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Top US diplomat Pompeo allegedly yelled expletives at reporter

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WASHINGTON: America's top diplomat cursed at the top of his voice and repeatedly used the F word at a US journalist because he was not happy when she pressed him about the Ukraine issue at the heart of the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.

That is what National Public Radio (NPR) journalist Mary Louise Kelly said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo did.

After the interview on Friday, Ms Kelly said a staffer invited her to Mr Pompeo's private living room, without her recorder. There, Mr Pompeo "was waiting and... he shouted at me for about the same amount of time as the interview itself lasted," Ms Kelly claimed.

"He was not happy to have been questioned about Ukraine," Ms Kelly said.

In an exchange she described as peppered with profane words, Ms Kelly said he also asked her to point to Ukraine on a map, whose countries were not labelled. Ms Kelly said she did, but Mr Pompeo later implied she had pointed to Bangladesh.

Ms Kelly has now been excluded from Mr Pompeo's trip to Britain today.

In a statement on Sunday, Mr Pompeo accused Ms Kelly of lying to him, twice. The first time was "in setting up our interview". He also alleged that the post-interview "conversation" was supposed to be off the record and therefore not for reporting.

He did not deny making the aggressive comments reported by the journalist.

Ms Kelly said she was not told the conversation would be off the record, nor would she have agreed to those terms if she were asked. She also said Mr Pompeo's staff were aware she would ask about Iran and Ukraine.

It now transpires that another NPR journalist has been excluded from Mr Pompeo's plane for this week's trip.

The association that represents correspondents covering the State Department reported on Monday that Mr Pompeo had removed NPR's Ms Michele Kelemen from his trip, which will also visit Ukraine and other countries. - AFP