Secretary of State Mike Pompeo – caught in a fresh lie about his involvement in Donald Trump’s Ukraine extortion scheme – is doing his best to obstruct House Democrats as they push ahead on their formal impeachment inquiry.
As Rachel Maddow explained on Tuesday night, citing new documents from Democrats in Congress, Pompeo’s obstruction efforts won’t just fail, but they will strengthen the case for the president’s impeachment.
The MSNBC host said that Pompeo might think he is doing himself and the president a favor by telling Democrats to get lost, but a refusal to cooperate with House committees – and pressuring others to do the same – is a crime.
“Secretary of State Pompeo’s letter today essentially threatened Congress that he might not allow those State Department officials and ex-State Department officials to actually give those depositions, to actually give that testimony,” Maddow said. “[House Democrats] responded to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo by basically saying, ‘No, no, no, no, no.'”
This morning, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sent a letter to House Democrats, basically telling them to bug off in their investigation. The House had announced plans to depose several State Department officials who are potential witnesses to what’s been going on between the president and Ukraine, witnesses in this now-ongoing impeachment proceeding against the president. Secretary of State Pompeo’s letter today essentially threatened Congress that he might not allow those State Department officials and ex-State Department officials to actually give those depositions, to actually give that testimony. The three House committee chairs who had asked for those depositions, who are overseeing this part of the investigation, they responded to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo by basically saying, ‘No, no, no, no, no, and especially not from you, Mike, no.’ They told him this today: ‘Secretary Pompeo, you were reportedly on the call when the president pressed Ukraine to smear his political opponent. If true, Secretary Pompeo, you are now a fact witness in the House impeachment inquiry. You should immediately cease intimidating department witnesses in order to protect yourself and the president. Any effort to intimidate witnesses or prevent them from talking with Congress, including State Department employees, is illegal and will constitute evidence of obstruction of the impeachment inquiry. In response, Congress may infer from this obstruction that any withheld documents and testimony would reveal information that corroborates the whistle-blower complaint. The committees are operating pursuant to our long-established authorities as well as the impeachment inquiry. We are committed to protecting witnesses from harassment and intimidation and we expect their full compliance and that of the Department of State.’ So Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, himself now an important witness in the series of events for which President Trump is going to be impeached, he is threatening to block these State Department officials, these other witnesses, from speaking to the House about what they have seen.
Mike Pompeo is in a lose-lose situation
In his phone call with the president of Ukraine, Donald Trump sought to extort a foreign power into getting dirt on Joe Biden. Nobody is disputing that set of facts – not even the White House.
What we now know is that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was on the call, which makes him a key witness in the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry. As a result, Trump’s loyal secretary of state now finds himself in a lose-lose situation.
Refusing to cooperate – and bullying others in the State Department not to cooperate – with the House impeachment inquiry is a crime. It will only contribute more evidence to the impeachment inquiry.
Of course, cooperating with the House committees – as he is required to do – will put him in the undesirable position of admitting that, yes, he was a witness to the president of the United State’s criminal extortion scheme and, yes, he and other administration officials quickly worked to cover it up.
No matter how Secretary of State Mike Pompeo proceeds, he will be boosting the case for impeachment.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.