Mike Pompeo Is Going to Have to Come Up With a Better Answer Than This on Ukraine

“I’m not going to get into hypotheticals.”

ABC’s George Stephanopoulos asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday whether it would have been “inappropriate” for the United States to withhold military aid to Ukraine until the country pursued an investigation into President Donald Trump’s political rivals. Pompeo, insisting the question was a “hypothetical” one, didn’t have an answer.

But Thursday, the president’s acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, admitted that Trump did, in fact, hold up military aid to Ukraine in exchange for an investigation into a debunked conspiracy theory about his political rivals. Mulvaney walked his statement back hours later—and tried to do so again Sunday morning—but the damage was already done. 

“George,” Pompeo said Sunday, in response to Stephanopoulos’ question about the alleged quid pro quo, “I’m not going to get into hypotheticals and secondary things based on what someone else has said.”

“Except it’s not a hypothetical,” replied Stephanopoulos, who was the White House communications director under President Bill Clinton. “We saw the acting chief of staff—”

“George, you just said, ‘If this happened,'” Pompeo interjected. “That is, by definition, a hypothetical.”

“The chief of staff said it did,” Stephanopoulos shot back—leaving Pompeo staring at the camera in silence for several seconds.

Watch the exchange in full below.

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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