Mike Pompeo Can Find Proof that Obama Addressed Ukrainian Corruption in Trump’s Joint Defense Agreement

Mike Pompeo had an unbelievably dickish interview with NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly this morning. In spite of the fact that Kelly alerted his staff she intended to ask about Iran and Ukraine, he complained when she turned to Ukraine. He falsely claimed he had defended everyone of his reports, including Marie Yovanovitch. And he reportedly accused Kelly of not being able to find Ukraine on a map (which she promptly did).

I was taken to the Secretary’s private living room where he was waiting and where he shouted at me for about the same amount of time as the interview itself.

He was not happy to have been questioned about Ukraine.

He asked, “do you think Americans care about Ukraine?”

He used the F-word in that sentence and many others. He asked if I could find Ukraine on a map. I said yes, and he called out for aides to bring us a map of the world with no writing. I pointed to Ukraine. He put the map away. He said, “people will hear about this.”

But the craziest thing might be Pompeo’s claim that President Obama did nothing to take down corruption in Ukraine.

Change of subject. Ukraine. Do you owe Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch an apology?

You know, I agreed to come on your show today to talk about Iran. That’s what I intend to do. I know what our Ukraine policy has been now for the three years of this administration. I’m proud of the work we’ve done. This administration delivered the capability for the Ukrainians to defend themselves. President Obama showed up with MREs (meals ready to eat.) We showed up with Javelin missiles. The previous administration did nothing to take down corruption in Ukraine. We’re working hard on that. We’re going to continue to do it. [my emphasis]

Pompeo has to say this, obviously, because a key Trump defense against impeachment is that Joe Biden was supporting, rather than combatting corruption. But a number of impeachment witnesses, including Marie Yovanovitch, explained at length the things Obama had done to combat Ukrainian corruption. It’s one of many reasons why Obama did not give lethal aid to Ukraine. Bruce Ohr, whom Trump has targeted for over a year, worked hard on the issue, too.

But the craziest part of this claim — that Obama did nothing to take down corruption in Ukraine — can be found in Trump’s own Joint Defense Agreement. There are two glaring exhibits of efforts taken under Obama to combat corruption: Dmitro Firtash, who was indicted for bribery by NDIL in 2013, is represented by Victoria Toensing and Joe DiGenova, who were consulting on Trump’s defense against the whistleblower complaint on October 8, 2019.

So, too, was Kevin Downing, Paul Manafort’s defense attorney. Manafort, of course, was ultimately found guilty of breathtaking corruption in Ukraine in an investigation that started in January 2016. Manafort lied to obstruct an investigation into what he was doing in a meeting on August 2, 2016, where he discussed how to get paid by several of his corrupt Ukrainian paymasters, shared his campaign strategy, and discussed how to carve up Ukraine to Russia’s liking; that investigation started just days later, on August 10, 2016.

In short, Obama’s DOJ opened a number of investigations into Ukrainian corruption. It just turns out that two of the most notorious defendants in those investigations are part of a Joint Defense Agreement with Pompeo’s boss.

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76 replies
    • suremantank says:

      Harpie??
      Trump is the one who has tried for all of this term & post-election “coup” & spygate conspiracies to impeach *Obama”, his Sec State & now VP. There are typos in this piece, but defense against Trump impeach is not one.

  1. Fran of the North says:

    Thanks for this post. Just got home and listened to the uncut version of this interview btw Mary Louise Kelly and Sec. Pompeo. I misunderstood his comments re: Obama actions. He mentioned MRE’s (military aid)and then switched to corruption, which flew by due to my anger with his stonewalling.

    He is an embarrassment to the United States and like Mike Flynn, he wraps himself in the flag.

    The UNCUT version of the interview is here:
    https://www.npr.org/2020/01/24/799244678/pompeo-wont-say-whether-he-owes-yovanovitch-an-apology-i-ve-done-what-s-right

    • Raven Eye says:

      I heard the interview on NPR whilst driving home last evening. Fortunately for my fellow travelers on I-5, my car has lane-assist.

      The interview and the follow-on is a useful listen for anyone who would like the last few brush strokes to complete the picture of what Pompeo is and isn’t.

