Sec Of State Pompeo Defies Congressional Subpoena

Sec of State Mike Pompeo (image via Flickr/WhiteHouse – public domain)

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has informed House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel that he plans to defy a congressional subpoena asking to interview five State Department employees.

Pompeo writes, “I’m concerned with aspects of the committee’s request that can be understood only as an attempt to intimidate, bully and treat improperly the distinguished professionals of the Department of State.”

“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 added.

On Friday, Engel informed Pompeo that “failure or refusal to comply with the subpoena shall constitute evidence of obstruction of the House’s impeachment inquiry.”

A new twist in the ongoing impeachment inquiry occurred yesterday when it was revealed Pompeo was on the now-infamous July 25 call between the president of Ukraine and Donald Trump when Trump pressed the Ukrainian leader to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.

When asked about the phone call and subsequent investigation last week, Pompeo was evasive and vague during interviews seeming to have little information about the conversation.

From Pompeo’s letter today (via Twitter):

“This amounts to an attempt to circumvent the Executive Branch’s unquestionably legitimate constitutional interest in protecting potentially privileged information related to the conduct of diplomatic relations.

“Therefore, the five officials subject to your letter may not attend any interview or deposition without counsel from the Executive Branch present to ensure that the Executive Branch’s constitutional authority to control the disclosure of confidential information, including deliberative matters and diplomatic communications, is not impaired.”