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Pompeo To Signal Tough Policy Toward Russia In Confirmation Hearing

CIA Director Mike Pompeo
CIA Director Mike Pompeo

CIA Director Mike Pompeo will say he intends to take a harder line toward Russia during his confirmation hearing to become U.S. President Donald Trump's new secretary of state, according to excerpts of his testimony.

"Russia continues to act aggressively, enabled by years of soft policy towards that aggression," Pompeo says in excerpts released ahead of his confirmation hearing, scheduled for April 12. "That's now over."

Pompeo does not refer in his written testimony to alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election campaign, but the issue is likely to be raised by lawmakers, some of whom have accused Trump of failing to be tough enough on Russia over the matter.

Trump nominated Pompeo, a former Republican congressman, to become the country's top diplomat on March 13 when he fired Rex Tillerson, ExxonMobil's former CEO.

The nomination hearing will be a test of whether Pompeo will be prepared to disagree with Trump on issues, according to some lawmakers.

Trump forged a warm relationship with Pompeo during White House meetings over the first year of his presidency and feels Pompeo shares more of his view of the world than Tillerson, who at times disagreed with the president.

In his testimony, Pompeo will list measures adopted by the administration against Russia, including sanctions and the expulsion last month of 60 Russian diplomats for an attack on a former Russian spy in Britain that has been blamed on Moscow.

"The actions of this administration make clear that President Trump's national security strategy, rightfully, has identified Russia as a danger to our country," the testimony says.

Pompeo will, however, leave the door open for dialogue with Moscow to resolve differences.

"Our diplomatic efforts with Russia will prove challenging, but as in previous confrontations with Moscow, must continue," he will say.

Based on reporting by AP, AFP, and Reuters

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