State Department will follow law in Trump impeachment inquiry, says Mike Pompeo
Washington: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said that the Department of State will follow the law in the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump and defended his boss' attempts to push Ukraine to investigate former vice president Joe Biden.
Pompeo's remarks came after the State Department missed a Friday deadline to comply with a subpoena issued by House Democrats to hand over documents related to the department's dealings with Ukraine and Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani.
Democrats in the US House of Representatives are examining whether there are grounds to impeach Trump, a Republican, based on a whistleblower's account that said he asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in a July 25 phone call to help investigate Democratic political rival Biden.
Pompeo, who is travelling to Greece, told reporters that the department had sent a letter to Congress, "which is our initial response to the document request." "We'll obviously do all the things we're required to do by law," Pompeo said in response to a question.
"I was a member of Congress once; Article I has a certain set of powers, and Article II has an obligation to make sure that we protect officials at the State Department," he added.
"And sadly, there have been congressional inquiries that have harassed and abused State Department employees by contacting them directly and seeking to have them provide documents documents that belong to the State Department, that are official US Government records and ask them to do so without saying, hey, don't bother calling the State Department lawyers; just talk to us directly," he said.
"That's harassment, and I'll never let that happen to my team," he asserted.
Pompeo alleged that the previous Obama administration was not responsive to the documents being sought by the US Congress and its committees.
"I remember once when I was on that side and we were looking for documents, I remember precisely how long it took for those documents to come across. We're going to beat that. We're going to be more responsive than the Obama administration was in the years preceded this particular congress", he said.