Congress Has Had Just About Enough Of Your Sh*t, Mike Pompeo
Some kind of crazy shit is going down at the State Department, and Congress is about to find out what it is. At the end of an acrimonious day of escalating threats between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the chairs of the House Foreign Affairs, Intelligence, and Oversight committees, ABC was first to report that the State Department Inspector General (SDIG) had reached out to House and Senate leaders to say he needed to speak to them urgently.
The Washington Post got the letter sent to congressional leaders by SDIG Steven Linick -- i.e. not the Intelligence Community IG, a second one -- requesting an immediate meeting "to discuss and provide staff with copies of documents related to the State Department and Ukraine." The SDIG didn't say exactly what he's in such a hurry to get off his chest, but says he "obtained the documents from the acting legal adviser of the Department of State."
Dun dun DUNNNNNNN!!!!!
Investigative reporter Scott Stedman of Forensic News says that Mike Pompeo has been seeking legal justification to retaliate against State Department employees who comply with congressional subpoenas to testify, although none of the major news organizations has yet confirmed this. (That guy is a scoop machine!)
This, I’m told, is PART of the IG’s urgent request to Congress.— Scott Stedman (@Scott Stedman)1569967825.0
That would certainly make sense, since Pompeo sent Foreign Affairs Chair Eliot Engel a letter refusing to make State Department employees available to testify and accusing congressional Democrats of "an attempt to intimidate, bully, and treat improperly, the distinguished professionals of the Department of State." He also insisted that the five current and former State Department employees "may not attend any interview or deposition without counsel from the Executive Branch present."
To which Foreign Affairs Chair Engel and Chairmen Schiff and Cummings replied with a letter of their own pointing out that Secretary Pompeo, who was on the call Trump made to shake down Ukrainian President Zelinskiy for dirt on Joe Biden, "is now a fact witness in the impeachment inquiry" and should in no wise be deciding who gets to testify about the call and subsequent coverup.
Given the Secretary's own potential role, and reports of other State Department officials being involved in or knowledgeable of the events under investigation, the Committees may infer that he's trying to cover up illicit activity and misconduct including by the President. This would be a blatant cover-up and a clear abuse of power.
They also reminded him that, when he was Congressman Pompeo presiding over four thousand hours of Benghazi hearings, he insisted State Department employees appear without government minders looming over them threatening career destruction if they stepped out of line. Which is consistent with longstanding House Rules and the Whistleblower Protection Act, and, they went on to add, seeking to prevent federal employees from speaking to Congress constitutes criminal obstruction of government proceeding. They also threatened to withhold his pay.
Luckily Pompeo is in Italy with Sebastian Gorka chasing down evidence to prove that HILLARY IS THE REAL COLLUSION and Russia never did try to hack our election to benefit Donald Trump. So Pompeo's distracted from the fact that whatever flimsy barrier he thought was insulating him from charges that he used the State Department to help Rudy Giuliani pressure the Ukrainians to frame Joe Biden just disappeared. Because he's now admitted to being on that phone call, after which the State Department reached out to Rudy Giuliani to play matchmaker with the Ukrainian government. And he knew that Trump was withholding the Ukrainian defense allocation while simultaneously pressuring President Zelenskiy to dummy up dirt on Biden. So Pompeo's in deep shit when these impeachment hearings get started.
It's goin' down FOR REAL now. The SDIG is scheduled to meet with Congress and hand over his documents today. Former Special Representative to Ukraine and Rudy handler Kurt Volker is testifying tomorrow. And the former ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, recalled after Giuliani and Don Jr. decided she was insufficiently loyal, will testify next Friday.
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.