Pompeo warned

Pompeo warned State employees against participating in partisan political activities while traveling abroad – CBS News

Washington — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned State Department employees in a July cable that they should not be engaging in “any partisan political activity” tied to a campaign, political party or political group and should refrain from partaking in “partisan political activity” while abroad. 

News of the directive comes as Pompeo is set to address the second night of the Republican National Convention in remarks that were taped in Jerusalem. His speaking slot comes in the middle of a five-day swing through the Middle East and Africa.

The secretary of state’s participation in the convention has sounded alarm bells among former diplomats and congressional Democrats, as previous secretaries of state have refrained from participating in the party gatherings.

In the July 24 memo from Pompeo to diplomatic and consular posts regarding political activities, which was circulated by the Democratic-led House Foreign Affairs Committee on Monday, the secretary of state wrote that presidential and political appointees, as well as career Senior Executive Service officials “may not engage in any partisan political activity in concert with a partisan campaign, political party, or partisan political group, even on personal time and outside of the federal workplace.”

Pompeo’s also reiterated to State Department employees that its longstanding policy “is that U.S. citizen employees and family members may not engage in partisan political activity while posted or on [temporary duty] abroad, even on personal time.”

“Certain restrictions on political activities apply to all employees,” Pompeo said in the cable. “This includes prohibitions on personal fundraising for a candidate in a partisan election, using one’s official position or official resources for partisan political purposes, or engaging in partisan political activity while on duty or in the federal workplace.”

Pompeo also cited in his cable a February 2020 email from Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun regarding political activities for State Department employees. In the email, obtained by Politico, Biegun directed employees to review legal memos from the Office of the Legal Adviser, including one from December stating that “Senate-confirmed presidential appointees may not even attend a political party convention or convention-related event.”

House Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel, a Democrat from New York, chastised Pompeo for violating his own restrictions on participation in political activities by speaking at the Republican National Convention.

“Once again, the rules go out the window for Secretary Pompeo when they get in the way of serving his political interests and Donald Trump,” Engel said in a statement. “Mr. Pompeo should show real respect for American law, diplomacy and diplomats, and should follow his own guidance, cancel the speech, and watch the RNC from his hotel room after the workday is done.”

Pompeo, however, appears to have no plans to call off his speech, as he tweeted from his personal account Tuesday that “President Trump has ensured the safety of America — and SECURED our many FREEDOMS, which is the cornerstone of this great nation.”

“I look forward to sharing with you how the President has delivered on that mission TONIGHT!” he said.

Ronna McDaniel, chairwoman of the Republican National Convention, also defended Pompeo’s appearance at the convention, telling “Face the Nation” on Sunday that it’s “appropriate” for the secretary of state to highlight Mr. Trump’s foreign policy record.

“The programming, the staging, everything that we’re doing will be paid for by the Republican National Committee and the campaign,” McDaniel said, adding the Republicans are “not using taxpayer dollars to pay for our convention.”

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Pompeo: If UN lets Iran arms embargo expire, it will ‘betray’ ideals of peace, security – Fox News

Pompeo urges United Nations to extend Iran arms embargo

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo seized on a U.N. report confirming Iranian weapons were used to attack Saudi Arabia in September and were part of an arms shipment seized months ago off Yemen’s coast; State Department correspondent Rich Edson reports.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addressed the United Nations Security Council Tuesday in another attempt to persuade the international security group to extend the arms embargo against Iran.

“This chamber has a choice: Stand for international peace and security, as the United Nations’ [UN’s] founders intended, or let the arms embargo on the Islamic Republic of Iran expire, betraying the UN’s mission and its finest ideals, which we have all pledged to uphold,” Pompeo said during a video conference.

The arms embargo against Iran is set to expire in October as a part of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also referred to as the Iran Nuclear Deal signed by Iran, the EU and permanent members of the U.N. Security Council — including the United States, which pulled out of the deal in 2018 under President Trump, who called the agreement “decaying and rotten.”


Pompeo urged the council to consider Iran’s ability to purchase “Russian-made fighter jets” should the embargo expire, adding that the aircraft have the ability to strike “up to a 3,000-kilometer radius, putting cities like Riyadh, New Delhi, Rome, and Warsaw in Iranian crosshairs.”

Pompeo said Iran would be able to more easily supply weapons to known terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hezballah, and become a “rogue weapons dealer” profiting off arms supplied to Venezuela and Syria.

