Secretary of State Mike Pompeo brushed it off as absurd a New York Times report alleging that President Donald Trump was investigated by the FBI as a potential national security threat as well as a Russian agent.
In an interview for CBS News’ “Face the Nation” set to air Sunday, Pompeo declined to engage in a serious discussion on the report when host Margaret Brennan asked for his reaction.
“I’m not going to comment on New York Times stories, but I’ll certainly say this, that the notion that President Trump is a threat to American national security is absolutely ludicrous,” Pompeo said.
Pushed by Brennan to explain whether he was aware that an FBI investigation had been underway, Pompeo again dismissed her question.
“Margaret, Margaret, Margaret. I’ve answered this question repeatedly, indeed on your show” he said. “The idea that’s contained in The New York Times story that President Trump was a threat to American national security is silly on its face and not worthy of a response.”
The Times article, published on Friday, said that the investigation was opened in May 2017 immediately after Trump’s firing of then-FBI Director James Comey. The inquiry reportedly sought to get to the bottom of whether Trump was hindering the safety of the nation and whether he was obstructing justice with the ouster, given that the probe that was already underway into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
On Saturday morning, Trump responded to the story on Twitter by venting his outrage, though he did not deny that there was an investigation into his conduct.
In the post, the president resurfaced his old insult of Comey, calling him a liar and “a total sleaze.”
To that, Comey simply responded with a short quote from former President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Shortly after the story broke, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders slammed the article’s credibility, calling it “absurd.”
“James Comey was fired because he’s a disgraced partisan hack, and his Deputy Andrew McCabe, who was in charge at the time, is a known liar fired by the FBI,” she said in a statement published on Twitter by NBC News’ Geoff Bennett. “Unlike President Obama, who let Russia and other foreign adversaries push America around, President Trump has actually been tough on Russia.”
Despite Pompeo’s contention that he had already answered Brennan’s question regarding the investigation, CBS News pointed out that he hadn’t, adding that “there is no mention of the Russia investigation in any of the five transcripts from Pompeo’s appearances on ‘Face the Nation’ -– as both secretary of state and CIA director.”