Pompeo in Russia: US does not want 'war with Iran'

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02:07 mins.

Pompeo defends US Iran policy

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said the US is not seeking conflict in Iran, after high-level talks in Russia. Meeting with President Vladimir Putin and top officials, he also discussed ways to mend US-Russia ties.

Meeting with top Russian officials on Tuesday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tried to ease concerns over rising tensions between Washington and Tehran that some fear could lead to conflict.

"We fundamentally don't seek war with Iran," Pompeo said after closed-door talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. "But we've also made clear to the Iranians that if American interests are attacked, we will most certainly respond in an appropriate fashion."

Read more: Iranians feel the pressure of new US sanctions

To counter any possible attack, the United States has sent an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the Middle East, heightening already high levels of unease that resulted from the US reimposing sanctions on Tehran following President Donald Trump's withdrawal of the US from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal last year.

"Europe has a stake in a very peaceful and stable Middle East," said US Iran envoy Brian Hook, speaking with DW in Brussels. "Iran has been threatening to conduct attacks, so we have put in place defensive measures.

"The problem we have now is that it's hard to imagine a peaceful Middle East without a peaceful Iran. So we are asking Iran to behave more like a normal nation and less like a revolutionary cause."

Read more: Iran sanctions: 5 things to know

Now live
02:32 mins.
DW News | 09.05.2019

Analysts fear US, Iran headed for proxy war

Russia and the US both said they wanted to strengthen ties between their two countries, but admitted there were clashes on a number of issues.

Pompeo said Russia and the US had "truly overlapping interests" that the two countries "can build on, and most importantly, President Trump very much wants to do that."

"We, from our side, have repeatedly said that we would like to fully restore relations," Putin said according to excerpts released by Russian state news agency TASS. "I hope that now the necessary conditions will be created to that effect."

Meanwhile, at a press conference with Pompeo, Lavrov warned that "this mistrust that we [Russia and the US] have hinders both your security and ours."

A timeline of the Russia investigation

2013: Mr. Trump goes to Russia

June 18, 2013. Donald Trump tweeted: "The Miss Universe Pageant will be broadcast live from MOSCOW, RUSSIA on November 9. A big deal that will bring our countries together!" He later added: "Do you think Putin will be going - if so, will he become my new best friend?" October 17, 2013 Trump tells chat show host David Letterman he has conducted "a lot of business with the Russians."

A timeline of the Russia investigation

September 2015: Hacking allegations raised

An FBI agent tells a tech-support contractor at the Democratic National Committee it may have been hacked. On May 18, 2016, James Clapper, the director of National Intelligence, says there were "some indications" of cyberattacks aimed at the presidential campaigns. On June 14, 2016 the DNC announces it had been the victim of an attack by Russian hackers.

A timeline of the Russia investigation

July 20, 2016: Kislyak enters the picture

Senator Jeff Sessions — an early Trump endorser who led his national security advisory committee — meets Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and a group of other ambassadors at a Republican National Convention event.

A timeline of the Russia investigation

July 22, 2016: Assange thickens the plot

Julian Assange's WikiLeaks publishes 20,000 emails stolen from the DNC, appearing to show a preference for Hillary Clinton over Senator Bernie Sanders.

A timeline of the Russia investigation

July 25, 2016: Cometh the hour, Comey the man

The FBI announces it is investigating the DNC hack saying "a compromise of this nature is something we take very seriously."

A timeline of the Russia investigation

November 8, 2016: Trump elected

Donald Trump is elected president of the United States. On November 9, the Russian parliament burst into applause at the news.

A timeline of the Russia investigation

November 10, 2016: Team Trump denies Russia link

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Rybakov says there "were contacts" between the Russian government and the Trump campaign during the election campaign. The Trump campaign issues a firm denial.

A timeline of the Russia investigation

November 18, 2016: Flynn appointed

Trump names General Michael Flynn as his national security adviser. The former Defense Intelligence Agency chief was a top foreign policy adviser in Trump's campaign. Flynn resigned in February after failing to disclose full details of his communication with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

A timeline of the Russia investigation

January 26, 2017: Yates - 'The center cannot hold'

Acting Attorney General Sally Yates tells White House counsel Don McGahn that Flynn made false statements regarding his calls with Kislyak. On January 30, Trump fires Yates for refusing to enforce his travel ban, which was later blocked by federal courts.

A timeline of the Russia investigation

March 2, 2017: Sessions recuses himself

Trump says he has "total confidence" in Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Sessions announces he will recuse himself from any investigation into ties between Russia and the Trump campaign.

A timeline of the Russia investigation

March 20, 2017: FBI examines Trump-Kremlin links

FBI Director James Comey confirms before the House Select Committee on Intelligence that the FBI was investigating possible links between Russia and the Trump campaign.

A timeline of the Russia investigation

May 9, 2017: Trump sacks Comey

In a letter announcing the termination, Trump writes: "While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau."

A timeline of the Russia investigation

May 17, 2017: Mueller appointed special counsel

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appoints former FBI Director Robert Mueller to look into Russia's interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.

A timeline of the Russia investigation

August 2017: FBI seizes documents from Manafort

Shortly after Mueller convenes a grand jury for the investigation, the FBI seizes documents from one of Paul Manafort's properties as part of a raid for Mueller's probe. The former Trump campaigner manager stepped down in August 2016 after allegations surfaced that he had received large payments linked to Ukraine's former pro-Russian government.

A timeline of the Russia investigation

September 2017: Trump Jr.'s talks to Senate committee

Donald Trump Jr. tells the Senate Judiciary Committee he has not colluded with a foreign government. The closed-door interview relates to his June 2016 meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, which was also attended by his brother-in-law, Jared Kushner, and then-campaign manager Paul Manafort. Trump Jr.’s emails, however, suggest the meeting was supposed to produce dirt on Clinton.

A timeline of the Russia investigation

October 2017: Internet giants allege Russian interference

Facebook, Twitter and Google reportedly tell US media they have evidence that Russian operatives exploited platforms to spread disinformation during the 2016 US presidential election. The three companies are appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee in November 2017.

A timeline of the Russia investigation

July 2018: Trump and Putin meet in Helsinki

Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet in Helsinki for their first-ever summit. During the trip, Trump publically contradicts the findings of US intelligence agencies who concluded that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election.

A timeline of the Russia investigation

November 8, 2018: Sessions resigns as attorney general

Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigns from his post, under reported pressure from Trump. The president then appoints a critic of the Mueller probe as his successor, but later nominates William Barr to be the next attorney general in December 2018.

A timeline of the Russia investigation

November 29, 2018: Former Trump lawyer pleads guilty

Trump's former long-time personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, pleads guilty to lying to Congress about discussions in 2016 on plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. The FBI raided his home earlier that year in April. He would later be sentenced to three years in prison. In 2019, he tells Congress that Trump is a "racist" and a "con man."

A timeline of the Russia investigation

January 2019: Trump associate Roger Stone arrested

Roger Stone, a longtime Trump associate and Republican operative, is arrested at his home in Florida for lying to Congress about having advance knowledge of plans by WikiLeaks to release emails from the Democratic Party that US officials say were stolen by Russia.

A timeline of the Russia investigation

March 13, 2019: Manafort sentenced to prison

Manafort is found guilty of conspiracy charges and handed an additional sentence, bringing his total prison sentence to 7.5 years. In August 2018, a court in Virginia found him guilty of eight charges, including tax and bank fraud. He also pleaded guilty to two conspiracy counts.

A timeline of the Russia investigation

March 22, 2019: Mueller ends Russia probe

Special counsel Robert Mueller submits a confidential 448-page report on the findings of his investigation to the US Justice Department. The main conclusions of the report are made public when they are given to Congress. A redacted version of the report is released to the public on April 18, though Democrats call for the full report to be released.

A timeline of the Russia investigation

March 24, 2019: Trump declares 'exoneration'

The final report concluded that no one involved in Trump's 2016 election campaign colluded with Russia. Attorney General William Barr said the report provided no evidence that Trump obstructed justice, but stopped short of fully exonerating the president. Reacting to the findings, Trump described the probe as an "illegal take-down that failed," and said there was "complete and total exoneration."

A timeline of the Russia investigation

May 1, 2019: Barr testifies

In late March, Mueller writes a letter expressing concerns over the way Barr portrayed his report. The attorney general says the special counsel's letter was "a bit snitty" while testifying in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee in May. Barr then cancels a subsequent appearance before the House Judicial Committee, citing "unprecedented and unnecessary" hearing conditions.

Mueller report affected US-Russia ties

The meeting between Putin and Pompeo was the highest-level face-to-face contact between the two countries since special counsel Robert Mueller's report was released last month.

Putin did not address Mueller's conclusion that Russia had actively interfered in the 2016 presidential election.

"However exotic the work of special counsel Mueller was, I have to say that on the whole he has had a very objective investigation and he confirmed that there were no traces whatsoever of collusion between Russia and the incumbent administration, which we said was absolutely fake," Putin said as he opened the meeting with Pompeo in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

Read more: The US president's executive privilege: What you need to know

"As we said before there was no collusion from our government officials and it could not be there. Still, that was one of the reasons for the certain break in our inter-state ties," Putin said. "I'm hoping today that the situation is changing."

Pompeo did not reference election meddling in his response to Putin, but he did say the Trump administration would "protect our nation's interest."

During the news conference with Lavrov, Pompeo said if Russia was to interfere in US elections in 2020, "it would put our relationship in an even worse place than it is." Lavrov rejected the allegations.

Now live
02:18 mins.
DW News | 18.04.2019

US officials release redacted Mueller report

Pompeo urges end to Maduro support

One major point of contention during a press conference saw Pompeo urge Russia to end its support for Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro, adding: "We want Venezuela to get their democracy back."

Maduro has "brought nothing but misery to the Venezuelan people," Pompeo told reporters while sitting alongside Lavrov. "We hope that Russia's support for Maduro will end."

Lavrov hit back by saying that "threats by the US administration" against Venezuela's leadership have "nothing to do with democracy."

Read more: Venezuela: Coup or uprising? It depends on who you support

Now live
07:59 mins.
DW News | 14.05.2019

Are Trump's policies on Iran making war more likely?

law/cmk (AP, dpa, Reuters)

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