Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says he’s staying out the senate race in Kansas to replace retiring fellow-Republican, Pat Roberts, but his announcement hasn’t stopped the speculation, reports The Wall Street Journal. He’s had phone calls with at least three Kansas Republicans who are openly considering running for the Senate seat, took a rare summer vacation in Kansas and missed former Sen. Bob Dole’s 96th birthday party in Washington. “The widely held assumption is that he’s preparing a run, because he wants the reputation of a tough man without having to take on all the political risks that position requires,” one senior administration official told the Wichita Eagle in mid-July. “Pompeo has never stopped being a congressman – he’s a congressman serving as a secretary of state.” Pompeo, a former Kansas congressman, has repeatedly downplayed his interest in the seat but has also made a point of maintaining his ties to Kansas. Speculation ramped up after former Kansas secretary of state Kris Kobach launched his own bid in July as Pompeo is widely seen as Republicans’ best shot at hanging on to the seat. “The fear is getting fired like the last guy and having his entire political career ended by tweet,” the official added.
Recently leaked documents are raising new concerns surrounding Chinese tech giant Huawei. On Monday, leaked internal documents obtained by the Washington Post revealed Huawei worked with a Chinese-state owned tech firm for at least eight years on a variety of projects centered in North Korea. One of those projects included the development and maintaining of the country’s first commercial 3G wireless network.
The detailed spread sheet was shared by a former Huawei employee, who claimed the information is of public interest. However, the person’s identity has not been released out of fear of retaliation.
If the reports are true it would bring up a new conflict between the U.S. and China as such a move would raise questions of whether Huawei, which has used U.S. technology in its components, violated American export controls to send equipment to North Korea.
The documents appear to confirm what U.S. officials have long feared — that Huawei is a national security risk.
“…you’ve seen…our effort to ensure that the networks in which American information flows are trusted, that we understand where that information is going, who’s the end user, and wanting to make sure the information doesn’t end up in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.”
— Mike Pompeo, U.S. Secretary of State
This latest development comes after the Trump administration agreed in June to lift some sanctions on the company, allowing U.S. companies to sell certain products to the the Chinese tech giant.
According to the Washington Post, Huawei has not directly responded to the report, but a spokesperson said the company does not have business in North Korea.
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President Trump met with dozens of victims of religious persecution at the White House on Wednesday as part of an ongoing effort by the administration to push for religious freedom abroad.
Twenty-seven people, including Christians from Burma, Vietnam, North Korea, Iran, Turkey, Cuba, Eritrea, Nigeria, and Sudan, Muslims from Afghanistan, Sudan, Pakistan and New Zealand, Jewish persecution victims from Yemen and Germany, a practitioner of Cao Dai from Vietnam and a Yazidi from Iraq all joined the president in the Oval Office as part of a four-day conference, called the Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom.
Four of the participants were from China, and one, a Uighur Muslim victim, claimed the government has locked devotees in concentration camps.
U.N. Human Rights Council experts estimated at least 1 million Uighurs have been held in detention centers within China, and at least two dozen countries have urged China to cease the religious persecution of the group that has over 11 million worshippers in the country, as Reuters reported.
The U.S., which already has a tenuous relationship with China over accusations of intellectual property theft, has touted the idea of sanctioning Chen Quanguo, the Communist Party chief of Xinjiang, along with other Chinese officials over the persecution of the Uighurs.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence are expected to address efforts to advance international religious freedom, a top foreign policy agenda for Trump, at the final event of the conference on Thursday.
U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback said “additional measures” to tackle persecution would be announced at the State Department meeting Thursday.