Iran was the principal subject of discussion during Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s lightning-quick visit Sunday to Israel, a four-hour stop during which he met with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu in Tel Aviv.
The two reiterated declarations of personal friendship and the close alliance between the United States and Israel, but at the end of a six-minute news conference in which they took no questions, several questions dividing the two nations remained unresolved.
The principal matter separating Israel and the United States continues to be Iran’s growing presence in Syria, an enemy state lying along Israel’s northern border, that has been riven by a bloody civil war for seven years.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, on his first trip to the Middle East as America’s top diplomat, sought to muster support Sunday for a more robust international response to what U.S. officials see as a growing threat emanating from Iran.
Speaking to reporters in Saudi Arabia, Iran’s main regional adversary, Pompeo said the multi-party agreement reached in 2015 to curb Tehran’s nuclear program did not do enough to contain the Islamic Republic. “In fact, Iran has only behaved worse since the deal was approved,” he said.
The former CIA director cited Iran’s support for the “murderous” government of Syrian President Bashar Assad and also accused the country of arming Houthi rebels in Yemen who have repeatedly targeted Saudi cities with ballistic missiles — a charge denied by Tehran.
President Trump tweeted Saturday that Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) “should resign” for his role in helping to sink Dr. Ronny Jackson’s nomination to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Jackson, who is the White House physician, withdrew his name from consideration Thursday after the Republican-led Senate Veterans Affairs Committee delayed his confirmation hearing amid multiple reports of alleged on-the-job misconduct by Jackson.
Tester is up for reelection in 2018 in a state that strongly backed Trump in 2016, and Trump has indicated that he wants repercussions for Tester, who is the ranking Democrat on the Senate committee.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, on his first full day on the job, said Friday it was “unlikely” that President Trump will remain in the Iran nuclear deal after a May 12 self-imposed deadline barring a “substantial fix” negotiated with European leaders.
Speaking on the margins of a NATO summit for foreign ministers in Brussels, Pompeo said that no decision has been made but that he was communicating Trump’s position to allies in Europe and the Middle East.
“Absent a substantial fix, absent overcoming the flaws of the deal, he [Trump] is unlikely to stay in that deal,” Pompeo said.
Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee on Friday released their hotly contested report on Russian interference in the presidential election, concluding there was no conspiracy between President Trump or his allies and Moscow.
“While the Committee found no evidence that the Trump campaign colluded, coordinated, or conspired with the Russian government, the investigation did find poor judgment and ill-considered actions by the Trump and Clinton campaigns,” the report said.
Among those bad decisions, Republicans said, was the meeting at Trump Tower in June 2016, in which Donald Trump Jr. hosted a Russian lawyer who claimed to have damaging information about Hillary Clinton. No information was provided, Trump Jr. later said.
The nation’s economic growth slowed in the first three months of the year despite the large tax cuts kicking in, raising new questions about whether the U.S. can reach the levels President Trump has promised.
During a half-hour telephone interview on “Fox & Friends” Thursday morning, Trump offered a new spin on his frequent media criticism, assailing “fake news” yet insisting he has found the path to sanity by avoiding that which he has long seemed to adore.
“I don’t watch them at all,” Trump claimed at one point, referring to networks he dislikes, CNN and NBC. In the next sentence he made an exception for a CNN town hall on Wednesday featuring the FBI director he fired, James B. Comey.
Rep. Jeb Hensarling welcomed the new director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a fellow Republican, to a hearing this month in the same way he did the former Democratic holder of the job — by accusing him of wielding near-dictatorial authority.