    • suremantank says:

      Since I posted for the 1st time, let me add 1) the irony that those like Vindman who spoke up are accused of “dual loyalty” because their families fled Soviet countries (often “Save Soviet Jewry” & persecution therein. I always think of Einstein & many scientists who survived WWII. Vindman & WB are really accused of supporting their C-o-C and Obama’s foreign policy, not obstructing Trump’s.
      2) Putin has sold “Rev of Dignity” as a CIA plot & claimed that it was Jarrett giving out ham sandwiches, not even MRE.
      Etc, etc.
      Firtash hoped to pin this on State Dept funded NGOs (& their FBI guys) & both Trump/Giuli & Firtash seem to want to say the same: State Dept & anti-corruption NGOs are Soros fronts. So not really about Biden per se. Just same old taint: see Dr. Hill.

      So on topic: 1) Yes, Firtash indictment was ’13 & not even Ukraine-energy or Russia-related. Firtash says he’s owed $200 mil, but I understand his companies owe Ukraine way, way more just since ’14.
      2) Holder got reg whereby forfeiture from corruption cases go to US Treasury. WH defenders today did not bring up point that just with Skadden settlement, Mueller was a bigly net win.

      I know about what Holder did because the Ukraine anti-corruption NGO attacked by Giuli wanted very small recompense for their help.

      3) Obama got coordination against illegal annexation of Crimea through EU & other sanctions. Trump makes them painful, because yes Europe is dependent on Russia for energy supply. It was a great coup for RU propaganda when NEngl had to import RU LNG.

      4) If Trump/Kush peace plan depends on unilaterally recognizing “sovereignty” in the West Bank, well can’t complain about Crimea.

      So Pompass must be very upset, because Pence was at the Wailing Wall & announcing the “Holy Land” deal/Kush peace plan after such election interference for the 3rd time. Trump couldn’t even spell Gantz correctly.
      & the deal will blow up treaties Jordon has with Israel & likely violate international law, as does Crimea. So my question is: does the oath of Prez include intl obligations, war crimes…?
      Thanks

    • Marji Campbell says:

      Funny side note – when Pompeo said Bangladesh is not even near Ukraine (yup, 3600 mi), he probably meant Belarus, the neighboring country. Idiot!

  2. klynn says:

    This is a great post!

    I wish I could have been a fly on the wall when Pompeo read this. I imagine he threw something…in addition to a fit.

  3. Vicki Greenberg says:

    Something about circling the wagons and (beating) dead horses.
    It’s hard to believe Pompeo would be any more charming lying about Iran that he was lying about Ukraine?
    I was only half listening but I know I heard the f’ing dossier and HILLARY!!! come up today someone claiming working with Steel was the same as asking a foreigner to interfere in our elections.
    Wait.
    Wasn’t that admitting Trump asked a foreign government to interfere with our elections?
    There people need to get their defense on the same page.
    I am smelling fear, these folks have nothing and some of them are terrible actors.
    It’s is dems job to sell this to the country, they don’t have a chance unless they give those those scaredy cat senators senators something to really be afraid of.

    • P J Evans says:

      Vicks, they’re trying:
      Friday, Jan 24, 2020 · 5:03:03 PM PST · Mark Sumner

      Schiff defends the idea that the obstruction charge is at least as important as the abuse of power charge, because that charge shows Trump’s challenge to Congress’ ability to investigate any crime.

      • P J Evans says:

        followed by:
        Friday, Jan 24, 2020 · 5:05:23 PM PST · Mark Sumner

        Schiff once again pointing out that even if the House wins every single time in defending their subpoenas, Trump can simply run out the clock.

        • P J Evans says:

          Friday, Jan 24, 2020 · 5:49:47 PM PST · Mark Sumner

          Adam Schiff has been pounding. He’s been humorous. He’s been aggressive in taking apart the opposing case. He’s been warm. He’s been encouraging. He’s called to their better natures. He’s demanded their fair action.

          If there is more that he could have done tonight, I don’t know what it might be.

          And Schiff did bring up the “heads on pikes” stuff.

          • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

            Apparently one or more GOP Senators are insulted by Adam Schiff’s frankness in relating Trump’s threat that anyone who votes against him will find their ‘head on a pike’.

            The insulted GOP Senators fail to grasp the essential point EW makes here:

            In short, … two of the most notorious defendants in those investigations are part of a Joint Defense Agreement with Pompeo’s boss.

