In the wake of his consistent refusals to comply with duly proceeding House investigations, the House Foreign Affairs Committee announced on Friday that it was kick-starting proceedings to hold Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in contempt of Congress. Specifically, Pompeo has refused to comply with two Foreign Affairs Committee subpoenas, as Chairman Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) noted in a Friday statement. The first subpoena demanded records related to the Ukraine bribery scandal that drove the impeachment proceedings against Trump, while the second, more recent subpoena demanded copies of documents that the Department had provided to Senate Republicans to assist in their conspiracy-riddled investigations of the Bidens.
‘From Mr. Pompeo’s refusal to cooperate with the impeachment inquiry to his willingness to bolster a Senate Republican-led smear against the President’s political rivals to his speech to the RNC which defied his own guidance and possibly the law, he has demonstrated alarming disregard for the laws and rules governing his own conduct and for the tools the constitution provides to prevent government corruption. He seems to think the office he holds, the Department he runs, the personnel he oversees, and the taxpayer dollars that pay for all of it are there for his personal and political benefit.’
Thus, the Foreign Affairs Committee “will begin work on a resolution holding Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in contempt,” according to a Friday statement, which also revealed that the State Department said that they’d hand over copies of the documents they’d given Senate Republicans if House Dems launched an investigation into the same conspiracies.
‘I want no part of it. Under no circumstances will I amplify Putin’s debunked conspiracy theories or lend them credence. And I won’t stand by and see the Committee or the House treated with such disdain by anyone.’
As Engel notes, Pompeo recently recorded a speech for the Republican National Convention (RNC) which seems to have violated guidelines against mingling political work and official government duties. These guidelines are originally laid out in the Hatch Act, and they were reiterated by internal department guidance issued while Pompeo has been in charge. One of the memos had Pompeo himself signed on; the other specifically insists that “Senate-confirmed Presidential appointees may not even attend a political party convention or convention-related event.”
It’s worth noting — the investigations of the Bidens that Senate Republicans have launched (and Pompeo has helped along) are essentially the same sort of investigation that Trump tried to bribe Ukraine into starting before he was impeached. At the core of the issue is a baseless allegation that then-Vice President Joe Biden pressured Ukraine to fire a top prosecutor in order to free his son, Hunter, from legal vulnerability, since Hunter worked with an energy company called Burisma that was supposedly under investigation. In reality, there is no evidence that the then-vice president was even familiar with Hunter’s connection to Burisma, and the company was not even under active investigation at the time of the prosecutor’s firing. Furthermore, the then-vice president was far from alone in calling for the prosecutor’s dismissal — the official, Viktor Shokin, was widely viewed as corrupt.