The U.S. has already created a draft resolution calling to extend the embargo indefinitely. And while the resolution only needs nine of the 15 votes to pass, it cannot be vetoed by Britain, China, France or Russia.

China and Russia are likely to veto the bill, as their partnership has only strengthened while the United States’ has diminished, particularly with China in recent months.


Pompeo warned that they, too, should be wary of the arms embargo expiring, saying Iran will threaten economic stability in the Middle East, which will in turn affect stable energy prices that countries like China and Russia rely on.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has also said: “When the embargo… is lifted next year, we can easily buy and sell weapons.”

“We should take him at his word,” Pompeo added.

“Just consider the secretary-general’s report that we’re discussing today,” he continued. “The report confirmed that weapons used to attack Saudi Arabia in September 2019 were of Iranian origin.”

“The report has also confirmed the weapons interdicted off the coast of Yemen in November 2019 and February 2020 were of Iranian origin,” Pompeo said, noting that Iran is already breaking the terms on its arms agreement prior to the expiration date.


Addressing the comments made by Pompeo, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told the Security Council that any change to the agreement, including extending the embargo, is “tantamount to undermining [the JCPOA]… in its entirety.”

“The council must not allow a single state to abuse the process,” Zarif said.

Members of the Security Council criticized Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. out of the nuclear deal in 2018, saying it would threaten security stabilization efforts in the region and nuclear non-proliferation.

The U.K, France and Germany recently put forward a resolution through the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), condemning Iran’s lack of nuclear transparency and compliance.

However, it is unclear if the U.K. or France will side with the United States’ resolution to extend Iran’s arms embargo.

U.K. Deputy Representative to the U.N. Jonathan Allen agreed that lifting the arms embargo in October “would have major implications for regional security and stability.” But Allen also said that the “preservation of the JCPOA will continue to be the guiding principle” in the U.K.’s decision in how to proceed with Iranian arms.


“Seventy-five years ago, the founders of the U.N. came together after the devastation of World War II to ensure that the world would never again have to face such horrors,” Pompeo said in his closing remarks to the council.

“Let’s uphold the mission of this body to address the threats to international peace and security that the Islamic Republic of Iran presents,” he added.

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Pompeo: US imposes restrictions on Chinese Communist Party leaders undermining Hong Kong autonomy – Fox News

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced new restrictions against members of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Friday, declaring that the U.S. has banned visas for CCP members affiliated with the obstruction of Hong Kong’s autonomy.

“President Trump promised to punish the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials who were responsible for eviscerating Hong Kong’s freedoms,” Pompeo said in a statement Friday.

The latest announcement comes as China plans to move forward with a security law that would extend Beijing’s reach into the semi-autonomous region.


China’s National Congress Standing Committee already approved the draft version of legislation that would criminalize succession, subversion of state power, local terrorist activities, and collaborating with foreign or external foreign forces to endanger national security.

China has further made plans to instate a security bureau in Hong Kong that would analyze security situations in the region and safeguard China’s national security interests.

Pompeo said that China has undermined Hong Kong’s autonomy by “announcing Beijing’s authority to “supervise” Hong Kong’s governance.”

Pompeo also said that China has reportedly accused “at least one member of Hong Kong’s Legislative Council of misconduct” and has moved to “unilaterally and arbitrarily impose national security legislation on Hong Kong.”


Hong Kong enjoys semi-autonomous control in the region due to the Sino-British Joint Declaration, which established sovereignty after the British released Hong Kong from imperial rule and handed it over to China in 1997.

“Beijing continues to undermine human rights and fundamental freedoms in Hong Kong by putting pressure on local authorities to arrest pro-democracy activists and disqualify pro-democracy electoral candidates,” Pompeo said in his Friday statement.

The U.S. along with several other nations, including the U.K. have repeatedly condemned China’s attempt to exert security powers in Hong Kong, prompting the U.S.’s latest move to block visas for current and former CCP officials affiliated with undermining Hong Kong’s autonomy.

U.S. Senators passed legislation Thursday imposing sanctions on people or companies that back efforts or profit off of China’s efforts to exert security in Hong Kong.


Pompeo further announced a new partnership with the European Union in order to open U.S.-E.U. dialogue on China, according to a Politico report Thursday.

“The United States calls on China to honor its commitments and obligations in the Sino-British Joint Declaration – namely that Hong Kong will ‘enjoy a high degree of autonomy’ and that human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly, will be protected by law and respected by governing authorities in Hong Kong,” Pompeo concluded on Friday.

