SALT LAKE CITY — After being nominated for secretary of state Tuesday, CIA Director Mike Pompeo canceled an appearance at Rep. Chris Stewart's yearly security summit in Salt Lake City later this month.
Stewart's office sent out a press release Tuesday morning announcing the conference, including Pompeo, but said it learned later in the day that he would not be able to attend.
President Donald Trump announced Tuesday that he will replace Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with Pompeo. He must be confirmed by the Senate.
Pompeo, a former Kansas GOP congressman and tea party leader, was among seven speakers Stewart, R-Utah, lined up for the March 26 event titled “Defining America’s Role in the World.” Participants will discuss national security, foreign relations and the importance of a free press.
Other scheduled speakers include Tunisian Ambassador Faycal Gouia, Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., and Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C.
On Monday, Stewart said the agency Pompeo heads "drew the wrong conclusion" about Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. He is among Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee asserting that there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow.
A U.S. intelligence community report in January 2017 found with "high confidence" that Russian President Vladimir Putin approved an "influence campaign" that would help Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton.
"I have spent a couple days out to the CIA actually reading the raw intelligence, actually reading what we were basing this on. And when we release that report, we're going to be able to show, you know what, the CIA just got it wrong,” Stewart said on CNN.
“The CIA is not perfect,” he said, adding the agency "misinterpreted some key intelligence."
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said in a statement Tuesday that he expects to hold confirmation hearings for Pompeo in April.
Neither Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, nor Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, addressed Trump's firing of Tillerson Tuesday but praised Pompeo in brief statements.
"These are complex and challenging times on the world stage, and I have full confidence that Mr. Pompeo is up to the task of serving as America’s senior diplomat," Hatch said.1 comment on this story
Hatch also said he's eager to work with Pompeo to bring Joshua and Thamy Holt home from Venezuela. Joshua Holt, of Riverton, has been held in jail since June 2016 on what U.S. authorities says are trumped-up weapons charges.
Lee said Pompeo will be confirmed as the next secretary of state.
"Look, this is a serious man who has done great work within the Central Intelligence Agency and he’s someone I’ve come to know, like, and trust over the years," Lee said.
The Senate confirmed Pompeo as CIA director by a vote of 66-32.