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Sec. Mike Pompeo hits back against House Dems' efforts to 'bully' and 'intimidate' State Dept. officials

'I will not tolerate such tactics'

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo decried a subpoena sent to his department from the House Foreign Affairs Committee as an effort to "intimidate, bully, & treat improperly" State Department officials on Tuesday.

In a letter responding to the committee's subpoena, Pompeo told chairman Elliot Engel (D-N.Y.) that he had "been made aware that Committee staff has been sending intimidating communications to career Department professionals who have specifically asked for Committee communications to be channeled through the Bureau of Legislative Affairs."

The letter was sent Tuesday in response to the ongoing controversy about President Donald Trump's July phone call with the president of Urkaine.

House Democrats from three committees — Foreign Affairs, Intelligence, and Oversight — sent the subpoenas for Pompeo and five other State Department officials on Friday, following Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) announcement of an "official impeachment inquiry" in the lower chamber. The subpoenas are for documents related to how the State Department worked with Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani and records involving the phone call. They also notified multiple officials of scheduled depositions.

"Let me be clear," Pompeo continued in his letter Tuesday, "I will not tolerate such tactics and I will use all means at my disposal to prevent and expose any attempts to intimidate the dedicated professionals whom I am proud to lead and serve alongside the Department of State."

The letter goes on to list other problems with the committee's request, including the lack of a notice of deposition for its requests, "a woefully inadequate opportunity for the Department and the requested witnesses to prepare," and the committee's apparent intention to not allow State Department legal counsel to participate in the depositions.

Pompeo also suggested that officials currently employed at the State Department would not be testifying, despite the scheduled depositions.

"Your letter implies that you have sought to compel Department officials to appear for depositions on the identified dates," the secretary wrote, "yet the committee has not issued any subpoenas for depositions, and we are not aware of any authority by which the committee could compel appearance at a deposition."

Pompeo has come under increased scrutiny in the Ukraine call controversy, especially after Monday's report that he was actually on the July 25 phone call himself.

The House Oversight Committee's top Republican, Jim Jordan (Ohio), followed news of Pompeo's letter with a statement citing "serious concerns about Democrats' targeting of our career foreign policy professionals, which would put our diplomatic interests at risk."

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