Several of Mike Pompeo’s skeletons are creeping out of the closet with less than 24 hours to go before the Secretary of State nominee's scheduled appearance in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Of note is a previously undisclosed link to the Chinese government that the CIA director omitted from a questionnaire he was required to fill out last year before becoming CIA director, McClatchy reported Wednesday.
Pompeo has business ties to an oil and gas company owned by the Chinese government, the report reveals. Those ties were not discussed at his January confirmation hearing to become CIA director, when he was confirmed by a 66-32 vote.
A CIA spokesman brushed off the allegation, saying Pompeo had no reason to be aware of the intricacies of his company.
"Mr. Pompeo was president of an American company in Kansas that sold products made in many different countries, Canada and China to name just two. In fact, the paper clips the company used were from Taiwan," the spokesman told McClatchy. "He would have no reason to know details on the layers of companies that may or may not have had ownership interests in each overseas company that supplied products to his Kansas company.”
Pompeo is set to testify before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on Wednesday at 10:15 a.m. With Republican Rand Paul of Kentucky already opposed because of Pompeo's pro stance on the Iraq War and harsh interrogation techniques, Pompeo will need to win over at least one Democrat on the panel to be confirmed tomorrow.
Because Pompeo’s questionnaire for his new job as Secretary of State is not publically available yet, it’s impossible to know whether he since disclosed the information. But his failure to do so last year could still pose a problem as far as establishing his credibility in front of the Senate tomorrow.
Pompeo’s testimony was also leaked to the Washington Post and the Associated Press ahead of the hearing.
Pompeo will talk about fixing the gaping vacancies at the State Department left in former Secretary Tillerson’s wake, countering Russian aggression toward the U.S., and his preference for diplomacy.
The former Kansas congressman also intends to boost morale in the State Department after Tillerson left the agency in tatters before his firing by the president two weeks ago.
“That will be my first priority,” the prepared remarks read, according to the Washington Post."They also shared how demoralizing it is to have so many vacancies and frankly, not to feel relevant.”
Pompeo will also take a hardline against Russia, amid swirling controversy over the administration’s relationship with the Kremlin and Russia’s involvement in Syria.
“Russia continues to act aggressively, enabled by years of soft policy toward that aggression,” his remarks say, according to the Washington Post. “That’s now over.”
Pompeo also plans to contrast his reputation by emphasizing his prioritization of diplomacy.
“When journalists, most of whom have never met me, label me — or any of you — as ‘hawks,’ ‘war hard-liners’ or worse, I shake my head,” he plans to say. “War is always the last resort. I would prefer achieving the president’s foreign policy goals with unrelenting diplomacy rather than by sending young men and women to war.”
Cover image: CIA Director and Secretary of State nominee Mike Pompeo (L) attends a lunch meeting with US President Donald Trump (R) and Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and members of his delegation, in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, DC, March 20, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)