It’s been awhile since anyone did the entire five-show circuit on Sunday morning but Mike Pompeo’s going to attempt that trick today. He’s the star guest on “This Week,” “Meet the Press,” “Face the Nation,” “State of the Union,” and “Fox News Sunday” after what seemed — on the surface — like a slow, storm-dominated news week. Beneath the surface, though, various crises abroad are beginning to bubble:
— North Korea is reportedly quietly perfecting its short-range missile arsenal while negotiations with the U.S. drag on, with Pompeo himself reportedly suspicious that he’s being strung along;
— Iran has just begun operating advanced uranium centrifuges in violation of Obama’s nuclear deal, citing the fact that Trump breached it first;
— A peace deal with the Taliban is at risk of falling apart after Pompeo rejected the terms, believing they’re too favorable to the enemy;
— There’s no end in sight to the trade war with China, or to the upheaval in Hong Kong that may result in a Chinese invasion.
Pompeo’s wrapped up in drama at home too. He keeps getting asked whether he’s going to ditch the State Department in order to run for Senate in his home state of Kansas and he keeps being coy with his answers. A sudden vacuum at the top of the agency would add to State’s burden in trying to manage the crises listed above. On top of all that, reports are circulating that his relationship with John Bolton has broken down, with Bolton effectively sidelined in the White House:
While there’s been friction between Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for months, as CNN first reported in May, things have gotten worse recently. Bolton and Pompeo rarely speak outside of formal meetings, three of the sources said, including a recent stretch of going weeks without speaking to one another. That has left key coordination efforts between the White House and State Department to underlings…
The internal rift has only added to the sense of confusion about the administration’s foreign policy priorities, and left some allies and experts scratching their heads about who is running Trump’s policy abroad, according to diplomats and administration officials.
“The administration’s national security team is the weakest in decades and is now on the verge of complete collapse,” said Tom Wright, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. “Meanwhile, the President just goes rogue, making vital decisions on the fly, with little thought or process.”
Pompeo will dutifully deny those rumors this morning, of course. Speaking of ducking questions, James Mattis will follow him on “Face the Nation” to discuss his new book and avoid saying when asked whether he thinks Trump is unfit for office. And if none of that grabs you, prospective Trump primary challenger Mark Sanford will appear on “Fox News Sunday” to address whether he’ll enter the race or not. Joe Walsh used a Sunday-morning interview a few weeks ago to announce his own challenge to Trump. Today might be the day for Sanford. The full line-up is at the AP.