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tv   MSNBC Live With Hallie Jackson  MSNBC  April 12, 2018 7:00am-8:00am PDT

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interesting hearing because we know one republican rand paul will oppose mike pompeo. that means to get out of this room he will need some democratic support. i would be paying attention to how some more moderate democrats on this committee question him. i'm talking about tim cain, ben card cardin. i expect he will get blistered by some of the more liberal members of this committee including cory booker will probably go after him. rand paul will of course go after him. we have gotten a look at pompeo's prepared remarks. we know he is putting distance between himself and rex tillerson. he is talking about filling some vacancies. for folks critical of tillerson pompeo will try to cast himself
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as the new man in town. that is quite a heart thing to do. he will be very much put to task here in this room today. the white house put a lot of effort into prepping him and they have backup for him in the room. u.n. ambassador nikki haley showed up. >> we will show you what nikki haley had to say to andrea mitchell who is also in the room. one of the things that mike pompeo is going to be asked about is the situation in syria as we are now in this moment where the world is watching to see what donald trump will do next. he has given some signals on twitter, some mixed signals. kelly o'donnell is standing by at the white house to talk us through that. do we have clarity on what might happen later on today as it relates to the potential for missile attack on bashar al assad? >> reporter: the president is keeping us guessing and using twitter to amplify the confusion. he is offering tweeted
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encouragement to mike pompeo as his confirmation hearing begins. as you point out the president l laid out a timeline and talked about decisions being made and then set off a tweet warning russia and talking about smart, nice missiles headed towards syria. then today as if he had heard the conversation that was happening on cable news and among those of us covering the white house he gave a tweeted response saying never said when an attack on syria would take place. could be very soon or not so soon at all. in any event the united states under my administration has done a great job of ridding the region of isis. where is our thank you america? the united states has had a lot of -- that is a point where the president clearly doesn't feel the u.s. has gotten enough accolades for doing so. he clearly also heard the criticism that the president had fallen back on his own criticism
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of the previous president who had at times talked about military planning. president trump as a candidate and in office said he would never do such a thing, would not foreshadow his moves. yet the tweet yesterday was widely interpreted as doing just that. he is back pedaling on twitter today. is it adding confusion or trying to sort of leave all options on the table both metaphorically on twitter as we hear from in the briefing room. sarah sanders said all options were on the table. all outward signs point towards planning for a military strike. the timing and the targets not known to us publically yet but the president is certainly keeping us guessing today if he thought he said too much yesterday perhaps he rolled it back just now on twitter. >> kelly, thank you. the president set to speak in the rose garden later on this afternoon talking tax cut plan.
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it's possible we may hear him talk syria. i want to bring in long time state department reporter for the "washington post" who covers the white house for the paper. here on set former deputy assistant secretary of state. along with our panel congressional reporter for npr and nbcnews.com national reporter. let's start with the news of mike pompeo delivering opening remarks and hearing from people vouching for him and hearing him questioned likely on syria and will be one of the first questions for him out of the gate. here is what pompeo had to say a couple of years ago at the aspen conference on this exact topic. >> does the end state include the end of the assad regime? >> you will have to leave that to the state department. it is difficult to imagine a stable syria that has assad in power. it seems unlikely situation
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where assad will be sitting on the throne and america's interests will be well served. >> that was in july. interesting because you have mike pompeo saying leave it up to the state department. he will be the state department. how do you expect him to answer that kind of a question today? >> i do not expect him to go back to the original obama administration position on assad at the start of the war which is that assad has to go. do you remember that? seems like a long time ago. obviously, assad was still there for many years thereafter all the way through the obama administration. he is still there now. he is actually in a far stronger position militarially and politically in syria than he was even at the start of the trump administration. so for mike pompeo today he is really going to have to walk a
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fine line in which he says it would be preferable for the united states if assad wasn't there but doesn't actually call for assad's ouster or removal in any way that would invoke u.s. military or even really heavy diplomatic assets to try to make that happen. obviously, he has assad has got strong russian and iranian backing only stronger now and trying to unseat him would mean at the very least political and military fight with both powers. >> pompeo is he more a voice you see down the road, more voice pushing for diplomacy or more hawkish for military action. >> pompeo has his own track record. this only adds to additional incoherence we have in the trump administration combining him
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with john bolten. he is still getting sea legs at a minimum. they have a very hawkish track record yet president trump doesn't seem to want to fully go there and is at the same time being described as using these gentlemen as his whisperrers. right now we are in a very uncertain period. he may advocate for more aggressive action but then pull back. we are not sure where they are taking us. >> not just syria. there are a lot of issues. look at just the litany of things in the next couple of months coming to a head for him, not just the relationship. you have the civil war in syria. nuclear deal deadline coming up a month and change from now. staffing at the state department, the potential for north korea talks. mike pompeo will say he wants to help the state department get its swagger back. andrea mitchell is letting us know she spoke with senator
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corker who said he is not formally deciding what he is going to do until after the hearing concludes. >> the people i have been talking to say they are very interested about what he says because it speaks to where he might be feeling about things like north korea and that there is a kind of domino effect and they want to probe that directly. you can expect to hear them talk about that quite a bit. >> when you talk about getting the swagger back at the state department you look at the litany of vacancies at that agency, at that department, unfilled positions. we have talked about moral. you have been here for that, moral being particularly low. what changes when pompeo comes in? >> that is the ultimate statement of how donald trump feels about diplomacy and the importance of the state department is the fact that you have had the yawning gaps in staffing. i think pompeo has gotten more sway with president trump. when you talk about trying to get the state department rolling
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the way he wants to he has the president's ear in a way that rex tillerson never did. >> we take a look now at what has happened in the last few minutes, a couple of minutes ago in the halls of the capitol. we want to get to beirut. mike pompeo will talk syria. he will talk about the situation developing in the mid east. bill, we are now hearing this morning from allies internationally -- i heard from white house sources a lot of discussion about working with the uk and france on any action moving forward and new statements from assad himself. what do you know? >> reporter: so kelly o'donnell used the word back pedaling. so at the same time as president trump was tweeting that any attack could be very soon or not too soon at all president macron was giving an interview and said
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yes we believe chemical weapons at least chlorine was used. any decision to respond will be taken future tense when it is most effective suggesting that a decision has not been taken so far and some of teresa may's allies are saying the same kind of thing. one said let's act when it is effective and not just in anger. and in germany chancellor angela merkel in confirming that germany would not take part in any possible military action said there have been no decisions yet. so back pedaling seems to be the word of the day. >> and what are we hearing from russia this morning and from syria? i know there have been developments on that in the last hour or so. >> reporter: so president assad has spoken. a lot of it is pretty
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predictable. he said u.s. threats are based on lies that the u.s. made up. he said the threats would only lead to further chaos. there was a kind of strange lament in which he said every time i win a battle the west tries to reverse it. nothing unusual about this except i suppose for three small things. number one, the irony of president assad who has presided over chaos worrying about chaos to come. he made the remarks in damascus. >> i want to interpret you here. i know i mentioned andrea mitchell catching up with nikki haley. let's watch. >> looking at options and national security team is trying to give him as many options as we can. >> is it a problem that the president tweets threats against russia and assad and others and days go by ask there is no action? >> i think the president communicates the way he
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communicates. i think at the end of the day there are options and he will ultimately make the decision on what happens there and he has the right to do that. thank you. >> nikki haley arriving to support mike pompeo. that conversation between andrea and u.n. ambassador happened wink the last couple of minutes. the major issues that mike pompeo will need to discuss when grilled by senators here. we have ann, joel, kelsey, john here on set. we have hans at the pentagon. before i had to cut off bill neily we were talking about the reaction from not just russia and syria but allies around the world. tell me what you are expecting to come out of the pentagon as somebody else on the hill, secretary jim mattis who will be there today to talk through
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broad strategy. >> what sort of proof there might be for what kinds of chemical weapons were potentially used. they haven't pinned this down and isn't 100% certainty. real quick on the interview there with nikki haley. we heard this is in the future tense a decision has not been made. saying they are working on options to present to the president as a clear indication that at least at the highest levels of the u.s. government they haven't made a decision and are working out options and nothing is final. we are trying to pin it down. i hesitate to try to get up front. a lot of things are moving so i will say no. >> when you look at the response from allies around the world as i said to bill and to you when i
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had conversations with officials in the administration within the last 24 hours they point to close coordination with teresa may and emanuel macron of france. there is now a back pedal. you have a decision yet to be made, may later on is having this cabinet meeting pulling her folks back from vacation to talk about this. angela merkel is ruling out actually participating. >> u.s. wasn't counting on german support and they don't have a lot of offensive capabilities. the teresa may you can go both ways. will she go to parliament? in 2013 when then president obama came close to striking syria it was then prime minister david cameron pulled back by parliament. will she go to her parliament? a cabinet is a lower level threshold. i don't want to say there are mixed messages out of france.
