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Mike Pompeo Heads To Congress To Clear The Air On Trump And Russia

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is set to testify to the Senate about President Trump's diplomatic outreach to Russia and North Korea.
Posted at 4:51 PM, Jul 24, 2018

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is one of the few people who can shed some light on President Donald Trump's controversial outreach to Russian President Vladimir Putin. And lawmakers are eager for Pompeo to spill the beans on what was said between the two world leaders during their recent summit.

"It's incredibly valuable to the people of the United States of America that President Putin and President Trump continue to engage in dialogue to resolve the difficult issues that our countries face between each other," Pompeo said.

Pompeo has characterized the Helsinki summit between Trump and Putin as an important diplomatic accomplishment and even said he's looking forward to a potential follow-up meeting between the two in Washington, D.C. That'd mark an unusual level of closeness between the leaders of two adversarial countries.

But lawmakers have voiced concerns about Trump's deference to Putin throughout the summit. And they're particularly itching to learn about Trump's one-on-one, off-the-record conversation with Putin in Helsinki.

Rep. Eliot Engel told reporters: "We want to know what went on in the meeting where Putin and Trump were alone. Why can't we know what happened there? Why wasn't anybody allowed to be there?"

The summit ended without a formal agreement between Trump and Putin, and Russia has taken the lead in describing the outcomes of the meeting. So far, the White House has kept quiet about Russia's proposal for military cooperation in Syria, and it's flat-out rejected Putin's request to question former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul.

Lawmakers are hoping Pompeo's testimony will help clarify the White House's post-Helsinki policies on Russia. Pompeo's also likely to point out that the Trump administration's taken several tough actions against Russia.

In addition to Russia, Pompeo's also expected to fill Congress in on the progress of Trump's North Korea diplomacy. New reports that the country has started dismantling a key missile engine test site could help Pompeo defray suspicions that talks with North Korea have stalled.

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN.