Former CIA chief Pompeo’s firm Russia stance likely to change,
WASHINGTON — Mike Pompeo, the man tapped by President Donald Trump to be the next secretary of state, has engaged in tough talk about Russia, long before the 2016 presidential election.
As a Kansas congressman, Pompeo said that the United States and its allies should exploit Russian President Vladimir Putin’s weaknesses and enact sanctions “to keep him in his box.”
As CIA director, Pompeo said there’s “a long history of Russian efforts to influence the United States and conduct influence operations against the United States.”
Now, as he looks to serve as the nation’s top diplomat following the abrupt ouster of Rex Tillerson on Tuesday, Pompeo will face his biggest test: Can he stand up to Trump on Russia?
“He’s made some good statements on Russia and acknowledging the obvious that they were involved and I’m anxious to see if he sticks to those views,” Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz.
Trump has been criticized by Democrats and Republicans alike for speaking out about his admiration for Putin and repeatedly rejecting the intelligence community’s analysis of Russia’s interference inthe 2016presidential election. And he has blasted special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation into allegations that his campaign colluded with the Kremlin during the election.
Some Democrats praised Pompeo’ s long standing views on Russia on Tuesday but worried that he won’t stand fifirm as he becomes one of Trump’s top aides.
“Till er son’ s successor must approach the grave threat of Russian foreign aggression with the seriousness and urgency that it demands,” House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, said.
Mike Carpenter, a former senior Russia specialist at the Pentagon during the Obama administration, said that while Pompeo has been critical of Russia’s aggressive behavior ,“his loyalty lies first and foremost with Trump.”