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they have been leading a lot of this. they have been in close consultation with u.s. allies. the french can actually contribute both strategicically and tactically. it is so clear the premium that the defense department is putting on having an international response as well as national security council look for that. look to see what the chemical weapons inspection team when they get back from syria. i just checked back and they are saying they do not talk about the claims. >> thank you. you have been looking at a live shot of mike pompeo walking into the little area off of the hearing room. right before he gets set to walk in and get set to hear opening statements pompeo arriving where he needs to be in order to quick this off. your take aways from what we heard from andrea mitchell and nikki haley and what we are
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expecting to see from mike pompeo and syria and the idea that the president didn't seek congressional authorization. the expectation that might happen this time? >> i think one of the most interesting questions i expect pompeo to be asked goes to what you were just talking about with garret on the importance of an international response and the importance of allies. this administration has been widely criticized including by allies for kind of going it alone in its first year, certainly the president trump didn't show a great deal of interest in the nato alliance at the beginning, there was the perception very strong perception in europe that he had to be dragged kicking and screaming to the first fateo meeting. and to the idea of collective defense. in this instance with syria it will behoove the united states greatly to have partners because it will look as if it isn't just
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the united states attacking russia and the united states attacking syria. and certainly in the context of the attack in great britain having the uk along has the added benefit of reinforcing for the british the idea that the united states stands with them in defense of that attack and britain stands with the united states in any decision that may be forth coming in syria. and so i think there will be a lot of questions about the diplomatic value of a united front with those european powers. >> joining us from "washington post" news room. you are looking at mike pompeo walking into the hearing room shaking hands with the senators who will be putting pompeo in the hot seat. his family is in the room, we understand. you can see there is an intense
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amount of media attention on pompeo who is said to be the next secretary of state if confirmed. you can see protesters in the room now. signs reading stop pompeo. looks like they are dressed in coordinated outfits. pompeo equals more war reads one sign. we at times have seen protesters come to confirmation hearings. it is not all together surprising. pompeo in the room ready to begin in just a couple of minutes. we will bring it to you live when he begins opening remarks after the break. we will also talk about new developments related to an investigation centered around michael cohen. new reports about possible payment and why prosecutors are taking such a close look at the long term lawyer. lots more ahead. ting pain in m. i hear you, sam. cedric, i couldn't sleep at night because of my diabetic nerve pain. i hear you, claire, because my dad struggled with this pain. folks, don't wait.
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we are back and this morning you are looking at pat roberts introducing mike pompeo as part of his confirmation hearing to become the next secretary of state. this is all happening over the next couple of hours on capitol hill. the second that mike pompeo begins opening remarks once we get past the preliminaries we will bring that to you live. we want to talk about the other big headline. president trump calling reports that he wanted to fire robert mueller fake news. he tweeted if i wanted to fire robert mueller in december i would have fired him. it came after what seemed like a coordinated public attack on the
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guy overseeing mueller's investigation by some instigating allies of the president. the new revelation related to payments to people potentially to help the president. joining me now is msnbc legal analyst, kelsey and jonathan are back here, as well. let's set up what we are talking about relating to payments. the associated press reporting that a doorman was reportedly paid off by the parent company of the national inquirer. an outlet we talked about before to stay quiet about a salacious rumor related to donald trump writing parallel between the explaymate and the doorman's dealing raises new questions about the roles that they may have played in protecting trump's image during hard fought presidential election. what are legal challenges for michael cohen? >> the department of justice may
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be trying to do at this stage is show a pattern or practice of trump, cohen or anybody related to trump including the national enquirer of making hush payments to anybody with information that could damage them. legally speaking there is some significant difference between the national enquirerer purchasing a story and michael cohen purchasing a story essentially to bury it. overall if this relates to a sort of larger practice of killing stories or buying stories or optioning them only to bury them then that may be something that the justice department or mueller team would find interesting. >> and let's be clear about what we are talking about here. a practice is usually referred to as catch and kill, buying somebody's story and trying to bury it.
