Pompeo Stops Playing Dumb and Admits He Was on the Ukraine Call After All

Photo: Andrew Medichini (AP)

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo casually admitted on Wednesday that he was listening in on President Donald Trump’s now-infamous phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky just days after suggesting to ABC News that he knew nothing about the conversation.

“I was on the phone call,” Pompeo told reporters during a press conference with the Italian Foreign Minister in Rome.

Advertisement

Compare that with Pompeo’s evasive denials to ABC’s Martha Raddatz just one week earlier. When she asked about the call and the ensuing whistleblower complaint that has kicked off the ongoing impeachment threat to the president, he said, per ABC’s transcript of their conversation (emphasis mine):

RADDATZ: And I want to turn to this whistleblower complaint, Mr. Secretary. The complaint involving the president and a phone call with a foreign leader to the director of national intelligence inspector general. That’s where the complaint was launched by the whistle-blower. “The Wall Street Journal” is reporting that President Trump pressed the president of Ukraine eight times to work with Rudy Giuliani to investigate Joe Biden’s son. What do you know about those conversations?

POMPEO: So, you just gave me a report about a I.C. whistle-blower complaint, none of which I’ve seen. I can tell you about this administration’s policies with Ukraine. I remember the previous administration was begged — begged by the Ukrainian people to deliver defensive arms, so that they could protect themselves from Vladimir Putin and Russia. And they gave them blankets. This administration took seriously the responsibility of the Ukrainian people. We’ve provided now on multiple occasions resources, so that the — the Ukrainians can defend themselves. We’ve worked on that. We — we’re working — we’ll see President Zelensky this week. We want a good relationship with the Ukrainian people.

Later in the conversation, Raddatz was even more direct, affirming with Pompeo that “you say you know nothing about this.” Conspicuously, Pompeo didn’t deny Raddatz’ assertion—an artful dodge this was not. And while it wasn’t a full-blown denial, Pompeo certainly seemed comfortable with giving the impression that he was an outsider to the president’s growing scandal.

Meanwhile, Pompeo has been desperately working to prevent his State Department underlings from testifying as part of Congress’ investigation. Wonder why?

Share This Story

About the author

Rafi Schwartz

Senior writer. When in doubt he'll have the soup.