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Pompeo defiantly fires at Congress: ‘Won’t let you bully State Dept. officials’ for impeachment probe

U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo delivers opening remarks at an event hosted by the Department of State’s Energy Resources Governance Initiative, at the Palace Hotel, in New York City, New York on September 26, 2019. (State Department photo by Ron Przysucha)
October 01, 2019

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is now a target of scrutiny after officials learned Pompeo listened in on the July 25 phone call between President Donald Trump and the Ukrainian president – but Pompeo is pushing back.

After Pompeo received a letter from the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on Friday requesting the State Department make five current former officials available for testimony in the ongoing impeachment hearings, Pompeo replied with a fiery letter of his own.

“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,” Pompeo tweeted on Tuesday morning, echoing some of the contents of the letter.

“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 clarified in a follow-up tweet.

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Pompeo’s letter pointed out that proper notices were not provided to the Department, nor were any requests for appearance provided, as House rules stipulate.

Pompeo went on to note that the lack of notice given to the Department has left officials with inadequate time to prepare or secure legal representation before such a deposition.

“You have asserted that failure by Department officials to meet your demonstrably inadequate timeline for voluntary appearances ‘shall constitute evidence of obstruction.’ There is no legal basis for such a threat,” Pompeo wrote.

“Given the serious substantive and procedural deficiencies in the Committee’s requests, including the Committee’s apparent effort to circumvent Executive Branch constitutional interests in having Department counsel present at any depositions, the Committee’s assertion lacks any recognized legal basis,” Pompeo wrote.

“I urge you to exercise restraint in making such unfounded statements in the future,” he added.

“Based on the profound procedural and legal deficiencies noted above, the Committee’s requested dates for deposition are not feasible,” Pompeo wrote.