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Pompeo And China’s Top Diplomat Meet In Hawaii As Relations Worsen – NPR

In this October 2018 photo U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, shakes hands with State Councilor Yang Jiechi, China’s top diplomat, in Beijing. The two met Wednesday in Hawaii as relations between the U.S. and China continue to deteriorate.

Andy Wong/AP

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Andy Wong/AP

In this October 2018 photo U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, shakes hands with State Councilor Yang Jiechi, China’s top diplomat, in Beijing. The two met Wednesday in Hawaii as relations between the U.S. and China continue to deteriorate.

Andy Wong/AP

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi in Hawaii on Wednesday, in what Chinese state media said was a constructive exchange of views.

The meeting comes at a time of fast-deteriorating relations between Washington and Beijing over a range of issues, including human rights, Hong Kong and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Neither the U.S. nor China publicly announced the meeting in advance and it was not immediately which side had proposed it, highlighting the tension and mistrust that now permeate ties between the world’s no. 1 and no. 2 economies.

Pompeo has been an outspoken critic of China’s ruling Communist Party and its policies, and Beijing, for its part, has singled him out for scorn, calling him irresponsible and a liar.

State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a brief, three-sentence statement that Pompeo stressed the need for transparency and information-sharing to fight the pandemic and prevent future outbreaks.

The Trump administration has repeatedly blamed China for sparking the global coronavirus pandemic by not being open about the outbreak when it first emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December and not acting quickly enough to stop it.

China has said that it has been open and transparent about the coronavirus, and handled the situation responsibly.

Pompeo also raised the need for “fully-reciprocal dealings between the two nations across commercial, security, and diplomatic interactions”, according to the statement.

China’s state news agency Xinhua put a more positive spin on the meeting.

It said both sides “fully elaborated on their stances, agreeing that this was a constructive dialogue.” Yang and Pompeo agreed to maintain contact and communication, Xinhua reported.

In a separate statement, the Foreign Ministry said Yang told Pompeo that cooperation was the “only proper choice for China and the United States”.

“The Chinese side is devoted to working together with the United States to develop a relationship with no conflict and no confrontation, of mutual respect and win-win cooperation,” it said.

Still, Yang pushed back against Pompeo on several areas of recent friction in the relationship, according to the Foreign Ministry.

He told Pompeo that Hong Kong affairs were an internal matter, and he urged the United States to respect China’s sovereignty, treat Hong Kong’s national security legislation objectively and fairly, and stop interfering in the territory’s internal affairs.

China’s decision last month to unilaterally impose national security legislation on Hong Kong, circumventing the former British colony’s own legislature, drew widespread criticism from abroad.

Trump announced that his administration would begin to rescind special considerations and policies for Hong Kong in retaliation for Beijing’s move, which the administration says rolls back China’s promise to allow Hong Kong a high degree of autonomy for 50 years after its return from Britain in 1997.

The Chinese foreign ministry also said Yang expressed “strong dissatisfaction” with Trump’s signing on Wednesday of the Uighur Human Rights Policy Act, saying the U.S. should stop engaging in what it called double standards on anti-terrorism issues.

The bill passed the House and Senate in May, and could lead to sanctions against Chinese officials deemed responsible for human rights abuses against ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims in China’s far western region of Xinjiang.

The act says more than 1 million Uighurs and other Muslims in Xinjiang have been subject to mass surveillance and internment in the name of combating terrorism.

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Pompeo sanctions

Pompeo: All Iran sanctions waivers covering nuclear projects are ending – Fox News

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Wednesday the U.S. will end all sanction waivers that allowed Chinese, European and Russian companies to work with Iranian nuclear sites without coming under U.S. sanctions.

“Today, I am ending the sanctions waiver for JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action]-related projects in Iran, effective in 60 days,” Pompeo said in a Tweet Wednesday. “Iran’s continued nuclear escalation makes clear this cooperation must end. Further attempts at nuclear extortion will only bring greater pressure on the regime.”


The United Nations Security Council has argued the JCPOA was necessary to ensure nuclear nonproliferation in Iran and to stabilize the region as a whole. The waivers allowed other countries and companies to work with Iran to modify the existing nuclear facilities and ensure compliance with nuclear nonproliferation strategies.

But the administration believed Iran was ramping up its nuclear proliferation efforts.

“The regime’s nuclear extortion will lead to increased pressure on Iran and further isolate the regime from the international community,” Pompeo said in a statement Wednesday.

