Bronx, NY—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today announced that the Committee will begin work on a resolution holding Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in contempt. Chairman Engel made this announcement amid Secretary Pompeo’s ongoing refusal to comply with the Committee’s duly authorized subpoena for records into his transparently political misuse of Department resources. Secretary Pompeo’s most recent actions build on an unprecedented record of obstruction and defiance of the House’s constitutional oversight authority.
Chairman Engel said, “From Mr. Pompeo’s refusal to cooperate with the impeachment inquiry to his willingness to bolster a Senate Republican-led smear against the President’s political rivals to his speech to the RNC which defied his own guidance and possibly the law, he has demonstrated alarming disregard for the laws and rules governing his own conduct and for the tools the constitution provides to prevent government corruption. He seems to think the office he holds, the Department he runs, the personnel he oversees, and the taxpayer dollars that pay for all of it are there for his personal and political benefit.
“I gave Mr. Pompeo ample opportunity to fulfill my request for documents, which I first made more than three months ago. These documents were already produced to the Senate, and his refusal to provide them to the Foreign Affairs Committee required that I issue a subpoena on July 31.
“Mr. Pompeo’s final response makes it clear where he stands: the Department would turn over the documents if the Committee announced that we, too, were pursuing an investigation into the same conspiracy theory that’s been debunked again and again. Mr. Pompeo is demanding that the Committee do essentially the same thing Russia is doing, according the Office of the Director of National Intelligence: ‘spreading claims about corruption’ in order to ‘interfere in the American presidential election.’ In other words, Pompeo will give the Committee what we were seeking if we join in a smear of the President’s political rival. Sound familiar?
“I want no part of it. Under no circumstances will I amplify Putin’s debunked conspiracy theories or lend them credence. And I won’t stand by and see the Committee or the House treated with such disdain by anyone.”
The Secretary’s ongoing defiance of two duly authorized subpoenas on matters directly linked to American foreign policy toward Ukraine has left the Committee no further option but to begin drafting a resolution finding Secretary Pompeo in contempt of Congress.
In September 2019, Chairman Engel issued a subpoena seeking records as part of the impeachment inquiry into President Trump. That inquiry found that, with the assistance of his lawyer Rudy Giuliani, the President abused the power of his office to pressure the Government of Ukraine for his own political gain, leading to the President’s impeachment by the House of Representatives.
Last month, Chairman Engel issued a subpoena as part of the Committee’s investigation of Pompeo’s partisan misuse of Department resources to aid two Republican-led Senate committees’ smears to undermine the President’s political rival. At Pompeo’s instruction, the Department has produced more than 16,000 pages to the two Senate committees and just last week Department personnel around the world were instructed to gather more information. At the same time, Pompeo has refused to provide this information to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, which has primary jurisdiction over the State Department.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) recently warned that at least one specific foreign national providing information to the Senators “is spreading claims about corruption – including through publicizing leaked phone calls” in order to boost the President’s reelection bid. Such leaked calls, one of which President Trump recently retweeted, are part of what the ODNI has warned are Russian efforts to interfere in the upcoming U.S. presidential election in support of Donald Trump.
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