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>> absolutely. and it's interesting to talk about reporters privilege and first amendment. this is not the kind of protection the supreme court had in mind 40 yours ago or something when it hotly debated issues which is sort of genesis of the notion of the modern reporter's privilege. the idea of catching and killing stories gets us far afield of the notion of the first amendment and reporting that it envisions. >> there is also the "new york times" report that the warrant executed on michael cohen monday, the raid that so angered donald trump as we know demanded documents related to the access hollywood tape. >> interesting to use the word demand. a subpoena demands documents. the doj must have considered a
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subpoena and decided that was not a safe avenue that documents might disappear. they said we are going to get them ourselves. if they are seeking payments relating to stormy daniels it tells us they were able to demonstrate to a neutral magistrate that something about the payments must be related either evidence of a crime so significant that it was willing to grant a search warrant in the case of an attorney which was very rarely done. it is normally used a subpoena unless you believe that the subject or the place to be searched is going to destroy the documents if you give them a subpoena. >> there is also the back drop to all of this. i want to bring in kelsey and john because this president who under immense pressure not just from geopolitical forces in the world, a new secretary of state
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the myriad of challenges facing him globally. you have him under pressure from this raid or at least feeling angry about it based on my source reporting and others, as well. and now you have what seems to a lot of people to be this coordinated effort as the president is stuing over the special counsel investigation to get rid of the guy who is ultimately in charge of the special counsel. president wanted everybody to watch hannity last night. here is what happened on hannity. >> it is also very clear that rod rosenstein is so incompetent, compromised and conflicted that he can no longer serve as deputy attorney general. jeff sessions now has an obligation to the president of the united states to fire rod rosenstein. >> president should totally fire rosenstein. >> the funny thing you are watching is senators trying to
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warn him don't do it. don't fire oren hatch. they are trying to stave off this bill or effort to protect mueller moving through and could come up for a vote in that committee next week and doesn't have a big future in getting passed. if they start to consider something like this it makes republicans have to confront this internal struggle about when do they poke the bear that is the president's anger? >> you know who is poking the bear? james comey. this is going to -- i don't often make predictions. i can tell you this is not going to make donald trump happy. there is also a big coordinated effort from allies of the president that just come out. peter alexander about the rnc rolling out website and adds
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calling him a liar and leaker, et cetera, et cetera explaining if comey wants the spot light back on him we will make sure the american people understand why he has nobody but himself to blame for complete lack of credibility. >> the problem for the white house is it is not just jim comey. we just watched a raid on the president's lawyer. back up a minute. the president is talking about essentially firing the people he hand picked for the jobs at the justice department. jim comey is the least of the president's problems at this moment. >> i can't agree more. i think the situation on capitol hill is getting really intense. there is a fear that they will have to do something. that is not something that republicans are politically prepared to do. >> so sometimes it's a little tough to catch your breath with the avalanche of headlines coming out of washington. there is somebody who might be
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breeding specifically a sigh of reli relief. that is scott pruitt. he is flying a little more under the radar. check out headlines that you may have missed in everything happening in d.c. "new york times" reporting pruitt wanted to change up e.p.a. swag to pump up his own name. that apparently worried people at the agency who questioned the cost of this and whether this would be a breach of protocol. while democrats are calling for pruitt to be fired you have trey goudy who wants more documents from pruitt related to housing expenses. for more i want to bring in lee ann caldwell. regardless of who wants scott pruitt fired and right now seems like mostly democrats, there are calls for a lot more information to be coming out of the epa.
