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Mike Pompeo Trump Minion

Mike Pompeo is a Trump minion using the State department to advanced Trump and Putin agenda.

Mike Pompeo's planned speech to the Republican National Convention has sparked a fury of criticism for breaking decades of precedent for sitting secretaries of state avoiding overt partisan political activity
By MATTHEW LEE AP Diplomatic Writer

WASHINGTON -- Mike Pompeo’s planned speech to the Republican National Convention this week has sparked a fury of criticism for breaking decades of precedent for sitting secretaries of state avoiding overt partisan political activity. Despite State Department assurances that Pompeo will be speaking in his personal capacity and won’t violate prohibitions on federal employees participating in public political events on duty, Democrats and others have cried foul. They accuse the country's top diplomat of inappropriate behavior that has been anathema to his predecessors.

Four teams of lawyers, including the State Department legal counsel, have reviewed the speech that will be recorded in Jerusalem and broadcast in prime time at the Republican convention on Tuesday to ensure that it does not cross ethical lines, according to a person close to Pompeo who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. That person and the State Department said no taxpayer money will be used in the production of the video, which will be filmed on the first stop of Pompeo’s current multination trip to the Middle East that is otherwise clearly dominated by official government business. “Looking forward to sharing with you how my family is more SAFE and more SECURE because of President Trump," Pompeo tweeted after the RNC announced his appearance. The State Department followed quickly with comments distancing the agency from the planned remarks.

By Kevin Breuninger

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday lashed out at Democrats investigating him, particularly Sen. Bob Menendez, as he defended his recommendation to President Donald Trump to fire the State Department’s internal watchdog. Pompeo also told reporters at a press briefing that he had previously submitted written responses to questions sent by State Department Inspector General Steve Linick’s office. But he maintained that he could not have retaliated against Linick because he was unaware of specific investigations that the watchdog’s office was conducting. Pompeo has come under intense scrutiny since Trump followed through on his Cabinet official’s urging to fire Linick. “This is all coming through the office of Senator Menendez,” Pompeo said at his first on-camera press briefing since Trump fired Linick on Friday night.

“I don’t get my ethics guidance from a man who was criminally prosecuted,” he said of Menendez before abruptly ending the briefing. Menendez, the senior senator from New Jersey, was indicted in 2015 as part of an alleged bribery scheme in which he accepted gifts from a Florida ophthalmologist in exchange for using his office to benefit the doctor’s financial and personal interest, the Justice Department said at the time. Federal prosecutors later dropped their case against Menendez, and the judge presiding over the senator’s trial dismissed the charges in 2018. “The facts speak for themselves,” Menendez said in response to Pompeo. “Secretary Pompeo now faces an investigation into both this improper firing and into his attempt to cover up his inappropriate and possibly illegal actions. Not surprisingly, he has lashed out at me and others conducting Congressional oversight.” ″The fact that Secretary Pompeo is now trying diversion tactics by attempting to smear me is as predictable as it is shameful,” Menendez added. Pompeo said at the briefing that he should have recommended Linick’s ouster “some time ago,” and denied that he was retaliating against the IG, who was reportedly investigating him.

By Laura Kelly

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday criticized Chinese and Hong Kong authorities for banning a vigil marking the 1989 massacre of pro-Democracy protesters on Tiananmen Square, one day after President Trump oversaw a crackdown on protesters outside the White House. “It starts; so soon,” Pompeo tweeted. “For the first time in 30 years, Hong Kong authorities denied permission to hold the #TiananmenVigil. If there is any doubt about Beijing’s intent, it is to deny Hong Kongers a voice and a choice, making them the same as mainlanders. So much for two systems.” The secretary is expected to meet with Tiananmen Square survivors, according to the State Department. Pompeo has focused intense criticism on the Chinese Communist Party over the spread of the novel coronavirus and condemned Beijing’s actions with respect to Hong Kong, most recently certifying the territory as no longer autonomous from mainland China and laying the groundwork for Trump to impose sanctions and visa restrictions and end bilateral agreements with the U.S. Hong Kong officials denied organizers for the Tiananmen square vigil permission, citing concerns over the spread of the coronavirus. Only the semi-autonomous territories of Hong Kong and Macau have been allowed to hold annual vigils marking the events of June 3 and June 4. The approximate numbers of those killed and injured are unknown, ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand. - Pompeo criticizing China is the pot calling the kettle black.

