Jul 1, 2020

Mike Pompeo Press Conference Transcript July 1: Talks Russian Bounty Reports

Mike Pompeo Press Conference July 1
RevBlogTranscriptsPress Conference TranscriptsMike Pompeo Press Conference Transcript July 1: Talks Russian Bounty Reports

Mike Pompeo held a news briefing on July 1, 2020. He accused journalists of spreading misinformation in regards to the Russian bounty reports, and didn’t rule out inviting Putin to the expanded G7 summit. Read the transcript here.

 

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Mike Pompeo: (00:00)
The idea of government for the people by the people was and remains important and was unique. We’re always striving for a more perfect union, we don’t get it right every day, but we try to improve. And we use our unmatched power to protect rights at home and abroad. Happy early fourth of July to you all and to your families.

Mike Pompeo: (00:20)
Now turning to the substance of my remarks today. And I want to talk about one of the world’s most unfree countries. Yesterday, the Chinese Communist Party implemented its draconian national security law on Hong Kong in violation of commitments that it made to the Hong Kong people and to the United Kingdom in a UN-registered treaty, and in contravention of Hong Konger’s human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Mike Pompeo: (00:47)
Free Hong Kong was one of the world’s most stable, prosperous, and dynamic cities. Now it will be just another communist-run city where it’s people will be subject to the party elite’s whims. It’s sad. Indeed, this is already happening. Security forces are already rounding up Hong Kongers for daring to speak and think freely. The rule of law has been eviscerated, and as always, the Chinese Communist Party fears its own people more than anything else.

Mike Pompeo: (01:19)
The United States is deeply concerned about the loss sweeping provisions and the safety of everyone living in the territory, including Americans. Article 38 of the new law also purports to apply to offenses committed outside of Hong Kong, by non-residents of Hong Kong, and this likely includes Americans. This is outrageous and an affront to all nations. On Friday we implemented these restrictions on those responsible for the Hong Kong crackdown. On Monday, we announced that we would end defense equipment and dual use technology exports of US origin going through the territory. We will continue to implement president Trump’s directive to end Hong Kong’s special status.

Mike Pompeo: (02:02)
Other federal agencies are involved as well. I applaud FCC chairman as he pies for designating Huawei and ZTE as national security risks. We’re also continuing to take action to build on president Trump’s signing of the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act today. The United States Department of State, along with treasury, commerce, and DHS are issuing a business advisory to companies with supply chain links to entities complicit in forced labor and other human rights abuses Xinjiang and throughout China.

Mike Pompeo: (02:36)
CEOs should read this notice closely, and be aware of the reputational, economic, and legal risks of supporting such assaults on human dignity. I want to call attention to recent credible and deeply disturbing new reports that the Chinese Communist Party is imposing forced sterilization and abortions on [inaudible 00:02:56] and other minorities in Western China. This shocking news is sadly consistent with the CCPs decades long callous disregard for the sanctity of human life.

Mike Pompeo: (03:08)
We call on all nations, women’s advocates, religious groups, and human rights organizations to stand up for the Chinese people’s basic human dignity. Look, the Chinese Communist Party’s brutality affects the rest of the world too. We welcome India’s ban on certain mobile apps that can serve as appendages of the CCPs surveillance state. India’s clean app approach will boost India’s sovereignty. It will also boost India’s integrity and national security, as the Indian government itself has stated.

Mike Pompeo: (03:40)
Today, Canada’s National Day celebrations are dimmed by the CCPs recent decision to bring trumped up espionage charges against Michael Korvig and Michael Spavor. The CCTs propagandists have implied that these two Canadian citizens are hostages, held in retaliation for Canada’s lawful arrest of Walway’s executive. She is charged by the department of justice with bank fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud. I commend the Canadian government for standing firm and backing their independent legal system. Hostage taking for political gains puts China in league with the Iran’s and Venezuela’s of the world. The two Mikes need to come home now.

