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Posts tagged ‘Mike Pompeo’

Classified Iran briefing becomes heated as Trump team clashes with Democrats


Reported by Joel Gehrke | May 21, 2019

A classified Senate briefing on Iranian plots against the United States turned into a tense clash between top U.S. officials and lawmakers frustrated with President Trump’s strategy toward Tehran.

“I would say there was a lot of heat in that room,” Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, told the Washington Examiner following the Tuesday afternoon briefing.

Key congressional Democrats suggested that President Trump’s administration was preparing for military conflict with the regime based on faulty intelligence or even false pretenses after ambiguous U.S. warnings that Iranian proxies might attack American personnel in Iraq. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan sought to allay that suspicion in separate meetings, first with House lawmakers and then the Senate Tuesday afternoon.

“Today I walked them through what the Department of Defense has been doing since May 3, when we received credible intelligence about threats to our interests in the Middle East and to American forces, and how we acted on that credible intelligence,” Shanahan told reporters after the Senate briefing. “That intelligence has borne out in attacks, and I would say it’s also deterred attacks. We have deterred attacks based on our re-posturing of assets, deterred attacks against American forces.”

The controversy shifted in the briefing to complaints that they didn’t communicate with Congress enough in recent weeks and a broader protest against the administration’s withdrawal from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a top contender for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, was among the most aggressive in raising the specter of being misled into a conflict with Iran.

“Most Americans know way back when we were lied to about the situation in Vietnam and we went into a war which ended up costing us 59,000 lives, based on a lie,” he said. “In 2003, we were lied to in terms of Iraq supposedly having weapons of mass destruction.”

Sanders refused to answer whether he believes such lies are being told now. “I won’t talk about what we heard in the meeting,” he said. “But let me just say that I worry very much that, intentionally or unintentionally, we create a situation in which a war will take place.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer avoided that controversy entirely, focusing only on the frustration that the administration didn’t provide more information to lawmakers over the last three weeks.

“I told the people who were briefing us that I thought the consultation with the American people and the Congress was inadequate,” the New York Democrat told reporters in a brief appearance, without taking additional questions. “Both the American people and the Congress read about a lot of actions in the newspapers and had no idea what was going on. I told them they had to make it better next time.”

Shanahan acknowledged that desire for more information. “We heard feedback that they’d like more conversation,” he said. “They’d also like us to be more communicative with the American public, and we agreed to do more of that.”

Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin, a senior Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, conceded that the meeting was a “very helpful” survey of the intelligence reports and U.S. responses. Another lawmaker confirmed that the meeting was testy, but in this telling the confrontation was bipartisan and focused more on the administration’s policies than suspicions that they are fabricating intelligence.

“A number of them questioned the conclusions of the administration about the reaction of the Iranians and what it might lead to,” a Democratic senator, speaking on condition of anonymity, said after the briefing. “I think there’s a lot of us with real misgivings about how serious this is and how much is a creation of the administration’s own provocative policy.”

Shanahan stressed that the administration, which has deployed an aircraft carrier strike group to the Persian Gulf and threatened devastating consequences for attacks on Americans, is trying to avoid a conflict.

“Our biggest focus at this point is to prevent Iranian miscalculation,” he told reporters. “We do not want the situation to escalate.”

Cruz kept the focus on Democratic hostility to Trump and their fidelity to the nuclear agreement that former President Barack Obama’s team negotiated with Iran.

“Far too many congressional Democrats are invested in appeasement for Iran, which manifests in effectively defending the mullahs against maximum pressure,” he told the Washington Examiner.

Pompeo Smacks Acosta for Having Facts Wrong Then Asking ‘Ludicrous’ Question


Reported By Ben Marquis | September 25, 2018 at

1:46pm

The liberal media was all abuzz recently over an anonymous report published by The New York Times which alleged that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had once suggested to other administration officials — perhaps jokingly — that he wear a wire when meeting with President Donald Trump in order to gather evidence of his alleged mental instability to support invoking the 25th Amendment to remove the president from power.

The Daily Caller reported that this rather ridiculous story was brought up in the form of a question about the alleged 25th Amendment discussions posed to U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a news conference at the U.N. on Monday, where Trump was scheduled to address the General Assembly on Tuesday.

The reporter who brought up the story was none other than CNN’s Jim Acosta, and both Haley and Pompeo let him know how “absurd” and “ludicrous” both his question and the allegation in general were, while also calling him out for getting the basic facts and premise of his question wrong.

First addressing Haley, Acosta said, “You are the one person here who has been with this administration from the beginning,” and then mentioned the story about Rosenstein and invoking the 25th Amendment. “Were you ever involved in any of those discussions? Were you aware of any of those discussions?”

