Pompeo: ‘Substantial Chance’ Senior Russian Officials Directed Navalny Poisoning

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at a news conference at the State Department on April 29, 2020. (Photo by ANDREW HARNIK/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday that there is a “substantial chance” that senior Russian officials directed the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny.

“I think people all around the world see this kind of activity for what it is. And when they see the effort to poison a dissident, and they recognize that there is a substantial chance that this actually came from senior Russian officials, I think this is not good for the Russian people,” Pompeo told conservative commentator Ben Shapiro in an interview Wednesday. “I think it’s not good for Russia.” 

The comments come as President Donald Trump has declined to condemn Russia for the opposition leader’s poisoning even as world leaders have censured Russia and demanded answers. 

On Friday, Trump appeared to defend Russia telling reporters during a news conference that there was “not any proof yet” of Kremlin involvement. 

“I don’t know exactly what happened,” Trump said when asked about his stance on the poisoning. Trump has used the same tactic of feigned ignorance many times before when he doesn’t want to assume responsibility to publicly condemn or break ties with those he views as potentially advantageous to his political agenda.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson did not drag their feet in publicly condemning Navalny’s poisoning.

Last week, Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, issued a statement formally confirming that testing by a German military laboratory now shows “proof without doubt of a chemical nerve agent from the Novichok group.”

The German government had already reported that Navalny who came out of a coma while being treated in the country, had been exposed to a Novichok — a known chemical weapon developed by the Soviet Union. In recent years Novichok has been used on at least one other occasion in an attack on a Kremlin enemy.

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

Latest News
Comments
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Reporters:
Newswriters:
Director of Audience:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: