Dec 19, 2019

Senate confirms North Korea envoy as Pompeo's new deputy

Photo: Andreas Gora/Pool/Getty Images

The Senate on Thursday confirmed Stephen Biegun, the current U.S. special representative for North Korea, as deputy secretary of state with a 90-3 vote, AP reports.

Why it matters: The confirmation ensures a line of succession for the head of the State Department should Mike Pompeo resign to run for Kansas' open Senate seat in 2020, as many have speculated he will. Pompeo has repeatedly denied that he will run.

  • Biegun will fill a vacancy that opened earlier this month when the Senate confirmed then-deputy John Sullivan as the ambassador to Russia.
  • Three Democratic senators, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Ed Markey of Massachusetts and Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, voted against the nomination.

Go deeper: Pompeo speaks at Kansas State amid speculation of Senate run

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Pompeo tells McConnell he won't run for Kansas Senate seat

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday and informed him that he will not be running for Kansas' open Senate seat in 2020, the New York Times first reported and Axios confirmed from a source with direct knowledge.

The big picture: Speculation had persisted for months that Pompeo was exploring a Senate campaign in his home state, despite his repeated insistence that he was focused exclusively on his job at the State Department.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Jan 6, 2020

Key GOP senators don't want to subpoena Bolton

John Bolton during a meeting with Belarus' president Alexander in September. Photo: Yuri Oreshkin\TASS via Getty Images

Key Senate Republicans are refusing to give a clear answer on whether President Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton should be subpoenaed to testify in an eventual impeachment trial, after he stated Monday that he would comply with a Senate subpoena.

Why it matters: Bolton has firsthand knowledge of Trump's direct conversations about Ukraine aid. The big question heading into this week is whether rebel Republican Senators are even remotely thinking about joining Democrats’ demands for the Senate to call witnesses and request documents from key figures being blocked by the White House.

Go deeperArrowJan 7, 2020

House Foreign Affairs Committee calls Pompeo to testify on Trump admin's Iran policy

Mike Pompeo. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The House Foreign Affairs Committee has invited Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to testify at a meeting on Jan. 14 regarding escalating tensions in Iran, per a release Tuesday.

Why it matters: The meeting will give the Democrat-led committee a chance to question the decision to strike Iraq and ultimately kill Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani, but it is unclear whether Pompeo will attend.

Go deeperArrowJan 7, 2020