Pompeo Confirms He Listened to Trump’s Call to Ukraine President – The New York Times
Mr. Pompeo on Wednesday described United States policy toward Ukraine as “remarkably consistent,” being focused on addressing “the threat that Russia poses” and attempts at “helping the Ukrainians to get graft out, and corruption outside of their government.”
“Even,” he added, “while all this noise is going on.”
In his request to Mr. Zelensky, Mr. Trump pushed a conspiracy theory that his own staff had repeatedly told him was false — that Ukraine, not Russia, had intervened in the 2016 election and that it had done so on behalf of the Democrats.
In another call, to Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia, Mr. Trump asked for help discrediting the Mueller investigation into Russia’s election interference.
Mr. Trump has repeatedly vented his anger at the impeachment inquiry on Twitter, asking why he was not “entitled to interview” and know the identity of the whistle-blower, whose anonymity is protected by law to prevent retaliation. He has also tweeted that he is the target of an attempted coup and that Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California and the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, should be arrested.
On Tuesday, Mr. Pompeo released a letter that excoriated House Democrats for demanding quick depositions of State Department officials involved in policy toward Ukraine, calling it an “act of intimidation” that did not allow his officials sufficient time to respond.
“What we objected to was the demands that were put that deeply violate fundamental principles of separation of powers,” Mr. Pompeo said on Wednesday. “They contacted State Department employees directly, told them not to contact legal counsel at the State Department — at least that’s been reported to us — told them State Department wouldn’t be allowed to be present.”
He said that the department would cooperate with Congress, but that, “we won’t tolerate folks on Capitol Hill bullying and intimidating State Department employees — that’s unacceptable.”