“I said yesterday on the Sunday shows that, literally, I have never once been in the White House where that conversation has happened,” Haley replied.

“I’m not aware of any cabinet members that are even talking about that. It is completely and totally absurd. No one is questioning the president at all. If anything, we’re trying to keep up the pace with him, in the fact that he has a lot he wants to accomplish very quickly and we’re going to continue to support him in the way that he does that,” she added.

Acosta then attempted to ask Pompeo a follow-up question regarding North Korea — particularly about not having details of a deal ironed out prior to high-level summit meetings — but the secretary felt the need to first address Acosta’s initial line of questioning, snarkily fact-checking him in the process.

“Two things: Fact check, I’ve been with the administration since the beginning, too. That’s relevant,” said Pompeo, who first served in the administration as CIA director prior to transferring to the State Department.

“I’ll add, no discussion with me about the 25th Amendment in any way either, so you can now report that there are two senior leaders who’ve said that your question was ludicrous,” Pompeo added.

Pompeo attempted to move on to the North Korea part of Acosta’s questions, but the reporter interrupted to apologize for forgetting Pompeo’s role as the former CIA director and to wonder why Rosenstein would be talking behind the scenes about the 25th Amendment, if it were so “ludicrous.”

“I find the question ludicrous,” Pompeo replied. “I’ve been involved, I’ve been at the center of this administration, along with lots of other folks, from virtually Day One — I think it was actually day three or four — I’ve never heard anyone talk about it, whisper about it, joke about it in any way.”

“I’ve been in a lot of meetings with a lot of senior officials from this government,” he added, prior to transitioning to Acosta’s question about North Korea.

In that regard, Pompeo noted that “we went at this the other way for decades,” to no avail, and said “we’re coming at this from a different direction” by bringing together the two most senior leaders from North Korea and the U.S. in an effort to make actual progress toward denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.

Acosta, like many other “journalists” in the liberal media, accepted the report from The Times about Rosenstein’s wearing a wire and invoking the 25th Amendment against Trump as if it were the gospel truth, largely because it fit into their preconceived notions and narratives about the mental state of the president.

But Acosta’s “ludicrous” focus on a story that may not even be true, at the expense of more focus on far more pressing international matters, serves to fit snugly with the growing perception that the “fake news” media care only about hurting, smearing and ultimately getting rid of Trump. That’s why it was so it was nice to see Haley and Pompeo verbally smack him back into place.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Writer and researcher. Constitutional conservatarian with a strong focus on protecting the Second and First Amendments.

North Korea Sends Hostile Letter, Then Mattis Announces New War Games


Reported By Steven Beyer | August 28, 2018 at 1:17pm

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has announced that the United States will ramp up military exercises with South Korea just days after North Korea sent a hostile letter to President Donald Trump. The United States had previously suspended military exercises with South Korea as a good faith measure when North Korea decided to start the denuclearization process.

However, Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon, “We took the step to suspend several of the largest military exercises as a good faith measure. We have no plans to suspend anymore.”

He followed up his comment by saying, “We’ll make decisions on that in consultation with State.”

Mattis also told reporters that he’s working with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and that the diplomatic efforts are all “riding on [Pompeo’s] shoulders.”

In June, Trump announced he was suspending “war games” with South Korea and that when it comes to North Korea and denuclearization, Kim Jong Un “wants to get it done.”

The president also said of Kim, “I do trust him.”

On Twitter, the president said at the time of the decision, “We save a fortune by not doing war games, as long as we are negotiating in good faith — which both sides are.”

Mattis’ announcement comes days after Trump announced that he was canceling Pompeo’s trip to the Korean peninsula.

“I have asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo not to go to North Korea, at this time, because I feel we are not making sufficient progress with respect to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” the president said via Twitter.

It was later reported by the Washington Post that North Korea had secretly sent what many believe to be a hostile letter to Trump. In addition, North Korea’s state-run newspaper accused Washington on Sunday of plotting to “unleash a war”  with “a smile on it’s face” while denuclearization talks were ongoing.

Moreover, North Korean media accused the United States of sending special forces and a nuclear submarine to the Jinhae Naval Base in South Korea.

However, the New York Times reports that American negotiators have “confronted” the North Koreans over facilities that they believe to be nuclear. North Korea has since called the accusations “fiction” and led to the “derailing dialogue” between the U.S. and North Korea.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Steven is a husband, father, and follower of Jesus. You can find him enjoying listening to or playing jazz piano, enjoying the Disney parks, or hiking the Arizona landscape.

CIA Director Pompeo Reveals Incredible Insight Into Trump’s Presidency Few Have Seen Firsthand


Reported By Joe Setyon | January 24, 2018 at 6:43am

URL of the original posting site: https://www.westernjournal.com/cia-director-pompeo-reveals-incredible-insight-trumps-presidency-seen-firsthand/

The man who oversees U.S. intelligence operations indicated that his boss, President Donald Trump, has an ability to grasp information rivaling that of longtime intelligence professionals.

