Just after Pompeo took over as CIA director in 2017, he conducted a personal review of the CIA’s findings, grilling analysts on their conclusions in a challenging and at times combative interview, these people said. He ultimately found no evidence of any wrongdoing, or that the analysts had been under political pressure to produce their findings.
“This wasn’t just a briefing,” said one person familiar with the episode. “This was a challenging back and forth, in which Pompeo asked the officers tough questions about their work and how they determined Putin’s specific objectives.” Pompeo also asked about CIA’s work with the FBI on the Russia probe in 2016. Two U.S. officials further confirmed to POLITICO that the interview occurred and was robust.
Additionally, a congressional official said Pompeo and his deputies never gave any indication to lawmakers, even behind closed doors, that the CIA had acted improperly or drawn incorrect conclusions about Putin’s desire to help Trump get elected. Special counsel Robert Mueller and the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee also separately reaffirmed the intelligence community’s assessment of Moscow’s motivations in 2016.