Trump Pick for Top Diplomat Dismisses Claims He Is a War Hawk

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"I'm not going to talk about private conversations I've had with the president", Pompeo said in response to a question from Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) on Thursday.

Pompeo, who serves as the Central Intelligence Agency director, is expected to present his relationship with the president as an asset to taking over the State Department, where according to prepared remarks, he believes employees "hope to be empowered in their roles, and to have a clear understanding of the president's mission".

Being prodded on USA policy toward Russian Federation and what Democrats said appeared to be a weak approach to Moscow, Mr. Pompeo said lawmakers need to look beyond sanctions to understand the full array of conflict and pressure. The Associated Press obtained excerpts of his remarks from a senior Trump administration official.

Pompeo was also asked whether he favors USA military action to overthrow the regime in North Korea, which has developed a nuclear arsenal that may soon threaten United States cities but has also invited Trump to a summit with its leader to discuss disarmament.

"If we do not lead the calls for democracy, prosperity and human rights around the world, who will?" "No other nation has the same combination of power and principled", reads the text of the speech of Pompeo.

Throughout, Pompeo downplayed his reputation as a hawk, saying that his time in uniform had given him a dread of war.

China claims nearly all of South China Sea and also laid claims on the Senkaku islands under the control of Japan in East China Sea and resorted to aggressive patrols in the last two years.

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By choosing Pompeo as his new secretary of State, Trump selected a person who is close to him in major issues, after months of disagreements with Tillerson on key foreign policy matters. He has also talked to each of eight living former secretaries - including Hillary Clinton, whom he criticized on the 2012 assault on USA centers in Benghazi, Libya.

Democrats have been quick to point out that his former role as the nation's top spy is notably different from what would be required of him as the nation's top diplomat.

"I have cooperated with multiple investigations", he told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

"Those are your words", Booker said to Pompeo. "They also shared how demoralizing it is to have so many vacancies and, frankly, not to feel relevant".

The remarks were in line with Trump's assertion that previous administrations gave North Korea too many concessions despite the country not giving up its nuclear weapon ambitions.

In his remarks, Pompeo will signal a harder line toward Moscow, while also delving into USA foreign policy challenges on North Korea, Iran and China, according to excerpts of his opening statement released in advance by the White House.

He also said President Donald Trump has never asked him do anything "improper" as it relates to the Russian Federation probe during then-FBI Director James Comey's time as FBI director, but he declined to say if the President asked him to do anything about the Comey probe and could not "recall" the nature of a March 2017 conversation where Trump reportedly asked Pompeo to get Comey to pull back.

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"I assume by Thursday he'll get up to speed", Cardin told reporters.

Trump declared Pompeo's nomination to become the 70-th secretary of country at the exact same March 13 tweet by he dropped Tillerson.

Pompeo is a known entity for Trump, someone who briefed the president almost daily and shares Trump's aggressive attitude towards Iran.

Senators are also likely to ask Pomeo about how he will improve morale at the State Department, where numerous department's most experienced diplomats departed in the past year, while many ambassadorships remain unfilled around the world.

On the one hand, Tillerson had alienated many with his deeply unpopular bureaucratic reorganization.

In 2016, the anti-Muslim group ACT for America awarded Pompeo with its highest honor, the National Security Eagle Award.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and most Democratic senators have said they won't support his confirmation.

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