NYT conservative columnist urges Pompeo and Bolton to resign

NYT conservative columnist urges Pompeo and Bolton to resign

A conservative columnist with The New York Times is urging top members of the Trump administration to step down after President TrumpDonald John TrumpJustice Department preparing for Mueller report as soon as next week: reports Smollett lawyers declare 'Empire' star innocent Pelosi asks members to support resolution against emergency declaration MORE seemingly sided with Russian President Vladimir Putin against U.S. intelligence agencies during a joint press conference.

Bret Stephens wrote in an op-ed Thursday that national security adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoOvernight Defense: Graham clashed with Pentagon chief over Syria | Talk grows that Trump will fire Coats | Coast Guard officer accused of domestic terrorism plot Sean Spicer joins 'Extra' as 'special DC correspondent' Trump, Pompeo: Alabama woman who joined ISIS cannot return to US MORE should resign over Trump's remarks Monday in which he said that he couldn't see any evidence why it "would" be Russia behind election interference during the 2016 presidential campaign.

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Trump and the White House later said the president misspoke, and that he meant to see he saw no evidence that it wouldn't be Russia. But this argument has fallen flat with a number of critics of the administration.

"Assuming Mike Pompeo and John Bolton still have their own senses intact, they too should resign following the epic disgrace of the U.S.-Russia summit in Helsinki on Monday. So should their senior staff," Stephens, who considers himself a "#NeverTrump" conservative, wrote Thursday.

Stephens went on to accuse the two men of "covering up" for the president's mistakes and losing their place in the conservative argument against Russia and Putin's actions around the world.

"By continuing to serve the president, Pompeo and Bolton and their top aides are not — as they doubtlessly tell themselves in humiliating moments like this one — cleaning up after him. They are covering up for him," Stephens wrote.

"Bolton and Pompeo should be leading the conservative charge against the Putin appeasers," he added. "In office, they are effectively complicit with them."

Trump has repeatedly expressed interest for mending relationships with Russia, and has faced criticism for insufficiently confronting Russia's leaders about efforts to meddle in the U.S. election in his favor in 2016.

“I think we will end up having an extraordinary relationship,” Trump said Monday, sitting beside Putin at the Helsinki summit. “Getting along with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing.”