Pompeo defends Trump's invitation of Taliban to Camp David, citing 'obligation to do everything we can'

Pompeo defends Trump's invitation of Taliban to Camp David, citing 'obligation to do everything we can'
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Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoFive takeaways from ex-ambassador's dramatic testimony Pompeo: No US response ruled out in Hong Kong Ousted ambassador describes State Department in 'crisis' in dramatic impeachment testimony MORE on Sunday defended President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP divided over impeachment trial strategy Official testifies that Bolton had 'one-on-one meeting' with Trump over Ukraine aid Louisiana governor wins re-election MORE's decision to invite a Taliban representative to Camp David for peace talks with Afghanistan's president. 

Pompeo told CNN's Jake TapperJacob (Jake) Paul TapperRepublicans, Democrats brace for first public testimony in impeachment inquiry Johnson dismisses testimony from White House officials contradicting Trump as 'just their impression' Saagar Enjeti: Harris campaign 'is failing because she doesn't stand for anything' MORE on "State of the Union" that the administration has "an obligation to do everything we can." 

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"The president believed that we could further that, that we could further America's national interest by having conversations with the people that have the capacity to actually deliver," Pompeo added. 

Tapper asked Pompeo if he personally had any issue with inviting the Taliban to Camp David.

“I can't help but think that if a Democratic president had talked about having the Taliban come to Camp David to negotiate a peace process that was not already a done deal that you, as a congressman, as a soldier, as a veteran, as a West Point graduate, that you would be rather upset,” the CNN host said.

"I've been fully supportive of this effort, the direction that we have taken," Pompeo responded. 

Trump announced late Saturday he had canceled a planned secret meeting with leaders of the Taliban and Afghanistan's president at Camp David, saying he had called off negotiations with the insurgent group after Taliban leadership claimed credit for a deadly attack in Kabul.

Politicians across the aisle questioned Trump's choice to have the insurgent organization's leaders meet at the U.S. venue just days ahead of the 18th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. 

Rep. Adam KinzingerAdam Daniel KinzingerHonoring service before self House approves Turkey sanctions in rare bipartisan rebuke of Trump The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Nareit — White House cheers Republicans for storming impeachment hearing MORE (R-Ill.) was one politician to call out the president's plan. 

"Never should leaders of a terrorist organization that hasn't renounced 9/11 and continue in evil be allowed in our great country. NEVER. Full stop," he tweeted.

Pompeo said on Sunday that the U.S. is looking for "proof" that the Taliban has the "capacity to actually deliver" on its commitments.  

"Make no mistake about it. We will continue to punish," he added. "We will continue to protect the American people."

During a separate interview on NBC, Pompeo noted Camp David’s history in peace negotiations, “sometimes with some pretty bad actors.”

"The president ultimately made the decision that if we could get that, if we could get commitments and then put in place a verification regime that would give us confidence that we could observe that those commitments were being honored, that it was a useful effort to try and get all of those parties in one place so that we could have serious conversation," he said.

Read more from The Hill:

Pompeo: Taliban talks are dead 'for the time being'