May 5, 2019

Sunday School 5/5/19

There was a triple dose of Mike Pompeo this morning, and I'm not sure I can take it. Although, truth be told, I'm not sure I can take a triple dose of any single guest - it's not just him.

The conversations were very much the same in each classroom, so I broke them up a bit, touching on separate topics for each.

First up, his conversation with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday where they talked about Venezuela and Russian election meddling, among other topics.

On Juan Guaido, the democratically elected leader who's not in charge:
...we've made very clear that not only the United States but 50-plus nations support Juan Guaido and his national assembly in their efforts to beat back the - the horrific conditions... I watched women carrying babies across the border... They were having to make decisions about whether they could feed their baby on the second day or the third day, their sick children didn't have medicine, all of which was sitting in Columbia and Maduro has denied them.
On why Maduro is still in power, and it that will come to an end:
These thing sometimes take time...we know it's going to happen... The United States wants all other countries out of this nation and allow the Venezuelan people to restore their own democracy. We're confident that we're going to achieve that and I couldn't tell you what day, but it will happen.  
On why Trump did not get tough with Putin on election meddling:
I don't get your point. I'm confused - I'm confused. 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. I'm - I struggle with that... Your viewers should not be misled. This administration has taken seriously the threat of election interference and we'll continue to do so.
Let's see how he addressed some other hot topics on the other shows.

Talking with Jonathan Karl on ABC's This Week, Pompeo's opening topic was North Korea, and then they moved to Russia. Here's some of the discussion.

On recent projectile testing by North Korea:
We know a couple of things. One, at no point was there ever any international boundary crossed. That is, they landed in water east of North Korea and didn't present a threat to the United States or to South Korea or Japan...they were relatively short range... they weren't intercontinental ballistic missiles either.  Beyond that, I'll leave it to the Department of Defense to characterize this when further information arrives. 
On what message the testing is sending:
We still believe that there's an opportunity to get a negotiated outcome where we get fully verified denuclearization. Chairman Kim has repeated that. He's repeated that quite recently, in fact.... we hope that this act that he took over the weekend won't get in the way. We want to get back to the table...
On the president's optimism about getting a deal:
I too believe that there's a path forward that we can achieve this outcome.  There was a UN report that came out on Friday. 50% of the North Korean population is at risk of significant malnutrition. That's a very difficult set of conditions there... they need to understand that if these nuclear weapons go away it will be of an enormous benefit to their country and keeping them just continues to pose risk.
On reports that some of Kim's negotiators had been executed after the Hanoi summit:
I don't have anything to add to that for you this morning... It does appear that the next time we have serious conversations that my counterpart will be someone else, but we don't know that for sure, just as - just as president Trump gets to decide who his negotiators will be, Chairman Kim will get to make his own decision who he asks to have these discussions.
On whether we're entering a new phase with Russia:
I hope we are...We truly do hope, we hope we can find places where we can have overlap in our interests. When I was CIA director we were able to do that... I think it makes perfect sense that any place we can find where we have overlapping interests, we work along with the Russians. 
And finally, let's move to his conversation with Margaret Brennan on Face the Nation, where China was a hot topic.

On why the administration hasn't applied sanctions or other actions in response to millions of Muslims being put in Chinese concentration camps:
Oh goodness - president Trump has pushed back against China in a way that no previous president - they'd - they'd given - they - they had given the Chinese a free pass in ever dimension - president Trump is now pushing back on the enormous trade abuses. You've seen me personally speak out about the same situation that you're describing - this this number certainly up to a million people held in reeducation camps. The Trump administration is going to hold every nation accountable --  we can use lots of different terms to describe what's taking place. This is an enormous human rights violation. I've spoken about it repeatedly.
On the accusation that "the trade talks are causing the US to choose its own financial interests over its values" and if actions will be taken:
We're working to stop the intellectual property theft that has destroyed millions of jobs in the US. We're working to stop the foreign technology transfers that have taken place. We've got the largest defense budget in history in place, part of which will go to ensuring we counter Chinese military power. We're working on these human rights violations as well. This administration takes a backseat to no one in our efforts and our outcomes in achieving a more rational relationship with China. The previous administration put us in a bad place and we're working to fix it. 
 Lots to unpack, as they say.  See you around campus.

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