The Trump administration’s utter disregard for the rule of law is rapidly spiraling out of control. The Washington Post is now reporting that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said that officials within his department will not be appearing before Congressional committees as scheduled this week for the impeachment inquiry until “we obtain further clarity on these matters.” The stunning rebuke appeared in a letter sent to the Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Eliot L. Engel (D-NY).
Pompeo alleges that the perfectly reasonable request that five State Department officials submit to a deposition as part of the probe into Trump’s now-infamous phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is in fact “an attempt to intimidate, bully, and treat improperly, the distinguished professionals of the Department of State.” Clearly, Pompeo is shirking his duty to the American people in favor of shielding his boss from increased politically damaging scrutiny.
In addition to the Foreign Affairs Committee, the House Intelligence Committee, and Oversight Committee have also requested testimony from the five officials. They include Marie Yovanovitch the Ambassador to Ukraine who was recalled by Secretary Pompeo this past year, Kurt Volker the now-resigned special envoy to Ukraine, Deputy Assistant Secretary Gerooge Kent, U.S. Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland, and State Department Counselor T. Ulrich Brechbul. All of them presumably have information that would be invaluable to the American people in determining the impeachability of the president’s actions and Pompeo’s interference here is inexcusable.
Pompeo’s defiant move takes on an especially sinister cast when one considers the recent revelation that Pompeo was on the phone for the call between Trump during Zelensky, during which the former tried to leverage his presidential powers to strongarm the latter into investigating Joe Biden and his son Hunter with the obvious goal of damaging a possible 2020 opponent. Secretary Pompeo failed to speak up and come forward, aiding the president’s gross abuse of power in the process. He should not be expected to conduct himself honorably moving forward.
Already, Democrats are hitting back. The Hill reports that the Chairmen of the Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, and Oversight Committees—Adam Schiff (D-CA), Eliot Engel (D-NY), and Elijah Cummings (D-MD) respectively—have collectively slammed Pompeo for trying to intimidate their witnesses and went so far as to warn him that his actions could be seen as obstruction of the impeachment inquiry.
The next move now falls to Pompeo. If he continues down this dangerous partisan path history will record him as nothing more than a crooked enabler of an even more crooked president, to say nothing of the legal woes he could soon find himself mired in. If the man has a shred of intelligence or morality he’ll break ranks with his boss and step aside so the Ukraine probe can proceed.
Rob Haffey is a writer, filmmaker, and winner of the ScreenCraft Writing Fellowship. He is a graduate of Drexel University.