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POMPEO TELLS GRETA VAN SUSTEREN: Rudy Giuliani is not on His Payroll, Europeans will have to take back ISIS detainees and President Trump is not Abandoning the Kurds
Gray TV’s Greta Van Susteren interviewed U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the State Department in Washington, D.C. for the Sunday show “Full Court Press with Greta Van Susteren.” During the interview, they discussed the latest developments with the ground and aerial assault against Northern Syria and Kurdish forces, China - U.S. negotiations and North Korea, Europe’s responsibility for ISIS detainees, and the role of Mayor Rudy Giuliani and the State Department in the Ukraine controversy. The full interview will air on Sunday, October 13.
When asked about President Trump’s statement on Twitter in which he said “...if Turkey does anything that I in my great unmatched wisdom consider to be off-limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the economy of Turkey...” and what is the red line for the Administration,
Secretary Pompeo stated that the U.S. is “not abandoning the Kurds” as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan continues his military operation against Kurdish forces in Syria.
“So, I want to articulate precisely what that is, but I can assure you that the Turkish leadership is well aware of what it is. The president has said a couple things, generally speaking, first is that we recognize that there are legitimate Turkish security interests, that they have designated terrorist organization that has presented risk to them and every country has the right to make sure and defend itself. But in the same way, we're not abandoning the Kurds. It's absolutely the case that we understand that if there is a slaughter of the Kurds, or if there's behavior that is inconsistent with what Erdoğan has promised President Trump that he will do and how he will engage in ensuring that he adequately defends his country without presenting undue risk or harm.
The President has said very clearly, I think he said it again this morning, he will use economic sanctions and all the tools of American diplomatic power to try and convince the Turks that they need to back up from the activity that they engaged in, if they should cross that line.”
Van Susteren asked about growing concerns that over 10,000 ISIS detainees being held in Kurdish-run wartime prisons in Syria could possibly escape or be released during this invasion, and whether they may end up in Europe.
“The US has declared that for the most part, the caliphate is the war is won against them. They are now likely be released. The President has said something, that he's not worried that they're going to go to Europe, the ISIS detainees, once, if they’re released. Have you heard from any of your European counterparts about the President’s remark?” asked Van Susteren.
“Yes, the Europeans have an obligation to take their people back. Those Europeans that are detained in those facilities, I personally have been working for, goodness I’ve been the Secretary of State a year and a half, to convince the Europeans that they had the responsibility to secure these terrorists. And they’ve refused to do so,” said Secretary Pompeo.
“So, we are making, we being the United States, is that the President is comfortable that those detained are going to scatter back to European countries, and we're not going to see them here or we’re not going to see them reconfigure in some ISIS caliphate?” asked Van Susteren.
“Here's what the American people can rest assured. President Trump took office when ISIS was roaming freely throughout Iraq and Syria. They were putting people in cages, they were burning them, they were beheading them. We took down the caliphate. America built out a coalition, you know, we’re often, Greta, accused of going America alone. We built out a coalition to dozens and dozens of countries. We crushed the caliphate, we did that to keep Americans safe. We’ll always make sure that we do everything we need to do to protect the American people, from not only ISIS, but the broader threat from radical Islamic extremism that extends not only in this little piece of real estate in Syria and Iraq, but all around the world,” said Secretary Pompeo.
The interview continued with a question about former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s role in the Ukraine controversy. Giuliani is President Trump’s personal lawyer.
“He doesn’t, he doesn’t work for me. He’s not on our payroll,” said Secretary Pompeo. “You’d have to ask the White House precisely what role he has with them. Yes, I understand that he is the President’s personal lawyer across a broad range of issues.”
“It’s a fair question, Mr. Secretary, because is it he’s out there and you have been confirmed by the US Senate, and so you’ve been checked out from top to bottom. And the U.S. Senate said you are our chief person, spokesperson. Now we read that the President’s personal lawyer is going around talking to allies or to, engaged in something that we don’t have a lot of information about, but that’s reason to wonder what it is.”
Secretary Pompeo responded, “Greta, as a Secretary of State we have lots of people out advocating, doing work on behalf of the United States of America, not all of which work for the Department of State directly, that aren’t on our payroll. Private citizens, often, will make phone calls to me, saying “Hey, I just saw X, you may want to think about Y.” I had a dinner just last night with some senior business leaders, private citizens, who are deeply engaged in a country that we are engaged with and they gave me great insights what is taking place, and I’m confident they go back and say, “You know, I just met with the Secretary of State, here’s what he was thinking.” It’s not uncommon.”