For approximately three hours on Wednesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about President Trump's meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin last week.
He was grilled by Democratic and Republican lawmakers alike on the Helsinki summit and Mr. Trump's two-hour meeting with Putin. In that meeting, the presidents met one-on-one, with just their respective interpreters present.
"You come before a group of senators today who are filled with serious doubts about this White House and its conduct of American foreign policy," said Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tennessee, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
He went on to say that Mr. Trump is "submissive and deferential" in the face of Russia.
His colleague, Ranking Member Sen. Bob Menendez, D-New Jersey, said that the president "provides legitimacy to world's most notorious bad actors."
"Presidents have a prerogative to choose who's in meetings and who's not," Pompeo said. "I'm confident you've had one-on-one meetings in your life as well."
Pompeo said that he received a comprehensive debriefing from Mr. Trump on his one-on-one with Putin and that he's had multiple conversations and with Mr. Trump about what transpired in that meeting since.
"I think I have a pretty complete understanding of what took place," Pompeo said.
Menendez pushed the secretary on what specifically was discussed in the meeting. While Pompeo did not cite specifics when asked if Mr. Trump and Putin discussed Russian sanctions,, or aid to Syria, he did respond to questioning about Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
"The president disclosed what he said to Vladimir Putin about Russian interference in our elections. And he said that he is confident that as a result of that conversation, Vladimir understands that it won't be tolerated," Pompeo said.
Pompeo was asked directly about potential Trump investments, properties, or other potential conflicting affairs he may have in Russia.
"That question gets to the political circus, I came here to talk about American foreign policy," Pompeo responded.
He did eventually concede that new sanctions on Russia may be necessary.
"I think it would be constructive to head down that path," Pompeo said.
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