Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Press Briefing CSPAN November 26, 2019 6:40pm-7:10pm EST
our way to help out. one has to started a career. the other has a relatively new job and is raising a perfect little boy. i think that's where they want to make sure they keep most of their time. >> we thank you for your time. >> it's good to be with you. thank you. holds adent trump campaign rally in sunrise, florida, his first rally since changing his residency from new york to florida in october. you can see that live today at 7:00 eastern on c-span. pompeory of state mike today addressed a number of issues centering around countries like iran and china and the conflict in hong kong. he also talked about allegations of ukraine interfering in the 2016 election. here is his news briefing.
sec. pompeo: good morning, everyone. i want to comment this morning on a few terrorism related matters, a terrorist regime, and a couple other items as well. before i begin, i want to confirm with a heavy heart today that united states citizen dale rush of california was killed in a terrorist attack on november 24. we extend our condolences to the family and friends of the victims in this tragic incident and send our best wishes for a speedy recovery to those who were injured. attacks targeting u.n. personnel are unconscionable. we condemn this act in the
strongest possible terms. today also marks the 11th anniversary of the mumbai terrorist attacks. we remember the 160 six victims, -- 166 victims, including six americans, and a brutality that shocked the entire world. it is an affront to the victims and their families that those who planned the attacks have still not been convicted. moving on to the world's largest state sponsor of terrorism, the islamic republic of iran, the iranian people are once again on the streets because of the regime's poor economic management. instead of addressing their grievances, tehran has responded with violence and by blaming those outside of the country. last week, they shut down the internet to keep the truth from getting out.
we have received to date nearly 20,000 messages, videos, pictures, notes of the regime's abuses through telegram messaging services. i hope they will continue to be sent to us. we will continue to sanction iranian officials responsible for these abuses just like we did last week. the iranian regime continues to support cruelty outside its borders. last week, and iranian dissident was assassinated in istanbul after he defected to turkey from iraq. this is another tragic example in a long string of assassination attempts outside of iranian soil. the regime's brutality and immorality know no international boundaries. to the courageous people of
iran who refused to stay silent, the united states hears you, we support you, and we will continue to stand with you in your struggle. as part of our long-standing strategic partnership with egypt, we continue to raise the need to recognize human rights and a robust society. we call on egypt to recognize freedom of the press and to release the journalist who were detained last weekend. turning to the chinese communist party. you have seen details of the chinese oppression of minority groups. these reports are consistent with an overwhelming and growing body of evidence that the chinese communist party is committing human rights abuses against individuals and mast detention.
we call on the chinese government to release those arbitrarily detained and to end its draconian policies. on a different note regarding china, we congratulate the people of hong kong on free and fair elections on the 24th of november. the united states continues to support democratic values and fundamental freedoms for hong kong. we also have a short announcement on cuba. today, the united states is taking action to prevent cuba from circumventing sanctions. a cuban state-run company is the primary facilitator of illegal oil imports from venezuela. we are putting sanctions on
another cuban company pursuant to executive order 13850. they were sanctioned in july of 2019 and have since had trouble finding companies willing to conduct business with them. there is a scheme between cuba and venezuela declared illegal by the legitimate government of venezuela. the people of venezuela continue to suffer. today's action will further squeeze the illegal profit making scheme. finally, after the holidays, i will be hitting the road for some important diplomatic activities. first, i will head to louisville, kentucky. the university of louisville will host me for remarks as part of mitch mcconnell's distinguished speaker series.
i will share thoughts on what the trump administration is continuing to do in the western hemisphere to protect the american people. then i will travel to london for a nato leaders meeting where the president and other allied leaders will talk about a whole host of ways to strengthen the alliance now celebrating its 70th anniversary. then i will travel to morocco, one of our strongest partners in the region. i am looking forward to reviewing our partnership and areas of cooperation. then i go to lisbon. as the case with so many of our european friends, our ties are built on shared volumes of -- values of democracy. i look forward to that visit as well. with that, i am happy to take a few questions. >> happy thanksgiving, mr. secretary, and thank you for coming down twice in two weeks. a good tradition to get into. i want to ask you about hong kong. the president is -- i don't want to say waffling, but he has not made up his mind about this and
it would involve sanctions. is this something you are personally supportive of and are you willing to take action, sanctions or otherwise, in relation to the leaders? i accept that you will not like this question or might think it's irrelevant or unimportant, so i stipulate that in advance. last friday, the department released calls and correspondence that show you had two brief conversations with rudy giuliani in late march that have led to speculation and reports that you were involved in the campaign to recall ambassador jovanovich from ukraine. did the state department then mislead or misinform congress as
to the circumstances of her departure in the two letters sent to steny hoyer and eliot engel? thank you. sec. pompeo: as for hong kong, i think the administration has been pretty clear about our expectations for how beijing will treat people throughout the country. we have human rights standards we apply across the world. hong kong is no different. in addition, we have a commitment that the chinese government made as part of their obligations to maintain one country, two systems. that is what they need to work toward. congress has taken action. i will not get out in front of what the president will do before too long, but suffice to say i think the administration has been pretty unambiguous in our support for the chinese communist party's continued commitment to the promises that were made and i think you saw that from the people of hong kong this week. that is what they are asking
for, the maintenance of the understandings that were committed to under international law. i don't have much to say with respect to the ukraine investigation other than this. we will continue to comply with all the legal requirements. we supplied documents last week and will continue to do that as required by law and as appropriate. we had a very clear policy with respect to ukraine and we executed it successfully. there are still many challenges. we still have a president in ukraine working to make sure we work through the challenges the country has had for a long time. the state department has been working on that for a year and a half plus and will continue to work on it.
