U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday accused House Democrats of attempting to “intimidate, bully, and treat improperly” career employees at the State Department.
Pompeo’s letter, addressed to Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), was a response to the Panel’s September 27 letter requesting that the State Department voluntarily make available five current and former employees for depositions relating to the recently formalized impeachment inquiry over President Donald Trump’s conversation with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky.
“I am concerned with aspects of your request, described more fully below, that can be understood only as an attempt to intimidate, bully, and treat improperly the distinguished professionals of the Department of State, including several career Foreign Service Officers, whom the committee is now targeting,” Pompeo wrote.
I’m concerned with aspects of the Committee’s request that can be understood only as an attempt to intimidate, bully, & treat improperly the distinguished professionals of the Department of State, including several career FSOs. pic.twitter.com/QRtMaXlhQM
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) October 1, 2019
As previously reported by Law&Crime, House Committee Chairman Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), and Engel issued subpoenas to the State Department for documents on Friday as part of their investigation into “the extent to which President Trump jeopardized national security by pressing Ukraine to interfere with our 2020 election and by withholding security assistance provided by Congress to help Ukraine counter Russian aggression.”
In the demand letter, the Chairmen declared that “failure or refusal to comply […] shall constitute evidence of obstruction of the House’s impeachment inquiry,” and also set depositions to take place between October 2 and October 10.
Pompeo alleged that the Committee’s staffers had disregarded protocol and made previous attempts to intimidate State Department employees, declaring that he would not tolerate such conduct.
“I have also been made aware that Committee staff has been sending intimidating communications to career Department professionals, who have specifically asked for Committee communications to be channeled through the Bureau of Legislative Affairs, as is customary,” 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.”
[image via BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP/Getty Images]