Nancy Amons, a long-time investigative reporter at the WSMV in Nashville, only had seven minutes to interview State Secretary Mike Pompeo while he was in town on Friday to talk to a group on religious freedom. So Amons wasted no time and told the secretary that she would "just start with the hard stuff".
Then, in an exchange described as "brave" "Relentless" and "a master class in journalism" Amons depressed Pompeo on the latest news in the Trump Ukraine scandal. She questioned him about the resignation of one of his senior advisors and the overthrow of a US ambassador to Ukraine. She asked three times if he had met Trump's lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani in Warsaw, and he refused to say so.
Unhappily, Amons inquired about text messages showing that US diplomats believed that a relationship between Trump and the Ukrainian president depended on the government's country, examining his political rivals. At that moment, Pompeo lost control.
"You misunderstood your facts," he said, shaking his head to Amons. "It sounds like you are at least partially working for the Democratic National Committee."
Pompeo was in Nashville to speak at a conference of the American Association of Christian Counselors. When former US Ambassador to the Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, testified before the congress that she was fired because of pressure from Trump, the secretary of state of the group joked that it was "a damned day not to be in Washington".
Tennessee, Pompeo, has participated in interviews with local reporters, including Amons, who has worked for the WSMV for more than three decades, and has been conducting investigations into federal indictments and state investigations. Some speculated that Pompeo expected light questions as he sat down with her.
The conversation between the two began amicably when Amons joked that Pompeo had probably been and could carry out a few thousand interviews attach his own microphone. She started the interview by welcoming him to Nashville. He smiled and told her it was good to be there.
Then Amons was ready to deviate from the courtesies. She held a pile of notes in her hand and began a survey of the resignation of senior Pompeo counselor Michael McKinley.
"He adds his voice to a number of professional diplomats who are frustrated at what they see as their failure to advocate for government officials – for servants like Ambassador Yovanovitch, who are involved in the Ukraine controversy," said Amons , "Have you done enough to defend the ambassador privately and publicly against the smear campaign that was being waged against them, and will you talk about it now?
" Well, ma'am, you have some of your facts wrong so be careful with things that you call facts before you state them, "Pompeo replied. "But more importantly, I'm incredibly proud of the work I have done with my team and other senior State Department executives to make sure this institution has worked, delivered and delivered to America." Moments later, when Amons pointed out that he and Giuliani were in Warsaw at the same time, and asked if they were meeting, Pompeo said, "I'm not talking about who I'm meeting with."
"I left to Warsaw for a specific purpose, "he continued. "It was an important mission. We have brought people all over the world together to eliminate the world's largest state sponsor of terror, the Islamic Republic of Iran. That's what I worked on this mission. "
" So you will not say if you met him? "Asked Amons.
"When I was in Warsaw, I had a special focus," said Pompeo said. "I've focused solely on the work we've done, effective work to recover from what the Obama administration has done, and to sign the largest state sponsor of terror in the world." We have stopped and are making real progress. "
" It sounds like you would not say it, "said Amons.
Pompeo repeated the same statement: "When I was in Warsaw. We have worked diligently to complete the mission to dismantle the terror regime in the Islamic Republic of Iran. I worked on that. It was the only one I dealt with while I was there. "
At this point, Amons asked for the text messages from the US diplomats, and Pompeo made the push she worked for the DNC. He told her that her words "are a real disadvantage to the staff and the US State Department team," and then he said that "in Ukraine, the threat from Russia is real and this government is a real threat, unlike the previous one ". takes this responsibility very seriously. "
Amons ended the interview by giving Pompeo the opportunity to talk about the reason for his arrival in Nashville. Then she told him that she had run out of time. He thanked her and walked quickly – this time without the joke with which the meeting had started.
"I think he liked me less in the end," wrote Amons on Twitter.
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