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Politics Mike Pompeo and Robert O’Brien, top US officials, are campaigning for Trump in crucial states

00:10  24 september  2020
00:10  24 september  2020 Source:   vox.com

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Secretary of State Michael Pompeo is ramping up his domestic appearances before overwhelmingly Republican audiences, raising criticism that he’s going on the campaign trail for President Donald Trump by taking part in events that previous top U . S . diplomats would have avoided.

Mike Pompeo at the State Department in Washington.Credit Adam Ferguson for The New York During the 2016 campaign , he tweeted out news of hacked emails from Clinton’s campaign with the Among former Obama-era officials , there are concerns that Pompeo ’s previous role as director of the

Two of President Donald Trump’s top national security officials delivered blatantly political speeches in battleground states seemingly to boost their boss’s chance of reelection — potentially in violation of federal law.

Mike Pompeo wearing a suit and tie: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a news conference to announce the Trump administration’s restoration of sanctions on Iran, on September 21, 2020, in Washington, DC. © Patrick Semansky/Pool/AFP via Getty Images Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a news conference to announce the Trump administration’s restoration of sanctions on Iran, on September 21, 2020, in Washington, DC.

The Hatch Act of 1939 imposes strict limits on most federal civilian workers who want to engage in political activity. Some Cabinet departments, including the State Department, augment these statutory limits with additional policies intended to maintain a clear wall of separation between partisan politics and nonpartisan government functions.

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Michael Richard Pompeo (/pɒmˈpeɪoʊ/; born December 30, 1963) is an American politician, diplomat, businessman, and attorney who, since April 2018

Since becoming secretary of State , Mike Pompeo has embraced President Donald Trump 's protectionist trade stances, particularly when it comes to China. It's not yet clear what Pompeo intends to do after his tenure in Trump 's Cabinet. He recently ruled out running for Kansas GOP Sen.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien may have busted through that wall on Wednesday.

In Wisconsin, a state Trump won in 2016 and is at risk of losing in 2020, Pompeo addressed state lawmakers on the administration’s policies to confront China. But he used the speech to touch on themes that could easily be construed as a broader campaign pitch.

“The Trump administration is fighting to protect our wallets, hearts, minds, and our freedoms,” he said. “Democrat or Republican, you have a friend in the Trump administration to help you push back against the [Chinese Communist Party’s] exploitation of our open society.”

Mike Pompeo Hits Campaign Trail for Trump in Shift for Top Diplomat

  Mike Pompeo Hits Campaign Trail for Trump in Shift for Top Diplomat Secretary of State Michael Pompeo is ramping up his domestic appearances before overwhelmingly Republican audiences, raising criticism that he’s going on the campaign trail for President Donald Trump by taking part in events that previous top U.S. diplomats would have avoided. © POOL/AFP via Getty Images Mike Pompeo on Sept. 21. Pompeo will be in Wisconsin on Wednesday to address the Republican-controlled state legislature in a speech billed as warning of the threat that states face from China’s Communist Party.

We don’t think the results of our own state are accurate, so here’s our slate of electors that we think properly reflect the results of our state .’” A critical factor in the Trump campaign ’s approach is delegitimizing mail-in and provisional ballots and any other votes that are not counted Crucial Quote

For Trump administration officials , China’s sluggish and secretive early response to the outbreak also fits “Unfortunately rather than using best practices, this outbreak in Wuhan was covered up,” Robert O ’ Brien , Trump ’s Secretary of State Mike Pompeo labeled the virus the “Wuhan virus”—angering

Norm Eisen, a government ethics expert at the Brookings Institution who represented House Democrats in the Trump impeachment hearings and now advises the Biden campaign, told me Pompeo’s appearance was definitely a problem.

“By giving a speech in battleground state Wisconsin a few short weeks before the presidential election, Secretary Pompeo has not only departed from State Department tradition to stay out of domestic politics, but appears to be engaged in an aggressive pattern of conduct to misuse his official position and taxpayer-funded resources to serve the president’s political interests,” he said, noting the address “raises serious questions under the rules.”