            Maybe if the GOP Senators would snap out of their somnabulance, they’d wake up to the fact that Pompeo’s boss is in a JDA with people who appear to be Ukrainian mobsters.

            Given the existence of that JDA, if the GOP senators fail to call witnesses, they’ll be enabling mobsters.

        • bmaz says:

          This by Schiff is gaslighting of Trumpian proportion. The only reason that Trump can “run out the clock” on subpoenas is because feckless and timid Dems led by Pelosi, Hoyer, Jeffries and Schiff refused to get off their ass and open a formal inquiry early on and litigate their subpoena and document request rights early, forcefully and expeditiously.

          That they now whine that “golly we can’t get it done now” is simply pathetic. The House Democrats were obstructed and denied proper oversight and Article I power, indeed they were flat mocked and laughed at in that regard, from day one they retook the House on January 3, 2019 at the start of the 116th term of Congress. That they were too chickenshit to do anything substantive about it until the end of September, well that is on them.

          And they are doing it again now “golly there is just nothing we can do, Big Bad Trump might run out the clock on us”. Spare me.

          • Sonso says:

            If they had started on 1/19, prior to the events included in these impeachment articles, how much further along would they be in the courts with regards to litigating subpoenas and executive privilege?

            • bmaz says:

              They would be done, and positively so. The basis for opening an inquiry was there from the start, though that would have looked unseemly. By March or April though, they should have gotten moving.

      • bmaz says:

        To PJ at 8:05pm and regarding this quote:

        “Schiff defends the idea that the obstruction charge is at least as important as the abuse of power charge, because that charge shows Trump’s challenge to Congress’ ability to investigate any crime.”

        If that is true, and it absolutely is (in fact protecting their Article I prerogative, oversight and checks and balances is FAR more important that the single stupid phone call thing), then why did the House Dems not do something about it earlier? Riddle me that Adam Schiff.

        • Vicks says:

          I’ve never seen rewards of a successful obstruction of justice strategy until Trump skated on the Mueller investigation.
          Here we go again.
          No one can say we weren’t warned.
          Related question; why isn’t anyone responding to the “no crime was committed” nonsense by pointing out obstruction is a crime?
          A huge crime that they can’t defend no matter how many decent Americans they try to smear.
          Let’s see how many republican senators have the stomach to stay in their seats this round.

              • bmaz says:

                It’s pretty decent, and all of the contributors are first rate legal minds. Schiff could have himself, or had one of the other managers, simply read that article into the record to eliminate the stupid “there are no crimes” meme the GOP blathers on and on about. It would have taken a whole 10-15 minutes of their 24 hours.

            • Vicks says:

              Got through it once.
              It seems that it’s pretty clear the party of Trump’s claim to redefine high crimes and misdemeanors is weak.
              Dershowitz was on Fox this am, and Chris Wallace appeared to have done his homework.
              If the interview was any clue my uneducated guess is Dershowitz is going to use historical examples from Britain and the US where the words “mismanagement” “misconduct”and “misdemeanor” were used and proceed conflate not just those three words, but confuse opinions with precedence, and historical examples that had nothing to do with our constitution with those that did.
              He will then point to the fact that “mismanagement” actually was rejected by our founders as criteria for impeachment and insist that’s proof that the glove doesn’t fit.
              He also felt the need to say he had been working on this “way before he was put in this role”
              On a related note…
              I’m not sure I would be alone saying this was the first time i’ve heard about the holes in the arguments of those is was a mistake to not include bribery in the articles of impeachment.

  4. BobCon says:

    I have had a lot of complaints about Mary Louise Kelly, but good for her about revealing what Pompeo said and did.

    This obviously isn’t new behavior, but have reporters ever given serious details before? There is nothing objective about covering it up. The public doesn’t benefit when reporters pretend Pompeo (or Bolton or any of the other screamers) are simply making policy statements. The curtain needs to be pulled back.

  5. earlofhuntingdon says:

    He tries to hide it behind his false humility and fundamentalist religiosity, but Mike is a mean bully – Eddie Haskell meets goombah. My comment from an earlier thread:

    “Mikey is a stock character found in every military and corporate melodrama. He kisses those above him, and shites on everyone below him. He is useful for peacetime ladder climbing, but not a guy you want in a fox hole when there’s a new moon and the cicadas stop singing.

