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Trump Pick for Top Diplomat Faces Confirmation Hearing


Secretary of State nominee Mike Pompeo leaves a meeting with Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, on Capitol Hill in Washington, April 9, 2018.

President Donald Trump's nominee to be Secretary of State, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, will appear before a Senate Committee for his confirmation hearing Thursday, where he will emphasize a harder line towards Russia.

“Russia continues to act aggressively, enabled by years of soft policy toward that aggression. That’s now over,” Pompeo will tell the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, according to excerpts of his testimony.

North Korea and Iran and are also expected to be topics of discussion Thursday.

WATCH: LIVE Mike Pompeo's confirmation hearing

Differences between President Trump and his former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson led to his dismissal in March.

But Stephen Pomper of the International Crisis Group says if confirmed, Pompeo will not face a similar burden.

"The State Department wants to be at the vanguard of U.S. foreign policy. That was very difficult for Secretary Rex Tillerson to do because it was known that there was distance between him and the president. So when he would go out and have conversations with foreign leaders, it was often questioned whether or not he was really representing President Trump's views. I don't think Secretary Pompeo will have that problem," he said.

Trump said Thursday that Pompeo "will be a great Secretary of State!"

Ariel Cohen of the Atlantic Council said "I think Pompeo is more of a hawk, more of a Trumpian, more of this sort of new wave of what I would call American nationalism, and we see countries becoming more nationalistic all over the world."

On Russia, Pompeo has been far more critical than Trump of Moscow's alleged attempts to interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Furthering the U.S.-Russia tensions is last week's alleged chemical attack on civilians in Syria, with Moscow and Damascus denying any Syrian role.

Rob Raffaele contributed to this report.