Hours after Pompeo’s speech, O’Brien spoke at Drake University in Iowa — an important state for the president to win — about Trump’s general foreign policy. His comments, though, veered into the political. “The world is more peaceful and prosperous, we believe, because of the president’s policies,” he stated, adding “there’s more to come in a second Trump term.”

Pompeo’s Swing-State Appearances Look a Lot Like Campaigning for Trump

  Pompeo’s Swing-State Appearances Look a Lot Like Campaigning for Trump The secretary of State has been touting the president’s agenda in key battlegrounds, violating norms and possibly the Hatch Act.While the secretary of State traditionally avoids participating in domestic politics, Pompeo’s Wisconsin visit was his fourth such event this month, according to the Associated Press. During his tenure, Pompeo has regularly flouted restrictions that former secretaries of State observed in an effort to comply with the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from engaging in political activities.

Robert C. O ’ Brien , the special envoy for hostage affairs, is under consideration for national security adviser.Credit Tt News Agency/Reuters. Gen. Ricky L. Waddell, the principal military adviser to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and a former deputy national security adviser to Mr. Trump .

State Department officials insist that Pompeo is using the term to counter Chinese disinformation – prevalent on internet forums and voiced by some Chinese officials – that the virus might have actually sprung from the United States . O ’ Brien sent a similar critical message on Wednesday, asserting that

Those remarks, some experts say, went too far. “Certainly I think O’Brien’s comments are a kind of advocacy that runs afoul of the Hatch Act,” said Donald Sherman, deputy director of the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a watchdog group.

The issue here isn’t that Trump administration officials openly boasted about the work of, well, the Trump administration. That’s par for the course. The issue is they’re purposely giving pro-Trump speeches in states critical to the president’s reelection efforts — on taxpayers’ dime — just weeks before Election Day.

Pompeo and O’Brien, then, may have openly flouted the law. For the secretary, at least, that’s just another day at the office.

Pompeo, as secretary of state, is acting like a Trump campaign surrogate

Pompeo’s address in Wisconsin shouldn’t have come as a surprise. He’s used many appearances in recent weeks to speak in support of Trump the president, and not the Trump administration.

During the Republican National Convention in August, Pompeo filmed a short video while on official travel in Jerusalem, Israel, to back Trump. His decision shattered years of precedent in which sitting Cabinet members, and especially high-profile ones like secretaries of state, don’t engage in openly political and partisan activities. It was a norm Pompeo’s predecessors — in both Republican and Democratic administrations — believed was important to uphold.

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WASHINGTON — Senior Trump administration officials have pushed American spy agencies to hunt for evidence The effort comes as President Trump escalates a public campaign to blame China for the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo , a former C.I.A. director and the administration’s most vocal

“ Mike Pompeo — we have a very similar thought process. “That’s their big competitor with some trade arrangements that clearly disadvantage the United States .” During Mr. Trump ’s campaign , Mr. Pompeo publicly welcomed WikiLeaks’ release of Democratic emails hacked and leaked by Russia.

And three days ago, the secretary spoke at a Baptist church in Plano, Texas, about the role of faith while serving in government. However, he waded into the domestic battles that animate the presidential discussion today.

“We need to return to the founders’ central understandings about faith and how this Judeo-Christian nation is central to the world, and we must stand with it and we can’t let anybody try and rewrite history to suggest otherwise,” he told the audience. “It is an absolute imperative that we stand on these traditions and continue to build them up. It’s for our kids and for our grandkids. It’s absolutely imperative.”

These aren’t normal comments for a secretary of state — the nation’s top diplomat — to make, or normal forums for him to make them in. That’s why experts like Eisen are concerned.

This all “appears to be part of a coordinated effort to showcase senior administration personnel in battleground states in close proximity to the election to benefit President Trump’s political interests rather than to serve the public interest,” Eisen told me.

There’s a further problem. “Pompeo’s politicking, especially in his official capacity, undermines his ability to represent the United States across the world,” CREW’s Sherman said. “He’s either America’s chief diplomat or he’s a political crony for one political party.”

In effect, giving speeches like the one Pompeo just gave in Wisconsin might cause foreign leaders to believe he represents Trump more than he represents Americans. Based on his recent actions and comments, that may just be right.

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