you had left classified information in your car or if you left it in your home outside of the private area, would that be a violation of the training that you received about how to handle classified information? >> any time that classified information is not stored in an appropriately approved facility or outside of the control of who that information has been provided, written or if someone speaks about it, that's inconsistent with the requirements. >> could you be prosecuted for
receiving information outside of a secure or sending information outside of a secure location or e-mail serving -- non-classified e-mail server? >> yes. >> mr. secretary, you are also a lawyer. is that correct? >> i'm not certified to practice anywhere today. yes, at one point i went to law school and used to have a bar registration. >> as a lawyer, you heard of the term circumstantial evidence? >> i have. >> would it be considered circumstantial evidence of guilt for someone to take evidence of a crime and destroy that evidence? >> it might well be. >> i have no further questions. i yield back. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman, secretary.
last time i spoke, i was the rivera. now i'm the middle reliever. i want to start by express my concerns with plans to close uscis, the international field offices. it was previously mentioned. this may seem out of scope with this hear, but i guarantee you it's not. two years ago, they put forward a plan to close its 12 dozen overseas offices and said many other responsibilities would be shifted to the state consular's office. it's my understanding that the reason these offices exist is to take some of the workload off the consular officials. let me make myself clear. i posed this plan. i know a number of my colleagues also oppose it. i will lead a letter in opposition to it. i want to find out how are you going to address the overload of
work for these consular offices? are you going to increase staff? now you shift this to another unit that may be overburdened. do you have a plan to increase staffing? do you project what kind -- what kind of workload do you expect they will have? >> i know our team is very well apprised of the transition taking place. our consular team is confident they can achieve the mission set. >> one of the issues that comes forward is the lengthy time that folks have to wait for these services. with regard to family reunification, some families, some mothers have to wait as long as seven years. by the time they are done, those kids that they want to reunite with are adults. this brings about a great degree of issues to the families.
i urge you to please come back to us and give us what your plan is for this change. >> i will make sure that we collectively do that. this is a longstanding issue, as i understand the history of it. it's not the last couple years. it predates that and one we need to make sure that we understand fully. >> i want to shift to the caribbean. i find the caribbean is often overlooked for its strategic important to the u.s. it's our third border. we are to direct focus to the region. we must work to curb the flow of elicit drugs and build upon trade relationships. one aspect of our relationship with the caribbean is the security initiative to which the u.s. contributes roughly $58 million annual to combat drug trade, promote social justice and increase public security.
i believe that the cbsi is critical to the u.s. national interest and we ought to continue to grow the program. i will be asking for a substantial increase to the cbsi. i just want to know from you, mr. secretary, how do you plan to ensure that we work with the ca caribbean, cbsi program to fight drugs in that region? >> the cbsi is an important program. we have to make hard choices from time to time. you have to make hard decisions how many dollars to allocate. you have to make tradeoffs, ones you are not happy with. >> will you supportive of an increase to the program? >> i will have to look at it in thedemands on resources. >> i hear of our allies that they feel in that region and latin america, that they feel
ignored by the u.s. we don't invest in our allies. they turn to china. because we have left a vac ument. i know the administration has given a green light or said -- winked at some of the nations. you can trade but there's certain projects that we would oppose. for example, ports, access to data, other important -- could you enumerate which are the kinds of projects that the administration would oppose some of the countries? >> sure. a glee with the pr i agree with the predicate of your question with respect to a couple of decades where america did not engage in that region in the way it should have. we are trying to correct that. with respect to trans -- china has shown up and may proffers that are not in the best
interest of the nationnations. i don't know i can segregate them out. free, open, private companies, competing transparency, chinese companies, all good. when it presents a security risk to the united states, no good. >> do you think, real quickly, do you think that allowing chain ease to run ports given the crisis of fentanyl in the region, in the hemisphere, is a good idea? >> i do not. >> thank you. mr. secretary. >> thank u. mr. wright. >> thank you. you r i introduced a digital global policy access act which would expand internet access to developing countries and promote u.s. export of technology. my question relates to internet
access. yes, we work with private companies and all of that. is there anything the state department is doing with regard to that? we talked about this yesterday in the african subcommittee hearing. could you tell us what the state department is doing? >> with respect to internet access? >> yes. >> and globally, speaking around the world? >> right. >> so there's places that's our responsibility. we try to make sure that there's freedom of speech, freedom of expression. the internet is part of that. the capacities to communicate. we talk about that in every place we go, where there's substantial risk of that. we also do our best when malign actors are attempting to close down which prevents citizens from getting this information that comes through the internet. the state department has a role in trying to prevent that as well. >> great. i want to shift to the border.
you know what the national numbers are. i can tell you in texas, 11,000 per week are coming across into texas. 9,000 into three texas counties. the three most southern counties. i toured that area last week. by plane, by helicopter, by gunboat. i saw where the drug cartels are operate, where human traffickers are bringing people across on rafts. i have a lot of questions for up with of your count er derparts. nobody is going to mistake you for the secretary of homeland security. as it relates to mexico and our policy towards mexico, what can we do to get mexico to do more on their side of the border? >> i have personally been very involved in this. i think i have been to mexico more than any other previous secretary of state in their first 10 or 11 months of secretary of state and met with my mexican counter part and
spoken with him. we asked them to strengthen border security at their border. a very important component what's taking place. we asked them not to create incentives for people to travel the dangerous path. we have come to an understanding with respect to how those coming to the united states to seek asylum can remain in mexico during the time of waiting for their claim. we need them to do more. set up more checkpoints. do the things that prevent what you described is happening in your state. >> with regard to the drug cartels and human trafficking and the -- the human trafficking aspect of this is something that we don't hear a lot about. it's absolutely horrible what's happening to young women that are being brought across the border.
i don't see mexico stepping up to the plate whether it cn it c that. >> i have talked with them a great deal. my counterparts at dhs, at dea, all the elements that work on these transnational criminal organizations and narcotics and human trafficking that flow through those networks, we're there to help. the united states taxpayers provide significant resources to assist them. we're prepared to do that. we need the mexican government to do more. >> i can tell you what u.s. border control, the texas department of public safety working in tandem with them and the county sheriffs, they're doing outstanding work. i can tell you they are overwhelmed. they need help down there. my last question, it's a little more personal. i have constituents in my district, a family who has a
family member who is being held in syria, has been for almost two years. you have been very responsive. your office has been very responsive to my office as well as to the family. i just ask that you continue to work with the czech republic. they're the ones that are helping us with this. not let this man fall through the cracks. >> you have my commitment. next week we will hold an event at the state department talking about the specific set of issues about americans that are detained wrongly abroad. i will have families in. the trump administration has had some success. we're proud of getting people back. i got to bring back three americans who were in -- being held in north korea. we focus on this every single day. >> great. thank you. thank you for your service. i yield back. >> thank you. mr. phillips. >> thank you, mr. chairman and
mr. secretary. as a gold star son, i'm grateful for your service to our country. my question is about afghanistan. it goes without saying that a secure and peaceful afghanistan is not just in our country's best interest but the world's. i know that we bill difficult to achieve. i think since november of '18, this committee staff has been asking for a briefing. i believe and the ranking member have sent a letter asking for that briefing. all have been ignored. my question is, can you confirm that within two weeks that -- >> i'm not prepared to do that, to confirm he will do that.