every action i have taken is driven toward that objective. >> voice of america, thank you. >> reporters without borders strongly condemned the iranian threat against journalists. there is intimidation on social media and of relatives in iran. what is your take? sec. pompeo: i have seen those reports and i have seen iranians engage in activity that is at odds with understandings we have in america about how the press ought to be treated. i don't know that i have much more to add other than that the entirety of how the president has thought about the middle east and the level of activity in the republic drives toward working to eradicate what you just described. what we have advocated for inside the islamic republic is a
change in the behavior of the regime, a change that permits people to engage in commerce, take care of their families, and have normal press freedoms. that has been the policy for the entire time of the trump administration. those reports remind me that our work is not complete. >> two questions. one on turkey. turkey is testing the as 400. -- s 400. is that cause for concern? will the u.s. take any action in response like possible sanctions? do you believe the u.s. and ukraine should investigate the theory that it was ukraine, not russia, that hack to the dnc emails? sec. pompeo: anytime there is information that indicates that any country has messed with
american elections, we not only have a right but a duty to make sure we chase that down. i served as the cia director for the first year and a half of this administration. i can assure you there were many countries actively engaged in trying to undermine american democracy, our rule of law, and the fundamental understandings we have in the united states. we were diligently working to make sure we addressed each of them with every tool of american power that we had. i said nations, i think. it is not just state actors. there are nonstate actors, too, out there acting in ways that are against the interests of what we are trying to do. if we have information to suggest there might have been interference or an effort to interfere, we have an obligation to make sure the american people get to go to the ballot box and cast their ballots in a way that is un-impacted by malevolent actors trying to undermine our western values.
your question about turkey. yes, it is concerning. we are hopeful. we are still talking to the turks, trying to work our way through this thing. i don't want to get out in front of what the president may or may not do. but we have made very clear our desire to see them move away from putting into full operation the weapons system. happy thanksgiving to you. >> on hong kong, a quick follow-up. would you recommend president trump endorse the bipartisan legislation on hong kong human rights? the reason i ask is because the secretary of state will be required to certify if hong kong
retains enough autonomy for favorable trading terms. separately, i've seen a new leak of documents published by the international consortium of investigative journalists that reveals the strategy behind a campaign of reeducation of minority groups. would you say that u.s. pressure has had any effect on china's actions? and do these new documents allow more concrete action to be taken against china? sec. pompeo: your first question , i cannot really answer because you point out, quite frankly, in the second part of the question that the issue will come to me if it becomes law. if the president signs it and it becomes law, that will come to me and i will have to make that determination. i don't want to prejudge that.
i want to make sure the process is run in a neutral way. i will be tasked under that statute to evaluate if the requirements are met. our team already has a lot of foundational activity in place that we can perform a pretty thorough analysis pretty quickly to see if that certification can be made if in fact it becomes law. that will be a published certification. we will send it to capitol hill as required by the statute. the second question is about the effect of the newly released information. i think there are a couple. first, i think it confirms what we have been saying at the state department and the united states government for some time now about what is taking place. very significant human rights abuses. it shows that it is not random. it is intentional.
it is ongoing. i think those papers confirm that. i think the world can see that. i think it is the case now that you will see many more countries around the world acknowledging what is taking place and working alongside the united states to create space and improve human rights conditions. i am hopeful that the release of those papers will encourage others to join in what we view as a very important outcome we are trying to achieve. yes, ma'am. >> i have a comment for the department on the new numbers reports coming out. there is new information that the communist party has detained up to one million leaders. does the state department have any response to that number? sec. pompeo: our best analysis is that is a reasonable number if you think about the number of persons who have over time been held, detained, or wrongfully
denied their fundamental human rights. we think that number is about right. >> the president tweeted a short while ago that he would encourage you to testify in an impeachment investigation. is that something you are considering? sec. pompeo: when the time is right, all good things happen. [laughter] >> iraq is cracking down on protesters with live ammunition. in lebanon, clashes. what steps are you considering to help? on lebanon, any updates military aid to the lebanese army, will the u.s. be able to provide internet access to the iranian people soon? sec. pompeo: as for internet access, it has come back on just a bit.
