- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 23, 2018

Russia has worked against U.S. interests in Ukraine, Syria, and in other hot spots across the globe, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a blistering takedown of Moscow that comes on the eve of a key United Nations summit in New York City.

In an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” that airs Sunday morning, Mr. Pompeo said the Trump administration so far has not been successful in pushing back against many of Russia’s destabilizing actions around the world. Russia is backing dictator Bashar Assad’s forces in Syria, forcibly annexed the Crimea region of Ukraine, and has taken a host of other steps that are in direct opposition to U.S. foreign policy interests.

“Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd made the case that Russia has not been helpful on any international front anywhere in the world, and Mr. Pompeo agreed.

“It’s a pretty fair assessment, and it’s most unfortunate because there are places where we have shared interest[s]. I worked with them closely on counterterrorism issues. There’s a handful of other places in the world where we do have overlapping interests, although certainly not values,” the secretary of state said, according to excerpts of the interview released Saturday.

“They’re a country that’s very different from ours in that respect. They have not proven helpful in the Ukraine, in Syria. You’ve shown it,” he continued. “Again, trying to push back against Russia’s malign activity around the world. The president’s tried to develop a relationship and change that, but we’ve not been successful, at least to date.”

Mr. Pompeo also rejected the narrative that he and other top administration officials are the acting as a “bad cop” while President Trump acts as something like a “good cop.” That narrative especially took hold following Mr. Trump’s friendly and widely condemned press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin over the summer.

“Just, just wrong. I think we’re all trying to be cops that are protecting America and I think we’ve actually achieved that,” Mr. Pompeo said.

• Ben Wolfgang can be reached at bwolfgang@washingtontimes.com.

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