Former secretary of state mounts a defense of Trump’s handling of Russia: ‘I’m proud of the work we did there’

Mike Pompeo
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a briefing at the State Department in Washington, DC, on November 10, 2020.

  • Mike Pompeo claimed he and former President Donald Trump were “tough” with Russia.
  • Asked by Chris Wallace of “Fox News Sunday” whether Pompeo believed Trump handled Russia well, Pompeo defended the former president.
  • “I’m proud of the work we did there,” he said. “It was good work.”
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Mike Pompeo on Sunday defended former President Donald Trump and his handling of Russia, saying he’s proud of the work the two did during his tenure as secretary of state.

In an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” host Chris Wallace asked Pompeo about various human-rights violations Russia stands accused of.

Alexei Navalny, for example, claims he was poisoned by the Kremlin, which has repeatedly denied any involvement in the incident. Russian President Vladimir Putin once posited that Navalny had poisoned himself, an idea Navalny mocked.

Putin’s opponents have routinely been poisoned. Novichok, the same nerve agent Navalny ingested, had previously been used to poison other Kremlin dissidents. Some of Putin’s critics have been killed. When asked whether he was a killer, Putin laughed and never answered the question directly.

“With respect to human rights, I – we take a backseat to no one,” Pompeo said in response to a question from Wallace on Trump’s handling of Russia. “I heard Secretary [Anthony] Blinken talk about the work they’re doing to try and convince the Europeans to stand alongside us on human-rights violations in China and the work that they’ve done defending human rights against Russian abuses. We were tough there too, Chris.”

“I’m proud of the work we did there,” Pompeo added. “It was good work. It was serious work and it made a difference.”

Trump and Putin had a suspiciously close relationship that has frequently raised eyebrows among critics and politicians. The US president, has, for example, praised Putin and absolved him of all accusations related to interference in the 2016 election, despite intelligence reports clearly implicating Russia.

And just days ago, Trump once again reiterated his claim that Russia did not interfere in the 2016 presidential election, adding that he trusts Russia more than US intelligence.

Trump has previously brushed off allegations characterizing Putin as a killer, and he’s also stayed quiet on Navalny’s claim that the Russian president poisoned him.

President Joe Biden, meanwhile, has outright called Putin a killer.

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Former US secretary of state says censorship on college campuses keeps him up at night more than the Taliban

Mike Pompeo
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

  • Mike Pompeo in an interview said college censorship is scarier to him than the Taliban.
  • “I met with the Taliban, I met with Chairman Kim. None of that scares me as much as what’s happening in our universities and on our campuses today,” he said.
  • Pompeo said thinking about censorship on college campuses keeps him up at night.
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Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he finds censorship on college campuses more disturbing than the Taliban.

“I get asked all the time, what keeps you up at night,” Pompeo said in an interview that aired Friday. “What’s the thing that worries you the most?”

Speaking to businessman John Catsimatidis on his radio show, “Cats at Night,” Pompeo said he’s “met with a lot of bad people” during his time as an official working under the Trump administration.

“I met with the Taliban, I met with Chairman Kim,” he said. “None of that scares me as much as what’s happening in our universities and on our campuses today.”

“Wow,” Catsimatidis said in response.

Pompeo continued, elaborating but not citing specific examples:

“I watch what’s taking place there and the inability for us to speak our mind, the fact that people want to put pressure on people who have a conservative mindset, and just deny them the space to go speak,” he said. “The fact that we now are accusing people who are just saying things that are common sense about how to treat everyone equally, fairly, are being accused of being racist – those are dangerous things in our democracy, in our republic.”

Pompeo went on to say the country’s founders “created a nation that depended on people with virtue and character and faith.”

“If we lose those things,” he said, “if we lose the bubble on those, you can send diplomats to 180 countries in the world and none of it will matter because if America is weak at home, our capacity to influence the world is diminished.”

Colleges and universities all over the country have previously uninvited speakers like far-right commentator Ben Shapiro and trans activist Janet Mock.

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Republican presidential hopefuls are contesting ‘shadow primaries’ to avoid angering Trump, report says

Nikki Haley, Donald Trump, Mike Pence
Nikki Haley, left, and former Vice President Mike Pence, right, are taking part in “shadow primaries” for 2024, Politico reported.

