Mary Louise Kelly Interviews Secretary Of State Mike Pompeo All Things Considered host Mary Louise Kelly interviews Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about U.S. policy in Iran and spoke about the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch.
NPR logo Mary Louise Kelly Interviews Secretary Of State Mike Pompeo

Mary Louise Kelly Interviews Secretary Of State Mike Pompeo

View the full transcript of Mary Louise Kelly's interview with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at NPR.org

January 24, 2020; Washington, D.C. — In an interview with All Things Considered host Mary Louise Kelly, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took questions about U.S. policy in Iran and spoke about the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch. Afterwards, Pompeo proceeded to shout his displeasure at being questioned about Ukraine. He used repeated expletives, according to Kelly. The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Kelly will not be discussing the interview with external press at this time.

Highlights from the interview are available below, and can be attributed to NPR. Select audio clips for coverage can be made upon request by emailing: mediarelations@npr.org

Listen to the interview on NPR.org. The full interview will air on All Things Considered this afternoon, Friday, January 24.

On whether the Trump administration's policy of "maximum pressure" on Iran is working given the fact that Iran is closer to having a nuclear weapon than they were when Trump took office:

This is a regime that has been working to develop its nuclear program for years and years and years. And the nuclear deal guaranteed them a pathway to having a nuclear program. It was a certainty. It might have been delayed for a month or a year or five or 10 years, but it guaranteed them that pathway. This administration has pulled the Band-Aid off. It's been realistic. We accept the facts on the ground as they are.

On whether any diplomatic talks have been opened between the U.S. and Iran:

You know, we never talk about private conversations that are taking place, but the diplomatic effort on this front has been vigorous, robust and enormously successful. We built out a significant coalition that has put pressure on the Iranian regime to do what we've asked: to cease its processing of uranium, reprocessing of plutonium, to stop its missile program and the development of its missile program. President Trump made clear they're not going to have a nuclear program that is capable of delivering these weapons around the world. And then finally, working to convince them that their model, this proxy model that they've used to conduct terror campaigns, assassinations in Europe, assassination attempt right here in Washington, D.C., is not tolerable.

On how the administration plans to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon:

We'll stop them.

On whether he owes former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, an apology for her ouster in 2019:

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. I'm proud of the work we've done. This administration delivered the capability for the Ukrainians to defend themselves. President Obama showed up with MREs (meals, ready-to-eat.) We showed up with Javelin missiles. The previous administration did nothing to take down corruption in Ukraine. We're working hard on that. We're going to continue to do it.

When pushed on the question of whether he defended or should defend Yovanovitch:

I have defended every State Department official. We've built a great team. The team that works here is doing amazing work around the world... I've defended every single person on this team. I've done what's right for every single person on this team.

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Mary Louise Kelly talking to All Things Considered co-host Ari Shapiro about the encounter Pompeo and his staff at the end of the interview:

I was taken to the Secretary's private living room where he was waiting and where he shouted at me for about same amount of time as the interview itself. He was not happy to have been questioned about Ukraine.

He asked, "do you think Americans care about Ukraine?"

He used the F-word in that sentence and many others. He asked if I could find Ukraine on a map. I said yes, and he called out for aides to bring us a map of the world with no writing. I pointed to Ukraine. He put the map away.

He said, "people will hear about this."

Press Contact:

Leah Rozario, mediarelations@npr.org