i'm happy to share our strategy, what it is the state department has been tasked to do and all the united states government has been asked to do in afghanistan by president trump. >> before you continue -- >> you described our negotiations with the taliban. our notions are with every element in afghanistan. that's the mission. it's important to characterize it correctly. >> i respect that. what is a reasonable time frame for him to appear in -- >> when you are engaged in complex negotiations, one needs to be careful to make sure the contents remain in a very small circle. i'm happy to share with you, i know what he is dodoing. i don't speak with him every day but almost every day. we are working closely. i'm happy to share with you what we can. you have to know the success of the negotiations depends on every one of those partners having confidence that what they say will not end up in "the
washington post." >> i respect that. in his absence, if you could brief us on strategy and any update you can share. it's most important. >> let me walk you through president you through president trump's strategy. he's talked very publicly about ending wars and about taking down america's substantial commitment to afghanistan as quickly as possible, consistent with the national security interest. that's the aim he has set out for us. so i working closely with first secretary mattis and now acting secretary shanahan have laid out our effort for reconciliation to see if we can take down the violence levels and then begin to and real negotiations about what a political negotiation would look like in afghanistan. always being mindful of the risk that has continued isis khorasan inside afghanistan. although america has done good work under multiple presidents to take down the threat from al
qaeda, it remains there, as well. so all the while being mindful that we have important counterterrorism equities we need to make sure we address appropriately. and that's what ambassador khalilzad and we are trying to convince all the parties. president ghani, other afghan actors and the taliban to come together to see if we can't find a way to reduce the violence. when we do that, we'll be able to reduce not only american forces there, but importantly the nato forces that are located inside and working together alongside of afghanistan. >> and in your estimation, can the taliban and other extremist groups be trusted? >> i am a believer that whoever it is we're negotiating with, we have to have deliberate, measurable outcomes that can be verified. that goes for everyone. when i was in the private sem sector negotiating with
customers and suppliers, i did not want to have to resort to enforcement mechanisms, but have the capacity to understand we could measure work together and see deliverable outcomes on the ground. that's what we'll expect from all of the parties in the region. >> okay. my understanding is the ambassador is now going back to the region. will be there through april 10th and i'll just ask one more time. your encouragement would be appreciated on behalf of this entire committee to extend that invitation for a briefing. i think it's important and you haven't been a former member of this body, i think you probably recognize that. >> i understand with and i remember when previous negotiations were taking place they were careful about information ending up in places that harmed the very effort that we would agree were engaged in trying to achieve. i'm happy to consider if there is a way we can execute what it is. you do have an obligation. i understand that deeply. and i will do my best to make sure we keep you apprised as we move along of the success and absence thereof with respect to our reconciliation efforts. >> thank you, mr. secretary.
i yield back. >> thank you, mr. fitzpatrick. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. secretary, thank you for being here today. thank you for your service. i wanted to touch on ukraine. i'm the co chair for the caucus. my last international assignment was in ukraine. and i spent a lot of time and put a lot of effort into working with their anti corruption efforts to start the national anti corruption bureau and also working a lot of counterintelligence. and my question, sir, is the administration, the broader policy with regards to ukraine and the annexation of crimea, the ongoing battle occurring in the dambass region, do you feel we're supplying them with enough of what they need? what is the followup in -- with regards to the commitments we've made? do you think it's sufficient?
and that pertains to eastern ukraine and with respect to crimea. are we satisfied just accepting the status quo there with the annexation? i know we've made statements not recognizing it -- recognizing what mr. putin did was a violation of international law. but what's next in that regard? >> crimea, if i may take the second question first. we have issued statements. we have issued a crimea declaration, worked with our partners along the black sea in the region. when the russians captured soldiers in the sea asov, we have pushed back against that. next week i'm hopeful when our nato colleagues are in town for the seventh anniversary of nato, we will be able to announce another series of actions we will jointly take together to push back against what russia is doing there in crimea and in the sea of asov and in the region. so the answer is, i don't know that we've done all that we can
yet. we are continuing to work to make sure we're building out the right policy so that we can ultimately restore what we have said with respect to crimea. it belongs to ukraine, and we want to see that fixed. second, we're constantly evaluating whether we're not only providing enough resources to ukraine in the southeast and the dunbas along the line of contact. not only if it's enough, but whether it's the right tools. not only the tools that you see, munitions and arms, but intelligence-sharing, all the things -- situational awareness, all the things that we have the capacity you were engaged in, building out infrastructures and institutions inside of ukraine. we're constantly reviewing whether or not we're doing enough there. we're hopeful that there will be a successful election and a successful government formation that follows that. and then we hope, too, we can continue the very efforts you describe. the anti corruption efforts that are incredibly important.
those forms will be central to restoring the full democracy that the ukraine and people so richly deserve. >> thank you, sir. i can tell you, the younger generation in particular in ukraine provides a very, very bright future for that country. they want more than anything closer ties with the west. the -- i think the greatest thing we can do in that region is to keep our word to the ukrainians, provide them with as much military assistance as they need. because that is a big, big concern for them right now. and i just wanted to share that thought with you, sir. if you could keep that in mind when you're, you know, enacting policies pertaining to that region, that we maintain close contact and ongoing communications with ukrainian leaders, particularly in the area of the military. the more military folks we can have joint exercises and training with, i know predominantly now it's the national guard in california that does most of the work in ukraine. but it would certainly help to have some of their military leaders in ukraine train here at
some of our academies. i think that would really go a long way. thank you, sir. >> thank you. thank you. mr. levin. >> thank you, mr. chairman. welcome, mr. secretary. i have several questions for you on the administration's implementation of the trafficking victims protection act. let me be clear. there's bipartisan support for ending human trafficking. but we must follow the letter of the law and ensure vulnerable populations aren't punished for their government's conduct. in november, presidential memorandum restricted aid to countries that aren't meeting or trying to meet standards set out by the trafficking victims protection act. meaning governments that aren't doing things like seriously investigating and prosecuting trafficking cases.
