Emails show that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo falsely attacked an NPR reporter over questions about Ukraine.
NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly pressed Pompeo about Ukraine after asking him multiple questions about Iran in an interview last week.
After the interview, Kelly said she was “was taken to the Secretary’s private living room where he was waiting and where he shouted at me for about the same amount of time as the interview itself.”
“He was not happy to have been questioned about Ukraine,” she said.
“Do you think Americans care about Ukraine?” Pompeo asked, according to Kelly. She added that “He used the F-word in that sentence and many others. He asked if I could find Ukraine on a map. I said yes, and he called out for aides to bring us a map of the world with no writing. I pointed to Ukraine. He put the map away. He said, ‘people will hear about this.’”
Pompeo accused Kelly of lying to him and suggested she pointed to Bangladesh on the map, not Ukraine.
“NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly lied to me, twice. First, last month, in setting up our interview and, then again yesterday, in agreeing to have our post-interview conversation off the record. It is shameful that this reporter chose to violate the basic rules of journalism and decency. This is another example of how unhinged the media has become in its quest to hurt President Trump and this Administration. It is no wonder that the American people distrust many in the media when they so consistently demonstrate their agenda and their absence of integrity,” he said in a statement. “It is worth noting that Bangladesh is NOT Ukraine.”
Trump also waded into the issue, retweeting a post questioning why NPR exists at all.
Emails support Kelly, not Pompeo:
Emails obtained by The Washington Post show that Pompeo’s staff was aware that Kelly would ask about Ukraine and raised no objections.
Emails show that there was no agreement to stay away from questions about Ukraine.
“Just wanted to touch base that we still intend to keep the interview to Iran tomorrow,” Pompeo aide Katie Martin wrote. “Know you just got back from Tehran so we would like to stick to Iran as the topic as opposed to jumping around. Is that something we can agree to?”
“I am indeed just back from Tehran and plan to start there. Also Ukraine. And who knows what the news gods will serve up overnight. I never agree to take anything off the table,” Kelly replied.
“Totally understand you want to ask other topics but just hoping . . . we can stick to that topic for a healthy portion of the interview,” Martin said. “Wouldn’t want to spend the interview on questions he’s answered many times for the last several months.”
“My plan is to start with Iran and, yes, to spend a healthy portion of the interview there. Iran has been my focus of late as well. And yes — I also would not want to waste time on questions he’s answered many times in recent months,” Kelly replied.