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>> senate democrats held a press conference. half a dozen called for his resignation including chuck schumer. that was significant. remember republicans are in control here. trey goudy like you mentioned, he has asked the e.p.a. for more information regarding his travel records and the condo that he rented. and his office tells me that they have been in touch with the e.p.a. on nearly a daily basis trying to get more information from them. the e.p.a. has been semi cooperative but finally decided to send the letter and make a formal request because they want more information and they think there is more to look into. but then on the flip side you have some republicans who aren't willing to challenge pruitt and aren't willing to challenge the president on this. senator john brasso says he will not hold a hearing on pruitt
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until the president and the white house releases and finishes their own investigation and their own report. so right now it looks like there is not going to be a ground swell of calls from the republican side for pruitt to step down but there are some instances of some of these republicans who are saying let's just find some more information and find out what is going on. >> are you reading anything in today on the procedural vote that senate republicans are holding to confirm this guy named andrew wheeler who the -- >> is that a sign putting pieces in place or is that going too far? >> i think it is going a little too far. pruitt needs a deputy. there hasn't been one confirmed yet here in the senate. this is the natch procedure of things. the timing is very interesting coming when pruitt is under fire
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and if pruitt does resign or if he is fired from his position wheeler could be the next acting e.p.a. administrator if something happens to him. >> reporting out all the latest on scott pruitt. i want to bring in kelsey snell and jonathan allen. scott pruitt survived the terrible headlines for him last week. now the news cycle has moved on to issues that are rightfully top of mind like example potential for military strike on syria and president being in potential legal jeopardy when it comes to the raid on long-time lawyer's office. is he in the clear? >> no. admittedly strikes on syria is more important than whether or not scott pruitt wants his name on things. he wouldn't be the only person in the administration that likes to name things after himself. he has flown under the radar for the last day or so but this could come back.
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>> you think it will? >> i think it's unlikely that there is less there than more there. >> i think goudy getting involved is an indication it could come back. >> of escalation. >> when it is just democrats it makes it easier for the news cycle to move forward. the president is really good at dismissing democrats as being personal attacks or being about him. when you bring in a republican voice it kind of creates a longer term thread. >> susan collins had things to say about scott pruitt. >> i think congress needs to do some oversight. after all, we don't know the extent of the recommendations made by mr. pruitt's security team, but on policy grounds alone i think scott pruitt is the wrong person to head the epa. >> it is also important taremember that susan collins
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doesn't always have the hold on where the republican party is going to move. they have moved past her on several times like health care she had a lot of priorities dismissed them. she may have the feelings but it is not entirely certain that that becomes the conversation. >> saying she disagrees with him on policy will not change the map on this. if she is saying this guy is corrupt or taking perks he shouldn't be taking or misusing government resources to go to disn disneyland those things will change the calculus. we want to take you for a quick look back to capitol hill where mike pompeo is just a couple of minutes away from getting ready to address senators. we are still in the preliminaries. opening remarks from senators corker and menendez. we will be back with much more on all of this after the break. i'm your phone, stuck down here between your seat and your console, playing a little hide-n-seek. cold... warmer... warmer...
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♪ from only the thickest, juiciest heinz tomatoes. no one grows ketchup like heinz™. we are back now with a live look at the senate foreign relations committee. that is senator bob corker giving his opening statement. we are within about ten minutes we think from hearing from mike pompeo to lead the state department after rex tillerson has departed. i want to bring in garret over on the capitol covering this. when you are catching senators on their way into the hearing room did you hear anything surprising from any of them? >> reporter: i heard something surprising just now from bob corker who talked about the idea
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of the country being in decline and made the point that that continues under this president but that this president benefits from good counsel trying to make the argument for pompeo's confirmation on the issue of him being a responsible voice in the president's ear. we heard some of that from richard burr, the chairman of the senate intel committee to which he currently reports. he was introducing pompeo and made a similar argument. he said this is a person who exemplifies talent. they are trying to cast pompeo as a uniquely qualified person independent of his political views. we all know this is not how this job works and it is a very political job. trying to cast pompeo as somebody who would sort of be a more calming voice to the president is how republicans hope to get a handful of
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democratic votes in the committee and move pompeo to the floor. >> thank you. i want to bring -- also a signor foreign adviser to this committee. the senate foreign relations committee. the preparations that go into this kind of hearing have been intense. i am told by sources at the white house that much of the focus has been on getting mike pompeo ready for this. he has done these kinds of hearings before but they wanted to make sure he was prepared for any potential curveballs or tough questions that you know democrats are preparing to ask. >> the way to prep is you do moot courts like for a judicial nominee. you have people play senators and ask tough questions and try to anticipate every question and figure out how to answer and respond to the questions. you won't get everyone down but if you get a lot of them you are well prepared. >> you have the discussion about
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mike pompeo talking about syria as we are now sort of in the moment where we are expecting more news potentially to come out from the president related to that. you also have russia. that is related to this. here is what mike pompeo has had to say in some of the comments. russia continues to act aggressively enabled by years of soft policy towards that aggression continuing that is now over. the actions make clear that the national security strategy identified russia as a danger to our country. diplomatic efforts will prove challenging but must continue. if you are vladimir putin and you are looking at that what is going through your mind? >> he has called out russia when they have done the wrong thing and clear that at the same time the administration wants to try to find a path forward. russia clearly has been involved in our electoral efforts that have been aggressive in supporting assad and other things and done other things that we doenlt like.