Mike Pompeo: (04:23)
In the middle East at the Forest Brussels conference on Syria yesterday, the United States announced an almost $700 million in humanitarian assistance to support Syrians inside the country and displaced abroad, bringing our total funding to just over $11.3 billion since the conflict began more than nine years ago in Iraq.

Mike Pompeo: (04:42)
I want to commend the government there for bringing all armed groups under its control, including those firing rockets at Iraqi government facilities. The presence of these lawless actors remains the single biggest obstacle to additional assistance or economic investment for the country. For the world to help Iraq, Iraq must first help itself. Baghdad’s actions are a step in the right direction and we applaud them.

Mike Pompeo: (05:07)
I want to note three brutal honor killings that have taken place in Iran. 14-year-old Romina Ashrafi. 19-year-old Fatima Barhi, and 22-year-old Rouhani Omri. Two were beheaded, and one was beaten to death with an iron bar at the hands of relatives. For 40 years, corrupt Iranian leaders have condoned murder, dehumanized women, and ignored cries for justice. When will they stop this unspeakable, wicked assault on human dignity?

Mike Pompeo: (05:42)
Staying on Iran. As many of you saw yesterday, I spoke to the UN security council, urging them to retain the 13-year-old arms embargo on Iraq. These restrictions, as a result of the failed JCPOA are set to expire in October. If Iran is allowed to buy weapons from the likes of China and Russia, more civilians in the middle East will die at the hands of the regime and its proxies. It’s that straightforward.

Mike Pompeo: (06:07)
Iran will become an arms deal for the Madeiros and Assad’s of the world. Sworn enemies of Israel like Hamas and Hezbollah will be better armed. European nations will be put at risk. Our team has put together a short video. That explains why this is so important. I’d like to show it to you now

Mike Pompeo: (06:33)
So when you all hear about legal niceties, and complexities, and intra-international fighting about what the right course of action is, remind yourself about what happens to the world if this arms embargo is lifted. In the end, that’s what matters. In the end, it’s what the UN Security Council has the capacity to ensure does not take place.

Mike Pompeo: (07:38)
I remind you to go back and look at remarks from the previous administration about the fact that the United States has the unambiguous right, without the consent of any other nation, to ensure that this arms embargo stays in place. This administration to do everything we can to make sure that that happens, to keep not only American people safe, but to reduce instability in the middle east.

Mike Pompeo: (07:59)
A little North of Iran, we applaud this week’s constitutional form in the Republic of Georgia. We call on Georgia’s parliament to honor the will of the Georgian people and pledges of Georgian officials through the passage and implementation of international recommended election reforms. Good on them.

Mike Pompeo: (08:15)
And yesterday for the third time in less than a year, I met with my counterparts from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan in the C5 plus one format. We share many goals, including peace in Afghanistan, strengthening regional trade, energy and security ties, and building resilient economies for each of those countries.

Mike Pompeo: (08:36)
As a sign of America’s focus on building genuine partnerships, our development finance corporation CEO, Adam Boulder is, today, accompanying Ambassador [Haliluzan 00:08:45] on a trip to the region, to scout out investment opportunities where American businesses can be successful and help these countries be sovereign and independent as well.

Mike Pompeo: (08:56)
Congratulations are in order for the Democratic Republic of Congo. In an unprecedented ruling, President Tshisekedi’s chief of staff was convicted for corruption. No one, however high in office, should be above the law. And last week, the people of Malawi elected Lazarus Chakwera their next president. This is only the second time that in America, in Africa rather, than a court has overturned a presidential election tainted by irregularities, and the only time that a reelection process has resulted in an election of an opposite-party candidate, truly a historic opportunity for the people of that country.

