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Politics Democrats warn State Dept against punishing individuals who testify in impeachment hearings

00:10  13 november  2019
00:10  13 november  2019 Source:   thehill.com

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A group of Senate Democrats is urging top State Department officials to commit that individuals who testify as part of the House impeachment inquiry hearings won't face retaliation over their remarks.

The Democrats have set the open hearings to be phase two of a three-phase approach to impeachment : first, the closed-door depositions before the House Intelligence Committee, whose transcripts have mostly been made public; second, the televised hearings before the same committee

A group of Senate Democrats is urging top State Department officials to commit that individuals who testify as part of the House impeachment inquiry hearings won't face retaliation over their remarks.

Bob Menendez wearing a suit and tie: Democrats warn State Dept against punishing individuals who testify in impeachment hearings© Aaron Schwartz Democrats warn State Dept against punishing individuals who testify in impeachment hearings

Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, led by Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), the committee's ranking member, sent a letter on Tuesday to Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan and Undersecretary of State Brian Bulatao urging them to publicly commit to protecting department officials who testify from any potential professional blowback.

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Senate Democrats are warning State Department leaders not to retaliate against U.S. diplomats testifying publicly this week as part of All three effectively defied orders from the White House and Pompeo not to cooperate with the investigation. Their willingness to testify could affect their future job

The State Department said Thursday that it will provide legal aid assistance to agency officials called to testify in the House's impeachment probe. State Department officials confirmed to The Hill that the agency would do so partly because House Democrats were refusing to allow Trump administration

"We call on you to emphatically and unequivocally support and protect these employees to your fullest abilities, including by issuing statements of support and ensuring they are not subject to any act of reprisal," the 10 senators wrote in the letter.

They added that the officials should "do your part to show employees that the Department stands with them, and remains supportive of their sacrifices in the name of our national security."

The Democratic senators want an update within three business days on the steps the officials will take to support State Department personnel.

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The whistleblower who sparked the impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump will not testify in public, the House intelligence chair, Adam Schiff, said. It comes as an associate of Rudolph Giuliani said he travelled to Ukraine to warn that unless an investigation was announced into Joe Biden and his son

Once little-known State Department officials are about to become household names as they testify publicly in the impeachment inquiry. Taylor, a Vietnam War veteran who has spent 50 years in public service, will set the tone as the first witness. All three have testified in the closed setting, defying the

The letter comes ahead of the first public hearings as part of the House impeachment inquiry. William Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, and George Kent, the deputy assistant secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs, will testify on Wednesday. Maria Yovanovitch, the former ambassador to Ukraine, will testify on Friday.

Senate Democrats said they had become "increasingly alarmed by the Department's lack of support and utter silence for veteran diplomats and career public servants." They noted they were not sending the letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo "because his silence to date speaks volumes."

"We call on you to take all necessary steps to protect them, and other officials who come before Congress, including addressing any threats to their safety and ensuring they do not suffer any retaliation or reprisals," they added.

Pompeo, whom Democrats have accused of helping stonewall the impeachment inquiry, told Live 5 in Charleston, S.C., on Monday that he hoped officials who testified will do so "truthfully" and "accurately."

"When they do, the oversight role will have been performed," he added.

'Fox & Friends' co-host Brian Kilmeade urges Trump not to tweet during impeachment hearings .
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