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U.S. State Department bars NPR reporter from Pompeo's upcoming trip after testy interview

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U.S. State Department bars NPR reporter from Pompeo's upcoming trip after testy interview

By Humeyra Pamuk

 

2020-01-28T002720Z_1_LYNXMPEG0R00V_RTROPTP_4_UKRAINE-USA-POMPEO.JPG

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo takes questions during a news conference in the Press Briefing Room at the State Department in Washington, U.S., January 7, 2020. REUTERS/Tom Brenner

 

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. State Department removed a National Public Radio reporter from the press pool for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's upcoming foreign trip, a press association said on Monday, days after Pompeo angrily responded to another NPR journalist's interview with him.

 

The removal of NPR reporter Michele Kelemen, who was part of the travelling pool of correspondents with Pompeo on his planned trip to the UK, Ukraine, Belarus and Central Asia, can only be seen as retaliation for her colleague's interview, the State Department Correspondents' Association said.

 

The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

 

Pompeo was interviewed on Friday by another NPR reporter, Mary Louise Kelly, and was asked repeatedly about Ukraine and ousted U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch during a testy nine-minute exchange.

 

Yovanovitch's removal was a key event in the actions that prompted the impeachment of President Donald Trump by the Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives last month.

 

Following the interview, Kelly said Pompeo cursed at her and repeatedly "used the F-word" and asked the reporter: "Do you think Americans care about Ukraine?"

 

Pompeo said in a statement on Saturday the reporter had lied in setting up the interview and in agreeing to conduct the post-interview conversation off the record. His statement did not dispute what she said about the content of the post-interview encounter.

 

NPR stood by its account by the meeting.

 

"The State Department press corps has a long tradition of accompanying secretaries of state on their travels and we find it unacceptable to punish an individual member of our association," Shaun Tandon, the head of the association, said in a statement.

 

"We respectfully ask the State Department to reconsider and allow Michele to travel on the plane for this trip," Tandon said.

 

UKRAINE TRIP

Pompeo, who is due to make an official visit to Ukraine starting on Thursday, will be the most senior U.S. official to travel to that country since the impeachment process began.

 

His relationship with the press has been tense since his first months in the job but it has deteriorated since the impeachment inquiry as the former U.S. congressman expressed dismay over reporters' insistence to ask about Ukraine.

 

The House impeached Trump on charges of abuse of power in his dealings with Ukraine and obstruction of Congress, setting up the trial in the Republican-led Senate. Trump, who denies wrongdoing and has condemned the impeachment process, is unlikely to be convicted.

 

At the heart of the impeachment lies $391 million in aid to Ukraine, which Trump is accused of freezing until Kiev helped with investigations into Democrats, including former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.

 

Congress had approved the funds to help Ukraine combat Russia-backed separatists. The money was ultimately provided in September after the controversy spilled into public view.

 

Pompeo has occasionally snapped back at reporters for asking an impeachment-related question, describing the media's persistent interest in the issue as 'silliness' and 'noise." He has said he supports all State Department employees, but has declined, to date, to publicly offer words of support for Yovanovitch specifically.

 

(Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk; Editing by Tom Brown and Peter Cooney)

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2020-01-28
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1 hour ago, Jingthing said:

What was what? 

 

Anyway the moment there aren't a significant number of Americans that see a red flag when any administration of any party speaks explicitly and acts obnoxiously like this secretary of state that the press is the enemy of the people then we can say goodbye to American democracy and hello to American dictatorship. 

That non-Dem and non-lib, acting all triggered and snowflaky...

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Some off topic trolling posts and replies have been removed.

 

A post using trolling representations of Obama's name has been removed. 

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10 hours ago, webfact said:

The removal of NPR reporter Michele Kelemen, who was part of the travelling pool of correspondents with Pompeo on his planned trip to the UK, Ukraine, Belarus and Central Asia, can only be seen as retaliation for her colleague's interview, the State Department Correspondents' Association said.

 

A most richly deserved punishment....can we get Acosta to join her, perhaps?

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1 hour ago, JHolmesJr said:

 

A most richly deserved punishment....can we get Acosta to join her, perhaps?

It’s nothing compared to the punishment that awaits Pompeo.

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10 hours ago, Saint Nick said:

Oooooh, the Dems, the libs...they are such snowflakes, they are triggered so easily and...what was that?

:coffee1:

I don’t think one of those liking your post caught the sarcasm in it. 

Twice. 

 

Edited by Bluespunk

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2 hours ago, JHolmesJr said:

 

A most richly deserved punishment....can we get Acosta to join her, perhaps?

And why did this individual “deserve” punishment?

Edited by Bluespunk
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