    For him, a Mensch is the guy to blame when it hits the fan. He and Trump share the same attitude about doing the right thing: “Never heard of it.”

    Pompeo maybe harder and more street smart than Kris Kobach, but he still seems to be one of the stupidest smart guys in American politics.

  6. skua says:

    I’m coming to see that any nation that wants reliable US assistance needs to have a presence with US citizens.
    So soft power development and projection as part of their national defense strategy.

    Would that Pompeo’s lie gets so much publicity that he is forced to publicly retract.

    All the tools Trump has used to corrupt America need to be cleaned.

    Thanks for your good work Marcy.

  7. AndTheSlithyToves says:

    He asked, “do you think Americans care about Ukraine?”
    He used the F-word in that sentence and many others.

    OK, I’ll bite:
    A. “do you FUCKING think Americans care about Ukraine?”
    B. “do you think FUCKING Americans care about Ukraine?”
    C. “do you think Americans FUCKING care about Ukraine?”
    D. “do you think Americans care about FUCKING Ukraine?”
    or
    E. “do you FUCKING think FUCKING Americans FUCKING care about FUCKING Ukraine?”

    • Eureka says:

      LOL.

      On the other hand, this is what reporters need to ask homophobic Rapture:

      F: “do you think Americans care about Ukraine [or anyone else] FUCKING?”


      (he’s not into “extra” human rights, so far ill-defined in his speeches but pointing in certain directions)

      • AndTheSlithyToves says:

        lolol…. I knew something was missing.Great job, Eureka!
        Edited FUCKING version/FUCKING edited version/FUCKING edited FUCKING version:
        A. “do you FUCKING think Americans care about Ukraine?”
        B. “do you think FUCKING Americans care about Ukraine?”
        C. “do you think Americans FUCKING care about Ukraine?”
        D. “do you think Americans care about FUCKING Ukraine?”
        E. “do you think Americans care about Ukraine [or anyone else]-FUCKING?”
        or (appropriately)
        F. “do you FUCKING think FUCKING Americans FUCKING care about FUCKING Ukraine-FUCKING?”

        FYI: Pompeo’s bullying blather triggered memories of the “Goodfellas'” scene where Henry says to Tommy “You’re a funny guy.”

        • Eureka says:

          All hail the Artist Currently Known as ATST!

          Perfect reference, cause then Tommy says: He’s a big boy, he knows what he said.

          Pompeo’s a big boy, he knows what he said!

          • Mooser says:

            When Pompeo challenged Kelly to find Ukraine, she should have said, “Thanks to you Trump and Putin, nobody will have any trouble finding Ukraine on a map, cause it won’t be there.”

  8. PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

    Maybe the guy is always a dick, but in an interview with a Nashville reporter who is female a few months ago, I got anxious watching after she started asking real questions instead of softballs. He visibly reacted and was giving off nonverbal cues that screamed, “DANGER! DANGER!” to me. Props to MLK for doing her job cooly while being insulted, especially being summoned to the living room. Although NPR has many journalistic failings I think they have good actual reporters.

    Interview I mentioned:

    https://www.wsmv.com/raw-mike-pompeo-interviewed-by-news-s-nancy-amons-in/video_d1df6c1a-e2f7-5a3d-87ab-967d824fdadd.html

    The administration is filled with misogynists but it still seems to my untrained eye that he really doesn’t like female reporters who don’t follow the party line.

  9. Keith McClary says:

    Is “a map of the world with no writing” standard equipment for Trump officials, or did Pomp’s flunkies quickly google it and print it out?

      • harpie says:

        LOL! Thanks for linking to that:

        Spent four years at the State Department.
        Circled the world twice over with Hillary Clinton.
        It’s not daycare. We didn’t carry blank maps.

        If Pompeo’s staff carry blank maps it’s because he pulls this stunt often.
        Give him a blank anatomy chart. See if he can find his balls.

    • Desider says:

      The professional Pompeo pulled his dickish map stunt on?
      ===========
      Kelly graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1993, with degrees in Government and French Literature. As a senior editor at The Harvard Crimson, she covered the 1992 Presidential election, including Bill Clinton’s inauguration.[3]

      In 1995 she completed her masters in European Studies at Cambridge University (Emmanuel College) in England.