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we will push back at the same time administration policies find a way to work together. as it was this is not unusual but pompeo will be pushing back hard and try to find a path forward. >> i wouldn't be quaking in my boots if i was vladimir putin. this is not an administration that leaned aggressively towards punishing russia for involvement in the elections. mike pompeo has taken in many ways the file at the cia and some critics are pointing out tried to move it into second tier discussion. falling on rex tillerson it's not at all clear that the state department will get tough on russia. >> how good of a fit is mike pompeo for state? >> mike pompeo is one of the leading voices supporting benghazi investigation and the conspiracy theory arguments about it. people at state are going to be very concerned about what his real objectives are related to
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internal dynamics at stake. we have to remember ambassador chris stevens when he was killed in the horrible attack it was made a partisan football by house republicans and mike pompeo was one of the leaders of that effort. that is something he will have to rectify. >> we expect we are within five minutes or so from hearing from mike pompeo. we talked policy. talk politics. you heard rand paul is not going to support this guy. it doesn't mean he can't get out of the confirmation hearing. >> you need moderate democrats to get on board. >> part of what i will watch him make a case for is he will be more present on the hill than we were seeing from rex tillerson, that he has a relationship here that he is willing to speak with them and understands that congress has a role in this. that is the kind of thing even democrats will say is a reasonable argument to bring this person in. >> the democrats would rather have somebody they think they
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can influence than somebody they think they can't influence. so i think that will be a big thing for him. garret mentioned some senators that you would keep an eye on. folks who want to be seen as serious and as bipartisan years down the road not just today. >> i want to bring in ann at the "washington post." long history covering the state department. what do you expect? and i will pose the same question -- mike pompeo fitting in? >> i can tell you that there is an open mind largely among senior diplomats at the state department. the rex tillerson experience was deeply disappointing and scarring for many people at the state department and politics aside senior career diplomats say they think they can work with a guy who has a couple of important demonstrated abilities. one is to work the hill and the other is to work a large organization. he has a record at the cia of
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empowering his deputies and the career staff and most of all he clearly has a good relationship with the president, the fact that rex tillerson did not have a good relationship with the president hurt the state department and so many people i talked to say i think at least he is coming in with a better set of tools than the last guy. >> when you look at the apparatus that the president is putting in place we are in a shift when it comes to the way the president relates to people internationally. we have news when it comes to the national security apparatus that deputy national security adviser will be leaving the white house. john bolton appears to be consolidating. mike pompeo speaking at his confirmation hearing. we will listen in. >> thank you. thanks for the opportunity to appear here today as the nominee
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to be the united states secretary of state. i am grateful to each of you for the attention you have given this over the past weeks. so many of you have given so much time on global matters before us. should i be confirmed this regular contact will continue. you can talk to senator burr. i worked at that diligently as a former member of congress i understand the importance of that continued relationship and advice that comes from outside of the executive branch. i would like to take a moment to thank secretary tillerson for his service to the united states and his commitment to the smooth transition and i would like to thank secretary sullivan for him serving in the gap. a thank you to every living former secretary of state. they each took my call and i spoke with many multiple times and were kind enough to visit me and share with me their thoughts with how if i am confirmed i
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would most likely to be a successful secretary of state. if you know me at all the two people sitting to my right provide my balance. susan keeps the homefront humming and reminds me of family issues that effect every officer at the central intelligence agency and keeps me humble, keeps my sense of humor alive. since i left the private center and entered public service they had opportunities to tell me to step back but haven't. they have encouraged it and promoted and supportive of my efforts to serve america. to the men and women of the cia to say it has been an honor and privilege and joy doesn't do justice to these past 15 months. i have demanded an awful lot of you. i set the expectation bar high. i pushed responsibility and authority down to each and everyone of you and along with that the required accountability. you the warriors of the cia have