Nonproliferation experts believe that by removing the waivers, Iran will have a greater ability to enrich its nuclear program.

Kelsey Davenport, director for nonproliferation with policy at the Arms Control Association, wrote in a tweet, “Ending waivers for cooperative projects jeopardizes US nonproliferation priorities & hands Iran a justification to ratchet up certain nuclear activities limited by the #IranDeal.” ​​​​


“The Iranian regime has continued its nuclear brinkmanship by expanding proliferation-sensitive activities,” Pompeo said.

“These escalatory actions are unacceptable and I cannot justify renewing the waiver for these JCPOA-related activities as a result.”

The projects no longer covered by the sanction waivers are the “Arak reactor conversion, the provision of enriched uranium for the Tehran Research Reactor, and the export of Iran’s spent and scrap research reactor fuel,” outlined Pompeo Wednesday.

GOP member of Congress were quick to congratulate the administration on their decision.


“Today the administration took a critical step toward tearing up the catastrophic Obama-Iran nuclear deal once and for all,” Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, wrote in a tweet Wednesday. “For too long the Ayatollah has exploited these civil nuclear waivers to build up Iran’s nuclear programs, with the intention of eventually developing nuclear weapons to inflict destruction on America and our allies.”

Since President Trump pulled out of the Iran Nuclear Deal in May 2018, sanctions were imposed as a part of a “maximum pressure” campaign and the waivers were reviewed every 60 days.


International companies supporting the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant have been granted a 90-day extension before U.S. sanctions go into effect.

“We will continue to closely monitor all developments in Iran’s nuclear program and can modify this waiver at any time,” Pompeo warned.

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Pompeo Times

New York Times: Pompeo had answered written questions in watchdog probe of Saudi arms deal – CNN

(CNN)Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had answered written questions from the State Department inspector general’s office as part of its probe into the administration’s move to bypass Congress and expedite last year’s $8 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia by declaring an emergency, three people with knowledge of his actions told The New York Times.

The revelation comes after House Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel claimed the State Department inspector general fired by President Donald Trump Friday night, Steve Linick, had nearly completed an investigation into Pompeo’s controversial decision to fast-track the same arms sale. CNN previously reported that Pompeo had refused to sit for an interview as a part of the investigation.
“I have learned that there may be another reason for Mr. Linick’s firing. His office was investigating — at my request — Trump’s phony declaration of an emergency so he could send weapons to Saudi Arabia,” Engel, a New York Democrat, said in a statement to CNN Monday.
“We don’t have the full picture yet, but it’s troubling that Secretary Pompeo wanted Mr. Linick pushed out before this work could be completed.”
Pompeo told The Washington Post on Monday that he asked Trump to remove Linick because the independent watchdog was “undermining” the department and wasn’t performing in a way that the top US diplomat wanted him to. He did not go into details about what specifically displeased him about Linick’s job performance.
“I went to the President and made clear to him that Inspector General Linick wasn’t performing a function in a way that we had tried to get him to, that was additive for the State Department, very consistent with what the statute says he’s supposed to be doing,” he told the Post. “The kinds of activities he’s supposed to undertake to make us better, to improve us.”
Last May, the Trump administration declared an emergency to bypass Congress and expedite billions of dollars in arms sales to various countries — including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — citing the need to deter what it called “the malign influence” of Iran throughout the Middle East.
“These sales will support our allies, enhance Middle East stability, and help these nations to deter and defend themselves from the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Pompeo said in a statement at the time, which put the value of the sales at $8.1 billion.
But the move drew bipartisan condemnation, with lawmakers decrying the precedent it would set.
CNN previously reported that Linick was also investigating whether Pompeo made a staffer perform a variety of personal errands, including walking his dog, picking up dry cleaning and making a dinner reservation for him and his wife, according to a Democratic aide.
Still, Pompeo claimed he was not aware that Linick was investigating him at the time he recommended that the IG be removed.
According to the Post, he only knew about one case “involving a national security matter.”
“It is not possible that this decision, or my recommendation, rather, to the President, rather, was based on any effort to retaliate for any investigation that was going on, or is currently going on,” Pompeo said.
“Because I simply don’t know. I’m not briefed on it. I usually see these investigations in final draft form 24 hours, 48 hours, before the IG is prepared to release them.”