      Career
      …After graduate school in Cambridge, England, and internships at the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in Scotland and London, Kelly joined the Boston team that launched the radio news magazine The World, a joint venture between the BBC and Public Radio International.

      The following year, Kelly moved back to the UK, working as a host, foreign correspondent and senior producer for the BBC World Service, and as a producer at CNN in London. Kelly reported from the Afghan-Pakistan border, radical Hamburg mosques, Kosovo refugee camps and the deck of an aircraft carrier. At the BBC, she covered the peace talks that ended decades of violence in Northern Ireland.

      In 2001, Kelly returned to the United States to join NPR in Washington. For three years, she edited NPR’s evening newsmagazine, All Things Considered. The NPR website described her as a “bad-ass babe on breaking news”.[4]

      In 2004, Kelly launched NPR’s intelligence beat.[2] She reported on spy agencies such as the Central Intelligence Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and the National Security Agency.

      In 2005, Kelly became the first reporter to interview Gary Schroen, the CIA operative who was dropped into Afghanistan in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks with a six-man team and a directive to bring back the head of Bin Laden.[5]

      In 2006, Kelly broke the news of the CIA’s secret decision to disband the unit aimed at hunting Osama Bin Laden.[6] That story caused an uproar and led to the Senate voting on September 8, 2006, to reinstate the unit.

      From January 2009 to 2011, Kelly was National Public Radio’s senior Pentagon correspondent, reporting on defense and foreign policy issues. As part of NPR’s national security team, Kelly covered the Obama administration’s approach to the wars in Afghanistan and the Iraq War. She also focused on how the U.S. projected its military power elsewhere in the world; how the U.S. reacted to, and dealt with, the emerging global military muscle of countries such as China; and the way in which U.S. foreign policy goals are often sought, and sometimes achieved, through defense and Intelligence agency channels.[7]

      • bmaz says:

        Because Kelly went to Harvard and Cambridge she is infallible? I perceive her as being credible on this story. But if academic credentials are of any particular import as to intellectual honesty (they most certainly are not) then probably should acknowledge that Pompeo graduated first in his class at West Point and then from Harvard.

        Pompeo is one of the biggest assholes out there currently, but playing up Kelly’s education vis a vis Pompeo seems not relevant. Both are very educated, only one is a misogynistic lying prick.

        • harpie says:

          That bio is about a lot more than where Kelly went to school. 7 paragraphs to 2.
          The difference between what Kelly and Pompeo did WITH their educations is the telling part.

            • harpie says:

              So the academic part should not be mentioned?
              I’m not getting why that’s offensive.Did anyone say Kelly was infallible?

                • bmaz says:

                  I do not understand what the academics have to do with it at all. She asked good questions; Pompeo was a dick. What does where either went to school matter?

                  • harpie says:

                    Oh…OK. I think she asked good questions because she’s really knowledgeable about the topic and experienced, as the bio suggests she might be.
                    And she’s really self confident in her knowledge and experience…which I imagine is why Pompeo couldn’t hide that he is just “a dick”.

                  • earlofhuntingdon says:

                    DC is as credential conscious as two opposing Japanese executives, getting briefed about who needs to give the lower bow. But that factoid isn’t relevant here, except to the extent that Kelly’s are as good as Mikey’s.

                    That puts the arrogant and misogynistic Pompeo in a corner. Not being successful at intimidating his way out, he tantrums his way out. Because stupid. And because the right has used the once independently minded NPR as a punching bag since Newt Gingrich ran the House.

                    • AndTheSlithyToves says:

                      “DC is as credential conscious as two opposing Japanese executives…”
                      True that–at least it used to be for the Hill and the bureaucracies. Even 8 years of an incredibly intelligent, credentialed, articulate, thoughtful and educated Barack Obama at the helm could not stop the inevitable entropy of empire.

                  • Desider says:

                    Because Pompeo pulled out a blank map for her to pick out Ukraine on.
                    If she did European Studies at Cambridge and was a journalist around Eurasia, along with being based in London with BBC World Service, there’s a pretty good chance her Geography is solid enough to find Ukraine on the map.

