Stunned Into Silence, State Department Chief Recalls Manafort at His Guiltiest

Peter Wade

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s attempts to deflect and avoid giving honest and straight answers about President Donald Trump’s Ukraine quid pro quo scandal died a horrible death on Sunday during his appearance on ABC News’ The Week.

Host George Stephanopoulos asked the secretary if it was appropriate to withhold military aid to Ukraine until they pursued an investigation into the president’s political rivals. Stephanopoulos was referring to acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney admitting to the quid pro quo earlier this week. Pompeo said, “I’m not going to get into hypotheticals and secondary things based on what someone else has said.”

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Stephanopoulos responded, “Except it’s not a hypothetical.”

Pompeo insisted, “George, you just said, ‘If this happened.’ That is, by definition, a hypothetical.”

Stephanopoulos did not back down, saying, “The chief of staff said it did.”


That is the moment when you could almost see Pompeo start to sweat and one could imagine the memes starting to multiply that would include the intro of Simon and Garfunkel’s “Sound of Silence” playing in the background as Pompeo went quiet for a prolonged period of time. Then the secretary eventually awoke from his coma and, with a gravelly voice, righted himself and continued to insist that the question was a hypothetical.

As national security editor for the New Republic Adam Weinstein pointed out, the scene was reminiscent of Trump’s former campaign manager and now-jailed felon Paul Manafort’s infamous 2016 viral moment when he was stumped and stuttered through his answer when asked about Trump’s relationships with Russian oligarchs.


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