By Zachary Cohen, CNN

Washington (CNN) The State Department inspector general fired by President Donald Trump on Friday, Steve Linick, had nearly completed an investigation into Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's decision to fast-track an $8 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia, according to House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman, Rep. Eliot Engel. "I have learned that there may be another reason for Mr. Linick's firing. His office was investigating — at my request — Trump's phony declaration of an emergency so he could send weapons to Saudi Arabia. We don't have the full picture yet, but it's troubling that Secretary Pompeo wanted Mr. Linick pushed out before this work could be completed," Engel, a Democrat from New York, said in a statement to CNN Monday.

Last May, the Trump administration declared an emergency to bypass Congress and expedite billions of dollars in arms sales to various countries -- including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates -- citing the need to deter what it called "the malign influence" of Iran throughout the Middle East. "These sales will support our allies, enhance Middle East stability, and help these nations to deter and defend themselves from the Islamic Republic of Iran," Pompeo said in a statement at the time, which put the value of the sales at $8.1 billion. But the move drew bipartisan condemnation, with lawmakers decrying the precedent it sets, questioning the administration's claims of an emergency and raising the issue of Saudi Arabia's human rights record and the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Now, Engel says Pompeo might have removed the federal watchdog who was looking into his handling of the arms sale. Linick's Saudi Arabia investigation was first reported by The Washington Post. The revelation will increase scrutiny of Trump's firing of Linick on Friday evening -- the latest in a series of dismissals of independent government watchdogs tasked with oversight of the President's administration. A senior State Department official previously confirmed to CNN that Pompeo recommended Linick be removed, but they did not know the reasons why.

IG was also investigating whether Pompeo made a staffer perform errands
On Saturday, CNN reported that Linick was also investigating whether Pompeo made a staffer perform a variety of personal errands, including walking his dog, picking up dry cleaning and making a dinner reservation for him and his wife. But at this time, House Democrats say they do not yet know which investigation was the biggest factor behind the decision to dismiss Linick. "I wouldn't assign percentages," a Democratic committee aide said.

Congressional officials are trying to determine whether other investigations into Secretary of State Mike Pompeo were underway.
By Josh Lederman and Andrea Mitchell

WASHINGTON — The State Department inspector general who was removed from his job Friday was looking into whether Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made a staffer walk his dog, pick up his dry cleaning and make dinner reservations for Pompeo and his wife, among other personal errands, according to two congressional officials assigned to different committees. The officials said they are working to learn whether former Inspector General Steve Linick may have had other ongoing investigations into Pompeo. The officials say the staffer who was alleged to have been made to do personal tasks is a political appointee who was serving as a staff assistant. CNN reported last year that congressional Democrats were investigating a different complaint, this one from a whistleblower, alleging that Pompeo's diplomatic security agents were made to perform similar personal tasks. The House first obtained details of the inspector general investigation late last week after learning of Linick's sudden removal. Congressional oversight officials investigating the matter believe the firing was direct retaliation for his pursuing the investigation. A White House official told NBC News that Pompeo "recommended" Linick's ouster and that President Donald Trump agreed with the move.

By Spencer Kimball

President Donald Trump fired the State Department’s inspector general on the recommendation of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a White House official said Saturday. Trump fired State Department Inspector General Steve Linick Friday night, notifying Congress of the decision in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Trump, who has targeted several government agency watchdogs in the past several weeks, told Congress he no longer had full confidence in Linick, but did not provide an explanation as to why. “Secretary Pompeo recommended the move, and President Trump agreed,” a White House official said. Democratic lawmakers said the inspector general was investigating potential misconduct by Pompeo. Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., and Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., launched an investigation into Linick’s removal Saturday, claiming Pompeo wanted the inspector general removed because the secretary was under investigation.