Mike Pompeo: (09:40)
This past week, the United States and Russia held the first round of nuclear arms control talks. Our two sides met in Vienna. They had positive, detailed discussions on a wide range of topics, including China’s secretive buildup. Beijing regrettably boycotted the talks, continuing its record of secrecy and rejection of multi-lateralism. And on Monday, the Bureau of energy resources led an inter-agency…

Mike Pompeo: (10:03)
And on Monday, the Bureau of Energy resources led an inter-agency working group as part of the US Greece strategic dialogue, where we’re working together to diversify energy sources in Southeast Europe, develop resources together and promote regional energy security. And finally, to our hemisphere, all 21 OAS member states voted last week to condemn the Maduro regimes attempt to suppress independent political parties in Venezuela. Our region has categorically rejected the attempts to create a phony Maduro friendly opposition. The United States also congratulates the people of Suriname in their elections in a peaceful transition of power to a new national assembly. We look forward to working with that new government.

Mike Pompeo: (10:41)
In contrast, it’s now been four months since Guyana’s election long past due for a peaceful transition of power. CARICOM and the OAS have certified the recount results they should get on with it. I’ve instructed my department assure those who undermined Guyana’s democracy are held accountable. Also, today, the USMCA comes into effect. It will open up new opportunities for us, Mexico and Canadian business and consumers. I have good news. Finally, I’ll bookend my remarks by marking another anniversary. July 1st marks the 70th anniversary of the Fulbright, Thailand. America educational programs and cultural programs the world like this underscore America’s respect for freedom, democracy, decency, and the respect for human rights. And whether I’m happy to take questions from you all this morning.

Morgan: (11:26)
Okay. Adam, go ahead.

Adam: (11:29)
Thank you, Morgan. I have two for you on Iran, if I may. One on the arms embargo. I was curious if the US is willing to accept a temporary extension to potentially get Russia, China, to go along with it. I was hoping you could get into the specifics of what terms are acceptable. And on the larger nuclear violations that the US and now the IAEA have identified, are we looking at a menu of options for repercussions for this, and specifically might snapback be one of those options on the menu? I was hoping you could touch on that specifically, because it seems some are making the argument that snapback accounts for the arms embargo, and of course, all other restrictions. I was hoping you could talk about that a bit.

Mike Pompeo: (12:18)
First of all, our objective is not to extend the arms embargo for, I don’t know, the short period of time. That’s how we got into this mess, right? The arms embargo should be lifted when the Islamic Republic of Iran begins to behave in a way that is consistent with the ability to move arms around the world, to have purchase, to act in a way that’s consistent with the way normal nations act. It’s not a time limited matter, it’s a conditions based matter and our objective is to make sure that the lifting of that arms embargo is conditions based. And when the time is right, happy to let it happen tomorrow. But extending it for six months or a year or two years, fundamentally falls into the same trap that the previous administration fell into. I know there’s a bit of a strung out argument. What if you’ve got 20 years? What if you got 50 years? What have you got a hundred years?

Mike Pompeo: (13:08)
I don’t want to talk about anything specific, but our objective is very clearly to say that the lifting of that arms embargo is not appropriate until such time as the world can be assured that these folks won’t use those weapons systems or the money that flows from the sale of those weapons systems are for maligned purposes. As for the other provisions of what’s happening at the IAEA, make sure everybody’s up to speed. The IAEA filed a report that made very clear that the Iranians have failed to allow access to two sites that are suspected of potentially having engaged in nuclear activity related to their previous programs, programs that predate the JCPOA. The Iranians continue to deny access to the IAEA. This is not about the JCPOA. This is about the NPT framework, the safeguards provisions that every nuclear power signs up for and that the Iranians have agreed to. This is outside and separate from the JCPOA.

Mike Pompeo: (14:04)
That’s never been the case before that the regime has denied access to the IAEA. And so, yes, in terms of how we’re thinking about responding, we hope the world will see that this is a serious risk to the entire nonproliferation regime. And the United States is prepared to lead to come up with responses to this, which would be appropriate and consistent with protecting and preserving that regime against Iranian intransigents that is entirely inappropriate. I hope the Iranians will change their mind. They’ll allow full IAEA unfettered, repeated, consistent access. To date, they’ve chosen not to do so.

Morgan: (14:39)
[inaudible 00:14:41].

