Pompeo says he Spoke with Mueller and is Cooperating

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Menendez: "What did President Trump say to you and Director Coats in that meeting?" Will you stay silent when the president and those closest to him balk at the very idea of diplomacy and instead advocate unnecessary wars that will cost the blood of our children and the treasurer of our coffers?

"An effective secretary of state must be able to prioritize the issues for the president and attempt to drown out the noise and chaos that can so often distract and bog down the leader of the free world from making sound and informed decisions", he said.

"President Trump's unsafe and erratic tweets and saber-rattling threaten to bring us closer to war and undermine our leadership on the world stage. Will you stand up to President Trump and advise him differently when he's wrong?" But he also suggested that Muslims are "better positioned" to speak out due to their religious views.

He said he would take a tough line against Russian Federation and push to improve the Iran nuclear deal through negotiations with European allies so that Trump could be persuaded to preserve it. Pompeo answered that every individual has a "special obligation" to push back against such attacks.

An avowed opponent of the Iran nuclear deal, Mr Pompeo said he would work immediately if confirmed to "fix" the agreement that Mr Trump has threatened to abandon if it's not strengthened. Rand Paul during his confirmation hearing.

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After questioning Pompeo about his past anti-Muslim statements, Booker pressed Pompeo on his record on gay rights. He said Saudi Arabia had reason to worry about Iran having nuclear capabilities, even though he'd earlier admitted that there is no evidence that Iran is violating the terms of the deal.

Pompeo vowed not to repeat past mistakes regarding North Korea, suggesting Washington will maintain maximum pressure and sanctions until Pyongyang takes concrete action toward denuclearisation.

If confirmed, Pompeo would be the Trump administration's second secretary of state in 14 months.

"I want to fix this deal", he added.

In his testimony, Pompeo confirmed for the first time publicly that he's been interviewed by the team of special counsel Mueller, who is investigating possible ties between Russian Federation and Trump's presidential campaign as well as possible obstruction of justice issues. Pompeo declined to answer the question head-on and reiterated that he'd treat everyone equally.

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Pompeo faces a tough confirmation vote with Republicans having only a 50-49 majority in the absence of Sen.

"Senator, I continue to hold that view -" Pompeo said after Booker asked him to clarify.

And with Trump recently appointing hawkish conservative John Bolton as his national security advisor, Murphy said he wanted to scrutinize Pompeo over potential flashpoints like Korea and Syria.

U.S. Reps. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), Mark Takano (D-Calif.) and Dina Titus (D-Nev.) and U.S. Del. "I think we'll go in with a lot of respect and we'll see what happens".

Mr. Pompeo caught Mr. Trump's attention with his broadsides on Hillary Clinton during 2015 congressional hearings about the attacks on a diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, that left four people, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, dead. According to the paper, when the meeting was over, Trump told Pompeo and Coats to stay in the room, and the president proceeded to complain about the Russian Federation investigation, which was being led by then-FBI Director James Comey.

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