July 25, 2018

Video: Kaine Presses Pompeo On Why U.S. Military Leaders Were In The Dark On Trump-Putin Meeting

You can watch video of Kaine questioning Pompeo here 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine pressed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to explain why senior U.S. military leadership had not been briefed on what President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to during their meeting in Helsinki last week. Russian media has reported that Trump and Putin made military agreements during their meeting, yet the Head of U.S. Central Command General Votel and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Dunford were reportedly unaware of what the President agreed to and the Trump Administration has failed to provide Congress and the American public with details of the meeting. Secretary Pompeo refused to share details of the Trump-Putin meeting and would not give a straightforward answer about whether he himself has been fully briefed on what happened in Helsinki.

General Joseph F. Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff -- as of Monday – Dunford still hadn't been briefed on Helsinki even though it directly affects more than one million troops Dunford oversees. Do you know why there would have been no briefing of General Dunford about the discussions that took place at Helsinki?Kaine asked Pompeo.I worry about an Administration that would take the Putin position over our intel community. I worry about the Administration that would suggest that it might be a great deal to consider handing over a former diplomat for questioning. I worry about an Administration that is catching the Pentagon off guard, that is not consulting with General Dunford or briefing him for a week after a summit of this importance to our military.”

Kaine cited numerous other examples of President Trump leaving U.S. military leadership in the dark on significant policy changes.

“There’s an interesting article in Buzzfeed News just recently –today – that just lists a whole series of headlines and I think these are instructive, Mr. Chair: ‘Trump's Announcement That He Will End U.S.-Korean Drills Catches Pentagon Off Guard; Pentagon and Seoul Surprised by Trump Pledge to Halt Military Exercises; Pentagon Caught Off Guard by Space Force Announcement; Trump Signals Withdrawal Very Soon of U.S. Troops from Syria, Surprising Pentagon and State Department; Pentagon Caught by Surprise by Trump's Travel Ban, Pushes for Some Iraqis to Get Special Consideration; U.S. Joint Chiefs Blindsided by Trump's Transgender Ban; Northcom Caught Off Guard as Trump Orders Troops to U.S.-Mexico Border.’” 

Additionally, Senator Kaine spoke of the President’s failure to listen to the U.S. intelligence community and American diplomats, especially in light of President Trump siding with Putin over the assessment of American intelligence agencies and expressing openness to turning over an American citizen – former Ambassador Michael McFaul – to the Kremlin for questioning.

I have a lot of constituents who used to be your employees at the CIA. People come up to me all the time in Virginia and say I'm with the IC, and they are very demoralized by this,” said Kaine. “They are very demoralized that when standing next to Vladimir Putin, the President's words were to suggest that he trusted Vladimir Putin over them. There was the suggestion when President Trump said it was an incredible offer about Ambassador McFaul that he was also potentially willing to throw not just Intel folks under the bus, but State Department diplomats under the bus. They live in Virginia, too.”

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