Pompeo accuses radio reporter of lying

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has gone on the attack against a reporter who said he berated her.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has gone on the attack against a reporter who said he berated her.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has accused a US radio reporter of lying to him and violating "the basic rules of journalism and decency" after she said Pompeo repeatedly cursed at her following a testy interview.

National Public Radio reporter Mary Louise Kelly said Pompeo cursed at her and repeatedly "used the F-word" in a shouted diatribe after she questioned him about Ukraine and the ousted American ambassador to Kiev during a nine-minute interview.

In a statement on Saturday, Pompeo said Kelly had lied to him twice - once in setting up the interview, and then again in agreeing to conduct their post-interview conversation off the record.

"It is shameful that this reporter chose to violate the basic rules of journalism and decency. This is another example of how unhinged the media has become in its quest to hurt President (Donald) Trump and this Administration," Pompeo said.

"It is no wonder that the American people distrust many in the media when they so consistently demonstrate their agenda and their absence of integrity."

In the interview Kelly asked Pompeo about Iran and former US ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, who was ousted by Trump last May.

Yovanovitch's removal was a key event in the actions that prompted Trump's impeachment last month on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

Kelly said she told Pompeo's aides she would ask about Iran and Ukraine and, during the interview, she posed several questions, including whether Pompeo owed an apology to Yovanovitch.

Pompeo said he had only agreed to discuss Iran.

Afterwards, Kelly told NPR, he shouted and repeatedly cursed at her.

He also had aides bring a blank map of the world and asked Kelly to point to Ukraine, which she did, she told NPR.

Kelly said Pompeo's staff did not stipulate that the post-interview meeting was to be off the record.

Australian Associated Press