Speaker 1: (14:39)
Secretary, [inaudible 00:14:44] from Straits Times. In remarks about a week ago at the Brussels forum, you mentioned a review of American resources abroad, false postures, and so forth. Reordering. Could you tell us a little bit more about that and specifically does the Indo Pacific and Asian, in particular figure in that?

Mike Pompeo: (15:04)
I’ll leave specifics about forest posture to Secretary Asper, but there’s important foreign policy ramifications of how we think about resource allocation, how we secure American freedom. And so this is something that’s been going on, frankly, since the national security strategy was laid down at roughly the beginning asset of the administration. And so we have consistently been looking for not only how we deploy our forces, department of defense forces, but all of the assets that we have. How do we think about our cyber capability? How do we think about where our embassies ought to be?

Mike Pompeo: (15:37)
The state departments undergone a parallel process of thinking about how do we engage diplomatically? Where do we need to be? Where do we need to devote our resources as well? This has been a broad national security strategic review that’s thinking about how do we focus on the threats that challenge us today and not those that challenge us 10 or 20 or 30 years ago. And then as your question suggested, we have certainly raised our game with respect to thinking about the threat that the Chinese communist party poses to the United States of America. And you will see that resources and strategy will be the result of the objective that President Trump laid out.

Morgan: (16:15)
Okay. [inaudible 00:16:18].

Tracy: (16:15)
Mr. Secretary, yesterday following your speech at the security council that John, my representative said that US has no stand in this meeting to invoke UN sanctions and by doing so you will be violating the international law. How do you comment on that? And to what extent would the snapback be efficient if it is not supported by your allies, by your European allies?

Mike Pompeo: (16:46)
So two things that I don’t want to get into the legal analysis, which you’re suggesting. We have the full authority to go exercise that right. As a participant in UN security council resolution 2231, we are highly confident that we have the right to exercise that. It is not our first objective. We hope that the UN security council, the Chinese, the Russian, every partner there will see that it is in their best interest to deny Iran this benefit that comes when they’ve not changed the behavior one lick. And so we’re hopeful that we’ll be able to do this without having to go through a complex, difficult process at the UN. That’s certainly our objective. And we think we’ll prevail. We think as we get closer, the world will see, if you’re a citizen living in Brussels or you’re or someone in Athens, do you really want the Iranian regime to have Chinese fighter planes?

Mike Pompeo: (17:37)
I don’t think so. I think the government of Greece will conclude the same thing. If you’re sitting in a Finland and you’re trying to search your way through about whether it’s a good idea for the Russians to be able to have another partner who they sell weapons to. I think these countries, I think each nation will conclude. This is a bad idea. They will regret that the JCPOA allowed this to expire and they’ll join us in this. It is certainly a full fledged diplomatic effort that we’re engaged in to convince the world that this is the right outcome, not just for the United States, but go talk to our partners in Saudi Arabia or the Emirates in Kuwait. They know too, that if Iran is allowed to become an arms merchant, again, instability in the Middle East will flow.

Morgan: (18:18)
John, go ahead.

John: (18:19)
Thanks. Mr. Secretary, on this bounty issue, you had some conversations with senior restaurant officials after your aides were told about evidence of the Russian bounties. Did you use those opportunities to tell Moscow not to endanger US troops in that manner?

Mike Pompeo: (18:37)
So let’s back up, let’s back up a lot of what you said suggests knowledge that I don’t think you actually have. I don’t want to comment on the intelligence. The CIA has put out a statement. The DNI has put out a statement, but I can tell you the intelligence community handled this incredibly well. We see threats in intelligence reporting to our soldiers stationed all over the world every single day. Every single day. And so, I can assure you that what ever reporting it is that you’re referring to, that we responded in precisely the correct way with respect to making sure that our forces were postured appropriately, that they were aware of the level of threat, the credibility of the threat, and that we were there.

