Warnings over Trump inquiry fly between Pompeo and Democrats


The breaking news of the hour is a letter signed by three House Committee chairman to the Deputy Secretary of state responding to a letter earlier in the day by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in which secretary pompeo attempted to block blocked testimony from current and former State Department officials the letter tonight says dear Mr Deputy Secretary we are responding to a letter sent earlier earlier today by Secretary of State Mike pompeo attempting to block testimony from current and former State Department officials sought by our committees for depositions as part of the House of Representatives impeachment inquiry. We are writing to you because Secretary Pompeo now appears to have an obvious conflict of interest he reportedly participated personally and the July twenty fifth twenty nineteen recall in which the president pressed Ukraine president to investigate the son of former Vice President Joseph Biden immediately after Ukrainian president raised his desire for the united its military assistance to counter Russian aggression sanitary pompeo should not be making any decisions regarding witness testimony or document production in order to protect himself south or the president any effort by the secretary or the department to intimidate or prevent witnesses from testifying or withhold documents from the committees shall constitute evidence of obstruction of the impeachment inquiry given the secretary's own potential role and reports of other State Department officials being involved in or knowledgeable knowledgeable of the events under investigation that committees may infer that he is trying to cover up illicit activity and misconduct including by the President present this would be a blatant cover up and clear abuse of power that letter to the deputy secretary of state tonight follows a report by NBC News. It was tonight that the Inspector General of the State Department has made an urgent request to brief several congressional committees tomorrow about documents related to the State Department and Ukraine according to multiple congressional sources the request from the State Department's Inspector General comes on the same in day that the head of the State Department Secretary Mike Pompeo sent a letter to the House Foreign Affairs Committee saying that he will not voluntarily make make available five current and former department officials for depositions by the committee one of the witnesses that the House Democrats want to hear from has already agreed to appear for deposition on Thursday Kurt Volker resigned from the State Department last week and therefore is no longer under Mike Pompeo's control in this matter. The pompeo letter does highlight light one point that might be part of the discussion that the State Department's Inspector General urgently wants to have with the congressional committees. The POMPEO letter says quote the invitations the committee sent to the department officials include requests that each of them personally produced a vast amount of documents these requests appear to a duplicate the subpoena that was previously served on the Secretary of state the requested records constitute the property of the Department of State and are subject to restrictions on the unauthorized disclosure of classified information in various executive branch privileges. The pompeo letter went on to say that the committee is asking the witnesses to to quote produce materials that are not theirs to produce the Inspector General of the State Department is Steve Lennox who was appointed to that position in twenty thirteen by I president Barack Obama the inspector general would like to meet with the staff of the House Intelligence Committee the Senate Intelligence Committee the House Foreign Affairs Committee decide Foreign Relations Committee as well as the House Oversight Committee and the House for Raisins Committee the Senate Appropriations Committee. This is an extraordinary question includes democratic staff and Republicans staff. This is a request the likes of which that I for one is a former. Senate staffer have never seen or been party to and fortunately tonight. We are joined by guests to have much more experience than I do. In State Department matters and intelligence committee matters. We'll be joined later in the hour by a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee Senator Kamala Harris who is now a candidate for president secretary. POMPEO's letter blocking the testimony complained that State Department lawyers should be allowed to attend any depositions positions by Congress State Department employees but tonight's letter from the three house chairman to the Deputy Secretary of state says the same rule has been in in place for more than a decade under both Republican and Democratic Chairman of the Committee on oversight and reform and it was in place during Secretary Pompeo's tenure on the Benghazi Z. Select Committee the regulations that Govern House deposition state witnesses may be accompanied by personal non-governmental council to advise them of their rights only members committee staff designated by the chair or ranking minority member and official reporter the witness and the witnesses Mrs Council or permitted to attend observers or council for other persons and Putting Council for government agencies may not attempt the chairman's letter to the deputy secretary of State says the rule is intended for exactly these types of circumstances to prevent the agency head with an obvious conflict of interest in who is directly implicated in the abuses. We are currently investigating from trying to prevent his own employees from coming forward to tell the truth to Congress the three Chairman Adam Schiff the intelligence committee the Foreign Affairs Committee and Elijah Cummings the oversight committee. Tell the deputy secretary of state it is a criminal violation punishable by fine. Mine are up to five years in prison to buy threats or force or by any threatening letter or communication influence obstruct impede or endeavour to do so the due due and proper exercise of the power of inquiry under which any inquiry or investigation is being had by either house or any

Coming up next