Pompeo's Promises To Boost Morale And Repair Shelled-Out State Dept

Russia investigator Mueller interviewed CIA chief

Mike Pompeo, now the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, has been tapped to replace Rex Tillerson as secretary of state, in what could be one of the more consequential of many personnel shakeups since Trump took office 14 months ago.

"That's now over. The list of this administration's actions to raise the cost for [Russian President] Vladimir Putin is long", Pompeo said in his prepared testimony before the Senate for the confirmation hearing. Rand Paul (R-KY), is threatening to withhold his vote over Pompeo's support of the Iraq War and torture interrogation methods. Drawing a sharp contrast with predecessor Rex Tillerson, Pompeo will vow to promote democracy and human rights while ending "demoralizing" vacancies at the State Department. They say this is because the two jobs are very different and worry about Pompeo taking an overly secretive approach to the role as America's top diplomat.

"A lot of us are anxious about the combination of Pompeo and Bolton putting a set of military options on the table for the president that could do real damage to our national security", Murphy said.

Those who have been helping Pompeo prepare for the hearing say that he is committed to standing before the committee and pledging his devotion to reinvigorating the department's role in American diplomacy.

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"I'll do my part to end the vacancies, but I'll need your help", Pompeo is expected to say in his opening remarks during Thursday's confirmation hearing.

And with Trump recently appointing hawkish conservative John Bolton as his national security advisor, Murphy said he wanted to scrutinize Pompeo over potential flashpoints like North Korea and Syria.

"President Trump isn't one to play games at the negotiating table - and I won't be either", he will say. Democrats are anxious about Pompeo stoking Trump's pugilistic instincts, and at least one Republican, Sen.

The group said they think Pompeo could bring stability to the State Department, arguing he will "diligently to restore the Department of State to its rightful place" if confirmed.

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On Iran, he'll tell senators that he will work with US allies to fix the 2015 Iran nuclear accord, which Trump has threatened to withdraw from.

The preparations began even before Trump selected him to replace Tillerson last month.

At the State Department, the shake-up was met with a mixture of relief and trepidation.

But many diplomats have privately voiced apprehension about Pompeo's history of sometimes hostile comments toward the gay community and Islam and his fierce criticism of the Obama administration's handling of the aftermath of the Benghazi attacks. He developed a visibly close relationship with the president, traveling to the White House on most days to deliver the highly classified President's Daily Brief in person rather than leaving the task to other intelligence officials.

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