US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has gone on Twitter to express concern over details of the country’s House Committee request related to President Trump’s impeachment probe.
Pompeo also accused Democrats of sticking to what he described as “bully”-like tactics pertaining to the investigation.
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,” he tweeted.
US Secretary of State ‘Listened in’ on Trump’s Call to Ukrainian President
The remarks came after Pompeo was subpoenaed by three Democratic House committee chairmen last Friday to turn over documents related to the Trump administration's dealings with Ukraine, following the initiation of an impeachment inquiry into President Trump announced by Democratic Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi on 24 September.
The House Committees of Foreign Affairs, Intelligence, and Oversight, headed by Eliot Engel, Adam Schiff, and Elijah Cummings respectively, specifically raised questions about the State Department’s involvement in efforts to get the Ukrainian government to investigate the alleged illegal activity of the Biden family in Ukraine.
Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported that Pompeo was in attendance during the July call between the US and Ukrainian Presidents which was followed by a whistleblower complaint and the launch of impeachment proceedings.
The WSJ cited an unnamed senior State Department official as saying that Pompeo was “among administration officials” who “listened in” on Donald Trump’s call to Volodymyr Zelensky.
Initiation of Impeachment Inquiry Against Trump
Republican Senator Charles Ernest Grassley has, meanwhile, said that a whistleblower, who voiced alarm over Trump’s call in July to Ukraine’s President “ought to be heard out and protected.”
“We should always work to respect whistleblowers' requests for confidentiality. No one should be making judgments or pronouncements without hearing from the whistleblower first and carefully following up on the facts,” Grassley said.
CNN, in turn, quoted House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff as saying that there is a tentative agreement for the unnamed whistleblower to testify before the committee.
“And as (acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph) Maguire promised during the hearing, that whistleblower will be allowed to come in and come in without […] a minder from the Justice Department or from the White House to tell the whistleblower what they can and cannot say. We will get the unfiltered testimony of that whistleblower,” Schiff said.
The impeachment inquiry against Trump was announced by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on 24 September after the US President’s reported phone call with Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky, part of which was released as a transcript.
During the call, Trump reportedly suggested that Zelensky should cooperate with his own personal lawyer in investigating the corruption allegations over Hunter Biden as well as Joe Biden. Trump's request focused on a move Joe Biden made in early 2017, when the then-outgoing vice president threatened to withdraw aid flowing to Ukraine unless the country fired chief prosecutor Viktor Shokin, who was at the time investigating a Ukrainian company that employed Biden’s son.
In light of this, Pelosi alleged that Trump's request to the Ukrainian president to probe Biden can be seen as a go-ahead to intervene in the US election and that it may constitute a breach of his constitutional responsibilities, something that justifies an ongoing impeachment attempt, already slammed by Trump as a “hoax” and “the greatest witch hunt in the history” of the US.