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Trump Says Report on Pompeo is ‘Fake News’, Then Immediately Concedes It May Be True

In CBS News’ big interview with President Donald Trump on Sunday, anchor Margaret Brennan focused several times on his beefs with his own officials. In discussing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the President called a news report fake before conceding that it may have been based on facts.

The president was wrapping up his point about his dispute with intel chiefs – which he has over the last week variously said claimed was no dispute, or was one but it was inflated, or just that he was right and they were wrong – by saying that he was right and they were wrong. “When my intelligence people tell me how wonderful Iran is- if you don’t mind, I’m going to just go by my own counsel,” he said.

Brennan followed up by addressing the turnover in the White House and administration. “You’ve had a lot of change-up in you administration recently too,” she said. “Are you satisfied with the cabinet and the staff you have now?

“So we have a great cabinet. I have great people. I think now we have a really great cabinet. I think Bill Barr will be a fantastic attorney general, and I think that we have- Mike Pompeo’s been doing a fantastic job. We have–”

On Pompeo’s name, Brennan interjected, asking “He’s not leaving?

“No, I don’t- I mean he tells me he wouldn’t want to leave,” he said. “That was fake news.”

Brennan said that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had spoken to Pompeo about running for Senate, and that Pompeo had confirmed this was the case.

“Well, he may have spoken to him, but I think he loves being secretary of state,” said Trump. “He’s doing a fantastic job. And I asked him the question the other day, he says he’s absolutely not leaving. I don’t think he’d do that.”

Just to be clear, what Trump first said was that the report that Pompeo had talked about leaving his job as Secretary of State to run for senate was “fake news” and then immediately conceded that Pompeo may actually have talked about leaving his job to run for senate, confirming it was accurate news.

The discussion of people departing continued, closing with Trump bashing former Secretary of Defense Gen. James Mattis.

He said he knows when to fire someone: “When it doesn’t get done. Like with General Mattis, I wasn’t happy with his service. I told him give me a letter.”

“He resigned,” said Brennan.

“He resigned because I asked him to resign. He resigned because I was very nice to him. But I gave him big budgets and he didn’t do well in Afghanistan. I was not happy with the job he was doing in Afghanistan. And if you look at Syria what’s happened, I went to Iraq recently, if you look at Syria, what’s happened in Syria in the last few weeks, you would see that things are going down that were not going down. That things are happening that are very good,” he said. “So I was not happy with him, but I wish him well.”

Watch the clip above, courtesy of CBS News.

[Featured image via screengrab]

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