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delivered for america, for president trump and for me. perhaps the highest compliments of our work come from our adversaries who fear and are in awe of the institution. and from our partner services around the world who asked for more training, more intelligence, more joint operations than ever. if i am confirmed this won't be good bye because i will be with you and i will support you and i will admire you. and i want to thank the president for confidence and trust in me. my job has been to help inform he and other senior policy makers in america. i'm honored that he helped me carry out those same decisions. if i am confirmed i will swear an oath for the seventh time in my life. the first time i was 18 years old. with this oath i swear to defend
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which provides for our obligation to engage in diplomacy and model the very best of america to the world. make no blessed and with that comes a duty to lead. if we do not lead for democracy, prosperity and human rights around the world, who will. no other nation is equipped with the same blend of power and principle. who is mike pompeo, and his thoughts on leading the state department? i was born in orange, california. we didn't have a lot of 911 in my family, but i enjoyed school and my brother and sister and i had fun learning. when i was a teenager, i was the employee of the month at baskin-robbins twice. i'm a movie buff. i have a soft spot for my golden retrievers. love meat balls that i make with
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my dad's recipe, and i enjoyed being a fifth grade sunday schoolteacher for kids who didn't want to sit still, and i can beat my son in corn hole every day. i love college basketball and show tunes. when i traveled, it was the first time i'd ever been east of the mississippi river. i've seen some describe my leadership style as blue collar. i'm not afraid to get my hands dirty, and you'll seldom find me at the senior level of any building. i prefer face to face as opposed to e-mail. i don't hold grudges. i work toward a mission and i'll always make room for student programs and youth groups. they're our future. just this past monday i got to swear in a big group of officers. it was always a very special moment. this one was very unique. let me return to how i intend to
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work as the secretary of state if i'm confirmed. throughout my time in congress and cia i've met hundreds of state department employees. i've gotten a chance to meet dozens more in briefings to a person they expressed to me their hope to be empowered in their roles and have a clear understanding of the president's mission. that will be my first priority. they also shared how demoralizing it is to have so many vacancies and many said not to feel relevant. i'll do my best to fill the vacancies and provide dedicated leadership and convey my faith in their professionalism. when i took over, i completed a massive restructuring. immediately after my arrival i dwan speaking at every meeting, every conversation about the agency's mission. we have these -- i talked about commander's intent. we have meet with mike. not an original name, but we gather the first 50 to come talk
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to me so i have a chance to listen to them. i wanted to -- them to know what the president's desire was for them and to understand that i was depending on them. and you should know when the team needed additional resources, i defended them. i asked for them. i demanded them. and the president so long as he found value, never hesitated to provide them. i was able to persuade him. with your help, i'll do the same thing at the department of state. you have my commitment with respect to this. i'll work with each of you to fill the vacancies at the state department. this is critical to strengthening the diplomatic core of the world, and america needs us to be that. second thing is work forces and the culture. i'll spend a lot of time on this. it's important. i'll proceed on but without getting that part right, if the team doesn't understand the mission and isn't working toward
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the same goal, it's difficult to think you would achieve it. i've always done that. when i traveled as part of the agency, i met with my team and spoke to them about the things i was going to demand of them and permit them to do and how i was going to hold them accountable to that desk. i remember i went to a location, the housing floor officers was inadequate. i didn't have a lot of time. i spoke with the ambassador and told him it needed to be fix. i wanted the state department families and ours to know that we cared about them enough to provide living quarters that were sufficient for americans. and you should know i believe deeply that state department's work force must be diverse. diverse in every sense of the word. race, religion, background and more. i'll work to achieve the diversity as i've done in my current goal by focusing on the mission and demanding every team member is treated equally with dignity and respect and i'll listen. i had an old crusty sergeant
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first class when i was a brand new second lieutenant. said lieutenant, if you'll shut up and listen for a minute, your life will be better. he was right. he taught me a lot about how to be a good platoon leader. i intend to do that with the talented people at the state department. i'm going to talk about the work itself. by definition the job description of secretary of state is to serve as the president's chief foreign affairs adviser. this was driven home with conversations. they were consistent by saying job number one is to represent the president. for this this means bodying relationships with allies, building relationships we can use for tough conversations and productive kroop productive cooperation. it means working with adversaries and let them know the means by which we intend to achieve them. in this regard i'm fortunate to have a sizable head start.
