“You don’t get to work for Donald Trump, and then whine about ‘bullies.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the chairmen of three House committees on Tuesday that he had no intention of obeying subpoenas for documents and depositions by other State Department officials, a day before the deadline for responding to House Democrats’ orders.
Pompeo told House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot L. Engel (D-N.Y.), House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), and House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.) that their subpoena for documents regarding President Donald Trump’s communications with the Ukrainian government amounted to “bullying.”
The subpoena “can be understood only as an attempt to ‘intimidate, bully, and treat improperly, the distinguished professionals of the Department of State,'” wrote the secretary.
Pompeo’s response amounted to an obstruction of House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry, tweeted journalist Judd Legum.
The Trump administration is now actively obstructing the impeachment inquiry https://t.co/e9lC0wa9gx
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) October 1, 2019
The inquiry began last week after Democrats learned that Trump had asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate 2020 Democratic candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.
Pompeo was the first administration official to be subpoenaed. Rudy Guiliani, the president’s lawyer, was issued a subpoena Monday to provide information about his alleged pressuring of Ukraine to investigate the Bidens.
Also on Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Pompeo—who for days had claimed to have little knowledge of Trump’s call with Zelensky, as he had not yet read the transcript—was in fact on the phone call.
Pompeo is “in this up to his ears,” tweeted journalist Lili Loofbourow.
REMINDER: Pompeo was ON THE PHONE CALL Trump made to Zelensky–which became grounds for the impeachment inquiry–but last week, before that was known, he claimed he couldn’t comment because he hadn’t “read the transcript.” He’s in this up to this ears. https://t.co/9wILxypyKv
— Lili Loofbourow (@Millicentsomer) October 1, 2019
Contrary to Pompeo’s complaint, some critics said on social media, Pompeo’s refusal to respond to elected representatives’ demands amounted to the bullying of the American people.
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) October 1, 2019
— Jon Cryer (@MrJonCryer) October 1, 2019
Some also noted the contrast between the Trump administration’s response to Congress’s demands regarding allegations that the president sought to bribe a foreign power to gain assistance winning the 2020 election, and that of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who spent 11 hours testifying about the deaths of four Americans in a 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya.
Pompeo, who was among the Republicans on a House select committee who aggressively questioned Clinton in 2015, is also continuing to investigate the former secretary of state amid developing news about Trump’s impeachment inquiry.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: Sure I’ll testify for 11 hours. No problem.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo: I will hide behind my staff forever even though I lied to you all and was on the call with Ukraine. https://t.co/iRUrN5mDBO
— Neera Tanden (@neeratanden) October 1, 2019
Benghazi: @HillaryClinton testified for 11 hours
— Chris Lu (@ChrisLu44) October 1, 2019
Pompeo was given until Friday, Oct. 4 to produce the documents requested by the committees. Former U.S. ambassador to the Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch was scheduled to give a deposition Wednesday, with other depositions by Kurt Volker, former envoy to Ukraine; Deputy Assistant Secretary George Kent; U.S. ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland; and State Department Counselor T. Ulrich Brechbuhl planned for the coming days.
Pompeo’s apparent plan to direct the officials not to give depositions amounts to “blatant obstruction,” one critic tweeted.
Secretary Pompeo has instructed his Department’s aides and officials not to comply with Congressional subpoenas.
This is blatant obstruction.
You’d think a man who once headed the CIA wouldn’t actually side with the President who was caught conspiring against the United States.
— Jordan Fisher 🏳️🌈 (@jordanwfisher_) October 1, 2019
There’s no respite from Trump’s vindictiveness and foolishness
As we know, even in the midst of a national emergency, Donald Trump could find time and bandwidth to continue his retribution campaign.
He dismissed Michael Atkinson, the inspector general for the intelligence agencies, for doing “a terrible job,” satisfying his own thirst for vengeance for anyone who actually adhered to law and practice over blind loyalty to Trump himself. Indeed, asked about it the next day, Trump underscored his action by saying, Atkinson “was no Trump supporter, that I can tell you.”
It was an act that we once would have labeled corruption, by Democrats and Republicans – that is using the office for personal purposes – if Congress and too many Americans had not since become inured by so many like instances.
This is how Taiwan and South Korea bucked the global lockdown trend
As the coronavirus pandemic sparks global lockdowns, life has continued comparatively unhindered in places like Taiwan, South Korea and Hong Kong after their governments and citizens took decisive early action against the unfolding crisis.
At first glance Taiwan looks like an ideal candidate for the coronavirus. The island of 23 million lies just 180 kilometres (110 miles) off mainland China.
Yet nearly 100 days in, Taiwan has just 376 confirmed cases and five fatalities while restaurants, bars, schools, universities and offices remain open.
The government of President Tsai Ing-wen, whose deputy is an epidemiologist, made tough decisions while the crisis was nascent to stave off the kind of pain now convulsing much of the rest of the world.
Republican ex-lawmaker with coronavirus scolds Wisconsin GOP for forcing voters to risk their health
On CNN Tuesday, former Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA), who is himself dealing with a bout of COVID-19, chastised the Wisconsin GOP for doing everything in their power to block the state elections from being moved — and forcing many voters to stand in line and risk exposure to the virus to cast their ballot.
"I have to tell you, here in Pennsylvania we have a Democratic governor and Republican legislature," Dent told host Don Lemon. "They postponed the election here from April 28 until June 2. Without any controversy. Everybody agreed it was the right thing to do and they moved on. I'm surprised Wisconsin took this risk, knowing they don't have to."