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

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.

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. 

 

THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

We Recommend

Latest

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.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

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

Donate

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.