Updated Jan 6, 2020

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.

  • Pompeo's profile has been elevated in recent days in the wake of escalated tensions with Iran, with the secretary appearing on every mainstream Sunday cable talk show to discuss the killing of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani.

Between the lines: Republicans fear that the Kansas seat could be in jeopardy with Pompeo opting not to run, especially if former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach were to win the GOP primary.

  • Kobach, who was defeated in the race for Kansas governor in 2018, is known for his hardline views on immigration and dubious claims about voter fraud, and he's widely viewed as unpopular among moderates.

Go deeper ... Pompeo on Trump's Iran threat: "We'll behave lawfully"

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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

Pompeo releases scathing statement against NPR reporter

Photo: Ezequiel Becerra/AFP via Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo released a scathing statement on Saturday against NPR's Mary Louise Kelly following an interview, claiming, their talk "is another example of how unhinged the media has become in its quest to hurt President Trump and this Administration," but not denying her account.

Context: Kelly interviewed Pompeo on Jan. 24 regarding U.S. policy in Iran and former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. Kelly claims Pompeo used multiple expletives in a private meeting that followed the interview.

Go deeperArrowJan 25, 2020

Pentagon chief on targeting cultural sites: "We will follow the laws of armed conflict"

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (L) and Defense Secretary Mark Esper. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said Monday that "we will follow the laws of armed conflict" as they relate to the targeting of cultural sites, which is considered a war crime, CNN reports.

Why it matters: The remark appears to contradict President Trump's threat Sunday to target 52 Iranian sites — including ones "important" to Iranian culture — as a response to a potential retaliatory attack by Iran.

Go deeperArrowJan 6, 2020