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a third of the days of the agency i was engaged with foreign counterparts. ive l-- i've led to stronger relationships. i've traveled to the regions to demonstrate the commitment that america has to working as their partners. i've also met some folks who didn't share many of our objectives. i've tried to find and asked my team to find the slivers of common ground where we can work together to deliver the results america needs us to. values and priorities, they ultimately determine the trajectory of geo politics, and we need to do that well. i'll close here. i'm approaching the five minutes. you should know that i have been an enormous beneficiary in my life of some of the most remarkable diplomatic
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achievements in american history. i serves on the border between east and west germany and watched diplomats over an extended period of time from both parties achieve an outcome against the communist east and the soviet union that prevented my team from having ever to conduct the battle we prepared for every day. it was remarkable work from foreign service officers over the many years. i thank them for that. it was the right approach. it was an approach that worked for america. i know some of you have read the story is i'm a hawk, a hard liner. or you know, i read that, and there's no one as you just heard in what i described, there's no one like someone who served in uniform who understands the value of diplomacy and the terror and tragedy that is war like someone who served in uniform. it's the last resort. it must also be so. and i intend to work to achieve the president's policies with diplomacy rather by sending our
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young men and women to war. i know i'm serving a president who feels the same way and while the military balance of power, you did good work to assist in continuing to build our military to be the finest in the world, it can set the stage and create leverage, but the best outcomes are always the ones at the diplomatic table. you know, america's diplomatic engagement, political engagement, foreign policy engagement has always been a big debate. all through my life i've been reminded the carrying out of foreign policy, the actions that america does make it real. it is a matter of duty to get it right. while we might agree to disagree today on what or the how of global involvement, we rarely disagree on why. it's to defend the safety of our families, the prosperity of our nation, and the survival of freedom in the world. diplomacy gives us the chance to achieve the goals peacefully. i thank you for the time,
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senator corker. >> thank you for the testimony. i'm going to withhold my time and use it for interjections along the way. with that i'll turn to senator menendez. >> i thank you, chairman. thank you for your testimony. director "the washington post" reported last year on march 22nd of 2017 you and the director of national intelligence coats attended a briefing at the white house with officials from several government agencies. the article says, quote, as the briefing was wrapping up, trump asked everyone to leave the room except for coats and pompeo. the president then started complaining about the fbi investigation and comey's handling saying officials familiar gave to associates. comey confirmed in a hear agent the bureau was probing whether trump's campaign coordinated with russia during the 2016 race. after the encounter coats discussed the conversation with other officials and decided that intervening with comey as trump
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suggested would be inappropriate according to officials who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive internal matters. that's the end of the quote. this account strongly suggests the president asked you and director coats to interfere with then fbi director comey's investigations into the trump campaign's contacts with russia. did president trump -- what did president trump say to you and direct koets in that meeting? >> senator, i'm not going to talk about the conversations the president and i had. i think it's -- in this setting, appropriate for a president to have an opportunity to talk with his senior leaders. i'll do that throughout the day. but i'll tell you this. the article's suggestion that he asked me to do anything that was improper is false. >> did he ask you to do anything as it relates to that investigation? >> senator, i don't recall. i don't recall what he asked me that day.

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