U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was on the phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Pompeo confirmed he was on the July call as he was speaking to reporters in Rome on Wednesday, defending the contents of the president’s conversation which has become the subject of an impeachment inquiry by House Democrats.
(Video: YouTube/Fox News)
“I was on the phone call,” Pompeo said, speaking in Italy during a news conference with his Italian counterpart Luigi Di Maio.
“The phone call was in the context of — now I guess I’ve been secretary of state for coming on a year and a half. I know precisely what the American policy is with respect to Ukraine. It’s been remarkably consistent, and we will continue to try to drive those set of outcomes,” he told reporters.
“It’s what our team, including Ambassador (Kurt) Volker, were focused on was taking down the threat that Russia poses there in Ukraine,” he continued. ”
“It was about helping the Ukrainians to get graft out and corruption outside of their government and to help now this new government in the Ukraine build a successful thriving economy. It’s what the State Department officials that I’ve had the privilege to lead have been engaged in,” Pompeo asserted. “And it’s what we will continue to do. Even while all this noise is going on.”
Pompeo was subpoenaed last week by the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight committee chairmen for documents related to Ukraine. They also informed the secretary of state in a letter apart from the subpoenas that depositions had been scheduled for five State Department officials about the administration’s dealings with Ukraine, with Democrats warning that any attempts to prevent the officials from speaking would be considered obstruction of the impeachment inquiry.
Pompeo pushed back on the demands by House Democrats on Tuesday, saying in tweets that he was concerned about the “attempt to intimidate, bully, & treat improperly” the federal employees.
“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,” Pompeo wrote.
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
He addressed the demands that “deeply violate fundamental principles of separation of powers” during the press conference in Rome.
“We will, of course, do our constitutional duty to cooperate with this co-equal branch,” Pompeo said.
“But we are going to do so in a way that is consistent with the fundamental values of the American system,” he added. “And we won’t tolerate folks on Capitol Hill bullying, intimidating State Department employees. That’s unacceptable, and it’s not something that I’m going to permit to happen.”
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