Pompeo Admits to Being on Trump’s Ukraine Call

He went out of his way to avoid disclosing the detail ten days ago.

Piero Tenagl/ZUMA

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed his participation in the July 25 phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The admission on Wednesday came on the heels of a Wall Street Journal report revealing that Pompeo had listened in on the call—an explosive detail he went to extraordinary lengths to avoid disclosing during a media appearance only ten days ago.

“I was on the phone call,” Pompeo told reporters at a press conference in Rome, Italy, before framing his involvement as standard for his role as secretary of state and US efforts to thwart the threat of Russia in Ukraine. “I know precisely what the American policy is with respect to Ukraine, it’s been remarkably consistent.”

But that explanation is unlikely to convince Democrats or really anyone who watched Pompeo on a September 22 interview with ABC’s Martha Raddatz. Pompeo repeatedly dodged the topic, instead rattling off misleading talking points on Ukraine and attacks against the Biden family, even when Raddatz directly asked him what he knew about the phone conversation now at the center of impeachment proceedings against Trump.

One explanation for Pompeo’s slow-walked admission could be a sternly worded letter Democratic committee leaders sent on Tuesday, warning the secretary of state that his efforts to block State Department officials from testifying on Ukraine could be used as evidence of obstruction. The letter also raised the possibility that Pompeo was violating several federal statutes, including some punishable by prison time. 

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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