CIA Director Mike Pompeo can't remember what happened — but he knows Trump didn't do anything wrong.
CIA Director Mike Pompeo gave a curious set of answers to a question about his involvement in the Russia investigation during his confirmation hearing Thursday to be the next secretary of state.
Asked by Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) whether Trump ever asked him to “do anything” related to former FBI Director James Comey’s investigation into Michael Flynn, Pompeo said he doesn’t “recall” — while also insisting that Trump never asked him to do anything improper.
Menendez began his questioning by citing a 2017 Washington Post article that reported that Trump had asked Pompeo and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats to personally interfere with former FBI Director James Comey’s investigation into Flynn.
Asked what he had spoken about with Trump that day, Pompeo gave three different answers.
First, Pompeo refused to answer, saying, “I’m not going to talk to you about the conversations the president and I had.”
Questioned about whether Trump had asked him “to do anything as it relates to the investigation,” Pompeo responded: “I don’t recall what he asked me that day precisely.”
Pompeo then added, “He has never asked me to do anything that I consider remotely improper.”
Pompeo’s answers seem to flatly contradict one other. If he can’t remember what was asked of him, how can he remember that nothing improper was asked of him?
As CNN’s Jim Sciutto noted, “The statements ‘I don’t recall what the president asked me’ and ‘The president never asked me to do anything remotely improper’ are by definition inconsistent.”
Notably, Pompeo didn’t deny that Trump asked him to intervene in Comey’s investigation into Flynn — he only denied that Trump asked him to do anything improper. That leaves open the possibility that Trump did ask him to intervene, but that Pompeo didn’t feel it was improper to do so.
That Pompeo can’t outright deny that Trump asked him to obstruct a federal investigation is concerning, to say the least.
Pompeo’s relationship with Trump has raised questions before. As the Washington Post reported in March, there is a “common thread running through” most of Pompeo’s decisions as CIA director.
“Pompeo doing and saying questionable things involving Russia — and those questionable things tending to align with President Trump,” the Post wrote.
Add his confirmation testimony to that running list of questionable things.