Trump's CIA Pick Has Own Thoughts on Torture, Russia

Rep. Mike Pompeo says he 'absolutely' won't approve use of torture
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 12, 2017 4:23 PM CST
Trump's CIA Pick Has Own Thoughts on Torture, Russia
Sen. Pat Roberts, left, introduces CIA Director-designate Rep. Mike Pompeo, center, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017, during Pompeo's confirmation hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee. At right is former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Donald Trump's nominee for CIA director broke with the president-elect on Russia and torture during a confirmation hearing Thursday. CNN reports Rep. Mike Pompeo said "absolutely not" when asked if he would bring back the use of enhanced interrogation techniques if ordered by the president. It was a surprising answer considering Pompeo was supportive of techniques like waterboarding while in Congress, calling them constitutional and CIA agents who used them "patriots." Now Pompeo says he'll "comply with the law" passed by Congress banning such techniques, according to ABC News. Though NBC News notes Pompeo added that Congress could always change the law. Despite Trump advocating for the use of torture during the campaign, Pompeo was the fourth of his nominees to come out against it during hearings.

When asked about Russia, Pompeo said "it's pretty clear" the country tried to affect democracy in the US by meddling in the election. He said he believes intelligence reports that state Russia tried to help Trump get elected by "discrediting" Hillary Clinton. He also chastised Russia for invading the Ukraine and not helping fight ISIS. He included the country on a list of the greatest threats to the US, along with terrorism, China, Iran, and North Korea. (Read more Mike Pompeo stories.)

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