it's not totally clear, at least to me, what that means. >> we look at each of those on a case-by-case basis to determine whether it's appropriate. i think you noted in the memorandum there was an exclusion for humanitarian assistance. many of the ngos are providing just exactly that. look, there's a good reason for that memorandum. i think it makes enormous sense. i'm fully supportive of the decision the president made there. it's the right thing to do to encourage these governments ultimately for it to be successful at taking down this threat from trafficking. it's going to be those governments that do that. ask so our work -- the state department's work is to make sure those governments do it and build out infrastructure. >> we're all for that, sir. but what i'm trying to get at is the boundary and in particular we don't want to restrict direct
ngo aid to victims and vulnerable populations. several senators and representatives sent you a letter on this very matter on december 17th. and the department did not respond at all until march 5th, and even then in the response it didn't answer the question at all. we're talking about things like nutrition assistance and health care without which people suffer. so it's been more than three months since we first asked the department this question. why isn't there an answer? >> you just said we sent you a letter. i think we have provided an answer. if you think the letter is insufficient, happy to review it and see if we can't provide you additional context, additional color, some more detail. but it sounds like -- >> so when can we expect -- followup? >> if you would, please, send us a letter indicating what it is you think -- >> another letter. >> well, i mean -- we clearly think we responded.
we believe we responded to you. if there are particular places we have concerns, you think we didn't adequately respond -- but if you share what it is -- >> time is short. let me ask you another question about waivers to aid restrictions and how they're being applied. i understand that pepfar funds with being granted waivers even though pepfar programs require coordination and some integration with governments. yet i've also heard that education and other programs that are not working through governments are being impacted. i don't think there's any question that cutting off education assistance will hurt local populations. so i'd like to understand the decisionmaking process. what criteria is the government using -- the department using to determine which forms of assistance can continue and which can't? >> yeah. i can't give you a blanket answer. do you have a particular country? i can talk to you about our understanding how it is we
deliver. we're trying to get the outcomes described in the program. so we're trying to make sure that u.s. american taxpayer dollars are used for programs that actually have positive outcomes that actually deliver the results. >> well, for sure. i don't mean to interrupt you, but, you know, this is also -- yes, i did. this is also a matter we asked in the december 17th letter. and the reason i'm asking you these questions is because the assistance we're talking about is absolutely critical to some of the world's most vulnerable people. and because this is hardly the first time requests for key information from this committee have been ignored. i'm extremely concerned that despite the secretary's own experience with congressional oversight, that this state department has no qualms stonewalling congress and keeping us from carrying out our constitutionally mandated oversight responsibilities. let me just ask you one other quick question about paul waylan, a michigander. he's an american citizen, arrested on december 28th in
russia. by the fsb. purportedly for espionage. he remains in prison and a russian court extended his pretrial detention until may. given that we have -- you know, little time left here, can you just give me some sense -- we're very concerned about him, that he remains in prison. and we'd like to know what you're doing to secure his rights under international law and ultimately his release. >> i can't say much about what we've taken. only can reassure you that our ambassador huntsman there, our team on the ground, our team that travels and has communications with russian government raises this issue consistently and is doing all it can to make sure we treat this issue with the highest priority. >> thank you. >> thank you. i'd reel back. >> mr. berchet. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, mr. secretary. you've had incredible control. i've had to leave three times
for rest room breaks. you stay right there. i'm not sure what was in your criteria for hiring, but a large bladder must have been there. so appreciative of that, brother. i'm -- going to ask you some questions about israel and the golan heights. and i was wondering if you could elaborate some further on the strategic implications that will have for the region and will it be helpful for the peace process. >> so first of all, the decision the president made was one that we had been working on for some time. and ultimately was done because it was the right thing to do in the sense that it recognized the reality on the ground. so in the first instance, the decision was made because it was -- it was simply the right thing to do to recognize israel's claim for the sovereignty of the golan heights. second, we also believe, and we took a look at this. we believe this increases the likelihood we get resolution of the conflict between israel and the palestinians. we think it -- we think it speaks with the clarity that takes this away from any
uncertainty about how we'll proceed. and so we think that when one is involved in a complex negotiation, that more certainty is better. and so we do think this will benefit both israel and the palestinians so we can get resolution. >> cool. thank you. and also, i noticed the u.n. -- to me it's pretty apparent they have a clear anti israel voting pattern. i would call it. will the u.s. be leveraging american foreign aid to encourage countries to stand with us at the u.n. as has been suggested? we talk about the carrot or the stick. it seems like we're always giving them the carrot and maybe the stick might be in order at some point. >> so we have certainly done that in terms of using all the tools at our disposal to make the case that we needed partners, certainly on the u.n. security council. not only the permanent members but those there for a shorter period of time. as well as folks in the broader u.n. general assembly.
they would support us and vote with us. one of the reasons we abandoned the u.n. human rights council was because it had clearly lost its mission, lost its focus. it was behaving in ways that were deeply inconsistent with the very charter of that mission. >> clearly. i guess some of the countries on it were some of the worst actors that we've seen. what steps does the state department currently take to stop the flow of resources to the hezbollah, and what are we doing to stop iranian resources from going to them? >> so the major global campaign is the sanctions regime we've put in place. we've taken them from 2.7 barrels of oil per day down to something around 1 million barrels of oil per day. we'll make another set of decisions in may about that. that's denied them hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars. we have active campaigns with countries around the world to deny iran the capacity to move weapons and money around the world. so treasury is obviously in the
lead. state department is doing work for financial sanctions to deny those -- the countries the capacity to trade with iran. there are other tools the u.s. government uses, as well. it is a full-on campaign. with respect to hezbollah, i was in beirut this past week to talk with them about how we can work to ensure that lebanon gets what they want without a third party armed force inside of their country. it presents real risk to them. it's not to -- it's not to the people of lebanon's best interest. and we are around the world, working to make sure wherever the islamic republic of iran is fomenting terrorism or trying to undermine democracy or behaving in a maligned way, we're pushing back. >> it seems i asked something about the chinese and the huawei -- i think that's how you pronounce it -- with the chinese using them. and secretary albright was here, i believe, last week or the week before. and i -- she concurred. she agreed that they were a
national security threat, especially if they were allowed to be a part of the 5g internet infrastructure. and with the recent news that germany will most likely allow them to bid on the 5g networks, will that threaten our nato intelligence sharing and transatlantic security? >> i don't want to talk specifics about where -- what the germans are telling us. but i can say this. we've made clear publicly to every country the risks of putting technology from a chinese state-owned enterprise or one that is closely affiliated with chinese state-owned enterprises inside your network. and then the subsequent risk about decisions that we'll have to take, america will have to take with respect to where we can put our information. not only our government information, but the private information of our citizens is at risk, as well. and we are -- we are out talking about this, making sure that everybody understands america's view of the risk and countries will make their own sovereign choices and we'll be forced to then make ours, as well. >> thank you, mr. secretary.
