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Politics Pompeo Gets Drawn Deeper—Way Deeper—Into the Ukraine Scandal

04:10  24 october  2019
04:10  24 october  2019 Source:   thedailybeast.com

4 intriguing moments from the Trump-Ukraine timeline

  4 intriguing moments from the Trump-Ukraine timeline The Fix has been keeping a timeline of the key events. Here are some interesting convergences that haven't gotten their due attention.The value of timelines, of course, is putting a bunch of non-chronological disclosures in chronological order. And as I was doing so, it occurred to me that there are several convergences of events that were particularly interesting.

Taylor, the acting ambassador to Ukraine , told legislators on Tuesday that Pompeo loomed large in what Taylor William Taylor’s damning deposition. House Democrats are now redoubling their efforts at pulling Pompeo deeper into an impeachment inquiry the secretary has met with defiance.

Pompeo 's ascendancy was confirmed in a very public manner when Trump sacked his chief adversary, John Bolton, as national security advisor on September 10. But Pompeo 's fortunes have suddenly darkened over his role in the Ukraine scandal that has triggered an impeachment probe into the

Whatever hope Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had of staying in the background of the House Democratic impeachment inquiry evaporated under the heat of Amb. William Taylor’s damning deposition. House Democrats are now redoubling their efforts at pulling Pompeo deeper into an impeachment inquiry the secretary has met with defiance.

Mike Pompeo wearing a suit and tie© Provided by The Daily Beast

Taylor, the acting ambassador to Ukraine, told legislators on Tuesday that Pompeo loomed large in what Taylor described as an “irregular” effort to make assistance to Ukraine contingent on the young Volodomyr Zelensky government’s willingness to investigate Trump’s domestic political rivals.

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But Pompeo ’s fortunes have suddenly darkened over his role in the Ukraine scandal that has triggered an impeachment probe into the president. After prevaricating for days, Pompeo finally confirmed he was on the now-famous telephone call when Trump pressed Ukraine for damaging

Drew Angerer / Getty Images. Nunes isn’t the only prominent Republican or conservative who may be caught up in this scandal . Secretary of State Mike Pompeo received a packet of disinformation from Giuliani and spoke to him on the phone in March.

In a letter to Congress earlier this month, Pompeo said he would hold on to relevant communications and materials in order to protect career diplomats and officials in his department. Now, though, congressional staffers tell The Daily Beast they are again attempting to gain access to key evidence and say Pompeo’s reasoning for withholding is shallow. Those staffers pointed to the State Department’s history of mistreating officials for their perceived disloyalty to the Trump administration.

“Pompeo is not just a yes man to the president, he is a hell-yes man,” said Thomas Countryman, who retired from State in January 2017 after a three-decade diplomatic career. “It’s been especially disappointing that as he is asked hard questions, he adopts the Trumpian style of refusing to engage in substance and going into ad hominem attacks. It reminds me of the old RCA ads: ‘His Master’s Voice.’”

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But Pompeo 's fortunes have suddenly darkened over his role in the Ukraine scandal that has triggered an impeachment probe into the president. After prevaricating for days, Pompeo finally confirmed he was on the now-famous telephone call when Trump pressed Ukraine for damaging information on

Getting a date scheduled for that meeting was later used to pressure Ukraine into announcing Biden and 2016 probes. Bolton’s office looked right into the entrance of Mulvaney’s, Hill noted, and it didn’t require her to have secret conversations with high ranking officials to know that Sondland was in there.

Pressure is mounting against Pompeo following Taylor’s testimony Tuesday and in anticipation of Saturday’s appearance by the department’s Acting Assistant Secretary at the Bureau for European and Eurasian Affairs Phil Reeker. Two sources close to the impeachment inquiry said they expect Reeker to supply additional information about Pompeo’s role in the Giuliani shadow diplomatic effort to convince Ukraine to dig up dirt on 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden.

"Obviously, [Pompeo] is central to this series of events. I think it would be very useful to hear from him to establish all the necessary facts in the case,” Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) told The Daily Beast. “It's hard to imagine he would be completely candid, since he's smack in the middle of this in a very, very serious way.”

Even before Taylor’s deposition, Pompeo’s involvement in the scandal was known. Pompeo was on the July 25 call between Trump and Zelensky, the one where Trump asked for a “favor” – enabling investigations of his political rivals – after Zelensky mentioned his desire for more American anti-tank missiles for use against Russian-sponsored separatists. That call enabled an effort quarterbacked by Rudy Giuliani and aided by State appointees — something Pompeo suggested to ABC’s Martha Raddatz in September was unfamiliar to him.