Mike Pompeo: (19:18)
Second, the fact that the Russians are engaged in Afghanistan in a way that’s adverse to the United States is nothing new. By the way, some members of Congress who were out there today, suggesting that they are shocked and appalled by this. They saw the same intelligence that we saw so it would be interesting to ask them what they did when they saw whatever intelligence is that they are referring to. They would have had access to this information as well, not just the intelligence committees, by the way, even more broadly than that. We took this seriously. We handled it appropriately. The Russians had been selling small arms that put Americans at risk there for 10 years. We’ve objected to it. To your point, when I meet with my Russian counterparts, I talk with them about this.

Mike Pompeo: (20:03)
But to your point, when I meet with my Russian counterparts, I talk with them about this each time. Stop this. We think we have a not perfect, but somewhat overlapping objective in Afghanistan. It’s on their doorstep. We know they will route it in Afghanistan, right? So they have an objective there too to reduce the risk of terrorism there. So yes, maybe not every time, but with great frequency when I speak to my Russian counterparts, we talk about Afghanistan. We talk about the fact that we don’t want them engaged in this, but it’s just so everybody can be level set. Money flowing to Afghanistan to support the Taliban has been going on since we went to Afghanistan now almost two decades ago. It’s not just the Russians. Indeed, probably not majority of the Russians. Monies flowed from lots of places, from Iran. Even today, the ratings continue to undermine what we’re trying to accomplish in terms of peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan.

Mike Pompeo: (20:57)
It’s incredibly important that you take in context how it is this reporting is developed and how it is the United States has responded to this. We do everything we can, and this president has been vicious in securing American freedom and protecting American soldiers. Last point, there’s some suggested somehow that there wasn’t appropriate response taken because this was Russia. If you have 20 minutes, I will read to you what this administration has done with respect to Russia, but instead I’ll just provide it to you for the record, but it starts with a $700 billion allocation of resources the Department of Defense. It continues with withdrawal from the INF, something the Russians remain unhappy about. What we’ve done in Syria to push back against them, including against the Wagner group.

Mike Pompeo: (21:40)
This administration has taken seriously the threat from Russia. I only wish we had not had so much to clean up from the previous administration’s work to allow Russia to get on the ground in Syria, make enormous gains, interfere in elections in the United States of America under the previous administration’s watch. We’ve had a lot to clean up and President Trump has been serious about responding to this in a way that protects America, keeps Americans safe, and every day working diligently to make sure that we keep our soldiers safe, wherever, any threat, whether that’s from Russia or otherwise, presents itself.

John: (22:17)
The US has viewed Russia as a bad actor, but wouldn’t the bounties be an escalation? Wouldn’t the boundaries be an escalation to that?

Adam: (22:25)
Go ahead. Thank you, Mr. Secretary. My question is, you just mentioned about the report written by Dr. Adrian Zens regarding the forces sterilization and abortion of the weaker population, thereby China assimilating the weaker people. In the report, actually, Dr. Zens, he present a compelling evidence that the Chinese government says severe human rights violation of the weaker people meet the criteria of genocide as you find by the UN convention of genocide. And also a former Hong Kong governor Chris Patton called China’s policy towards the [inaudible 00:23:04] also genocide. In addition to that, European parliament sharer Winehart [inaudible 00:23:10] and his first Vice Chair Avalene Gephardt in their joint statement yesterday also say that they’ll report further corroborate the assessment that we may be witnessing the implementation of genocide. I know you all each have a statement regarding this report. So do you believe China is committing genocide wars in weaker people?

Mike Pompeo: (23:30)
The United States has taken the strongest action of any nation in the world to protect the human rights of all Chinese people, including the weaker people. We’ll continue to do that. I hope our European allies, allies in the region will take this seriously. We hope other Muslim nations will take this serious as well and respond in a way that has the opportunity to protect those people’s human rights. We’ll evaluate how we think about the Chinese actors and what it is we ought to call them. We’ve worked closely with Congress to pass legislation, legislation that if I recall correctly passed nearly unanimously on Capitol Hill. President signed that legislation. The United States takes seriously our obligation to preserve human rights, human rights of the people in China. We’ll continue to do that. We’re constantly evaluating those actions against the legal norms and standards for the world.

