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Mike Pompeo flails as NPR radio host grills him over the Ukraine scandal and Marie Yovanovitch

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo faced a brutal series of questions on Friday about his handling of the Ukraine scandal in an interview on NPR’s “Morning Edition.”

Host Mary Louise Kelly called out the fact that Pompeo hasn’t supported members of his department who have been caught up in the scandal and the impeachment proceedings that resulted from it. Most notably, former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch was smeared and ousted by President Donald Trump a group of cronies he worked with to solicit dirt from the country, and Pompeo never took a public stand in her defense.

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“People who work for you in your department, people who have resigned from this department under your leadership, saying you should stand up for the diplomats who work here,” said Kelly.

“I don’t know who these unnamed sources are you’re referring to,” Pompeo said, stammering over the first few words. “I can’t tell you this —”

“These are not unnamed sources,” interjected Kelly. “This is your senior adviser Michael McKinley, a career foreign service officer with four decades of experience who testified under oath that he resigned in part due to the failure ‘of the State Department to offer support to foreign service employees who got caught up in the impeachment inquiry on Ukraine.’”

Indeed, McKinley told the House investigators:

The timing of my resignation was the result of two overriding concerns: the failure, in my view, of the State Department to offer support to Foreign Service employees caught up in the Impeachment Inquiry on Ukraine; and, second, by what appears to be the utilization of our ambassadors overseas to advance domestic political objectives.

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Despite this well documented and publicized fact, Pompeo still tried to pretend as if the quote might fake. (When McKinley first resigned, Pompeo’s remarks suggested it was a choice based on personal considerations, rather than principled objections, but the testimony later blew up these deceptions.)

“I’m not going to comment on things that Mr. McKinley may have said,” Pompeo told Kelly. “I’ll say only this: I have defended every State Department official. We’ve built a great team. The team that works here is doing amazing work around the world —”

“Sir, respectfully, where have you defended Marie Yovanovitch?” probed Kelly.

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Pompeo couldn’t answer, so he just kept lying.

“I’ve defended every single person on this team,” Pompeo said. “I’ve done what’s right for every single person on this team.”

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“Can you point me toward your remarks where you have defended Marie Yovanovitch?” Kelly pressed.

“I’ve said all I’m going to say today,” Pompeo said. “Thank you.”

Listen to the exchange below:

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There’s no respite from Trump’s vindictiveness and foolishness

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As we know, even in the midst of a national emergency, Donald Trump could find time and bandwidth to continue his retribution campaign.

He dismissed Michael Atkinson, the inspector general for the intelligence agencies, for doing “a terrible job,” satisfying his own thirst for vengeance for anyone who actually adhered to law and practice over blind loyalty to Trump himself. Indeed, asked about it the next day, Trump underscored his action by saying, Atkinson “was no Trump supporter, that I can tell you.”

It was an act that we once would have labeled corruption, by Democrats and Republicans – that is using the office for personal purposes – if Congress and too many Americans had not since become inured by so many like instances.

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This is how Taiwan and South Korea bucked the global lockdown trend

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As the coronavirus pandemic sparks global lockdowns, life has continued comparatively unhindered in places like Taiwan, South Korea and Hong Kong after their governments and citizens took decisive early action against the unfolding crisis.

At first glance Taiwan looks like an ideal candidate for the coronavirus. The island of 23 million lies just 180 kilometres (110 miles) off mainland China.

Yet nearly 100 days in, Taiwan has just 376 confirmed cases and five fatalities while restaurants, bars, schools, universities and offices remain open.

The government of President Tsai Ing-wen, whose deputy is an epidemiologist, made tough decisions while the crisis was nascent to stave off the kind of pain now convulsing much of the rest of the world.

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Republican ex-lawmaker with coronavirus scolds Wisconsin GOP for forcing voters to risk their health

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On CNN Tuesday, former Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA), who is himself dealing with a bout of COVID-19, chastised the Wisconsin GOP for doing everything in their power to block the state elections from being moved — and forcing many voters to stand in line and risk exposure to the virus to cast their ballot.

"I have to tell you, here in Pennsylvania we have a Democratic governor and Republican legislature," Dent told host Don Lemon. "They postponed the election here from April 28 until June 2. Without any controversy. Everybody agreed it was the right thing to do and they moved on. I'm surprised Wisconsin took this risk, knowing they don't have to."

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