Menendez and Engel have called for the White House to turn over records related to Linick’s firing. “Such an action, transparently designed to protect Secretary Pompeo from personal accountability, would undermine the foundation of our democratic institutions and may be an illegal act of retaliation,” the lawmakers said in press release Saturday. “This concern is amplified by the fact that it came only hours after the House of Representatives passed the Heroes Act, which contains additional legal protections for inspectors general.” A Democratic aide told NBC News that Linick was scrutinizing Pompeo’s alleged misuse of a political appointee to perform personal tasks for himself and his wife, Susan. The firing of Linick was also met with skepticism by some Republican lawmakers. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said Trump must provide details to Congress about why Linick was removed. “As I’ve said before, Congress requires written reasons justifying an IG’s removal,” said Grassley, who co-chairs the Whistleblower Protection Caucus “A general lack of confidence simply is not sufficient detail to satisfy Congress.”

By Mary Papenfuss - HuffPost US

Donations to National Public Radio jumped after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo yelled at a reporter for daring to ask him about Ukraine. “Donations are up!” NPR spokeswoman Isabel Lara emailed Washington Post columnist Eric Wemple. Several messages with the recent contributions express support for “All Things Considered” co-host Mary Louise Kelly. Pompeo last week launched a profanity-laced tirade against Kelly after his on-air interview over her questions about Ukraine — even though Kelly had cleared the subject with his office beforehand. Pompeo later did not dispute Kelly’s account of the ugly confrontation — but insisted it was “off the record,” which NPR denied. President Donald Trump later attacked NPR on Twitter and praised Pompeo for his behavior (see the video above).

By David Choi

A retired two-star US Army general rated Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's performance as "disgusting" and described Defense Secretary Mark Esper as a "lightweight coward." Retired Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, who commanded the Army's Infantry Center and was later responsible for the training of Iraqi forces, railed against the two cabinet officials in the Trump administration amid some heavy criticism in recent days. Eaton now works as an adviser to the progressive VoteVets political action committee. "Disgusting performance by @SecPompeo," Eaton said on Twitter. "Lightweight coward @EsperDoD." Both Esper and Pompeo graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point in 1986 — a fact that was not lost on Eaton, who graduated from the college in 1972. Some graduates of the class of '86 call themselves the "West Point Mafia" because of their senior positions in the Trump administration, according to Politico. "What is wrong with West Point class of 86? Who mentored you?" Eaton added in his tweet. "What happened to the West Point Honor Code in your class? America is very badly served by these men." The military academy's honor code, which reads, "A cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do," is known as the "bedrock of character development" and drilled into the cadets during their four years of training.

By Brian Stelter, CNN Business

New York (CNN Business) Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appears to be escalating his criticism of NPR — this time not just with words but with actions. On Monday NPR reporter Michele Kelemen was notified that she was being removed from the press pool covering Pompeo's upcoming trip to the United Kingdom, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan. The sudden change came just a few days after the top US diplomat responded angrily to an interviewer from the public radio outlet. That interviewer, Mary Louise Kelly asked Pompeo a series of pertinent questions about Ukraine. Pompeo responded by saying he expected the interview to be about Iran. Kelly said she always intended to ask about both subjects, and that Pompeo's staff knew so ahead of time. - Mike Pompeo like Trump is a petty and vindictive.

By Caroline Kelly, CNN

(CNN) A reporter for National Public Radio said Friday that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo screamed obscenities and demanded she prove she could find Ukraine on an unmarked map after she asked -- and Pompeo refused to answer -- whether he owed former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch an apology. The alleged incident took place after the taping of an interview that aired on NPR's "All Things Considered" Friday. Pompeo instead replied to NPR's Mary Louise Kelly question by saying, "You know, I agreed to come on your show today to talk about Iran. That's what I intend to do. I know what our Ukraine policy has been now for the three years of this administration."