we have urged the leadership of the islamic republic regime to turn it back on so that people can communicate. it was done to tamp down on the protests and deny the world access to see it. it's not working. i talked about the 20,000 messages we received which we believe all came from inside the islamic republic of iran. we expect to get thousands and thousands more in the coming days. there is the capacity for iranians to communicate outside of the country. the second piece should not surprise anyone. when you turn your internet off, the commercial activity taking place inside iran is diminished. a lot of commerce takes place through electronic communications and the inability to speak there will further decrease the iranian economy which will further deny them the resources to conduct terror campaigns around the world. the first question was about
iraq. >> lebanon. sec. pompeo: i don't have anything to say on the lebanon funding issue today. as for iraq, our mission there is largely counterterrorism. that's what our troops are on the ground for, an effort to help the people stand up a free and independent, sovereign iraq. that's our goal for the iraqi people. we are prepared to work with the iraqi leadership to try to deliver that on behalf of the iraqis. we've made no bones that we believe the iranian presence there is harmful to that. we are confident that the iraqi
leadership once the same thing we are helping them work toward. great. thanks, everybody. have a wonderful thanksgiving. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2019] >> we are live at the bb&t .enter in sunrise, florida president trump holding a campaign rally here tonight. he will be joined by vice president mike pence. the president calling this a homecoming rally, his first rally in the state since changing his residency late last month from new york to florida. we will have the rally live here on c-span once he gets underway. the president is on the ground in florida and on his way to the
talk about your role at the pentagon specifically under jim mattis. >> international organizations. >> did you know secretary mattis before you got the job? >> no. . met him once very briefly i had been interviewing for my first speech writer job. for 20 years, i was an f-18 fighter pilot. when you fly missions overseas, when you come back, a year or two years of a break. i was interviewing for my first roll. mattis.es secretary i had a chance to meet him
briefly but i never worked with him before. >> how did you get the job? >> i was contacted. i finish my commanding officer tour in japan. we were stationed overseas for 2.5 years. when we moved back to the united states, we had taken a job in norfolk, virginia. askingved a phone call if i would be interested in working for secretary mattis. that in mind, given your experiences, you ended up with the book. it was the goal in writing the book? >> sometimes, when you look through it in a narrow lens, people say, you went there to write a book. that is patently false. on a pathvy commander upward and onward. circumstance intervened. he realized that the pathway forward for me in the navy would close. i was asked to take a role that would be incompatible with my family. you can do one of two things.
you can be the commanding officer of a carrier air wing, eight squadrons, or you can be the commanding officer of a nuclear powered aircraft carrier. we were asked to do the latter. two more years of being a geographic bachelor. the burden that would place on my rife -- wife and kid. i was honored by the selection but unable to success -- except. when you exit the uniform and think about the lessons you were seesed to, being able to how those kinds of significant decisions are made and be able to share with the american public a context for how these decisions were made in the importance they have domestically and abroad. >> it's a running theme in the book. i will read you one line that was quoted to secretary mattis. he said this in a conversation you had. when it comes to his management of the pentagon versus the white house. saying, there could be no daylight between us.
people are getting tired of hearing one thing out of the administration and the opposite. it has to be aligned. the that reflect the general attitude of general mattis? >> 100%. he understood that he served at the pleasure of the president. he's the secretary of defense at that point in time. the white house may say one thing, that was the concern. if you don't have that transparency within the administration, you don't have that alignment in your message, it's very confusing. we are seeing that today. even just recently with the news about secretary esper having a breakdown with his navy secretary and subsequently firing him. it all happened because there was a misalignment in the messaging and the white house. >> he said, we have to make sure we are aligned with the white house. given example. >> there was a meeting i had with the secretary. a great example is when we would go to the nato minister in
brussels. you are on the world stage. you have 28 other nations as part of the nato alliance. you need to make sure you are sticking to the presidents talking point. second -- secretary mattis needed to be aligned. everyone is parsing what he says. if there is a sliver of daylight that exists between the president and his secretaries, that's not a good thing. the second one that stands out to me is when you start thinking about some of the issues that did catch us by surprise. that's the danger. you find yourself in a circumstance where you are inadvertently not aligned. that could be blown not of proportion in a way that was not intended. >> if you have questions about his book, his time at the pentagon, call and ask him those questions. if you are active or retired
military and want to give europe, texas at that's a number. name come your city and state, and text that to us. did secretary mattis agree with president trump over issues in running the pentagon? >> i would like secretary mattis into for himself. whether you are president trump or the average american, you should be thrilled. he understood the importance of being aligned with the president of the united states. that is appropriate. he's a political appointee. he needs to be backing the president. where that worked incredibly well was when you had a multi-month, the president would say that is my position, you have plenty of lead in time to be able to coordinate across the inner agency. where you see that breakdown is where a decision is made in haste.
in the book, i talk about the transgender man tweet that came out of thin air and caught everyone by surprise. you can see how that can cause a lot more issues and concern than it would have if it had been corrugated. >> the president had thoughts about how nato should operate in the role of world powers when it comes to organizing on efforts. , did that go against secretary mattis and what he had to do at the pentagon when it comes to dealing with other countries? >> i don't think it did. president trump has said with nato, increase burden sharing. the nato alliance need to increase their percentage of gdp they are spending on military's they can take their own side in a fight in europe or anywhere else. that secretaryge mattis would amplify. >> we have calls lined up for you. this is peter in rhode island.