Pompeo Accuses House Democrats of Trying to ‘Bully’ His Agency
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has accused House Democrats of trying to intimidate the State Department by scheduling depositions from agency officials in connection with President Donald Trump’s phone call with his Ukrainian counterpart.In a letter Tuesday in response to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Pompeo accused Democrats of attempting to “intimidate” and “bully” State Department employees and that the depositions scheduled by the committee are “not feasible.”In all, three House committees have scheduled depositions over the next two weeks with five current and former State Department officials about their involvement in President Donald Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukraine’s president. The phone call has triggered a House impeachment inquiry against Trump.Pompeo’s letter was sent as the Wall Street Journal reported he was among those who listened to the call, drawing the State Department more closely to the impeachment inquiry.FILE – U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a bilateral meeting with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on the sidelines of the 74th session of the U.N. General Assembly in New York, Sept. 25, 2019.A whistleblower complaint alleges that Trump sought Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s help in digging up incriminating information about former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter that would hurt Biden’s prospects of winning the Democratic presidential nomination and challenging Trump in next year’s vote.Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives are moving ahead with their impeachment inquiry against Trump with subpoenas requesting documents from his personal lawyer and Pompeo, as well as hearings scheduled this week with former officials involved in U.S.-Ukraine policy.The heads of the House foreign affairs, intelligence and oversight committees have given Pompeo until Thursday to produce documents linked to the probe launched after the whistleblower filed the complaint expressing concern Trump was “using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election.”Chairmen Eliot Engel, Adam Schiff and Elijah Cummings also issued a subpoena Monday for Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani with an October 15 deadline.A White House-released rough transcript of President Donald Trump’s July 25, 2019, telephone conversation with Ukraine’s newly-elected president Volodymyr Zelenskiy, released Sept. 25, 2019.”A growing public record, including your own statements, indicates that the President, you, and others appear to have pressed the Ukrainian government to pursue two politically-motivated investigations,” the lawmakers wrote. “The first is a prosecution of Ukrainians who provided evidence against Mr. Trump’s convicted campaign chairman, Paul Manafort. The second relates to former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who is challenging President Trump for the presidency in 2020.”They demanded text messages, phone records and other communications “indicating that you were not acting alone and that other Trump Administration officials may have been involved in this scheme.”Giuliani wrote on Twitter that he had received the subpoena and would give it “appropriate consideration.””It raises significant issues concerning legitimacy and constitutional and legal issues including, inter alia, attorney client and other privileges,” he said.FILE – President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani speaks to reporter’s on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, May 30, 2018.Giuliani has criticized Democrats as having “no basis for impeachment” and sought to bring focus to his allegations of wrongdoing against Biden.Trump reiterated his defense on Tuesday and said the whistleblower who filed a complaint provided “false information” and should be investigated, despite the national intelligence director’s assertion that the accounting was in line with a rough transcript of the phone call between the U.S. and Ukrainian leaders.”So if the so-called “Whistleblower” has all second hand information, and almost everything he has said about my “perfect call with the Ukrainian President is wrong … why aren’t we entitled to interview and learn everything about …. the Whistleblower, and also the person who gave false information to him,” Trump tweeted.In a statement issued Tuesday, Republican Senator Chuck Grassley spoke out in defense of whistleblower protections. “This person appears to have followed the whistleblower protection laws and ought to be heard out and protected,” he said. “Complaints based on second-hand information should not be rejected out of hand, but they do require additional leg work to get at the facts and evaluate the claim’s credibility.”Lawyers representing the whistleblower have expressed concerns for the individual’s safety and stressed the need to keep their identity secret.
Trump Threatens Whistleblower as Democrats Move to Impeach video player.
Embed” />CopyWednesday brings a House hearing featuring testimony from Marie Yovanovitch, who was the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine before Trump removed her earlier this year. On Thursday, lawmakers will hear from Kurt Volker, who resigned his post as U.S. envoy on Ukraine last week.