Mike Pompeo Says State Department Responded to Subpoena, Intends to Follow the Law

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gives a joint press conference with Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias (unseen) following their meeting at the Foreign Ministry in Athens, on October 5, 2019, as part of Pompeo's four-nation tour of Europe. (Photo by ANGELOS TZORTZINIS / AFP) (Photo by ANGELOS TZORTZINIS/AFP via …
ANGELOS TZORTZINIS/AFP via Getty Images

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Saturday that his department sent Congress an “initial response” letter following a subpoena for documents linked to the House impeachment inquiry.

Speaking to reporters in Greece, Pompeo said the U.S. Department of State sent the letter to Congress Friday night.

“The State Department sent a letter last night to Congress, which is our initial response to the document request,” Pompeo noted. “We all obviously do all the things we’re required to do by law.”

Nevertheless, the Democrats complained that the secretary of state failed to meet Friday’s deadline to cough up documents.

“Secretary Pompeo has failed to meet the deadline to produce documents required by the subpoena,” an unnamed official from the House Foreign Affairs Committee told the Wall Street Journal. “However, the State Department has contacted the Committees on this matter, and we hope the department will cooperate in full promptly.”

On Sunday’s broadcast of CBS News’s Face the Nation, Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said Pompeo is “not complying” with the impeachment inquiry “so far.”

“We’re hoping there are discussions that are ongoing, and we’re hoping that he will comply,” he added.

Pompeo also told reporters in Greece that House lawmakers had “harassed and abused” State Department officials “by contacting them directly” rather than their lawyers first.

The secretary of state proclaimed:

Sadly, there have been congressional inquiries [by Democrats] that have harassed and abused State Department employees by contacting them directly and seeking to have them provide documents — documents that belong to the State Department, that are official U.S. government records — and asked them to do so … saying, “Hey don’t bother calling the State Department lawyers, just talk to us directly.” That’s harassment, and I’ll never let that happen to my team.

On Face the Nation, Engel dismissed Pompeo’s accusations of “harassment” as “laughable.”

Under President Trump, “we have been getting numerous complaints from people who work at the State Department about all kinds of harassment by this administration,” Engel argued.

Echoing other Trump administration officials, Pompeo denounced demands for documents at the hands of the Democrat-led House as a partisan exercise.

“There’s clearly politics involved in this,” he said.

The chairmen of the House Committees on Oversight and Reform, Intelligence, and Foreign Affairs requested documents linked to the State Department’s dealings with Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s private lawyer, and other matters affiliated with the July 25 phone call between Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky.

An intelligence community “whistleblower” claims that Trump withheld aid to Ukraine in a bid to pressure the Eastern European country to investigate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.

Trump denies the accusations.

The U.S. president urged Zelensky to investigate Biden’s link to the owner of energy company Burisma Holdings, which had been under investigation by the former top prosecutor in Ukraine.

As vice president, Biden pushed Ukraine to fire the prosecutor, prompting accusations of corruption.

On Friday, the prosecutor general’s office in Ukraine said it is reviewing its investigation into the owner of Burisma.

Ukraine opened the original investigation into Burisma while Hunter Biden was serving as the company’s board member.

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