FACTBOX-Key dates in the U.S. House's impeachment inquiry into Trump

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday the Trump administration is considering restricting United States' users' access to the Chinese social media application TikTok over concerns it is potentially being used by the Beijing government as a means to surveil and propagandize people.

Sondman pursued a Ukrainian delegation visiting the White House in July out of the meeting that Bolton ended into a second meeting in the downstairs Ward Room, attended by Vindman. “What did you hear Sondland say?” Vindman was asked during his testimony.

Soon afterward, Pompeo took an obstructionist position toward the inquiry. He refused to turn over documents or permit department officials from talking with House investigators, on grounds of protecting his employees from congressional “bullying.” It hasn’t worked. Along with two key figures in the pressure campaign, special envoy Kurt Volker and ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, and former Ukraine ambassador Maria Yovanovich, Taylor became the fourth State Department official to talk — and the first to make Pompeo a central figure.

Taylor stated that he told Pompeo, who recruited him to helm the embassy in Kiev, that he would only accept the ambassadorship if Pompeo supported him against what he called “a web of political machinations in Kiev and in Washington” to undermine U.S. policy supporting Kiev against Moscow. Those machinations had detonated Yovanovich’s like-minded ambassadorship. Pompeo, Taylor said, gave Taylor his desired assurances – meaning that Pompeo knew about the shadow effort as early as that May 28 conversation.

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The Trump– Ukraine scandal is an ongoing political scandal in the United States. It revolves around efforts by U.S. President Donald Trump to coerce Ukraine and other foreign countries into providing

Hill got the impression that Trump believed Patel was the NSC’s Ukraine director (his job focused on counterterrorism) and said she unsuccessfully tried to But—as with the Trump administration’s efforts to sandbag investigations into the Trump-Russia scandal —the fingerprints of Nunes and his current

When Taylor arrived in Ukraine in June, he said, he found little evidence of such support from the secretary. Giuliani, Volker and Sondland seemed to be in charge of the policy, and they were pushing to get Zelensky to publicly commit to investigating the origins of Robert Mueller’s Trump-Russia probe and a firm on whose board Joe Biden’s son sat.

“[Pompeo] recognized Giuliani as doing something that was inconsistent with the State Department’s policy,” said one former State Department official. “Clearly, he was not in a position to stop it.”

By July 18, Taylor learned that the White House had frozen security aid to Ukraine “for no reason I could discern.”

Taylor, as text messages previously released this month made clear, considered all that a disaster undermining the anti-corruption policy he thought he was enforcing. On advice from then-national security adviser John Bolton, Taylor said he wrote an Aug. 29 cable — a formal State Department document — to Pompeo “describing the ‘folly’” he “could not and would not defend.” He told Congress he received “no specific response.”

State Department spokespeople did not respond to questions about what happened to the Aug. 29 cable. Nor did they identify any disputes they had with Taylor’s characterizations of events. Shortly after Taylor’s deposition, a statement from White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham railed against “radical unelected bureaucrats.” The State Department did not issue any statement defending Taylor, something that stunned Countryman and other diplomatic veterans.

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  Analysis: Democrats Want to Impeach Trump. They Haven’t Decided Why. The articles of impeachment could be focused solely on Ukraine — or they could be a broader indictment of the president's wrongdoing.But while that decision helped quell years of frantic debate over whether and why and how Democrats might seek to remove the president, it also foreshadowed the coming battle among House Democrats about what the actual articles of impeachment should look like. Democrats seem to have made strides in their investigation in recent weeks, but they still have this major hurdle to resolve — a hurdle that could have significant implications not just for the success of the inquiry, but for Democrats’ ability to keep control of the House in 2020.

Countryman said, “I think that if Mr. Pompeo ever absorbed any of the leadership lessons I know West Point teaches”—Pompeo, like Taylor, is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy—“he has long forgotten them.”

On Wednesday, the congressmen and women leading the impeachment probe wrote Pompeo deputy John Sullivan to reiterate their demand for “specific documents in the possession, custody or control” of Foggy Bottom, including documents described to them by recent witnesses. The material sought includes “diplomatic cables,” likely a reference to the Aug. 29 cable Taylor disclosed sending Pompeo, as well as texts, emails, and “memoranda that document efforts to press Ukraine to initiate politically-motivated investigations to benefit President Trump.”

Such memoranda, the Democrats’ letter claimed, “raise concerns about false representations by the Department to the Committees” and “document efforts to intimidate or silence employees.”

Some of those records may see the light of day due to a transparency lawsuit entirely separate from the congressional impeachment inquiry. A federal judge on Wednesday ordered the State Department to disclose within 30 days documents about the Ukraine effort, including those concerning Giuliani’s involvement and Yovanovich’s firing.

—with additional reporting by Sam Brodey

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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