Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of state began his Senate confirmation testimony Thursday by refusing to discuss a reported meeting he had with Trump about then-FBI director James Comey.
He also confirmed that he has been interviewed in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe, but declined to say whether it was related to that Trump meeting.
Though introduced by Sens. Richard Burr (R-NC) and Pat Roberts (R-KS) as honest and candid, CIA Director Mike Pompeo wouldn’t “talk about the conversations the president and I had.”
As reported by the Washington Post last June, Trump had asked his intelligence chiefs to get Comey to back off ex-national security adviser Mike Flynn, who subsequently pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. Pompeo said the article’s “implication” that Trump asked him “to do anything improper is false.”
But when Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) asked what Trump actually asked him to do, Pompeo said, “I don’t recall.”
Menendez said that he was troubled by Pompeo’s refusal to answer. The chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee, Republican Bob Corker, an ally of ex-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, said it was “fair to ask” if Pompeo’s closeness with Trump is “based on deferential willingness to go along to get along.”