PHOTO: U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D - Alabama) was one of four Democrats to cross party lines to confirm Mike Pompeo as the new Secretary of State. We asked him how he felt Pompeo would deal with Russia during recent tensions just before the vote.
By Tyler Pruett, Managing Editor
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A short while ago, the U.S. Senate voted to confirm Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director Mike Pompeo as the new Secretary of State,after Rex Tillerson was fired in March by President Donald Trump.
Upon his confirmation, Pompeo will immediately fly to Brussels for the NATO Ministerial Meeting tomorrow. Items discussed in the meeting will be important issues such as establishing talks with Russia during recent tensions and potentially negotiating a peace with the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Pompeo's appointment was made possible after four Democratic Senators and Independent Senator Angus King (Maine) sided with full support from Senate Republicans. Many Democrats cited Pompeo's past comments which they regarded as, "homophobic" and "warmongering."
One of those four Democratic Senators crossing party lines to confirm Pompeo was Alabama Senator Doug Jones. Jones met with Pompeo last Thursday and spoke with him again by phone yesterday.
While on a conference call with rural newspapers right before the vote, we asked Jones if Pompeo gave him the impression that he would be able to deal with Russia diplomatically, or could it add tension to an already tense situation?
Jones explained that after his meeting and discussions with Pompeo, he felt, "very good about it," and that his background at the CIA was needed to best approach current foreign policy issues.
"He made it very clear to me that diplomacy was his first priority," said Jones. "We've got a lot of issues dealing with Russia; cyber security issues that are very, very serious. We are dealing with that on separate committees; not just intelligence, but also Homeland Security."
"I think one of the advantages that Mike Pompeo brings to this job is his 15 - 16 months as the director of the CIA. He knows where things are; he knows the good, the bad, and the ugly about what's going on with Russia," he added.
Jones also related his CIA experience is a, "plus for him leading into these discussions with both Russia, North Korea, (and) very sensitive discussions that we are going to be having about the Iran treaty. I think that is a big advantage for him."
"I have confidence in him; I've told him that, but at the same time, it's my job as a senator to hold his feet to the fire, and to make sure that what he has told me in his confirmation process, that he lives up to it," concluded Jones.
Moments later, the senate would vote to end debate on the confirmation.
Other Democrats that crossed the aisle included Senators Joe Manchin (West Virginia), Heidi Heitkamp (North Dakota), and Joe Donnelly (Indiana).