Secretary of State Mike Pompeo could not come up with any explanation that passed the smell test as to why Donald Trump chose not to bring up Russian interference in U.S. elections during his friendly, hour-and-a-half phone call to Vladimir Putin last week.
During his interview with Pompeo yesterday, Wallace broached the subject of Trump and Russia by first wrongly claiming the Mueller report “completely cleared the president when it comes to collusion with the Russians in the 2016 election.” As Vox noted, Mueller explicitly did not address the issue of collusion. But if collusion means the campaign actively worked with the Russian government to improve its electoral chances, Vox wrote, “the report provides plenty of evidence to suggest the answer is yes.”
Nevertheless, Pompeo clearly had no good explanation for Trump’s high-handed response, “We didn't discuss that. Really we didn't discuss it” when a reporter asked if Trump had asked Putin not to interfere in the U.S. election. Even worse, Trump’s comment came after amicably saying that Putin “actually sort of smiled” (over the phone) and “said something to the effect that [the Mueller investigation] started off as a mountain and it ended up being a mouse.”
Wallace played the devastating clip of Trump’s remarks, then asked, “Why doesn't the president get tough with Putin about what everyone seems to agree is clear, meddling in 2016 and the threat of meddling in 2020?”
The obvious answer is that Trump doesn’t care about Russian interference in U.S. elections, likely wants more of it in 2020, and only cares about cozying up to Putin. Unable to explain away his boss’ America-last behavior, Pompeo first tried to diminish the Mueller report and swipe at Wallace while he was at it:
POMPEO: The administration that has been tougher on Russia than any of its predecessors and yet you continue to be fixated on something that Robert Mueller wrote down.
Fortunately, Wallace pushed back. And Pompeo still could not answer the question.
WALLACE: I'm not fixated about Robert Mueller, I'm fixated on the president's conversation with Vladimir Putin and on the fact that in a conversation, he doesn't even mention meddling in 2020. And the question I'm asking -- I think it's a legitimate one, a lot of people are asking it, sir -- is why not?
POMPEO: I talk to leaders all the time. We cover a broad range of subjects. Sometimes conversations just aren't long enough to cover every issue that might be brought up. I'll let the White House talk to what the president actually said in the set of remarks.
Really? How much longer does Pompeo think a conversation with a world leader should be to warrant Trump “covering” that issue?
Sadly, Wallace didn’t ask but moved on to North Korea’s latest weapons test. He did not ask Pompeo why Trump tweeted, “I am with” Kim Jong-un in response.
Watch Pompeo try to mislead the very viewers he claimed should not be misled below, from the May 5, 2019 Fox News Sunday.