Pompeo ‘listened in’ on Trump call with Ukrainian president; Giuliani subpoenaed
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Pompeo ‘listened in’ on Trump call with Ukrainian president; Giuliani subpoenaed

Senior State Department official says US secretary of state was ‘among administration officials’ on July 25 call that prompted impeachment storm

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a press availability with Britain's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab at the State Department in Washington, August 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a press availability with Britain's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab at the State Department in Washington, August 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was on the July call between US President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that led to a whistleblower complaint and the start of impeachment proceedings, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

According to the report, a senior State Department official said Pompeo was “among administration officials” who “listened in” on the call.

Pompeo said Thursday that as far as he knew, all State Department employees had acted appropriately in dealing with Ukraine.

A whistleblower complaint about Trump’s July 25 phone call with the Ukrainian leader has led to the opening of the impeachment inquiry in the House.

The Democratic-led House of Representatives launched the official inquiry last week accusing Trump of a “mafia-like shakedown” of Zelensky in the call, aimed at damaging Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden.

US President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speak during a meeting in New York on September 25, 2019, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly. (SAUL LOEB / AFP)

Trump and his allies claim Biden, as Barack Obama’s vice president, pressured Kyiv to fire the country’s top prosecutor to protect his son Hunter, who sat on the board of a gas company, Burisma Holdings, accused of corrupt practices.

Those allegations have largely been debunked and there has been no evidence of illegal conduct or wrongdoing in Ukraine by the Bidens.

But a transcript of the July call shows Trump pushing for Kyiv to revisit the matter, saying both Giuliani and US Attorney General Bill Barr would be in touch.

For Democrats, that amounted to a smoking gun, leading House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to finally approve an impeachment process she opposed as a risky distraction from the 2020 battle.

House Democratic leaders on Monday slapped Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani with a subpoena to turn over Ukraine-related documents as part of the accelerating formal probe.

Rudy Giuliani, an attorney for US President Trump, during a campaign event in New Hampshire, in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, August 1, 2018. Charles Krupa/AP)

“Pursuant to the House of Representatives’ impeachment inquiry, we are hereby transmitting a subpoena that compels you to produce the documents set forth in the accompanying schedule by October 15, 2019,” wrote House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff and the chairs of two other panels conducting investigations.

The chairmen are seeking all communications by Giuliani and three other attorneys related to Trump’s effort — now at the heart of impeachment proceedings — to pressure Zelensky to launch “politically-motivated investigations” against Biden and his son.

Democrats on Friday subpoenaed Pompeo, also ordering him to turn over Ukraine-related documents, saying multiple State Department officials have direct knowledge of Trump’s efforts to enlist the Ukraine government’s help in his US domestic political campaign for reelection.

House Intelligence Committee chairman, Democratic Representative Adam Schiff of California, speaks before Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire testifies before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, September 26, 2019. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

They also announced interviews scheduled with five State Department officials, including former ambassador to Ukraine Masha Yovanovitch, whom Trump reportedly forced out earlier this year for resisting his efforts to pressure Kyiv to probe Democratic rival Joe Biden.

Democrats have said articles of impeachment — formal charges — against Trump could be completed in as little as a month and swiftly voted on in the House, where the party has a majority.

If Trump is impeached by a simple majority vote in the 435-member House he would face a trial in the Republican-led Senate, where a two-thirds majority would be needed to convict him and remove him from office.

Trump said on Sunday he wants and deserves to meet the anonymous whistleblower at the center of the fast-moving scandal.

“Like every American, I deserve to meet my accuser, especially when this accuser, the so-called ‘whistleblower,’ represented a perfect conversation with a foreign leader in a totally inaccurate and fraudulent way,” Trump said.

He has lashed out in all directions on Twitter in recent days with conspiracy theories, calls to arrest Democrats for treason, ominous warnings about civil war, and on Monday calling the proceedings “The Greatest Witch Hunt in the history of our Country!”

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