Democratic chairman says Pompeo not complying with inquiry

New York Congressman Eliot Engel, one of the high-ranking House Democrats leading the impeachment inquiry into President Trump’s dealings with the Ukrainian government, said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is not cooperating with the congressional investigation. 

“He is not complying with the inquiry so far,” Engel said on “Face the Nation” Sunday. “There are discussions that are ongoing and we’re hoping that he will comply.” 

Engel, a longtime congressman from the Bronx, is chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, which has oversight over the State Department. The panel is one of several high-profile committees — including the Intelligence, Oversight and Judiciary panels — spearheading the impeachment probe into Mr. Trump’s efforts to pressure the Ukrainian government to conduct politically motivated investigations, including one into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.

Along with the other panels, Engel’s committee has demanded documents from Pompeo about the administration’s recent dealings with the Ukrainian government, as well as testimony from current and former top State Department officials who led diplomatic engagements with the former Soviet country.

A committee official said Saturday that the State Department had “failed to meet the deadline to produce documents required by the subpoena.” But the official said the department “has contacted the Committees on this matter and we hope the Department will cooperate in full promptly.”

The whistleblower complaint at the center of the impeachment push — as well other revelations, including congressional testimony from the former top U.S. envoy to Ukraine — have shown the State Department was aware of Mr. Trump’s requests to have Ukraine dig up dirt on political rivals. High-ranking officials communicated these requests to the Ukrainian government and facilitated meetings between top Ukrainian officials and Mr. Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, who was overseeing what amounted to a shadow diplomatic campaign on behalf of the president. 

Although he said over the weekend that his agency had responded to the request for documents, Pompeo has sharply rebuked the Democratic-led panels, accusing them of harassing State Department employees and failing to go through official channels to seek testimony and documents.

But Engel on Sunday said there was some irony in Pompeo accusing lawmakers and their staff of harassing State Department employees.

“We have been getting numerous complaints from people who work at the State Department about all kinds of harassment by this administration, where people were summarily let go or fired because they were deemed to be the wrong political persuasion or the wrong ethnic persuasion,” he said. 

In August, the State Department’s inspector general released a report denouncing the political targeting of career State Department employees during the Trump administration, detailing “inappropriate accusations of disloyalty” and “harassment of employees based on perceived political views.”

“I find it really laughable that the secretary of state suddenly has this great concern for the State Department,” Engel said. 

Olivia Gazis contributed reporting.

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