Pompeo: Trump didn't have time to confront Putin on 90-minute call


But Trump did have time to whine about the Mueller investigation.

Straining all credulity, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday defended Trump for not getting tough with Russian President Vladimir Putin regarding his government's hacking and meddling in the 2016 election, saying Trump didn't have "time" in a 90-minute phone call with Putin last week to discuss the subject.

Pompeo made the ridiculous claim during an interview with Fox News' Chris Wallace.

Wallace brought up the fact that special counsel Robert Mueller laid out in detail how Russia had a "sweeping and systematic" effort to meddle in the 2016 election, and asked Pompeo, "Why doesn't the president get tough with Putin about what everyone seems to agree is clear: meddling in 2016 and the threat of meddling in 2020?"

And that's when Pompeo gave this terse response.

"Sometimes conversations just aren't long enough to include every issue that might be brought up," Pompeo said.

Of course, Trump did have time to discuss with Putin what Trump described as the "Russian hoax" — or Mueller's determination that there wasn't enough evidence to charge Trump with conspiring with Russians in their election meddling, despite the fact that his campaign had multiple communications with Russians at the time.

After the call, Trump said that Putin "smiled" and said that Mueller's investigation, "started off being a mountain and ended up being a mouse" — a characterization Trump seemed to relish in.

Because Pompeo never explained why Trump would be so chummy with Putin, rather than tough on the leader of a country that attacked the United States' bedrock tenet of free and fair elections, Wallace continued to press Pompeo about why Trump wouldn't demand that Putin's government stop hacking and meddling in America's elections.

That's when Pompeo got nasty.

"You continue to be fixated on something that Robert Mueller wrote down," Pompeo shot back at Wallace.

Wallace still didn't back down.

"I'm fixated on the president’s conversation with Vladimir Putin, and the fact that in a conversation he doesn't even mention meddling in 2020," Wallace said. "And the question I'm asking ― I think it's a legitimate one, a lot of people are asking it, sir ― is, 'Why not?'"

Wallace never got a response to that question.

Pompeo talked instead about policies the Trump administration has taken to get tough with Russia, while glossing over the fact that Trump has heaped praise onto Putin and let Putin slide in every conversation two men have had.

Trump either doesn't care about Putin's meddling efforts because they stand to benefit Trump, is too scared to confront Putin over Russia's attacks on American democracy, or a combination of both.

Yet no matter what Trump's reasoning, Americans should be outraged that Trump refuses to stand up for our democracy.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.