Engel Responds to Pompeo’s Defiance of Subpoena Supporting House Investigation of Politicization of State Department

State Department Continues to Abet GOP Smear of Bidens, Ignore Legitimate Oversight Efforts and Request for Records

August 17, 2020

Bronx, NY—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today rejected Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s defiance of the Committee’s subpoena for records dealing with Pompeo’s misuse of State Department resources to aid a Senate Republican-led political smear of former Vice President Joe Biden. In a letter to Pompeo, Chairman Engel demanded that the Department cooperate with the Committee’s investigation of the transparently political effort to aid President Trump’s reelection campaign. Chairman Engel also underscored that the Senate committees’ attack on Biden has been tied to Russian misinformation efforts designed to interfere with the upcoming election.

“By producing State Department records only to the Senate as part of this investigation, which may already be soiled by Russian interference, but refusing to honor a lawful subpoena to produce them to the State Department’s committee of jurisdiction, you may intentionally or unintentionally be enabling these Russian efforts to interfere in the upcoming election.  If the Department’s efforts here were truly above-board and in the national interest, you would not hesitate to provide the House Foreign Affairs Committee with the full collection of records you have produced to the Senate,” wrote Chairman Engel.

Chairman Engel gave Pompeo a deadline of 5pm Friday to comply with the subpoena.

On the same day Senate Republicans acquitted President Trump in his impeachment trial, the Department began producing records to the Senate Committees on Homeland Security and Government Affairs and Finance, which now total more than 16,000 pages. The U.S. Director of National Intelligence (DNI) has warned that at least one of the foreigners assisting the Senators in their work “is spreading claims about corruption – including through publicizing leaked phone calls – to undermine former Vice President Biden’s candidacy and the Democratic Party.” Such leaked calls, one of which President Trump retweeted just last night, are part of what the DNI has warned are Russian efforts to interfere in the upcoming U.S. presidential election. And Secretary Pompeo’s use of taxpayer dollars to funnel Department records to the Senate investigation while refusing to comply with most investigative requests from the House Foreign Affairs Committee, risks inadvertently bolstering those Russian disinformation efforts.   

In May, Chairman Engel launched a probe to determine if State Department resources were being misused by aiding this scheme. On July 31, after the Department refused to voluntarily produce the records that have been sent to the Senate as part of the smear campaign against Vice President Biden, Chairman Engel issued a subpoena. The Department has thus far refused to comply with the subpoena, claiming falsely that the Committee was not conducting an investigation related to these matters.

Chairman Engel’s letter can be found here.

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