Tracy: (24:27)
Given all that you just laid out about the threat from Russia, is now the time to be bringing Russia back into the G7? And if I may on Hong Kong, obviously China has passed the national security law and the punitive measures that have been taken so far don’t appear to have prevented them from taking these actions. So how far is the US willing to go? And are you willing to take the mandatory actions laid out or mandatory sanctions laid out in the Hong Kong [inaudible 00:00:24:53]?

Mike Pompeo: (24:55)
Well, if they’re mandatory, we’ll do it. We always comply with the law here at state department. It’s what we do, and so we will absolutely implement those laws, both consistent with the letter and the spirit of what those statutes require. So we will certainly do that and there is more work to do for sure. But in the end General Secretary [inaudible 00:25:16] gets to make the decision about whether he wants to move his nation closer to something that is disconnected from the world to the most fundamental ways. They talk about, when I was in Honolulu, they talk about wanting to be good stewards, international players that comply with multilateral obligations. But when you’re violating citizens’ most fundamental freedoms, we should look to your actions, not to your words. And so that’s what we will continue to do. We’ll continue to do all the things that we can.

Mike Pompeo: (25:43)
And importantly, we will continue to build out a global coalition that understands the challenge the Chinese communist party threat places on freedom loving peoples all across the world. This isn’t a US China challenge. This is a challenge this between freedom and authoritarianism. And so long as we keep that foremost in our minds, I’m confident that the freedom loving peoples of the world will prevail. With respect to Russia in the G7, when they were in this, they were causing problems. They’re out of it and they still continue to present risk to us. We need to talk to the Russians. And so President gets to decide if he wants them to come to summit or not. That’s his decision. I’ll certainly leave that to him, but I do believe it is absolutely important that we have more frequent engagement with the Russians.

Mike Pompeo: (26:30)
You saw we had two days in Vienna last week to talk about really critical, strategic dialogue about nuclear weapons systems proliferating around the world. I think it is wholly important and appropriate for the United States to continue to have dialogue with the Russians, to convince them to change some of the activities that are inconsistent with what it is the United States needs to do to preserve security and freedom for its own people. Good morning.

Speaker 2: (26:59)
I understand you don’t want to get into the specifics of this intelligence, but now that it has been-

Mike Pompeo: (27:04)
It’s not that I don’t want to. I won’t because I’m not going to further jeopardize intelligence capabilities. I’m not going to put at risk the young men and women in Afghanistan in the same way that some news organizations have done. I just simply won’t engage in that. It’s inappropriate. It is dangerous. And you want not be part of that.

Speaker 2: (27:20)
As a former CA director and soldier, however, do you feel that the President should have been told about the Russian bounty being offered to the Taliban to kill US troops, even if that was not fully verified intelligence?

Mike Pompeo: (27:38)
You have six things in your question there that are just … I’m not going to go there. You’ve got assumptions about things that just don’t don’t reflect what it is that we’ve actually seen and done. With respect to this idea, this administration has been good. And when I was CIA director, I was directly involved in this and making sure that the President had the relevant information he needed to make important strategic decisions. You should know the threats … I’ll give you an example of threats to our embassy. Every morning, I get a briefing. It’s my first or second thing I do every day about challenges that we have, threats to our embassy. I don’t share that with the President every day. These are Americans. These are state department diplomats whose are at risk. What we do is we do the hard work. We put our team on the ground.

Mike Pompeo: (28:24)
We make sure we have the security posture right. If necessary, I call my counterpart at Department of Defense and make sure that his forces are properly positioned if the threat is a verifiable enough and have a sufficient threat. We do this every day. We make those judgements. That’s my responsibility to do that, to do it well. When the threat is sufficiently serious, the scale of the threat is of such importance that there’s an action that I think that the President needs to be aware of and the information that I’ve seen is sufficiently credible, then we make sure that the President is aware of that. The President has been consistently aware of the challenges that Russia presents to us, and he is aware of the risk in Afghanistan.