mr. chairman, i yield no time back. so do with it what you will. >> i appreciate it anyway. thank you >> yes, sir. >> miss spanberger. >> thank you, secretary, for being here today. secretary pompeo, as a former intelligence professional, i am extremely troubled by the apparent lack of respect for the intelligence community's objective, nonpartisan intelligence assessments and their critical importance in the formulation of sound, well-reason and balanced foreign policy which is your responsibility as secretary of state. i would like to ask you a few questions regarding some of the most pressing foreign policy issues facing our nation today. as time is short, please answer with a simple yes or no, sir. do you believe north korea -- the north korean leader, kim jong-un will covertly retain his nuclear weapons program, despite negotiations? >> so i can't answer that yes or no. and i would challenge, by the way the predicate of your question. >> i'm a former intelligence officer so i understand that nuance is deep. but these are actually in public, open source. they are answered in a very
straight forward yes or no. so shall i take your response as a no or yes, snir. >> sir. >> you may take my response however you please. >> do you believe russia interfered in the 2016 election, sir? >> if you will permit me to answer your question, i'll be happy to do so. as you said, you know nuance. >> sir, i would argue that point, because in the 2019 threat assessment, where we had leaders from the intelligence community here before us, they did answer with a yes. that north korean leader kim jong-un will covertly retain. their assessment is -- >> i'm happy to give you my answer to that. >> well, moving on to the next one -- >> you never get a deal until you get a deal. and i understand how intelligence works. they look at history. they stare at the past. >> sir, let's move on. >> i'm looking forward. >> do you believe russia interfered with the 2016 u.s. general election? this is looking towards the past so that one should be one you can answer. >> yes, they did. and the 2012 and the 2008. >> thank you. do you believe iran is following the provisions of the 2015 joint
comprehensive plan of action to reduce or eliminate its enriched uranium stockpile andin enrichment facilities. >> that's a complicated answer. >> also answered in the january 2019 threat testimony. the answer that the intelligence leaders of our intelligence community gave was yes. do you believe that global climate change is real and represents a threat to u.s. national security? >> yes. the climate is changing. >> thank you. and is it a threat to our national security, sir? >> it's not at the top of my list. >> i'm not asking about your list. i'm asking about the intelligence community's list and their assessments which should be driving the policy you are pushing. >> but policymakers have an obligation to form their own independent judgment on priorities and that's what this administration is doing. >> so the -- >> i frankly wish the past administration -- >> for the record, i'd like to put into the record that the 2019 worldwide threat assessment did say that global climate change does present a threat to u.s. national security. so thank you. i'm glad that ultimately overall it seems like we are in
agreement that when we're looking at threat assessments, you are listening to the career intelligence professionals and deferring and learning from and listening to their years of training and expertise. however, unfortunately, sir, this has not matched some of the previous comments that you have made over the past year, certainly not those of the white house. so my question is, why is there such a disconnect between your positions and that of the president, the assessment of the intelligence community and those of the president? >> yeah. there's not. >> is there not, sir? >> no. >> so -- okay. well, thank you very much for your answers on this. i do want to close, because as a former intelligence officer and someone who has been deeply disturbed by the lack of credence given to some of the work or most of the work of the intelligence community, i would like to close with a note to my sisters and brothers in the intelligence community. and as one former dni has said, the ic will continue to speak truth to power, even when the power ignores that truth.
i want to commend the men and women of the intelligence community for risking their lives across the world and too often their livelihoods as well every day to collect the information that should be directing and informing the policy that the united states government is pursuing throughout the world. thank you to you, sir, for being here today. and thank you for -- to the intelligence community serving around the world. >> thank you. >> i yield back. >> i just add that you should know that it is -- the very work they're doing is important and used by this administration to inform its policy decisions. >> thank you. >> all across the spectrum. >> thank you, sir. then i would urge you in your conversations with the president for him to potentially speak more respectfully of the life-risking work that so many of our intelligence community members pursue so that you may have well-informed, well-sourced information in your day-to-day work. thank you. i yield back. >> thank you. mr. watkins. >> thank you, sir. secretary pompeo, thank you for
your selfless service. it brings honor upon our great state of kansas and the military academy at west point. last time you were home, we were at the ges heartland institute, and we talked about the role of the state department when linking up our growers, our farmers and producers in kansas to the global market. can you talk me through the state department's role in that? >> certainly. so both state department team that works here in the united states and the team that works across missions across the world, we have a responsibility to ensure that we have open access to markets. so that's a policy decision inside of those countries that we work diligently to make sure they understand, that america is going to demand reciprocal trade. you see the president raise this to new levels of importance. we want to make sure if they're selling their goods here, we can sell our goods inside of their country, as well. it is only fair and right.
and with respect to agriculture in particular, we have got a whole big team. we have 1,500 economic officers stationed around the world whose singular mission is to make sure american companies understand rules, understand customs, understand tax laws, have the capacity to build out their businesses and create wealth and jobs here in the united states by selling all across the world. >> thank you, secretary pompeo. chairman, i yield my time. >> thank you. ms. houlihan. >> secretary, thank you so much for your time today. my name is chrissy houlihan and i'm here representing the people of pennsylvania, sixth congressional district. i take great responsibility in making sure that the people of my community understand the importance of the state department, frankly. i'm a third generation military service member myself. i have active duty cousins, many in harm's way right now. but i firmly believe that the work that you do prevents the work that my family needs to do.
