CIA Director Mike Pompeo dismissed suggestions from Chuck Schumer Thursday that there was anything improper about his recent meeting with Russian intelligence personnel.
The Senate minority leader suggested that the visit was somehow related to the Trump administration’s decision not to implement new economic sanctions against Russia — but Pompeo corrected Schumer about the purpose of the talks and told him the U.S. “pulls no punches” in these meetings.
Per Politico, Pompeo informed Schumer that the meetings were all about how the U.S. can better cooperate with Russia on anti-terrorism — and is nothing new as previous administrations have also tried to find ways to work with the Russians on this issue.
The White House hosted Russian intelligence officers Alexander Bortnikov, Sergey Naryshkin and Igor Korobov last week.
“When those meetings take place, you and the American people should rest assured that we cover very difficult subjects in which American and Russian interests do not align,” Pompeo wrote to Schumer.
“Neither side is bashful about raising concerns relating to our intelligence relationships and the interests of our respective nations. We vigorously defend America in these encounters and pull no punches — we never will.”
That wasn’t good enough for Schumer, who criticized Pompeo for not specifically addressing the issue of sanctions and whether the issue even arose during the talks.
“If this administration is ignoring sanctions, that’s very serious,” Schumer said in a statement. “Director Pompeo’s refusal to answer that question is deeply troubling.”