Mike Pompeo: (29:00)
It’s why we have spent so much time over this past year at the President’s direction to reduce risk to our forces in Afghanistan in a way no previous administration has done. We’ve set about a peace and reconciliation plan inside, and by the way, as part of that, we’ve talked to the Russians about how we can reduce the risk of violence from the Taliban to Americans on the ground in Afghanistan. We’ve taken the threat and the President has taken the threat to our forces in Afghanistan incredibly serious throughout the entire duration of this administration,

Speaker 2: (29:35)
Your opinion that the President didn’t need to know about this intelligence.

Speaker 3: (29:39)
Thank you, Mr. Secretary.

Mike Pompeo: (29:40)
Yes, sir.

Speaker 3: (29:41)
My question is on Lebanon. Lebanese judge who issued a ruling banning local and foreign journalists from interviewing ambassador to Beirut submitted his resignation yesterday after he was referred to judicial inspection over the ruling. Is the US satisfied with that, and are you concerned of any military escalation between Israel and Hezbollah?

Speaker 3: (30:03)
Of any military escalation between Israel and Hezbollah in the near future?

Mike Pompeo: (30:06)
Well, we’re always concerned about the space between Hezbollah and Israel, but related to this incident with our ambassador and her ability to speak freely there, that doesn’t raise my concerns greatly. I don’t think that greatly increases the risk of conflict between the two. As for this judge no longer being the judge, one fewer Hezbollah judge is always a good thing.

Speaker 4: (30:32)
Tracy.

Tracy: (30:33)
Thank you. Mr. Secretary, you just mentioned, you talked about having talked to the Russians about reducing threats to American service people from the Taliban, and yet these-

Mike Pompeo: (30:43)
Not just with the Taliban. Not just with the Taliban.

Tracy: (30:47)
Okay, from various. But, if indeed the Russians were offering bounties to kill-

Mike Pompeo: (30:53)
If indeed. Yes, okay. You all are going places that I’m not going to go, because we have work that is important to keep our soldiers safe. And I’m not going to allow you to lay down questions with facts that are sorted and say, “Oh, he didn’t refute what I said in my question. Therefore, it must be true.” I’m not going to go down that path with you.

Tracy: (31:14)
Okay. But this would seem a major escalation. And you’ve talked about Iran. Anytime Iran would attack American troops through their proxies, there would be consequences to pay. And so I’m just wondering if that same kind of a warning should not be given to the Russians.

Mike Pompeo: (31:30)
I can assure you. I can absolutely assure you that when we see serious credible threats from the Russians, whether there’s are Russians engaged in threatening activity in Ukraine, Russians engaged in threatening activity in Syria, Russian threatening activity there now in Libya, their actions in Venezuela… The list is long. When we see credible information that suggests that the Russians are putting American lives at risk, we’re responding in a way that is serious. And you said doing, do we warn them? Do we talk to them? The answer is, of course we do.

Speaker 4: (32:03)
Rich.

Adam: (32:06)
Hi, Mr. Secretary.

Mike Pompeo: (32:06)
Hi.

Adam: (32:07)
On Hong Kong, in your opening remarks, you called it now after the security law is imposed, just another city subjected to the CCPs whims. Is Hong Kong lost? And how far is this administration willing to go to try to prevent that or to try to bring a situation back to where it once was?

Mike Pompeo: (32:27)
Well, whether it’s lost or not is entirely dependent upon the decisions that General Secretary Xi makes. And when you say lost, do you mean, has it lost its freedoms? Is it no longer an autonomous place? I signed a certification a couple of weeks back now that suggested that it was not. I suppose these things are always reversible. The actions of the last 48 hours suggests that the Chinese government, at least at this point, the Chinese communist party has no intention of reversing that trend. And as for how far we’ll go, I’ll just repeat what the president said. He wants to ensure, with a handful of exceptions, that Hong Kong is treated just like mainland China, because that’s the way the General Secretary Xi has chosen to treat that place as well with that. With that, thank you all. I’ve got to head on today. Thank you all. Have a great day.