  • Republican presidential hopefuls are taking part in “shadow primaries,” Politico reported.
  • Sen. Tom Cotton, former VP Mike Pence, and Nikki Haley are campaigning in Iowa and New Hampshire.
  • GOP 2024 hopefuls are looking for ways to kickstart their bids without angering Trump, Politico said.
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Republicans with presidential ambitions are looking for ways to campaign without angering former President Donald Trump.

While Trump mulls his political comeback, ambitious contenders are throwing themselves into House races in states with early primaries and caucuses to “put themselves out there” for 2024, the media outlet reported.

Potential candidates, including Sen. Tom Cotton, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former Vice President Mike Pence, and former Gov. Nikki Haley, are taking part in so-called “shadow primaries” in key states, Politico’s Alex Isenstadt said.

“They’re trying to figure out, how do you lay the groundwork without being seen as may be trying to push the president out of the way?” former Rep. Greg Walden, an ex-chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee, told Politico.

“Until President Trump decides what he’s going to do, I think they can be helpful in House races in their own ways and keep focused on that and not run afoul of the big elephant in the room,” Walden added.

Read more: Inside Trump’s hot vax New Jersey summer, where he’s playing golf and plotting rallies while legal storms form

Cotton, seen as a possible contender for the GOP nomination, is heading to Iowa this summer to launch a string of House fundraising campaigns, according to Politico.

Pompeo visited the state in Spring to show his Iowa Rep. Ashley Hinson support, the media outlet noted.

In New Hampshire, the home of the second nominating contest in the Republican presidential primaries, the aspiring contenders have started to throw their weight behind Republican parachute candidate Matt Mowers. Mowers has hosted virtual events with both Pompeo and Cotton, Politico said.

Pence, who is on a cross-country fundraising swing in a bid to increase his public profile ahead of a potential 2024 White House bid, is headed to New Hampshire next week, according to the Concord Monitor. In late April, a trip to South Carolina also foreshadowed a 2024 presidential run, Insider’s Tom LoBlanco reported.

Haley has also recently endorsed female House candidates, newly-elected lawmakers, and a candidate in a New Mexico special election, Politico said.

But until Trump formally announces whether or not he is running in 2024, the jockeying for position as Republican Party presidential nominee is likely to continue by stealth.

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China has imposed sanctions on Mike Pompeo, Alex Azar, and Steve Bannon, along with more than 2 dozen other former Trump officials

chinesesanctions bannon pompeo azar
Former Trump administration members Steve Bannon, Alex Azar, and Mike Pompeo are among more than two dozen former officials who have been sanctioned by China following the end of Trump’s term.

  • China announced it would be imposing sanctions on nearly 30 former members of the Trump administration.
  • Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Trump operative Steve Bannon, and former Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar are among those who made the list.
  • In a statement, the foreign ministry chastened the Trump campaign for promoting and executing “a series of crazy moves which have gravely interfered in China’s internal affairs” and damaged US-China relations.
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WASHINGTON (AP) – China imposed sanctions on nearly 30 former Trump administration officials moments after they left office on Wednesday.

In a statement released just minutes after President Joe Biden was inaugurated, Beijing slapped travel bans and business restrictions on Trump’s Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, and UN Ambassador Kelly Craft.

Read more: Secretary of State┬áMike┬áPompeo’s departing message to the US is that ‘multiculturalism’ is ‘not who America is’

Others covered by the sanctions include Trump’s economic adviser Peter Navarro; his top diplomat for Asia, David Stilwell; Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar; along with former national security adviser John Bolton and strategist Stephen Bannon. The sanctions are largely symbolic but underscore Beijing’s antipathy toward a US administration it regarded as hostile.

“Over the past few years, some anti-China politicians in the United States, out of their selfish political interests and prejudice and hatred against China and showing no regard for the interests of the Chinese and American people, have planned, promoted and executed a series of crazy moves which have gravely interfered in China’s internal affairs, undermined China’s interests, offended the Chinese people, and seriously disrupted China-US relations,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Read more: ‘Floppy and weak’: Iran has joined China and Russia in ridiculing the US on social media over the Capitol riots

On Tuesday, Pompeo announced that he had declared China’s repression of the Uighur Muslim ethnic minority a “genocide,” possibly opening the door to new US sanctions against Chinese officials.

The Trump administration had steadily ramped up pressure on China since last year, and especially in the past several months. During its last weeks in office, the administration had hit numerous officials with sanctions for their actions on Tibet, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the South China Sea.

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