Mike Pompeo says he's 'defended every State Department official.' He couldn't give an example of defending Yovanovitch.

Kathryn Krawczyk

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says he has defended everyone in his department. He just won't give examples.

In an interview with NPR's Morning Edition aired Friday, Pompeo was questioned about "people who have resigned from this department under your leadership saying you should stand up for the diplomats working here." Pompeo tried to counter by chalking the allegation up to "unnamed sources," but NPR's Mary Louise Kelly quickly pointed out that former State Department adviser Michael McKinley had made that point during his House impeachment hearing.

To that, Pompeo made a direct claim: "I have defended every State Department official on this team." So Kelly asked for an example of how he'd defended former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. Pompeo again said he'd "defended every single person on this team," and then ended the conversation.

In his testimony, McKinley said he'd asked Pompeo three times to issue a statement in support of Yovanovitch after she'd been fired, after which he'd resigned. Further information about the Trump administration's opposition to Yovanovitch arose Friday in the form of a 2018 recording where President Trump reportedly appeared to direct two associates to "take her out."

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