He then repeatedly tried to end the interview as Kelly continued to press him on the matter. To her last question on whether Ukraine policy had been hijacked, Pompeo replied, "I've been clear about that. I know exactly what we were doing. I know precisely what the direction the State Department gave to our officials around the world about how to manage our Ukraine policy." Kelly told listeners in a broadcast later on NPR that after the interview she was called back into Pompeo's living room at the State Department, where the outburst then unfolded.

"What is happening (at the end) there is an aide has stopped the interview, said, 'We're done, thank you,' and you heard me thank the secretary," Kelly said on air after the fact. "He did not reply -- he leaned in, glared at me, and then turned and with his aides left the room." Kelly said that moments later, "That same staffer who stopped the interview reappeared, asked me to come with her -- just me, no recorder -- though she did not say we were off the record, nor would I have agreed."

Heard on All Things Considered
By Jason Breslow

With the State Department facing continued questions over the treatment of Marie Yovanovitch before she was recalled as U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would not say on Friday whether he owed the career diplomat an apology. "I've defended every single person on this team," Pompeo said in an interview with NPR. "I've done what's right for every single person on this team." Pressed on whether he could point to specific remarks in which he defended Yovanovitch, Pompeo responded, "I've said all I'm going to say today. Thank you. Thanks for the repeated opportunity to do so. I appreciate that." The exchange with Mary Louise Kelly, co-host of All Things Considered, follows the release by House Democrats last week of messages suggesting that Yovanovitch may have been under surveillance in the days before she was told to return to Washington from her posting in Kyiv last year.

Possible surveillance of a U.S. ambassador

The State Department itself is now investigating the possible surveillance of Yovanovitch, who during testimony before House impeachment investigators in November said she had felt threatened by Trump. Before her recall, Yovanovitch had been accused of disloyalty by allies of the White House, and during his now-infamous July 25 call with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Trump said of Yovanovitch, "She's going to go through some things."

The House impeachment inquiry has gutted the secretary of state’s standing among diplomats, hobbled his potential Senate campaign, and even his presidential ambitions, leaving him trapped in the Trump bunker.
By Abigail Tracy

As a parade of current and former diplomats have testified before Congress in the House impeachment inquiry, Mike Pompeo has largely treated the spectacle on Capitol Hill as a solar eclipse, refusing to look directly at it. Two days after Bill Taylor, the acting ambassador to Ukraine, told investigators under oath that he sent a cable to the secretary of state outlining his concerns about a quid pro quo involving military aid to Kiev, Pompeo was galavanting around his home state of Kansas for the fourth time this year to talk about “workforce development” with Ivanka Trump and certainly, he insisted, not laying the groundwork for a Senate bid in the Midwestern state.

Despite Pompeo’s protestations that he would not engage with the “noise” in Washington, a reference to the inquiry quickly engulfing him, diplomats saw it as an inevitability that he would eventually have to address the shadow diplomacy campaign Rudy Giuliani was running on his watch. And they certainly were not ignoring it. “I think his sycophancy is on collision course with his ambition,” a former State Department official told me Wednesday afternoon. “I guess we have to wait to see which one is stronger.”

Hours later, back-to-back interviews with two of the president’s favorite outlets, Fox News and the New York Post, laid bare Pompeo’s decision to toe the Trump line. Rather than defending the procession of diplomats who have appeared under subpoena before the House, Pompeo picked a different tack entirely and dipped his toe into the right wing fever swamp by floating a fresh conspiracy theory about Hunter Biden and the Obama administration’s policy toward Ukraine. “There is all this breathless discussion about this administration’s Ukraine policy,” Pompeo told the Post. “This is the administration that actually provided defensive weapons systems [to Ukraine]. I could not tell you why the Obama administration chose not to [arm Ukraine]. Was it because of Hunter Biden? I don’t know!” Without evidence, he echoed the same theory to Fox News’ Martha MacCallum, suggesting a strategy, not just a slipup. “And it begins,” a former ambassador texted me as Pompeo’s remarks began to circulate among diplomats Wednesday night.

