Congressman Mike Pompeo of Kansas, a Member of the House Select Committee On Benghazi, joined me today:
HH: Joined now by Congressman Mike Pompeo of the 4th Congressional District in Kansas, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, member of the Benghazi Select Committee on those awful events of September 11th, 2012. Congressman Pompeo, welcome back, thank you for joining me.
MP: It’s great to be with you today, Hugh.
HH: Former senior State Department official and now senior Hillary Clinton aide, Huma Abedin, was behind closed doors today. Were you involved in those depositions?
MP: I was. I was in the deposition room for most of all the deposition today.
HH: How long did they last for?
MP: So we started this morning at about 10:00, and I was there until mid-afternoon, and we’re still continuing, but probably was pretty close to getting wrapped up.
HH: Okay, and so I know they’re confidential, and I won’t ask you about that. But I saw an earlier erroneous report where they said they didn’t expect the members to be there because you were in recess, and I said to myself I bet you Mike Pompeo is there. Were any other members there?
MP: There were. Mr. Westmoreland was there for most of the day, and Mr. Cummings showed up for about 20 minutes.
HH: Yeah, I kind of knew you would be there. So that’s one thing. Are you ready, do you think, for the former First Lady/former Secretary of State on the 22nd next week?
MP: I do think so, and I think America is ready to. I think America is ready to hear from her relative to all of the issues that haven’t been covered before, because you know, I keep hearing about these previous committees, but none of them had a chance after all of these documents have now been turned over, much to the chagrin, I think, of the former Secretary, but we don’t have many of them, not all. And so there’s a lot of documents that we’re going to go on Thursday without, but I think the American people will be treated to a professional and important day on Thursday.
HH: Now your colleague in the Republican conference, Representative Hanna from New York, suggested bluntly, didn’t suggest, he argued that this was a political committee. What’s your response to that?
MP: Yeah, he’s just wrong, or doesn’t know. And he’s not on the committee. I just met, it always bothers me when folks say things they don’t know about. He hasn’t been involved in all the work that’s been done, the staff work, the work by the members, to accomplish the mission that we’ve been on now since May of 2014. And we’ve been vigorous in our pursuit of facts. We will continue to be not only next Thursday, but beyond that as well. And it was, I regret that he said that, because he flat-out doesn’t understand what this committee has done, what we’ve been tasked with, and how we’ve behaved.
HH: Now that I’ve got that out of the way, I want to talk some conference leadership with you. If Paul Ryan says no, are you available to become the Speaker?
MP: I am. And having said that, Hugh, look, the conference has got a lot of work to do. We’ve got to get it right. We need, to be frank, conservative leadership that’s going to take the House in the right direction on behalf of America. And as we have these discussions, if it turns out I think I’m the right fit, I will put myself forward, and I will go and try to make the case to my colleagues. And we’re not quite there, yet, but we’re getting closer to that point.
HH: Now do they realize West Point might actually be a good thing for someone to have had in their background if you’re trying to organize, and that the leadership that they teach you in the long, gray line might be useful not in a military sense, but just in terms of getting organized?
MP: You know, I don’t know if they do or not. I know I learned an awful lot there about leadership. I’ve learned a lot when I ran a manufacturing company for a decade and a half as well, and still have a lot to learn, but I do think that there might be a place for me to try and be the right person to lead this conference forward.
HH: But they’re going to have to overlook the Harvard Law stuff.
MP: I never talk about that, Hugh.
HH: So generally speaking, when you talk to people about this, what are they looking for, because I’m just looking for coherence and communication skills out of the Speaker, and not much…
MP: Yeah, yeah, you’ve got it largely right. I do think, too, there’s something to this idea. We’ve now got the majority of our conference that has been in Congress less than five years. And we need to make sure that those new voices are represented in the right way, because I think they are the voices that the American people demanded when I was elected in 2010, and then from 2012 to 2014 put 247 of us in place. And so I’m optimistic that we can get some of those process solutions right, and then we’ll find the right guy or gal to lead our conference forward. I’m excited about the future for us.
HH: Are you actually a member of the Freedom Caucus, Congressman Pompeo?
MP: I am not.
HH: And so that’s been the squeaky wheel here. But most of the people in there, like Mick Mulvaney, etc., I can’t imagine that they would object to you, would they?
MP: No, the folks in the Freedom Caucus are good, solid, limited government believers. That’s certainly who I am as well. And I know them. I serve along with Representative Jordan on the Benghazi Committee. We’ve gotten to know each other well there. He’s a remarkable conservative leader. And so I think my voting record and my instincts are very much aligned with theirs.
HH: Well, I hope that if, and when would, do you expect, last question, do you expect this to be resolved next week, the Speakership, not the Benghazi Committee or the Intelligence…we haven’t talked about the Cuban general, so let’s do that as well. We’ve got a minute. Do you expect the Speaker to be replaced by the end of next week, and do you expect the Cuban general to be discussed on the floor?
MP: I think the answer to the former is probably not, and the latter is I’m counting on the fact that it will be.
HH: All right, Congressman Michael Pompeo from Kansas’ 4th Congressional District, keep us posted. Thank you so much for joining us.
End of interview.