Mike Pompeo Is Going to Have to Come Up With a Better Answer Than This on Ukraine

“I’m not going to get into hypotheticals.”

ABC’s George Stephanopoulos asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday whether it would have been “inappropriate” for the United States to withhold military aid to Ukraine until the country pursued an investigation into President Donald Trump’s political rivals. Pompeo, insisting the question was a “hypothetical” one, didn’t have an answer.

But Thursday, the president’s acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, admitted that Trump did, in fact, hold up military aid to Ukraine in exchange for an investigation into a debunked conspiracy theory about his political rivals. Mulvaney walked his statement back hours later—and tried to do so again Sunday morning—but the damage was already done. 

“George,” Pompeo said Sunday, in response to Stephanopoulos’ question about the alleged quid pro quo, “I’m not going to get into hypotheticals and secondary things based on what someone else has said.”

“Except it’s not a hypothetical,” replied Stephanopoulos, who was the White House communications director under President Bill Clinton. “We saw the acting chief of staff—”

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

“The chief of staff said it did,” Stephanopoulos shot back—leaving Pompeo staring at the camera in silence for several seconds.

Watch the exchange in full below.

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WHO DOESN’T LOVE A POSITIVE STORY—OR TWO?

“Great journalism really does make a difference in this world: it can even save kids.”

That’s what a civil rights lawyer wrote to Julia Lurie, the day after her major investigation into a psychiatric hospital chain that uses foster children as “cash cows” published, letting her know he was using her findings that same day in a hearing to keep a child out of one of the facilities we investigated.

That’s awesome. As is the fact that Julia, who spent a full year reporting this challenging story, promptly heard from a Senate committee that will use her work in their own investigation of Universal Health Services. There’s no doubt her revelations will continue to have a big impact in the months and years to come.

Like another story about Mother Jones’ real-world impact.

This one, a multiyear investigation, published in 2021, exposed conditions in sugar work camps in the Dominican Republic owned by Central Romana—the conglomerate behind brands like C&H and Domino, whose product ends up in our Hershey bars and other sweets. A year ago, the Biden administration banned sugar imports from Central Romana. And just recently, we learned of a previously undisclosed investigation from the Department of Homeland Security, looking into working conditions at Central Romana. How big of a deal is this?

“This could be the first time a corporation would be held criminally liable for forced labor in their own supply chains,” according to a retired special agent we talked to.

Wow.

And it is only because Mother Jones is funded primarily by donations from readers that we can mount ambitious, yearlong—or more—investigations like these two stories that are making waves.

About that: It’s unfathomably hard in the news business right now, and we came up about $28,000 short during our recent fall fundraising campaign. We simply have to make that up soon to avoid falling further behind than can be made up for, or needing to somehow trim $1 million from our budget, like happened last year.

If you can, please support the reporting you get from Mother Jones—that exists to make a difference, not a profit—with a donation of any amount today. We need more donations than normal to come in from this specific blurb to help close our funding gap before it gets any bigger.

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