Senate Holds Confirmation Hearing for Mike Pompeo to be Secretary of State

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Pompeo said he would also prioritize filling what he described as "demoralizing" vacancies that festered under former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, whom Trump fired last month.

In his opening remarks, Menendez also took the opportunity to rip into Trump's foreign policy, saying the "American people are deeply anxious by an erratic president who uses schoolboy taunts when talking about nuclear war".

Pompeo has historically had some choice words for Russian Federation, which US intelligence agencies said sought to sway the 2016 presidential election in Trump's favor and continues to meddle in USA politics even now.

He also alleged that Russia's aggressive behaviour enabled by years of soft policy towards it was now over.

Another big challenge for Pompeo is the uncertainty surrounding Trump's stance on the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which the Republican president has threatened to scrap.

According to separate reports, Pompeo was later among several senior administration officials asked by Trump to contact media on his behalf to defend his image.

Cardin voted against Pompeo as Central Intelligence Agency director but said he had not made up his mind about the position at the State Department.

"Our diplomatic efforts with Russian Federation will prove challenging, but as in previous confrontations with Moscow, will continue", he stated. "What we do know is his former business partners (Sinopec) are spending more than $30,000 a month lobbying the Trump administration, and probably drooling over the idea of installing their pal as secretary of State".

According to his prepared remarks for today's Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, which I obtained, Pompeo will champion what he characterizes as the Trump administration's tough-on-Russia approach and promise it will only get tougher when he assumes the mantle of leadership in Foggy Bottom.

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Whether or not Pompeo wants to talk about that meeting - and what was said in it - is one thing.

"I've been part of this cabinet", Pompeo replied, "and I can tell you. every day at the forefont of our mind is how can we find solutions that achieve the American objective but avoid us having to put a single American in harm's way".

To prepare for his confirmation hearing, Pompeo sought the advice of previous secretaries of state - including Hillary Clinton and John Kerry.

Ariel Cohen of the Atlantic Council said, "I think Pompeo is more of a hawk, more of a Trumpian, more of this sort of new wave of what I would call American nationalism, and we see countries becoming more nationalistic all over the world".

Last May, Rosenstein appointed Muller to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election as well as potential collusion between members of the Trump campaign and Russian officials. Bob Menendez, D-New Jersey, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Menendez: "What did President Trump say to you and Director Coats in that meeting?" He has attended briefings and reached out to former diplomats to ask what works and what doesn't.

"Each of those tools that Vladimir Putin is using, we need to do our best to make sure he doesn't succeed", Pompeo said.

"His reputation is not as strong on standing up to the president", Sen.

"This is risky. The Islamic Republic can not even feed its own people without access to markets and our president rewards that nation, which has killed countless Americans, with sanctions relief", then-Congressman Pompeo said in December 2014, before the historic accord was signed.

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