Oct 01, 2019
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the chairmen of three House committees on Tuesday that he had no intention of obeying subpoenas for documents and depositions by other State Department officials, a day before the deadline for responding to House Democrats' orders.
Pompeo told House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot L. Engel (D-N.Y.), House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), and House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.) that their subpoena for documents regarding President Donald Trump's communications with the Ukrainian government amounted to "bullying."
The subpoena "can be understood only as an attempt to 'intimidate, bully, and treat improperly, the distinguished professionals of the Department of State,'" wrote the secretary.
Pompeo's response amounted to an obstruction of House Democrats' impeachment inquiry, tweeted journalist Judd Legum.
The inquiry began last week after Democrats learned that Trump had asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate 2020 Democratic candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.
Pompeo was the first administration official to be subpoenaed. Rudy Guiliani, the president's lawyer, was issued a subpoena Monday to provide information about his alleged pressuring of Ukraine to investigate the Bidens.
Also on Monday, the Wall Street Journalreported that Pompeo--who for days had claimed to have little knowledge of Trump's call with Zelensky, as he had not yet read the transcript--was in fact on the phone call.
Pompeo is "in this up to his ears," tweeted journalist Lili Loofbourow.
\u201cREMINDER: Pompeo was ON THE PHONE CALL Trump made to Zelensky--which became grounds for the impeachment inquiry--but last week, before that was known, he claimed he couldn't comment because he hadn't "read the transcript." He's in this up to this ears.\u201d— Lili Loofbourow (@Lili Loofbourow) 1569946219
Contrary to Pompeo's complaint, some critics said on social media, Pompeo's refusal to respond to elected representatives' demands amounted to the bullying of the American people.
\u201cIf @realDonaldTrump and @SecPompeo were innocent, they would provide witnesses and information for the American people and Congress to clear their names.\n\nInstead, they are bullying the American people by obstructing Congress and hiding information.\n\n#TuesdayThoughts\u201d— Ted Lieu (@Ted Lieu) 1569948221
Some also noted the contrast between the Trump administration's response to Congress's demands regarding allegations that the president sought to bribe a foreign power to gain assistance winning the 2020 election, and that of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who spent 11 hours testifying about the deaths of four Americans in a 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya.
Pompeo, who was among the Republicans on a House select committee who aggressively questioned Clinton in 2015, is also continuing to investigate the former secretary of state amid developing news about Trump's impeachment inquiry.
\u201cSecretary of State Hillary Clinton: Sure I\u2019ll testify for 11 hours. No problem. \n\nSecretary of State Mike Pompeo: I will hide behind my staff forever even though I lied to you all and was on the call with Ukraine.\u201d— Neera Tanden\ud83c\udf3b (@Neera Tanden\ud83c\udf3b) 1569946653
\u201cBenghazi: @HillaryClinton testified for 11 hours\n\nUkraine: Pompeo flouts Congress and deflects by pursuing a politically motivated investigation of Clinton. #Contrast https://t.co/J5QBuairaj\u201d— Chris Lu (@Chris Lu) 1569945976
Pompeo was given until Friday, Oct. 4 to produce the documents requested by the committees. Former U.S. ambassador to the Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch was scheduled to give a deposition Wednesday, with other depositions by Kurt Volker, former envoy to Ukraine; Deputy Assistant Secretary George Kent; U.S. ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland; and State Department Counselor T. Ulrich Brechbuhl planned for the coming days.
Pompeo's apparent plan to direct the officials not to give depositions amounts to "blatant obstruction," one critic tweeted.
\u201cSecretary Pompeo has instructed his Department\u2019s aides and officials not to comply with Congressional subpoenas.\n\nThis is blatant obstruction.\n\nYou\u2019d think a man who once headed the CIA wouldn\u2019t actually side with the President who was caught conspiring against the United States.\u201d— Jordan Fisher \ud83c\udff3\ufe0f\u200d\ud83c\udf08 (@Jordan Fisher \ud83c\udff3\ufe0f\u200d\ud83c\udf08) 1569955396
We're optimists who believe in the power of informed and engaged citizens to ignite and enact change to make the world a better place.
We're hundreds of thousands strong, but every single supporter counts.
Your contribution supports this new media model—free, independent, and dedicated to uncovering the truth. Stand with us in the fight for social justice, human rights, and equality. As a people-powered nonprofit news outlet, we cover the issues the corporate media never will. Join with us today!
Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.