Speaking Tuesday at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, CIA Director Mike Pompeo praised the manner by which the president receives and processes knowledge from intelligence briefings.

“I have seen 25-year intelligence professionals receive briefings,” Pompeo told AEI’s Marc Thiessen. “I would tell you that President Trump is the kind of recipient of our information at the same level that they are.” 

The CIA chief continued, noting that Trump receives briefings lasting between 30 and 40 minutes on almost daily basis, during which he “asks hard questions” and is “deeply engaged.”

He has the grounding for him to be able to grasp this information in a way that he can ask sophisticated questions that then lead to important policy discussions,” Pompeo said. 

“We’ll be sitting at a National Security Council meeting talking about a particular tropic,” Pompeo added, offering an example of Trump’s ability to process and retain information. “He’ll bring up something that I briefed him on weeks or months ago.”

The CIA director acknowledged the possibility that Trump already knew the information in question before getting briefed on it. But this type of scenario happens so often, Pompeo said, that he’s inclined to think Trump is recalling prior intelligence briefings.

“This happens time and time again,” Pompeo said.

“So it’s not simply the case that this is an exercise. He’s using it, he’s taking it on board, and I’m confident that our team is delivering in a way that’s delivering value to the president and … our other senior policymakers as well.”

Pompeo’s remarks on the president’s reception of intelligence information seemed to push back on prior reports claiming Trump has trouble staying focused,

In May 2017, a source told Reuters that National Security Council officials include Trump’s name in “as many paragraphs as (they) can because he keeps reading if he’s mentioned.” Moreover, the president reportedly prefers one-page memos and visual aids like charts, graphs and photos.

“He likes to visualize things,” a senior administration official said at the time. “The guy’s a builder. He has spent his whole life looking at architectural renderings and floor plans.”

Questions regarding Trump’s ability to take in and process information resurfaced in December, when The Washington Post reported that his daily briefing, or PDB, is “often structured to avoid upsetting him.”

“If you talk about Russia, meddling, interference — that takes the PDB off the rails,” said one former senior U.S. intelligence official.

But Pompeo painted a much different portrait —  one of a president who takes his intelligence briefings very seriously.

“The president asks hard questions. He’s deeply engaged. We’ll have (a) rambunctious back and forth,” he said.

Trump Team Attends Weekly White House Bible Study


Reported 

URL of the original posting site: http://www.westernjournalism.com/trump-team-attends-weekly-white-house-bible-study/

Several members of President Donald Trump’s cabinet, as well as Vice President Mike Pence are meeting together for a weekly Bible study at the White House. CBN News reported that Trump’s cabinet has been called “the most evangelical” in the history of the country.

Regular attendees to the study include Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Agricultural Secretary Sonny Perdue, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

Pence — who described himself at the 2016 Republican National Convention as “a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order” — attends the study as often as his busy travel schedule permits.

The study is led by former NBA player Ralph Drollinger, who played for the UCLA Bruins under legendary coach John Wooden and became the first player in NCAA history to make it to the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament four times. The Bruins won the national championship in two of those years.

Wooden was also an evangelical Christian, who sought to coach his team integrating Christian principles.

After his retirement from the NBA, Drollinger founded Capitol Ministries, which has launched Bible studies in 40 state capitols, as well as several foreign nations. Its mission is to evangelize and disciple public servants.The organization also leads weekly studies at the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.

Drollinger told CBN News that about a dozen members attend his weekly White House study.

“These are godly individuals that God has risen to a position of prominence in our culture,” he said. “It’s the best Bible study that I’ve ever taught in my life. They are so teachable; they’re so noble; they’re so learned.”

Drollinger said he believes the regular study is the first formal one in the White House in at least 100 years.

The Christian leader spoke highly of Pence, likening him to key Biblical leaders whom God raised up to the second-highest spot in government, including Joseph, Daniel and Mordecai.

“And I praise God for Mike Pence, who I think with Donald Trump chose great people to lead our nation,” Drollinger said.

Trump is invited to the study, and receives notes following each week’s meeting.

As reported by Western Journalism, Trump’s top spiritual adviser, Pastor Paula White, said that the president has “heart for God, a hunger for God.”

She added that Trump “has a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. We’ve had in-depth conversations about God.”

A reverence for God and the Bible in Washington has strong precedent. The largest Protestant church congregation in the country used to meet at the U.S. Capitol in the 1800s. At its height, over 2,000 attended weekly, including members of Congress and the executive branch.

Thomas Jefferson was a regular attendee, both as vice president and president.

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