That Pompeo chose to don a tinfoil hat as opposed to defending his subordinates is hardly shocking. He is a Benghazi mouth breather, after all. And the writing was really on the wall when the secretary largely turned a blind eye to the Giuliani-led smear campaign against former ambassador to Ukraine Masha Yovanovitch, which Pompeo’s deputy John Sullivan confirmed under oath in a Senate confirmation on Wednesday. But beyond that, as a cockroach of the Trump administration, Pompeo’s fate is undeniably intertwined with Trump’s. His political ambition—widely believed to extend to the Oval Office—hinges on his relationship with Trump, and more acutely, the Trump base. “He’s made the Faustian bargain and understands the terms: As long as Trump’s in charge, the only thing that matters is hewing to the Trump view,” a former senior U.S. official told me. “This ‘America’s back, standing tall, and we’ve restored respect for America since Obama left’ is utter bullshit and Pompeo has to know this.” Full Story

By Jonathan Shorman

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Thursday made his fourth trip to Kansas this year, this one to Wichita with Ivanka Trump. The former Kansas congressman sat down with McClatchy’s Wichita Eagle and Kansas City Star to discuss the ongoing House impeachment inquiry, the ceasefire in Syria and why he keeps coming back to the state. Below is a transcript of the interview. Eagle: Well, I appreciate the time. So let’s get right back to it. This is your fourth trip back to Kansas this year. Why are you making a point of returning so often? Pompeo: First of all, it’s always great to come home. I think this is the second time I’ve been back to Wichita since I became the director of the CIA now three times ago, might have been a third time in there somewhere. Lots of cabinet secretaries go home an awful lot more than that. We just haven’t managed to do it. I frankly wish we’d get back here a whole lot more.

My point today is really straightforward. Senior Advisor (Ivanka) Trump told me, gosh, probably four or five months ago that she was coming out here for an event at Wichita State. Some really remarkable work that was being done at Wichita State to train the 21st century workforce along with private sector companies, the biggest Spirit and Textron, some of the smaller companies too. And I reminded her that’s my hometown, I’d love to come out and be part of that. Because that workforce development matters to my mission too. To keep America safe we have to have a strong, robust economy. And everyone needs to understand not only do we have that today, but that our workforce is prepared to continue to compete around the world for the next decade, the next 50 years.

So it’ll be a lot of fun to come up here and talk about the great work this administration is doing to ensure that our workforce is prepared to compete all around the world in a globally competitive space for decades to come. Pompeo: Absolutely. 100 percent. I’m also going take a little personal moment. My son’s best friend’s get married this weekend, so I’m going do that too. Yeah. Eagle: Has the House impeachment inquiry into the president affected your consideration of a run for Senate in Kansas at all? Pompeo: No change. I think I’ve answered this question. I think this is number 103 or 104 times. My mission set every day when I wake up is incredibly clear. Our task at the State Department is to use all our all our skill to keep the American people saying, to execute American diplomacy, to make sure that American markets are open for Kansas products all around the world. That’s what I’m focused on. And it’s what I continue, intend to continue to be focused on. Full Story

By Jennifer Hansler and Nicole Gaouette, CNN

Washington (CNN) - Secretary of State Mike Pompeo remained dismissive and evasive of questions surrounding the House Democratic impeachment probe, despite his department's increasing entrenchment in that inquiry. Pompeo sought to downplay the inquiry as Beltway "noise" in a series of interviews in Wichita, Kansas, on Thursday -- just days after the top US diplomat in Ukraine presented damning testimony related to quid pro quo related to presidential lawyer Rudy Giuliani's efforts in Ukraine. In his closed-door deposition Tuesday, Taylor said he had been told that "everything" Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky wanted, including a White House meeting and military aid to the country, would be held up until he publicly announced the launch of investigations sought by President Donald Trump. Those probes have targeted former Vice President Joe Biden, the President's chief political rival, and sought to establish that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election and undermine the US intelligence community's assessment that Russia is to blame.

