U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo over the weekend lambasted the impeachment investigation launched by House Democrats as a “silly gotcha game.”
Asked about the investigation while briefing reporters in Greece on Saturday, a seemingly exasperated Pompeo responded:
This is what’s wrong when the world doesn’t focus on the things that are right, the things that matter, the things that impact real people’s lives and instead you get caught up in some silly gotcha game.
Nevertheless, Pompeo vowed to be “responsive” to Democrats’ requests for documents and other information matters related to the July 25 phone call between U.S. President Donald Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky.
The July 25 call is at the center of the impeachment investigation.
America’s top diplomat noted that State had sent Congress an “initial response” letter following a subpoena for documents linked to the House impeachment inquiry. Pompeo’s revelation came after Democrats griped that Pompeo failed to meet Friday’s deadline to provide the papers.
“We’ll obviously do all the things that we’re required to do by law,” Pompeo said. “We’re going to be more responsive than the Obama administration was in the years that preceded this particular Congress.”
An intelligence community “whistleblower” claimed that during the July 25 call, Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, threatening to withhold aid if it failed to play ball.
Trump denies the accusations.
The U.S. president urged Zelensky to investigate Biden’s link to the owner of the energy company Burisma Holdings.
Mykola Zlochevsky, the owner of Burisma, had been under investigation in Ukraine while the former vice president’s son was serving as the company’s board member.
In 2016, Ukraine removed the prosecutor —Viktor Shokin — investigating Zlochevsky at the behest of then-VP Biden, prompting accusations of corruption. Biden has surfaced as the leading Democrat presidential candidate.
Pompeo has come out in support of the Trump administration’s push to convince Ukraine to open corruption investigations that could target Biden and his son, Hunter.
The secretary also supports the administration’s quest to get Ukraine to investigate possible interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election on behalf of Democrats.
On Saturday, Pompeo vigorously defended the administration’s effort to get Ukraine’s president to agree to a corruption investigation.
We know exactly what we were doing there. We were trying to create a situation where there wouldn’t be a corrupt government. We wanted to make sure that they didn’t interfere in our election in 2016. We wanted to make sure that if we underwrote Javelin missile systems, something that the previous administration refused to do, we wanted to make sure we were doing this with a government that was straight up and would use that money for the things that it said it would use that money for.
On Saturday, America’s top diplomat also defended the Trump administration’s approach to Ukraine. He said it was a typical way international allies deal with one another.
“This is what we do,” the secretary declared, deeming Trump’s approach “totally right.”
“When I talk to your foreign minister, he pressures me all the time,” Pompeo told a Greek reporter.
“It is totally appropriate,” he also said. “Nations do this. Nations work together. They say ‘Boy, goodness gracious if you can help me with X, we’ll help you achieve Y.’ This is what partnerships do. It’s win-win.”