Update (1650ET): The State Department has issued a statement about the Kelly interview and her complaints about Secretary Pompeo's behavior.
Not only did Pompeo accuse Kelly of lying to him (twice), including by violating an agreement to keep his comments off the record, Pompeo also insisted that Kelly didn't correctly Ukraine on a blank map brought out by a staffer.
"NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly lied to me, twice. First, last month, in setting up our interview and, then again yesterday, in agreeing to have our post-interview conversation off the record. It is shameful that this reporter chose to violate the basic rules of journalism and decency. This is another example of how unhinged the media has become in its quest to hurt President Trump and this Administration. It is no wonder that the American people distrust many in the media when they so consistently demonstrate their agenda and their absence of integrity."
"It is worth noting that Bangladesh is NOT Ukraine."
Kelly insists that she had every right to break the agreement because Pompeo verbally abused her. But that doesn't quite comport with our understanding of journalistic ethics. As far as we see it, a reporter is only allowed to break the off-the-record agreement if the information becomes public otherwise, or if the source was lying to them, or acting in bad faith.
There are reporters who honor these agreements even to the point of being imprisoned. Are we supposed to believe that a few f-bombs should invalidate it?
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Democrats' impeachment proceedings were completely overshadowed this week by the panic over the Wuhan coronavirus. Still, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is clearly tired of having his character repeatedly impugned by the Dems and the press claiming he hung one of his ambassadors out to dry after she purportedly resisted the administration's attempts to pressure Ukraine.
That frustration came to a head this week when, during a moment of pique, Secretary Pompeo launched into a rant and swore at NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly after she wheedled him about whether he had taken concrete steps to protect former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.
House Democrats last week released a trove of messages between Giuliani associate Lev Parnas and Connecticut Republican Congressional candidate Robert Hyde. The messages suggested that Yovanovitch might have been under surveillance before President Trump recalled her to Washington. One of the messages seems to reference a shadowy character able to "help" with Yovanovitch for "a price."
Kelly recounted the incident to her listeners (she is the host of "All Things Considered") while
After Kelly asked Pompeo to specify exactly what he had done or said to defend Yovanovitch, whom Pompeo's boss President Trump fired last year, Pompeo simply insisted that he had "done what's right" with regard to Yovanovitch, while becoming visibly annoyed.
Once the interview was over, Pompeo glared at Kelly for a minute, then left the room, telling an aide to bring Kelly into another room at the State Department without her recorder, so they could have more privacy.
Once inside, Pompeo launched into what Kelly described as an "expletive-laden rant", repeatedly using the "f-word." Pompeo complained about the questions about Ukraine, arguing that the interview was supposed to be about Iran.
"Do you think Americans give a f--k about Ukraine?" Pompeo allegedly said.
The outburst was followed by a ridiculous stunt: one of Pompeo's staffers pulled out a blank map and asked the reporter to identify Ukraine, which she did.
"People will hear about this," Pompeo vaguely warned.
Ironically, Pompeo is planning to travel to Kiev this week.
The questions came after Michael McKinley, a former senior adviser to Pompeo, told Congress that he resigned after the secretary apparently ignored his pleas for the department to show some support for Yovanovitch.
Listen to the interview here. A transcript can be found here.
NPR's Mary Louise Kelly says the following happened after the interview in which she asked some tough questions to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. pic.twitter.com/cRTb71fZvX— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) January 24, 2020
Last we checked, the team at NPR is waiting on Pompeo to apologize
Mike Pompeo Does in fact owe Yovanovitch an apology https://t.co/imazFrG3Q6— Molly Jong-Fast (@MollyJongFast) January 25, 2020
We suspect they might be waiting a while...