Emails Refute Pompeo's Version of Testy NPR Interview

They show Mary Louise Kelly never agreed to take any topics off the table
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 27, 2020 1:51 PM CST
Emails Refute Pompeo's Version of Testy NPR Interview
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a visit to an anti-narcotics police base in Bogota, Colombia, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020.   (AP Photo/Ivan Valencia)

Mike Pompeo says journalist Mary Louise Kelly "lied" to him regarding his Friday interview on NPR's All Things Considered, which ended with an expletive-filled tirade after Kelly asked the secretary of state about Ukraine. But emails appear to support Kelly's side of things. While Pompeo said during the interview that he had only agreed to talk about Iran, emails exchanged between his press aide and Kelly on Thursday show his staff understood that wouldn't be the case, reports the Washington Post. After Pompeo's aide asked Kelly if they could stick to the topic of Iran, Kelly replied that she planned to ask about other things: "Also Ukraine. And who knows what the news gods will serve up overnight. I never agree to take anything off the table." The aide said she understood but still hoped "a healthy portion of the interview" could be spent on Iran.

Pompeo "wouldn’t want to spend the interview on questions he's answered many times for the last several months," she noted. Kelly said she did plan "to spend a healthy portion of the interview" on Iran and agreed they shouldn't "waste time on questions he’s answered many times in recent months." Neither side has commented on the emails since their release by the Post. Pompeo also accused Kelly of breaking an agreement to keep their post-interview talk off the record, but she has previously said she was never asked to keep that discussion off the record and that she never would have agreed if asked. Meanwhile, President Trump tweeted Sunday, "A very good question!" in response to a question wondering why NPR still exists and, specifically, why the government is still funding it. (Read more Mike Pompeo stories.)

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