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Mike Pompeo recommended Trump firing of State Department inspector general, White House says – CNBC

Mike Pompeo, U.S. secretary of state, speaks during a Coronavirus Task Force news conference at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, April 8, 2020.

Chris Kleponis | Bloomberg | Getty Images

President Donald Trump fired the State Department’s inspector general on the recommendation of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a White House official said Saturday. 

Trump fired State Department Inspector General Steve Linick Friday night, notifying Congress of the decision in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Trump, who has targeted several government agency watchdogs in the past several weeks, told Congress he no longer had full confidence in Linick, but did not provide an explanation as to why.

“Secretary Pompeo recommended the move, and President Trump agreed,” a White House official said.

Democratic lawmakers said the inspector general was investigating potential misconduct by Pompeo.

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., and Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., launched an investigation into Linick’s removal Saturday, claiming Pompeo wanted the inspector general removed because the secretary was under investigation. Menendez and Engel have called for the White House to turn over records related to Linick’s firing. 

“Such an action, transparently designed to protect Secretary Pompeo from personal accountability, would undermine the foundation of our democratic institutions and may be an illegal act of retaliation,” the lawmakers said in press release Saturday. “This concern is amplified by the fact that it came only hours after the House of Representatives passed the Heroes Act, which contains additional legal protections for inspectors general.”

A Democratic aide told NBC News that Linick was scrutinizing Pompeo’s alleged misuse of a political appointee to perform person tasks for himself and his wife, Susan. 

The firing of Linick was also met with skepticism by some Republican lawmakers. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said Trump must provide details to Congress about why Linick was removed. 

“As I’ve said before, Congress requires written reasons justifying an IG’s removal,” said Grassley, who co-chairs the Whistleblower Protection Caucus  “A general lack of confidence simply is not sufficient detail to satisfy Congress.” 

Linick was appointed to the role by the Obama administration and is being replaced by Stephen Akard, a former career foreign service officer with close ties to Vice President Mike Pence, according to the Associated Press. 

Menendez and Engel are also requesting information regarding Akard as part of their investigation.

Linick is the latest inspector general to be fired by Trump.

In April, he removed Glenn Fine, who was appointed the watchdog of the $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill just days before Trump’s move. Also in April, Trump fired the intelligence community’s inspector general, Michael Atkinson, who had overseen the whistleblower complaint that led to the president’s impeachment.

Earlier this month, Trump moved to replace Christi Grimm, the top watchdog at the Health and Human Services Department, a month after he criticized her for a report detailing “severe shortages” of coronavirus testing kits and other serious issues with the U.S. response to the pandemic.

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Pompeo condemns ‘horrific terrorist attacks’ in Afghanistan, calls hospital raid that killed 13 ‘act of she… – Fox News

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo condemned two separate attacks on a hospital and funeral, respectively, in Afghanistan Tuesday and called on both the Afghani government and the Taliban to work together to seek justice.

“The United States condemns in the strongest terms the two horrific terrorist attacks in Afghanistan today,” Pompeo said in a statement, adding on Twitter: “The Afghan people deserve a future free from these egregious acts of evil and must come together to build a united front against the menace of terrorism.”


Gunmen dressed as police raided a maternity ward in a hospital in Kabul, operated by the international humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders, killing 13 — including infants, new mothers and hospital workers.

“Any attack on innocents is unforgivable, but to attack infants and women in labor in the sanctuary of a hospital is an act of sheer evil,” Pompeo said in Tuesday’s statement.

In a separate attack in the Nangarhar province, a suicide bomber attacked the funeral of a local police commander, killing 26 and wounding 68 others.

The Taliban has denied responsibility for the attacks.


According to Human Rights Watch, the hospital is located in the predominately Shia neighborhood of Dasht-e Barchi and has been the target of a number of attacks.

“We note the Taliban have denied any responsibility and condemned both attacks as heinous,” Pompeo said. “The Taliban and the Afghan government should cooperate to bring the perpetrators to justice.”

The United States and the Taliban signed a peace deal Feb. 29; the U.S. started pulling troops from the country in March, marking the end to an 18-year war.

But according to Reuters‘ reporting, Taliban attacks against Afghani security forces have increased since American troops started pulling out.


In a television speech, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has said he was “ordering Afghan security forces to switch from an active defense mode to an offensive one and to start their operations against the enemies.”

“As long as there is no sustained reduction in violence and insufficient progress toward a negotiated political settlement, Afghanistan will remain vulnerable to terrorism,” Pompeo said Tuesday.

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