                    [“In 2004, Kelly launched NPR’s intelligence beat. She reported on spy agencies such as the Central Intelligence Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and the National Security Agency… From January 2009 to 2011, Kelly was National Public Radio’s senior Pentagon correspondent, reporting on defense and foreign policy issues.” – i.e. period of Orange Revolution, Tymoshenko, Yanukovych’s return.]

                    Pompeo was being quite the ass.

                    • Mitch Neher says:

                      For someone with a military education, Pompeo did not know his adversary at all in that interview with Mary Louise Kelly.

                      And, technically speaking, that makes Pompeo a Candy-Ass.

                  • bmaz says:

                    Hey, don’t you fucking waltz in and talk to anybody here like that. Don’t let the door hit you in your fat ass.

        • BobCon says:

          Kelly’s tenure at NPR has been, unfortunately, much more like Maggie Haberman than Marcy Wheeler. Her instincts are more about civility policing than analysis — this is an example of her being more upset over the London Baby Trump balloon than Trump himself:

          https://prospect.org/culture/npr-s-mary-louise-kelly-goes-ballistic-interview-london-mayor-sadiq-khan/

          Kelly was absolutely right to go public about Pompeo. More reporters should do this, and Pompeo’s well known attitude should inform every story about his tenure. But it is telling that until now, NPR has kept its listeners in the dark.

          The subtext, unfortunately, is not that Pompeo’s destructive personality runs against America’s best interests in the ways he runs State, evaluates policy, or conducts diplomacy.

          Instead, the subtext is that Pompeo violated the rules of the club. Kelly felt she should have been treated with the deference and discretion she doles out to club members, and only witholds when dealing with outsiders like Khan.

          I hope she has learned about the idiocy of upholding club norms, although I am skeptical that NPR ‘s culture will ever do more than baby steps. It’s not just her — the other reporters and the editors are in the same boat.

            • BobCon says:

              Pompeo’s ridiculous defense rests in large part on the lie that Kelly agreed to go off the record when he attacked her.

              What undoubtedly happened is Kelly declined — for once — to honor the rule of the club that a club member is allowed to put remarks retroactively off the record, sometimes days after they were made.

              Political reporting in the US would improve measurably if editors enforced strict rules about granting off the record status, including for the chronic whine and scream sessions that club members have when they go over a reporter’s head and yell at editors in retaliation for unfavorable coverage.

              A huge part of the sad state of political reporting is the effectiveness of these scream sessions. Editors not only slant coverage to the favor of bad actors after these scream sessions, they grant them off the record status so that the public has no idea what is happening.

              The bedbug fiasco of Bret Stephens was an unusual manifestation — Stephens stupidly thought he could get away with the “I’m going to talk to your manager” stunt with a tenured professor instead of a member of the press. He would have gotten away with it if he had only chosen someone with aspirations to belong to the club.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Anyone who considers an editor of NPR’s All Things Considered a “bad ass-babe at breaking news” should not be allowed to go out at night without a chaperone.

    • harpie says:

      RAPTURE responds:
      https://twitter.com/ewong/status/1221095629071572993
      7:40 AM – 25 Jan 2020

      Pompeo’s official response to @NPRKelly interview doesn’t deny her account of his bullying & cursing. This is an attack on news organizations from the top US diplomat, someone who is supposed to defend press freedoms. It’s obvious he’s playing to an audience of one — Trump.
      [screenshot of response]

      Pompeo also undermines his credibility on the facts of the episode in the statement. There is little chance @NPRKelly, a Cambridge-educated expert on Europe, would have pointed to Bangladesh if he asked her to identify Ukraine on an unlabeled map.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      Yes, the GIF of Stephen Colbert relishing a very large carton of popcorn definitely comes to mind.
      Can’t. Stop. Guffawing.

      OMG, watching the GOP Senators deny witnesses in the trial of a guy who is in a JDA with Ukrainian mobsters… well, ‘interesting times’ to say the least.

      • Eureka says:

        WIG!

        When commenting “Mic Drop” to EW’s post, I was tryna recall what the kidz would say, which is WIG (as in my wig flew off; evolved from ‘snatched my wig’, etc.). Reading your comment reminded me, rotl: WIG!

