Tag Archives: Mike Pompeo

Are we clear now? POTUS backs intel agencies

That’s as clear as mud, isn’t it?

Donald John Trump says in one breath that Vladimir Putin is sincere when he says Russia didn’t meddle in our nation’s 2016 presidential election.

In virtually the next breath — actually it was the next day — the president says he backs the U.S. intelligence agencies’ assessment that, yep, the Russians meddled, they interfered, they sought to influence the election outcome.

The question now is this: Which is it, Mr. President? Who do you believe?

This kind of stumble-bum rhetoric is driving many of us utterly bananas.

POTUS back tracks

Trump had been “on script” for most of his 12-day trip to Asia. Then he shook hands with the Russian president; the men met privately for a brief period in Da Nang, Vietnam. Putin told Trump he has been “offended” by assertions that Russia meddled in our election. Trump seemed to side with the bad guy while dismissing the assessments of the good guys, the men and women who work for our intelligence agencies.

For the life of me, I don’t understand — let alone accept — Trump’s belief that Putin can be trusted as far as he can throw him. The man is a former KGB hot shot. He is trained to lie.

Forgive me for quoting former Fox TV commentator Bill O’Reilly, but O’Reilly did assert correctly during an interview with Trump that “Putin is a killer”; Trump responded by saying, essentially, “So are we.”

Good … grief. Dude! Get an ever-lovin’ grip!

Oh, but now he backs U.S. intelligence analysts, who’ve been saying all along that Russian hackers meddled in our election — and they did so on orders from Vladimir Putin. One of them who stands by our analysis of Russian meddling happens to be CIA Director Mike Pompeo, whom Trump appointed.

My head is spinning.

Spinning losses into moral victories

Politics has this way of producing victories where none is apparent.

Democrats around the country, for instance, are seeking to turn electoral defeats into a form of winning. It’s a fascinating thing to watch — and it has me shaking my head.

A Kansas congressional district special election produced a Republican victory recently. The Fourth Congressional District seat once was held by CIA Director Mike Pompeo, whom Donald Trump appointed to become the nation’s top spook. Trump won that district over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election and it has been in GOP hands seemingly since The Flood.

The Republican who won the seat in the special election did so narrowly. Thus, Democrats are claiming some sort of victory.

Today, voters in Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District are going to the polls. They’re going to choose a successor to Tom Price, who represented the GOP-friendly district before becoming secretary of health and human services; the Sixth District once was represented by none other than the inimitable Newt Gingrich.

A large field is running. It includes five Democrats and 11 Republicans. The top vote-getter needs to win with 50 percent plus one vote to win the election outright. The leader is a Democrat, a young man named Jon Ossoff. Polling indicates he is likely to fall short — barely — of the majority he needs to win. If he doesn’t make it, he needs to face the No. 2 finisher, likely one of the Republicans. The GOP hopes the party will rally behind their guy and elect him over Ossoff in the runoff election.

Still, Democrats — even if they lose this election — are likely to crow about how they damn near flipped that district.

Please.

As a progressive-leaning voter myself, I am pulling for an upset in Georgia. I would be glad to see Ossoff score an outright victory by day’s end. A win by the young Democrat clearly would send a message to the president and his Republican friends that they’re likely to have a serious fight on their hands in next year’s mid-term congressional elections.

However, elections determine winners and losers. Candidates need to get more votes than their opponent to actually win. Falling short of the total they need today in Georgia will not stop Democrats from spinning a loss into some sort of moral victory.

As the old saying goes, “Close counts only in horseshoes and hand grenades.”

New defense boss breaks with commander in chief-to-be

Imagine that … the man picked to lead the Defense Department thinks Russia is our No. 1 worldwide adversary and he’s sounding a good bit more anti-Kremlin than the man who nominated him, Donald J. Trump.

What’s going on here? Sanity is breaking out within the budding Trump administration.

Trump’s CIA director-designate, Mike Pompeo, calls waterboarding a form of “torture” and says he would refuse to obey a direct order to invoke “enhanced interrogation” techniques on enemy captives. Trump campaigned on a pledge to restore waterboarding.

Now we hear from Defense Secretary-designate James Mattis, who tells us that Russia is our top adversary and that the United States should honor the nuclear arms-production agreement it struck with Iran. Let’s see: Trump is buddies with Vladimir Putin and he says he’ll tear up the Iran nuke treaty when he takes office.

Mattis isn’t too keen on either matter, he told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/senate-set-to-question-trumps-pentagon-pick-veteran-marine-gen-james-mattis/2017/01/11/b3c6946a-d816-11e6-9a36-1d296534b31e_story.html?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-main_no-name%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.2af606a6369a

Mattis is a retired Marine Corps general with plenty of combat experience. The man is a plain-spoken, in-your-face general-grade officer.

He said this about the Iran nuclear deal: “I think it is in an imperfect arms control agreement — it’s not a friendship treaty. But when America gives her word, we have to live up to it and work with our allies.”

I’m beginning to believe Trump might be surrounding himself with at least a couple of reasonable minds on his national security team.

He will need their wise counsel. I hope the hothead/know-it-all/commander in chief chooses to heed it.

Sanity emerges from among one of Trump’s picks

How about this, folks?

The man picked to be the next CIA director said today that he would “absolutely not” follow a direct order to torture enemy combatants in the search for information from them.

That includes waterboarding, according to Kansas U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo, who is Donald Trump’s pick to be the nation’s head spook.

http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/313972-pompeo-would-absolutely-not-obey-torture-order-from-trump

I’ve been hoping to be able to speak well of a Trump appointee. Rep. Pompeo has given me the opportunity.

Pompeo is known to be a combative fellow. He struck a reasonable and moderate tone today as he testified before a Senate committee that is considering his pick to lead the CIA.

He doesn’t envision the new president issuing an order to torture enemy prisoner, Pompeo said under questioning from Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. I hope he is correct in his assumption about the new commander in chief.

Certain forms of torture have been referred to euphemistically as “enhanced interrogation techniques.” According to The Hill: Asked if he could commit to senators that the CIA is “out of the enhanced interrogation business,” Pompeo affirmed that, “You have my full commitment.”

The new CIA boss will need to held accountable to that pledge.

I’m glad he made it.