Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters in Rome on Wednesday that he was on the call with President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in July but said Democrats bullying State Department employees is unacceptable.
“I was on the phone call,” Pompeo said. “I know precisely what the American policy has been with respect to Ukraine.”
“It’s been remarkably consistent, and we will continue to drive those sets of outcomes,” Pompeo said, adding that the purpose of the call was about “taking down the threat that Russia poses to Ukraine.”
Pompeo said that effort would continue “even while all this noise in Washington is going on.”
And Pompeo said he would not put up with Democrats pressuring and intimidating staff.
“They contacted State Department employees directly,” Pompeo said. “Told them not to contact legal counsel in the State Department.”
“They said that the State Department wouldn’t be able to be present,” Pompeo said. “There are important constitutional prerogatives that the executive branch has to be present so that we can protect important information so our partners, countries like Italy, can have confidence that the information they provide to the State Department will continue to be protected.”
Pompeo also referenced the letter he sent to committee chairs concerning staff being deposed.
“So the response that I provided to them was one that acknowledged that we will, of course, do our constitutional duty to cooperate with this co-equal branch, but we are going to do so in a way that is consistent with the fundamental values of the American system,” Pompeo said.
“We won’t tolerate folks on Capitol Hill bullying and intimidating State Department employees; that’s unacceptable, and it’s not something that I’m going to permit to happen,” Pompeo said.
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