and so my questions are along a couple of lines. the first one regarding women and peace and security. i'm a member of this committee, but i'm also a member of the armed services committee. and i'm actually quite concerned about the administration's delay in submitting to congress its strategy on bolstering women's inclusion, peace and security efforts globally. it was required by the women's peace and security act of 2017. and so my first question is to you, which is when will you plan to deliver this strategy, which was due october of 2018? >> i can't answer that question. but i will get you an answer in the next day or two of when we will have delivered it. >> i would very much like to have a very specific answer to that question, because i'm also a former teacher and deadlines matter. and i would love to have an actual concrete deadline. >> as a former business person, i understand how important deadlines are. and i run a 75,000-person organization and i am with you. >> the question is, if you haven't submitted that, how can you possibly therefore have an implementation strategy for that
and how does that possibly or can it even possibly be folded into this proposed budget that you've put forward with regard to women's issues and women's issues of safety? >> i'm proud of the work we've done on women's issues in the administration, both as my time as cia director -- you might think of that as a place where this rises to the forefront, but it certainly did for me. indeed my deputy was a very talented officer, now director of the cia. what i demand of my team on the ground all over the world. >> i appreciate that, sir. and i definitely would love to get with you in the next day or two to get a firm date on whether that particular report will be due. my next question is about the women's global development and prosperity initiative. i also am a former business person and i was really pleased to see that you included $100 million in the women's economic empowerment through the women global's development and prosperity initiative. but i understand in your testimony this morning in the appropriations hearings that you spent a lot of time discussing the long-term viability of this
program, given the proposed cuts to other programs that assist women worldwide. like the global health program and basic education. and i really appreciated in your testimony that you expressed flexibility and the willingness to evaluate that program. my question is how do you reconcile the decreased commitments in some programs and this increased commitment in this particular initiative? how do you reconcile the critical programs that have been decreased with this program that you've increased? >> well, as a former business person, you know you have to make tough decisions all of the time. you have to make priorities and allocate resources. we certainly did that in the budget we presented to congress. we're confident we can deliver on the objectives i think you've outlined in the predicate to your question. and we -- >> will you give me a couple specifics? >> tell me what you're most interested in. >> just in general, when you're talking about making specific decisions and weighing kind of pros and cons of different
decisions, what was it that made you decide to do a new program versus some older programs? >> yeah, it is our observation we weren't as effective with those resources as we believe we can be and the new programs and delivering the real outcomes that matter. matter to these nations, matter to women in those nations. that was the analysis that was undertaken. >> if it's already,l right, i w love for you to put to the record what were those analyses, what were those decisionmaking processes that made you evaluate those things. because i'm a business person, a metrics human being just like you are, and i know with things like this that are social sciency and squishy, it's important to have those qualifiable ideas behind them of what it is you were weighing pros and cons on. >> i appreciate that. and you're right. sometimes things that -- you can't put a number to, you can still measure. qualitatively. i'll concede, it's softer. and that's what we undertook in this allocation decision, as well. >> and thank you. i do actually have a couple of other questions, but i only have
half a minute remaining. so if it's all right, what i'll do is submit the remainder of my questions to the record and i appreciate your time, sir. >> happy to get back to you. >> thank you. mr. guest. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. secretary, in your written statement that was provided to us provider to your testimony on page 2 of that testimony, you say president trump has made it clear that u.s. foreign assistance should serve america's interests and should support countries that have helped us advance our foreign policy goals. this budget, therefore, maintains critical support for key allies, and the first ally you list there is the nation of israel. first of all, i want to thank you in a time of rising opposition, and the -- the increase of anti-semitism, both domestically and internationally, i want to thank you and i want to thank the administration for supporting our longstanding alliance between the united states and israel.
we have -- recently the administration has shown support by relocating our embassy to jerusalem and recognized israel's sovereignty over the golan heights. mr. secretary, even with our recent support, we continue to see attacks on israel, including just this week where we saw rocket attacks that injured seven, including two young children. so my question is, can you please address the administration's approach to working with the international community to support israel's right to, one, defend itself and, two, to prevent future attacks on the nation of israel? >> so i'm not sure exactly where to begin in responding to that question. i've addressed some of this. look, we've tried to find places where these countries had overlapping interest with israel. there is a long history in the middle east where these countries couldn't find any place to overlap. we managed to put together a meeting in warsaw, where you had senior-level leaders from gulf
states, from arab states, sitting in the same room, having discussions about middle east stability and security with prime minister netanyahu. those kinds of things are incredibly important. they reduce risk to israel, they reduce risk to the united states of america. and then i could go through another -- i could go through a series of other places we have done. perhaps no place more importantly with respect to the islamic republic of iran. a country that has sworn to wipe israel off the map. we have taken an approach that is 180 degrees from the previous administration. recognizing the threat that iran is to not only israel, but to europe, where they're conducting assassination campaigns, to the capacity for iraq to stand up an independent sovereign government. we're working on each of these things. and each of those, our effort to build that mesa, middle east strategic alliance. each of these projects, each of these coalition building exercises it is aimed at
reducing risk to israel. >> what support can congress provide the administration to show our support? i know we have talked about the international community. what can we as a legislative body do to show our support for israel and work toward peace in the middle east? >> i think congress, over the past decade, has done a lot. it's important that every member of congress speak out about this issue and the more members of congress, the more that the world sees that this is bipartisan, this commitment, that it will -- this commitment won't change from administration to administration. the more successful we can be. >> and if the -- the -- congress and the administration were to speak in a bipartisan voice, do you believe that that would help advance the peace process in the middle east? >> undoubtedly. >> thank you. mr. chairman, i yield my time back. >> thank you, mr. guest. mr. malinowski. >> mr. secretary, you have been eloquent in denouncing the harm
that socialism has done to venezuela. and i agree with you. i applaud you for it. but i'm confused about one thing. if we're going to be so forceful in denouncing socialism, why is the administration so high on communism? >> yeah. i mean, the very statement there is pretty outrageous. >> well, i'm talking about north korea, sir. the most perfectly realized communist state in history, a country where the state owns everything and everyone, and yet the administration is repeatedly referring to how it has, quote, awesome economic potential. how it can become an economic powerhouse, quote, unquote, without changing its system, simply by giving up nuclear weapons. and so my question is, why are you so confident in the capacity of a communist state to provide for its people? >> let me just back up for just a moment.
