Mike Pompeo ‘screamed obscenities’ at female reporter and demanded she ‘find Ukraine on map’

Matt Drake
Mr Pompeo is said to have launched a tirade of abuse following difficult questioning: AFP via Getty Images

US secretary of state Mike Pompeo screamed obscenities at a reporter and demanded she proved she could find Ukraine on an unmarked map, it has been alleged.

National Public Radio (NPR) reporter Mary Louise Kelly interviewed the secretary for the programme “All Things Considered” on Friday. She asked Mr Pompeo whether he owed an apology to former US Ukraine ambassador Marie L Yovanovitch.

The State Department is facing questions over the treatment of Ms Yovanovitch before she was recalled as ambassador. Also, last week House Democrats released messages which suggest that Ms Yovanovitch may have been under surveillance before she was told to return to Washington from her posting in Kyiv.

During the interview, Mr Pompeo replied to the question, saying: “You know, I agreed to come on your show today to talk about Iran. That’s what I intend to do. I know what our Ukraine policy has been now for the three years of this administration.”

The secretary repeatedly tried to end the interview as Ms Kelly continued to press him on the matter. Immediately after the questions on Ukraine, the interview finished.

It was at this point that Mr Pompeo is said to have stood up, leaned in and silently glared at Ms Kelly for several seconds before leaving the room, NPR reports.

Moments later, an aide asked the reporter to follow her into Mr Pompeo’s private living room at the State Department without a recorder. But the aide reportedly did not say the exchange would be off the record.

Once inside the room, Mr Pompeo shouted at the reporter for being questioned about Ukraine and used repeated expletives, Ms Kelly claims. He is also said to have asked the reporter: “Do you think Americans care about Ukraine?”

Mr Pompeo then asked Ms Kelly to find Ukraine on a map and she claims that when she said she could, “he called out for aides to bring us a map of the world with no writing”.

Speaking to CNN, Ms Kelly added: “I pointed to Ukraine. He put the map away. He said, ‘People will hear about this’. And then he turned, said he had things to do and I thanked him again for his time and left.”

The Independent has contacted the US State Department for comment. However, NPR, The New York Times and CNN have also sought comment but have not received any response.

Ms Yovanovitch, a 33-year veteran diplomat, was abruptly recalled from Ukraine last May and has become a key figure in the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.

She testified last year that she was the target of a smear campaign by Mr Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W Giuliani and two of his associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman. The associates have since been indicted in a scheme to violate campaign finance laws.

The former Ukraine ambassador also testified she felt “threatened” by Mr Trump. The president also disparaged Ms Yovanovitch on Twitter.

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