Taylor's appearance cut the legs out from under the White House defense that there had been no quid pro quo and has been "reverberating" among congressional Republicans who see it as game changer in the impeachment inquiry. In interview with KMUW Radio and The Wichita Eagle, Pompeo repeatedly insisted he would not talk about the inquiry, dodging questions about the concerns Taylor expressed in a diplomatic cable to the secretary of state, whether Giuliani's efforts aligned with the State Department's mission in Ukraine and the department's compliance in the congressional inquiry. In both interviews, Pompeo accused the reporters of being "fixated" on the probe. "Look, I came here today to talk about workforce development. I came here today to talk about the great things that are going on here in Kansas," Pompeo, who went to Kansan city for workforce development events with presidential adviser and first daughter Ivanka Trump, told The Wichita Eagle.

"This inquiry will proceed. Congress will perform its oversight function, the State Department will continue to do all of the things that were required to do under the law and the Constitution," he said. The State Department has repeatedly attempted to block its diplomats from testifying -- all have had to be subpoenaed. The department has also failed to turn over documents related to the Ukraine to the three House committees, despite a subpoena. Later in the interview, Pompeo suggested that the impeachment inquiry proceedings were unfair.  Full Story

The Secretary of State goes to stunning efforts to avoid divulging that he was on the call.
By Inae Oh

The Wall Street Journal’s report late Monday revealing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took part in the July 25 phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky is attracting fresh scrutiny of an interview Pompeo gave during a September 22 segment of This Week, in which he appears to have gone to extraordinary lengths to avoid revealing his involvement in the phone conversation at the center of Trump’s impeachment proceedings.

“I want to turn to this whistleblower complaint, Mr. Secretary,” ABC’s Martha Raddatz said. “What do you know about those conversations?” “So, you just gave me a report about an IC whistleblower complaint, none of which I’ve seen,” Pompeo responded with a chuckle, sidestepping her question. Instead, he repeats one of Trump’s misleading talking points on the Ukraine scandal. “I remember the previous administration was begged by the Ukrainian people to deliver defensive arms so that they could protect themselves from Vladimir Putin and Russia—and they gave them blankets.”

But Raddatz wasn’t having it. Clearly sensing evasion, she interrupted: “You say you know nothing about this. Let me ask you this question…Do you think it’s ‘perfectly fine’ to ask a foreign leader to investigate a political opponent?” “I think I saw a statement from the Ukrainian foreign minister yesterday say there was no pressure applied in the course of the conversation,” Pompeo said. He then launched into an attack against the Biden family. Full Story

Ambassador Taylor’s deposition moved the secretary of state to the center of the impeachment probe. House Democrats are redoubling efforts to get him to answer their questions.
By Spencer Ackerman, Erin Banco

Whatever hope Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had of staying in the background of the House Democratic impeachment inquiry evaporated under the heat of Ambassador William Taylor’s damning deposition. House Democrats are now redoubling their efforts at pulling Pompeo deeper into an impeachment inquiry the secretary has met with defiance. Taylor, the acting ambassador to Ukraine, told legislators on Tuesday that Pompeo loomed large in what Taylor described as an “irregular” effort to make assistance to Ukraine contingent on the young Volodomyr Zelensky government’s willingness to investigate Trump’s domestic political rivals.  In a letter to Congress earlier this month, Pompeo said he would hold on to relevant communications and materials in order to protect career diplomats and officials in his department. Now, though, congressional staffers tell The Daily Beast they are again attempting to gain access to key evidence and say Pompeo’s reasoning for withholding is shallow. Those staffers pointed to the State Department’s history of mistreating officials for their perceived disloyalty to the Trump administration. “Pompeo is not just a yes man to the president, he is a hell-yes man,” said Thomas Countryman, who retired from State in January 2017 after a three-decade diplomatic career.

