Secretary of State Mike Pomepo on Sunday defended the administration’s approach to dealing with Ukraine following controversial remarks made by acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney this week.
Speaking on ABC’s “This Week” Mr. Pompeo said that despite Mr. Mulvaney’s remarks, he never saw politics involved in the decision regarding $400 million in delayed military aid.
“The conversation was always around what were the strategic implications,” he said.
He pivoted to blaming the previous administration for being lackluster with aid for Ukraine, but noted the Trump administration has delivered it multiple times.
“The people in Ukraine are safer as a result of that,” he said. “And the Russians certainly don’t appreciate it.”
However, Mr. Pompeo refused to comment further on Mr. Mulvaney’s specific remarks, where he linked the delayed military aid for Ukraine to the administration’s desire for an investigation into the 2016 election and whether DNC servers were located in the foreign country.
He later walked back his remarks and said the news media misconstrued them to further their “witch hunt.”
Mr. Pompeo called the situation “hypothetical.”
Much of the talk in the closed door sessions on Capitol Hill has revolved around the abrupt departure of former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, who reportedly pushed back on the administration’s efforts to have Ukraine open investigations into the Biden family.
She was later disparaged by both President Trump and his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, and became a target in a conspiracy theory packet delivered to Mr. Pompeo.
Mr. Pompeo said he did pass along that packet, but never reviewed its contents.
He did, however, defend Mr. Giuliani’s role in the Ukraine situation — something that concerned many of the officials that testified on Capitol Hill over past few weeks.
“Private citizens are often part of executing American foreign policy,” he said. “This is completely appropriate.”
The State Department has refused to comply with Congressional subpoenas, and lawmakers have been considering bringing in Mr. Pompeo to testify himself.
“I will do everything I am required to do by law,” he said.
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