we have both the toughest sanctions on north korea in the history -- this administration built out this coalition against this nation. the previous administration didn't do it. didn't take it seriously. this administration has done that. i'm very proud of what president trump has been able to do. we have the toughest sanctions while still engaged in some of the most serious negotiations. and diplomatic efforts. and our mission set is, in fact, to get the proliferation risk reduced, to get north korea denucleariz denuclearized and then our commitment is to say at that point we want a brighter future for the people of north korea. what form of government that takes place there will evolve over time. we have seen countries in the region who haven't fully transformed in the way we like. countries like vietnam, be able to grow their economy and provide better for their people. we think that opportunity exists in north korea, as well. >> i'm asking, because there's a whole lot of rhetoric about
liking kim jong-un, falling in love with kim jong-un. kim jong-un being our friend. and so let me ask you, why is liking kim jong-un a sufficient reason to cancel or not to pursue sanctions against companies helping his nuclear program, as the white house said last week? i'm quoting the white house there. >> have been more sanctions put in place by this administration with a global coalition than at any time in the world's history, sir. >> and yet liking him is a reason cited not to do more. >> if i may, we will continue to enforce the u.n. security council resolutions and do our best to encourage every nation in the world to do so. i only wish the previous administration had undertaken this same effort. >> actually, it did. >> these sanctions were not in place, sir. that's factually inaccurate. >> is kim jong-un responsible for maintaining north korea's system of labor camps? >> he's the later of the
company. >> is he responsible for ordering the execution of his uncle, the assassination by chemical agent of his half brother? >> he's the leader of the country. >> was he responsible for the decision not to allow otto warmbier to come home until he was on death's door? >> i'll leave the president's statement to stand. we all know the north korean regime was responsible for the tragedy that occurred to otto warmbier. i met that family. i know those people. i love them dearly. they suffered mightily, sir. >> so what's to like? >> they suffered mightily, sir. >> so what's to like? >> don't make this a political football. it's inappropriate. it's inappropriate to do. >> when the whitehouse says the sanctions decisions are based on liking kim jong-un -- has the president ever used that kind of language with respect to angela merkel? has he ever publicly called her a friend? >> i've heard him talk about her that way, yes. i don't believe if it was in a public setting or not. >> okay. let me go back to the questions. there have been a number of
questions about saudi arabia and the khashoggi killing. do you believe that the saudi authorities, the most senior saudi authorities, are capable of investigating themselves for a murder that has been attributed to them? >> i think the most important commitment that the united states made is the one i spoke about earlier -- it would have been earlier this afternoon, which is the commitment for the united states to conduct its work and hold every person responsible. that's what the united states -- >> we'll base our judgment on our own assessment. >> yes, sir. that's what we've done to date and that's what we will continue to do. >> thank you very much. and if saudi arabia's cover story here -- if their story is that this was a rogue operation, do we not risk reinforcing that cover story if all we do is sanction the rogues? the henchmen? the people accused -- >> i've made very clear, as has president trump, we are continuing to develop the facts
set using all the tools that we have at our disposal, and as we identify individuals who we can hold accountable for the murder of jamal khashoggi, we will do so. >> thank you. i yield back. >> thank you. mr. pence. >> chairman engel, ranking member mccaul, thank you for convening this hearing. mr. secretary, thank you for being here and thank you for your fantastic service to this country. i noted with great interest that you were recently in houston at sara week. during your address, you stated, and i quote, our plentiful oil supplies allow us to help our friends secure diversity in their energy resources. we don't want our european allies hooked on russian gas through the in order stream 2 project any more than we ourselves want to depend on venezuela for our oil supplies. you went on to note that there is a desperate need for
diversification, while pointing out the fact that last year the united states exported more crude oil to places like india, japan and the republic of korea. these are great achievements, but you also outline challenges. you specifically singled out china, russia, syria, and described how these countries are attempting to leverage their energy resources for political purposes. you stated that we are not just exporting energy, we are exporting our commercial value. i couldn't agree more. mr. secretary, can you elaborate on what you and assistant secretary fannen's priorities are in the energy security space and how can we best address these challenges? >> as america's senior diplomat, i am an enormous beneficiary of the capacity for american innovation, creativity, whether that's through fracking, the capacity to deliver energy
around the world. when america shows up -- when i talked about exporting our commercial values, when we show up, we do straight-up deals. we demonstrate value. we have contracts, we honor contracts. we engage in deals that are commercial, and honor the rule of law, independent from government directions with no political gain to the united states. having american companies do business in those ways provides enormous opportunity for us, because they know -- these countries no longer have to be dependent on those countries trying to undermine western democracy and western values. they have the capacity to create electricity for countries, to have natural gas, to fuel all of the energy needs of their nation without having to turn to bad actors around the world. when i was talking about those exports having value, that's what i was referring to. >> again, thank you for your service. thanks for being here today. and keeping us all informed. mr. chairman, i yield back. >> thank you very much.
mr. trone. >> mr. secretary, the trump administration muslim ban, that's an appalling policy. it's affected my friends. it's affected my neighbors. they have been unable to see their families. they feel discriminated in their own country. 2017, a thousand visas were denied. in 2018, that number was 37,000. there's a waiver there to proclamation for undue hardship when it's not a national security threat. but the waiver is rarely used. as a matter of fact, it's used less than 2% of the time. your own counsel or officers have described the waiver process as a fraud, window dressing. would you talk about what
discretion the office has in utilizing this waiver. >> i would be happy to speak with him or her about the fact that it's not, in fact, a fraud. >> his name is in the press. we can have that sent to you. >> i'm happy to take a look at that and that he understands the trump administration's policy there. we are determined to make sure that we understand who is coming in and out of our country and we're vetting people properly. i'm proud of the work we're doing there. i am confident that we have reduced risk to the united states of a terror attack here. >> same officers allege that the discretion issue waivers is consistently countermanded by washington. your answer is the same? >> what's the question, sir? >> they don't have that discretion that they should have. and that's why we have 2%. >> yes. i actually think we have the authorities here precisely right. >> okay. is it the policy of the state department to implement a ban on visas for predominantly muslim countries? do you believe it's due to nagsality or religious
affiliation that makes them a unique threat? >> we evaluate each individual based on the characteristics of the threat they pose. >> these are great people, great americans. and their lives are being disrupted. let's talk about the kingdom for a second. thousands of people in the kingdom of saudi arabia have disappeared or been murdered. crown prince has stolen over $100 billion from his own countrymen. he's moved against qatar, our ally. he's kidnapped the prime minister of lebanon. and yemen's a nightmare with tens of thousands dead and millions threatened by starvation. he's 33. he'll probably be the king if he moves up for 50 years. i always like to think about my kids and your kids and their kids and future generations. is this type of individual that
would use a bone saw as part of his foreign policy, that you would invite home for thanksgiving dinner? >> are you suggesting regime change in saudi arabia? >> would you invite him home to cut the turkey? >> i've met with the crown prince. i've worked with him. the challenges that you cited there, the death you've cited in yemen, is not because of the kingdom of saudi arabia. you have the wrong end of the stick on that. >> i'm not talking about the kingdom of saudi arabia. i'm talking about the counsrown prince with a bone saw and the whole litany of items we discussed that all emanate from one individual. >> the predicate of your question is unfounded. i'm happy to talk about our strategy with respect to the kingdom of saudi arabia. i'm happy to talk to you about the conversations i've had with the crown prince to the extent that i can. we -- we have acknowledged the incident with respect to mr. khashoggi was a murder, it's outrageous and we're working to
hold everyone we can who is responsible accountable. and we'll continue to do that. >> well, i'm disappointed in my own country. i know many, many others are too. wasn't that long ago that short-term convenience, an individual in a position of power, wasn't tolerated. but instead, now we just tolerate that individual, because it's convenient to the trump administration's national policy. but at some point in time we have to draw a line. where do you draw that line? how many more khashoggis do we have to have? >> sir, we are effectuating policies that will keep america safe. we're determined to do that. the trump administration has put human rights at the top of its list in in every single conversation we've had. it's a tough, nasty world out there. if you hadn't noticed. and we are a force for good everywhere we go. >> long-term, are we really safer in a tough, nasty world, when we tolerate that type of behavior? that's my concern. >> we simply disagree. i believe the policy we have
makes america infinitely safer today, next week and for our children and grandchildren. >> the time has expired. i'm going to go on. votes have just been called. we have only about three or four more people. i'm going to see if we can do this. the secretary of state has been very generous with his team. and i would like to try to see if we can get this in before the votes are finished. so if people would understand that and maybe give back a minute or so, that would be appreciated. if not, we'll do the best we can. mr. costa. >> i'll do my best to answer briefly, too. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i'm sure the secretary will appreciate brevity. i'll do my best. first of all, on behalf of the chairman, i wanted to follow up on his line of questioning regarding the committee's request for documents. on march 14th, 2019, this committee sent you a letter reiterating two specific set of document requests. and we wanted to know -- the chair wanted to know, yes or no, can you commit to providing the
committee with the requested documents within the next seven business days? >> making sure i've got the right set of documents. these documents that had to do with -- which request was this? >> mr. chairman? >> there are dozens and dozens. >> trying to be helpful. >> no problem. i'm happy to take a look at it. i just don't want to answer a question when i'm not thinking about the right set of documents. >> the bottom line -- i'll say this fast. the bottom line, it's very frustrating when we send something and don't get a response or get stonewalled or maybe got caught in the bureaucracy. i don't know what it is. but we'll get those things back to you again and we'll highlight them as second requests and hopefully we can get through it then. and i thank my colleague for mentioning it, for reiterating it. >> okay. thank you, mr. chairman. that's been about a minute of my time. mr. secretary, since we've last chatted, i've become the chairman of the transatlantic legislators' dialogue. for the purpose of the focus of
the state department strategy for this congress and your budget, i want to focus most of my questions, if i can, with regards to europe and nato. in the most recent meeting, we members of congress and the members of the european parliament reasserted our joint statement on the bond between the united states and european union. it's the most fundamental economic and security strategic partnership. do you agree with that? >> yes. >> let me just continue to go on. the bond is also based upon a strong foundation of our common history and values, including the principles of democracy, rule of law, human rights, free and open societies and markets. do you agree with that concept? >> yes, sir. >> and obviously this partnership has had a long history. we have talked a lot about in this afternoon, and certainly there have been concerns -- i can tell you, and i know you know it, because you hear them too by our european friends about where this relationship is today. and words do matter.
