Watch Mike Pompeo Play Dumb About Trump’s Phone Call With Ukraine

The Secretary of State goes to stunning efforts to avoid divulging that he was on the call.

Alexander Shcherbak/ZUMA

The Wall Street Journal’s report late Monday revealing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took part in the July 25 phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky is attracting fresh scrutiny of an interview Pompeo gave during a September 22 segment of This Week, in which he appears to have gone to extraordinary lengths to avoid revealing his involvement in the phone conversation at the center of Trump’s impeachment proceedings.

“I want to turn to this whistleblower complaint, Mr. Secretary,” ABC’s Martha Raddatz said. “What do you know about those conversations?”

“So, you just gave me a report about an IC whistleblower complaint, none of which I’ve seen,” Pompeo responded with a chuckle, sidestepping her question. Instead, he repeats one of Trump’s misleading talking points on the Ukraine scandal. “I remember the previous administration was 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.”

But Raddatz wasn’t having it. Clearly sensing evasion, she interrupted: “You say you know nothing about this. Let me ask you this question…Do you think it’s ‘perfectly fine’ to ask a foreign leader to investigate a political opponent?”

“I think I saw a statement from the Ukrainian foreign minister yesterday say there was no pressure applied in the course of the conversation,” Pompeo said. He then launched into an attack against the Biden family. 

Let’s contrast that to what we learned this week: According to the WSJ, “Pompeo was among the administration officials who listened in on the July 25 phone call between President Trump and Ukraine’s president, a senior State Department official”—a crucial detail the secretary of state conveniently fails to mention in his September 22 interview.

On Tuesday, Pompeo announced that he’ll block State Department officials from testifying to Congress about the Ukraine call. 



In 2014, before Donald Trump announced his run for president, we knew we had to do something different to address the fundamental challenge facing journalism: how hard-hitting reporting that can hold the powerful accountable can survive as the bottom falls out of the news business.

Being a nonprofit, we started planning The Moment for Mother Jones, a special campaign to raise $25 million for key investments to make Mother Jones the strongest watchdog it can be. Five years later, readers have stepped up and contributed an astonishing $23 million in gifts and future pledges. This is an incredible statement from the Mother Jones community in the face of huge threats—both economic and political—against the free press.

Read more about The Moment and see what we've been able to accomplish thanks to readers' incredible generosity so far, and please join them today. Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $500,000 total, during this critical moment for journalism.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.


We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.