  10. dat says:

    OT
    Joining a script readthrough already underway…
    “…Greenlighted to use extreme prejudice in the kingdom’s embassy. So my journalistic ‘bete noire’ is quiet due to blackmail, and your journalistic ‘bete noire’ is otherwise quieted. Then we trade a semi trailer full of money for nuclear technology.” “And it’s a wrap!”
    After which others ask Monsieur Tortue what it’s worth to hang on to power.

      • bmaz says:

        Jim – You have an extremely common name, would you please differentiate it in some regard? We like for everybody to always know who they are talking to here. In fact, one of the principals here is a Jim too. Thank you.

  11. Vinnie Gambone says:

    If we could change just one word, and one word only, in all of our discussions, that word would be “interference.” If you could go back in time and word search “interference” in all reporting and substitute the more truthful word, ” SABOTAGE” , that one word change would, and could affect public perception of the Russian assault on our country.

    Between now and the election, that should be the word to use. Work it into the Trump era lexicon. It’s not too late.
    That the press won’t proves their peevishness.
    Trump -Known Russian Saboteur .

  12. earlofhuntingdon says:

    But can Mike Pompeo find Ukraine on a map? Asking for a friend, because projection is this administration and the GOP’s defining characteristic. My friend is also worried about how emotionally unhinged these big powerful white men are when in power – or out of it.

    Maybe we should elect women and people of color to replace them. Having been left to pick up the pieces or been shat on their whole lives, they’ve learned to better manage their egos, their expectations, and their emotions. They might get something done besides giving more money to people who already have lots of it.

    • Mooser says:

      “But can Mike Pompeo find Ukraine on a map?”

      Of course he can. It’s that province of Russia on Russia’s western side.

  13. e.a.f. says:

    It leaves you wondering how stupid is this man, yelling at the journalist in a recorded interview. Asking where Ukraine is on a map? Is he that stupid or does he think everyone is as stupid as his boss.

    I’ve met “punks” with better manners and more smarts than Pompeo. Doesn’t say much for the judgement of the Senate or Trump.

    It did give me a good laugh though. Thank you for the reporting.

    • P J Evans says:

      It makes me think that
      (a) he’s always believed he’s the smartest guy in the room, and
      (b) he thinks women aren’t supposed to be seen or heard outside the home, and there only with the permission of their spouse or nearest male relative

      • BobCon says:

        They get away with it all the time.

        The dirty secret of DC journalism is that yelling at journalists works, and the big shots can go over a journalist’s head and yell at their editor who will as often as not fail to have their reporters’ backs.

        The best way to understand Bret Stephens sending nastygrams to the provost and department head of the professor who joked that he was a bedbug is that he does it all the time. Pompeo obviously does it too.

        The surprising thing isn’t that Pompeo cursed out Kelly. It’s that she decided not to let him retroactively declare it off the record, and her managers didn’t cave. My guess is that there were so many prior incidents from State that they finally decided to report on it. They could have saved themselves some grief if they had stopped trying to be good little girls and boys a long time ago.

  14. mospeck says:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/25/us/iran-students-deported-border.html
    “‘Demeaned and Humiliated’: What Happened to These Iranians at U.S. Airports”
    What happened sure looks and talks a lot like Fascism.

    Meanwhile, we have the finalists for the Fucking Fat Fuck Fascist Awards*
    The horses are on the track and yes Bill Barr looks like a prohibitive favorite right now, but Don, and especially Mike (Pompeo has been quietly training on the Kansas City Steakhouse circuit) are fast closers. My old friend a sharp handicapper, used to tell me, “you like the lead horse too much. Don’t be no bridge-jumper here. You are no virtual lock. Just take him across the board or at least Exacta Box the thing. Also, you gotta watch for Jay on the outside. Sek’s gained like 50 in a year.”
    * Previous winners include Hermann Goering. Brought to you by F-Bomb, training reporters to be quick on their toes since 96. Fast, what if SecState doesn’t like your questions/tone and just spins the globe, points to a dot and yells “What’s the #@$&%^! third largest city in Moldova?” Would you know? Would you be able to confidently say Balti and counter “what’s the 4th largest?..It’s ‘Bender.’ What are the four top steakhouses in Kansas City?” At F-Bomb we teach counter intimidation (similar to counter radar artillery).

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