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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo assured the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday that the U.S. does not recognize Crimea as a part of Russia during his testimony centered on President Trump's recent meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Why it matters: Trump's personal position on this issue has been shaky at best in recent months. At the G7 summit, Trump reportedly said he considered Crimea to be Russian because people in Crimea speak Russian — and he's also said that he'll "have to see"if U.S. policy on the issue would change.
- Pompeo added that there would be no relief on sanctions related to Crimea until Russia returns control of the peninsula to Ukraine.
More on North Korea:
- Pressed by multiple senators, Pompeo did not provide any specific details about hard commitments made by North Korea that would lead to denuclearization, though he said later that international sanctions would remain on the regime until it denuclearized.
- He confirmed that North Korea is continuing to produce fissile material.
- When asked if North Korea was still making advancements on nuclear production, Pompeo refused to answer, instead asking to address the question in a classified setting.
More on Russia:
- On the topic of the 2016 presidential election: "President Trump has stated that he accepts our intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia meddled in the 2016 election. He has a complete and proper understanding of what happened. I know. I briefed him on it for over a year."
- Pompeo repeatedly refused to divulge any details about Trump's two-hour one-on-one meeting with Putin in Helsinki during a testy line of questioning from Sen. Robert Menendez, the committee's ranking Democrat, instead choosing to refer back to U.S. policy on Russia.
- He also stated he had not spoken with the translator from the Trump-Putin meeting. Several lawmakers want the translator to come to Capitol Hill to testify on what happened in the meeting since the White House has not issued a readout on its contents, allowing the Kremlin to drive the narrative on the topic.