Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo shaking hands with President of Russia, Vladimir Putin. Photo by The Kremlin.

Pompeo tells House Committees State Dept. Officials Will Not be “Bullied”

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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.

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.

Yonvantich and Volker were to be followed by; Deputy Assistant Secretary George Kent; U.S. ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland; and State Department Counselor T. Ulrich Brechbuhl.

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 State

House 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.