When Donald Trump decided to fire Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and nominate CIA Director Mike Pompeo to take his place, he either didn’t realize Pompeo would have go to through Senate confirmation hearings again, or didn’t realize that the political climate has fundamentally shifted since the last time Pompeo went through the confirmation process. Palmer Report predicted that the Pompeo nomination would come back to bite Trump, and that’s now happening.
Even as the Trump-appointed heads of various U.S. intel agencies have made clear that Russia meddled in the election on Donald Trump’s behalf, Mike Pompeo has been the one exception. He’s repeatedly tried to use his position as CIA Director to push Trump’s party line that Russia played no role, to the point that Pompeo has even had to walk some of it back. This has raised questions about just how deep in bed Pompeo might be with Trump and Russia. The confirmation hearings will give Senate Democrats the opportunity to grill him about all of this on live national television. But now Pompeo has another, more immediate problem.
Back when Trump was making his initial nominations, Senate Republicans were trying to ram them through as swiftly as possible before anything ugly could be dug up about them, in the hope of quickly moving on to a legislative agenda. But over the past fifteen months, most of Trump’s appointees have gradually been exposed for financial corruption, ties to the Trump-Russia plot, and other scandals. Now that Trump’s cabinet is a hotbed of corruption controversy, it’s created an environment where any new nominee – including Pompeo is going to be severely scrutinized.
Sure enough, it’s been revealed today that Mike Pompeo failed to disclose his business ties to a Chinese oil and gas company during his confirmation process for CIA Director. It’s one thing to have such ties; it’s another to essentially lie about them to the Senate by hiding them. So now Pompeo’s confirmation hearings for Secretary of State are going to be all about why he lied the first time around and what else he’s hiding – in addition to the questions he was already going to face about why he tried to cover for Trump and Russia.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report