Russian embassy rebuffs Pompeo's Moscow intervention accusation

Russia has played an active role in the ongoing conflict in Syria

In response, the Russian embassy said in a statement that Pompeo's rhetoric was once again "unfounded accusations of Russia's meddling in USA electoral processes", earlier made by US legislators. "So, in turn, he has come to rely on us", Pompeo said. Russia is not engaged in changing regimes and interfering into other states' sovereign affairs unlike the United States, the Russian embassy said on Thursday.

Trump has spoken highly of Pompeo, as has a group of 53 national security experts, who sent a letter to Republican Senator Bob Corker, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, saying Pompeo is "the sort of seasoned, accomplished and energetic national security policy practitioner our nation desperately needs at this juncture in the role of secretary of state".

"We need to make sure that Vladimir Putin doesn't succeed in what he believes his ultimate goal is."

Mr Tillerson, a former chief executive of Exxon Mobil, had a rocky relationship with Mr Trump in just over a year in the job.

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Tillerson served as secretary of state until the end of March.

The start of Mr Pompeo's hearing was disrupted by protesters chanting "No Pompeo, no more war" before police led them out.

Democratic senators have raised questions about his fitness to be top diplomat, given his hawkish views and past comments about minorities.

"I don't know the answer to that". Yet he dodged repeatedly when Democrats tried to pin him down on President Donald Trump's handling of the special investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. But he wouldn't answer questions about the contents of the interview, arguing it would be improper since, as CIA director in charge of overseas intelligence gathering, he has been a "participant" in Mueller's probe.

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Booker specifically asked Pompeo if he had ever condemned Frank Gaffney, an anti-Muslim extremist who has said that Muslims who "abide by the adherence of their faith should be tried for acts of sedition and should be prosecuted".

He promised he would be his own man as secretary of state, saying his close relationship with Mr Trump meant, "I was able to persuade him" when he headed the Central Intelligence Agency.

"If there's no chance that we can fix it, I will recommend to the president that we work with our allies to achieve a better outcome and to achieve a better deal", Pompeo said.

Pompeo needs a simple majority in the Senate to be confirmed as secretary of state.

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