“It’s been especially disappointing that as he is asked hard questions, he adopts the Trumpian style of refusing to engage in substance and going into ad hominem attacks. It reminds me of the old RCA ads: ‘His Master’s Voice.’” “Pompeo is not just a yes man to the president, he is a hell-yes man.” — Former State Department official Tom Countryman. Pressure is mounting against Pompeo following Taylor’s testimony Tuesday and in anticipation of Saturday’s appearance by the department’s acting assistant secretary at the Bureau for European and Eurasian Affairs, Phil Reeker. Two sources close to the impeachment inquiry said they expect Reeker to supply additional information about Pompeo’s role in Rudy Giuliani's shadow diplomatic effort to convince Ukraine to dig up dirt on 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden. "Obviously, [Pompeo] is central to this series of events. I think it would be very useful to hear from him to establish all the necessary facts in the case,” Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) told The Daily Beast. “It's hard to imagine he would be completely candid, since he's smack in the middle of this in a very, very serious way.” Full Story

In Athens, the American secretary of state dismissed the House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry and the political drama that it has sparked as a “silly gotcha game.”
By Lara Jakes

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo defiantly insisted on Saturday in Greece that the Trump administration was right to ask Ukrainian officials to investigate claims of election interference in the 2016 American presidential campaign, bolstering a widely debunked conspiracy theory that had already been dismissed by his own diplomatic envoy. In comments to journalists in Athens, where he was meeting with Greek leaders, Mr. Pompeo said it was the “duty” of the Trump administration to pursue whether efforts to tamper in the United States election were rooted in Ukraine, even though the American intelligence agencies have long concluded Russia was to blame. Full Story

By Nicole Gaouette, Jennifer Hansler and Kylie Atwood, CNN

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump's attempts to compel Ukraine to investigate the family of his chief political rival are deepening anger and concern inside the State Department as Secretary Mike Pompeo's role in the drama comes under greater scrutiny. A dozen current and former staff from different areas of the State Department and at different stages of their careers who spoke to CNN said the Ukraine controversy has exacerbated divisions between political appointees and career diplomats, many of whom say the department is being politicized in ways that undermine US ties to other countries. State Department staff also tell CNN that frustration is building as Pompeo tries to steer the currents created by Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who has inserted himself into foreign policy, and the President's expectations of complete loyalty. Pompeo seems to "lack the backbone" to push back on Trump, one veteran career official said, even as the President appears to use the department to meet his political aims. Several officials told CNN there is also fear of retaliation from an administration that they say has consistently sidelined America's oldest Cabinet agency.

"There is most certainly a sense within the building that the potential for reprisal is present," one former State Department official said. The State Department has not responded to requests for comment regarding criticism of Pompeo. Unfounded theories: Tensions within the department have been on clear display. Texts released Thursday revealed a career State official in Ukraine was concerned the President, Giuliani and Trump political appointees were pushing for a quid pro quo: security assistance and a presidential summit in exchange for two probes that would benefit the President's personal political interests. One would be an investigation into unsubstantiated claims that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 US election on behalf of Hillary Clinton. A second would look into a Ukrainian businessman who hired former Vice President Joe Biden's son, Hunter, to sit on his company's board. There is no evidence of wrongdoing by either Joe or Hunter Biden. And Giuliani has pushed an unfounded theory that Ukraine masterminded 2016 presidential election interference. US intelligence has found no proof of that and has consistently said Russia was to blame. Separately, the President has also had proxies reach out to foreign allies to investigate the origin of US intelligence probes into Russia's 2016 election meddling. Full Story

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