and so -- and whether it's the issues where we disagree or the administration disagrees or they ran tariffs, climate change or defense, many of our european colleagues are scratching their head and they say, jim, what's happened? where is our relationship? what have you tried to do to reinforce it? i know you've been asked the same questions. >> yeah. >> words matter. >> they do. and the words that i've shared with him is that they have a continued, deep, important relationship. you identified three-and-a-half places where we have disagreements. on iran, frankly, we're working together on large pieces of pushing back against the republic of iran. there are hundreds of other issues on which we work closely with europeans. and when you think europe, you're talking about europe, france and the uk. please know, this is much broader. we have deep relationships across with the balkins in europe. >> and previous administrations talked about old europe. and so this is -- >> i try not to use their language. i talk about our friends. >> no.
and our most important allies, i believe. let me move on. what kind of message does it send of our european allies when the state department downgraded last fall the status of the european union's ambassador and then recently restated it to the rightful status a few months later, because that's where it should have been. i don't know what happened. >> yeah. we messed up and we fixed it. >> okay. well, that's good. let me move over to nato quickly. you know, this partnership post world war ii that we helped create is resulted -- and i suspect most americans, probably most europeans, don't realize the longest peace time dividend post world war ii, 70 years, that we'll celebrate next month, as you noted, in over 1,000 years in europe. i mean, that is significant, by any way you examine it. acting secretary of defense shanahan said in his testimony before the senate that the cost,
50% plus president for our military commitments is -- that we're not an outfit of u.s. mercenaries. that we're not going to run a business -- our common defense. and yes, you're right. europe is a wealthy continent. germany should pay more. all these countries. and, by the way, i applaud you for that effort. but that's been continued now for three administrations to do their part, in fairness >> yes, sir. >> so i would like to hear your thoughts on whether or not we should have a cost benefit basis analysis in terms of how our european partners do their part, as they should. >> it's certainly more complicated than that. but it is the case that we're constantly -- we have shared values with these european -- >> of course. let me put it this like this to make it simple. do you think the kind of cost plus 50% proposal would be a bad idea? >> i saw precisely what
secretary shanahan says. he got it exactly right. >> good, good. let me move over quickly. i have a little bit of time left. >> i said assistant secretary. i meant acting secretary. >> you're duly corrected, mr. secretary. finally, i do agree -- i will commend you when i think we agree. your efforts to bring a coalition together in venezuela is the proper thing to do. i'm wondering why, and maybe it's under the radar screen. you haven't convened the organization of american states together to formalize a strategy in this commitment to do the right thing with venezuela and to make the changes that are necessary. >> so i have attended on this issue two oas meetings on this very issue. you should know we're actively working alongside them. they're great partners. there's not total unanimity outside the oas. but they're an important force that we have worked through. >> and i think we need to continue to utilize that. >> i completely agree. >> along with our partners in
mexico. thank you very much, mr. chairman. >> thank you very much. mr. allred. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, mr. secretary, for your patience and i know it's been a long afternoon. i want to talk about afghanistan. my colleague earlier was questioning you and asking about special envoy khali zad speaking to our committee and you said this would be something that would be hard to do that hasn't been done in the past. we have had two special envoys come speak to our committee without leaks to the "washington post." >> that's actually not true. >> well, i've been in classified briefings from some of your special envoys. we have a constitutional duty to make sure that we are overseeing what you're doing in the state department. and so i don't accept the excuse that ongoing negotiations mean that we cannot have the information this committee deserves. >> i'm trying to make sure you get the best information that you can, that is consistent with your oversight duties. i'm determined to do that and to protect this information in a
way that prevents us -- >> i hope you understand with a 17-year warheaded into the 18th year that congress deserves to have a role in how we proceed here. >> 100%. >> thank you. i think we can have a classified briefing and do it in a way that i think is secure. i think if you were in our seat during the obama administration era and we were having the discussions around the jcpla and they refused to give you any information -- >> i actually was. and they did. >> they did not. they gave you briefings. i know that that's -- >> meaningless and unimportant. >> meaningless briefings. okay. well, i would like to have some kind of briefings. we haven't had that at all. >> you want more than a meaningless briefing. and i wouldn't be doing it right if i gave you a meaningless briefing. >> i think this committee in particular deserves information on it. and i want to talk about the conditions for withdrawal. because previous u.s. policy has required the taliban to accept the current afghan constitution, including its provisions and protections for women and minorities. why have we dropped that condition? >> you shouldn't be certain that
we have dropped any conditions, based on what you may have read in some newspaper. >> well, i haven't had a briefing, so i don't know what our conditions are. >> you should know, we are very, very focused on making sure that the gains that have been achieved aren't lost as part of this. the security gains that have been achieved, the gains, all be it intermittent with respect to corruption, we hope we can actually do better. but as you well know, this is still a very difficult place. it's the reason we still have thousands of soldiers on the ground. and we are focused on taking down the level of violence so we can do precisely what it is i think you just -- >> i share the recognition that we're not going to have a military solution to afghanistan. my concern is if we have a s precipitous withdrawal and pull out without the correct conditions in place, the progress that's been made, particularly for afghan women, will be lost. and i think that this is something that's in the interest of our country, it's in our national interest. and we need to make sure that doesn't happen. so i'm hopeful as part of those
negotiations, as you said, that's going to be part of it. >> to describe a departure after 18 years is as precipitous -- >> no, the withdrawal would be precipitous if we take whatever conditions taliban would offer so we can get out. >> i promise you, we're going to maintain american security. >> my concern is if seems they might be trying to fulfill a political promise here instead of a rational and reasoned withdrawal and doing it in the right way. and that's what i think this committee's jurisdiction directly falls upon and that's why we need to have a briefing and talk to the folks involved in that negotiation. >> just so you know, i'm running the negotiation. so you're talking to the guy who is in charge. >> well, i would like to know -- have some more information. maybe we should have you back to talk about that specifically, then. >> happy to do it in the right setting, yes, sir. >> so are we also caving to the taliban's stance that the afghan government is an illegitimate puppet of the u.s.? our conditions have been that they should be part of the afghan government. is this funny, sir? >> yeah, the fact that you're relying on third-hand reporting
for something that the taliban might or might not have actually said in some print report. yeah, i think we should have all have better information. >> is the afghan government part of this conversation we're having? >> ambassador bass talks to president ghani multiple times every week. multiple times every day on some days. >> so your testimony is that right now the afghan government is part of our negotiations with the taliban. >> right now the afghan government is fully apprised. >> apprised. >> yes, exactly. and we are diligently trying to get these parties to work together. the previous administration went at that for eight years. we've had -- i've had ten months. we are diligently trying to -- >> yi concern -- >> to get afghan conversation so we can resolve this. >> undercutting the after afghanistan government by not having them as part of the negotiation -- >> it's just untrue. the direct role -- not to be apprised of it, sir. in a direct role risks when we do pull out. >> yeah. >> undercutting the legitimacy of that government, leading to the taliban retaking power.
