Tuesday Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that five current and former State Department Officials would not appear this week and next for scheduled depositions before the House Committee conducting the impeachment inquiry.
Pompeo, who is currently overseas, posted the letter via Twitter. In his tweet he explains that he views the Committee Chairmen’s request as an attempt to bully and intimidate State Officials.
I’m concerned with aspects of the Committee’s request that can be understood only as an attempt to intimidate, bully, & treat improperly the distinguished professionals of the Department of State, including several career FSOs. pic.twitter.com/QRtMaXlhQM— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) October 1, 2019
Let me be clear: I will not tolerate such tactics, and I will use all means at my disposal to prevent and expose any attempts to intimidate the dedicated professionals whom I am proud to lead and serve alongside at the Department of State.— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) October 1, 2019
On September 27th, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA), along with House of Foreign Affair’s Chairman Eliot Engel (D-NY), and House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-MD), issued a subpoena to Pompeo requesting documents relating to the call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
The Washington Post reported on Tuesday, that starting Wednesday the House Committees expected to start deposing five officials, the first scheduled was former U.S. Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanitch.
Yovanitch was recalled by Pompeo in May, prior to the end of her tenure. Another official scheduled is Kurt Volker, the former U.S. Special Envoy to the Ukraine. Volker resigned Friday, as first reported by The State Press.
Pompeo’s letter follows a report by The Wall Street Journal, that states according to an senior State Department Official, that Pompeo took part in the Ukraine call that has launched the impeachment inquiry.
In their response to Pompeo’s letter the Chairman write:
Secretary Pompeo was reportedly on the call when the President pressed Ukraine to smear his political opponent. If true, Secretary Pompeo is now a fact witness in the House impeachment inquiry. He should immediately cease intimidating Department witnesses in order to protect himself and the President.
Any effort to intimidate witnesses or prevent them from talking with Congress—including State Department employees—is illegal and will constitute evidence of obstruction of the impeachment inquiry. In response, Congress may infer from this obstruction that any withheld documents and testimony would reveal information that corroborates the whistleblower complaint.
The Committees are operating pursuant to our long-established authorities as well as the impeachment inquiry. We’re committed to protecting witnesses from harassment and intimidation, and we expect their full compliance and that of the Department of StateHouse Committee Chairman’s Statement.
Pompeo did state in his letter that the State Department intends to responded to the Committee’s subpoena by October 4th.