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Hundreds of ambassadors, diplomats send letter urging grilling of Pompeo

How would Pompeo confirmation affect policy?

Over 200 former ambassadors and veteran diplomats have signed a letter urging the Senate Foreign Relations committee to grill Mike Pompeo, who is President Trump's nominee to become the next Secretary of State. 

The letter, sent to Republican committee chairman Sen. Bob Corker and ranking Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez, raises concerns that American diplomacy has been crippled and calls on the committee to question Pompeo on how he plans to fix it. The committee will conduct Pompeo's hearing to become the next Secretary of State sometime next month. 

"The president's nomination of Mike Pompeo to be the Secretary of state is an important opportunity for the Congress to focus public attention on the urgent need to restore the power and influence of American diplomacy," the letter states. 

Mr. Trump announced his intentions to tap Pompeo, the departing CIA director, to take over the helm at State after ousting former Secretary Rex Tillerson earlier this month. 

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The group of ambassadors highlight four areas that are needed to "get American diplomacy back on a path to best promote and protect our vital interests" including policy leadership, more efficient and effective resources for State amid budget cuts to the department. They also call for filling critical vacancies in the department as well as ending hiring freezes and allowing for Congressional oversight to assess "diplomatic readiness."

The letter was also posted online to gain public signatures to help petition members of Congress to "defend diplomacy."

CBS News' Margaret Brennan and Emily Tillett contributed to this report. 

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