>> i disagree with the facts as you've stated them. >> do you accept -- do you agree that al qaeda and isis are still in afghanistan now? >> yes. >> the gentleman's time has expired. miss bass. >> thank you very much. thank you, mr. secretary. >> thank you. >> for being here. >> it's good to see you again. >> good to see you, as well. we came in together. so i want to ask you about two countries and one general question. the one general question is about u.s. aid to africa and the administration's pledge to review all u.s. aid to africa in order to target assistance toward key countries and particular strategic objectives. and i'm wondering if that review has happened. second question is about zimbabwe. they've had elections, and they're attempting to address the economic issues of the country. i wanted to know if we are reviewing or have plans to review u.s. policy towards zimbabwe. and the third question is about sudan. and the current crackdown and our efforts toward normalizing
relations. and i wanted to know how the administration was weighing these actions as it addresses sudan's progress on phase two. >> let me take each of them as best i can recall them in sequence. >> sure. >> first with respect to the assistance in africa. we are reviewing it. there will be all the factors you could imagine. i think you'll give it thought across every element of the united states government to make sure we get the levels right. i'm sure there are places our assistance will increase and may well be those where our assistance decreases. and i'm very confident there will be assistance that moves. that is, we put it in, in different ways and try to make sure we get better outcomes that have better outcomes from the resource that is we're expending. that review is not complete. it's inner agency process. and probably -- >> do you have a time frame, possibly? >> it's going to be a while still. i've watched these interagency processes. it will be too slow. >> while it's under review, then you maintain the same levels?
>> yes, that's largely the case. although it is also the case that from time to time we'll see things that we just say are so -- they're disconnected from what has happened or transpired that we feel compelled to make decision on the spot. >> like the cyclone? >> exactly. that's usually a state department decision where we'll do that cyclone tragedy, a particular terrorist incident where we're trying to react in a very timely fashion. but not laying down any long-term thoughtful strategy about a region or a country. does that answer the question? >> yes, it does. and zimbabwe and sudan? >> there have been great changes in sudan, and this administration has tried to find places where we can work alongside them and continue to develop them. we saw what happened in sim b zimbabwe. but i'm happy to give you briefings on the detail of what
we're doing. >> i would appreciate that. especially with zimbabwe. both countries, but zimbabwe also trying to move forward, trying to -- i just recently met with the ambassador from zimbabwe, and they're very concerned about basically their economy, where they want to move to privatize certain sectors, but their hands are tied because of our previous policies. as they move forward and try to comply and try to bring their constitution in line with, you know, some past policies -- >> yes, ma'am. >> how do we make sure that we don't hold them back this >> these are very real concerns. sudan is also the case. yesterday or the day with the prime minister of mali, trying to figure out how to get u.s. assistance there and u.s. economic private sector industry to grow and help them to take care of the terror threats that are there.
there is a country by country effort and regional effort we're undertaking. >> thank you very much. >> thank you, ma'am. >> i yield back my time, mr. chair. >> thank you, ms. bass. we have two members that want to come back after the vote to ask you questions. i don't know what the timing is on this. but right now, we -- let me put it this way. let me call on the ranking member. >> mr. chairman, thank you. i would like to submit for the record a statement from the senate foreign relations committee on the importance of getting the president's nominees confirmed. >> okay. we've been here a long time, mr. secretary. i think what we'll do is call the hearing. i want to thank you for your patience. i hope you'll come back and visit us. >> thank you for running a very professional hearing today. i appreciate that. >> thank you for coming. the hearing is now adjourned.
join 1979, a smaull network rolled out a big idea, let viewers decide what was important to them. c-span opened the doors for washington policymaking for all to see, bringing you unfiltered contempt from congress and beyond. this was true people power. in the 40 years since, the landscape has cheerily changed. there's no monolithic media,
youtube stars are a thing. but c-span's big idea is more relevant today than ever. no government money supports c-span. its nonpartisan coverage of washington is funded by your cable or satellite provider, on television and online. c-span is your unfiltered view of government so you can make up your own mind. >> more live coverage in the morning with the confirmation hearing for interior secretary nominee david burnhart, who has been acting secretary since january following the resignation of ryan zinke. also, president trump holds a campaign rally in grand rapids, michigan. live coverage tomorrow at 7:00 p.m. eastern on c-span, c-span.org and on the free c-span radio app.
>> c-span's "washington journal" live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up thursday morning, republican congressman buddy carter of georgia discusses the future of the affordable care act and climate change. and sheila jackson lee, democratic congresswoman from texas, talks about the efforts to reauthorize the violence against women's act. be sure to watch c-span's washington journal, live at 7:00 eastern thursday morning. join the discussion. >> the senate armed services subcommittee on c-power held a hearing to examine the navy's various ship building programs and funding needs, including aircraft carrier construction, workforce training programs and threats posed by china. this is two hours.