Politics: Pompeo Emerges as a Major Trump Enabler in Ukraine Affair - - PressFrom - US
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Politics Pompeo Emerges as a Major Trump Enabler in Ukraine Affair

05:20  21 november  2019
05:20  21 november  2019 Source:   nytimes.com

White House releases summary of Trump's first call with Ukraine's Zelensky

  White House releases summary of Trump's first call with Ukraine's Zelensky The White House has released a document summarizing President Donald Trump’s first phone call with newly elected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in April of this year. © Danil Shamkin/NurPhoto via Getty Images Ukraine's President Vladimir Zelensky during a briefing in the office of the President in Kiev. Ukraine, Thursday, June 27, 2019 The tone of the call released Friday was much more congratulatory, as it took place hours after Zelensky’s historic landslide election, and was significantly shorter than the July 25 call at the center of the House impeachment inquiry.

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has for months deflected questions about whether the Trump administration demanded political favors from Ukraine in exchange for military aid. He has refused to explain why he recalled the American ambassador

Trump impeachment inquiry. Image copyright EPA. Image caption US President Donald Trump returning to the White House after a game of golf on Saturday. However, Mr Zaid said the person had first-hand knowledge of allegations associated with the phone call Mr Trump made with Ukrainian

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has for months deflected questions about whether the Trump administration demanded political favors from Ukraine in exchange for military aid. He has refused to explain why he recalled the American ambassador, declared that it was “inappropriate” for his diplomats to testify before Congress and declined to hand over documents to impeachment investigators.

Donald Trump, Mike Pompeo are posing for a picture: Whatever his plans, Mike Pompeo, President Trump’s secretary of state, is now tied intimately to the Ukraine controversy. © Doug Mills/The New York Times Whatever his plans, Mike Pompeo, President Trump’s secretary of state, is now tied intimately to the Ukraine controversy.

On Wednesday, Gordon D. Sondland, the American ambassador to the European Union, filled in the blanks: He said Mr. Pompeo and his top aides “knew what we were doing, and why,” and recited emails he wrote to Mr. Pompeo about the quid pro quo demanded by President Trump. “Everyone was in the loop,” Mr. Sondland said.

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  Pompeo declines to defend ex-U.S. ambassador after Trump attack Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday he was proud of what the United States had done in Ukraine and declined to defend former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch who was attacked on Twitter by President Donald Trump. "I'll defer to the White House about particular statements and the like. I don't have anything else today about the Democrats' impeachment proceedings," he said in response to a question about whether he agreed with Trump's negative assessment of Yovanovitch."If somebody else has a substantive question about something that the world cares deeply about then I'm happy to take it.

WASHINGTON — Gordon D. Sondland, the diplomat at the center of the House impeachment inquiry, kept Secretary of State Mike Pompeo apprised of key developments in the campaign to pressure Ukraine ’s leader into public commitments that would satisfy President Trump

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

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Mr. Sondland’s testimony has undercut any notion that Mr. Pompeo, the administration’s most powerful national security official, was not a participant in Mr. Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine. It also firmly places him at the center of one of the nation’s biggest foreign policy controversies in nearly two decades, since the debate over the intelligence that led to the war in Iraq.

Whatever Mr. Pompeo’s future plans, Mr. Trump’s secretary of state is now tied intimately to the Ukraine controversy. Even before Mr. Sondland’s testimony, Mr. Pompeo was rumored to be seeking an exit from the State Department, perhaps to run for a Senate seat in Kansas, his adopted home state, with an eye toward a presidential bid once Mr. Trump leaves the stage.

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Although Pompeo was listening in on President Donald Trump ’s infamous July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky—during which Pressed by Senate Democrats, Biegun praised Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine , as a “very capable foreign service officer” and

Video. Laura K. Cooper, a deputy assistant defense secretary, and David Hale, the under secretary of state for political affairs , are testifying to the House Intelligence Committee. Earlier, Gordon D. Sondland appeared before lawmakers.CreditCredit Doug Mills/The New York Times.

No matter what he does, Mr. Pompeo will almost certainly face charges that, at best, he abetted Mr. Trump in enlisting a foreign nation to help his 2020 campaign as the price for aid in a grinding war involving Russia in eastern Ukraine. At worst, Mr. Pompeo will be seen as coordinating and approving the demands that Ukraine’s new president, Volodymyr Zelensky, announce investigations into dubious claims about the Biden family and 2016 election interference as the price for an Oval Office meeting and a resumption of American military aid.

Gordon Sondland standing in front of a crowd: Gordon D. Sondland, the American ambassador to the European Union, said in his testimony on Wednesday that Mr. Pompeo and his top aides “knew what we were doing, and why.” © Doug Mills/The New York Times Gordon D. Sondland, the American ambassador to the European Union, said in his testimony on Wednesday that Mr. Pompeo and his top aides “knew what we were doing, and why.”

Speaking before the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday, Mr. Sondland said that the State Department had not given him access to his own emails and telephone logs to prepare for his testimony, which would have allowed him to refresh his memory.

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  Here Are The Top Trump Administration Officials Implicated By Gordon Sondland Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, delivered a bombshell opening statement at the House impeachment hearing on Wednesday, testifying that a clear understanding existed among top administration officials that President Donald Trump sought to extort Ukraine’s government for personal political gain. “Everyone knew. It was no secret,” Sondland said, referring to leading White House, State Department and National Security Council officials, as well as Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.

Pompeo also dismissed Sondland’s account. Trump himself insists daily that he did nothing wrong and the Democrats are just trying to drum him out of office. Sondland, a wealthy hotelier, has emerged as a central figure in an intense week in the probe that is featuring nine witnesses testifying

The major question is whether President Trump used American foreign policy to try to damage a political rival. As vice president, Mr. Biden pushed the Ukrainian government in 2015 to fire its top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, who was widely seen as an obstacle to reform because he failed to bring

Mr. Pompeo was criticized by the chairman of the House panel, Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California, in the opening moments of the hearing. Mr. Pompeo, he said, was engaged in a Watergate-style “obstruction of this investigation.”

“We have not received a single document from the State Department, and as Ambassador Sondland’s opening statement today will make clear, those documents bear directly on this investigation and this impeachment inquiry,” Mr. Schiff said. He added: “The knowledge of this scheme was far and wide. And included, among others, Secretary of State Pompeo.”

Mr. Schiff then issued a direct warning to Mr. Trump and Mr. Pompeo: “I will just say this, they do so at their own peril. I remind the president that Article 3 of the impeachment articles drafted against President Nixon was his refusal to obey the subpoenas of Congress.”

Mr. Pompeo admitted last month that he took part in the July 25 call between Mr. Trump and Mr. Zelensky, but has refused to talk in detail about his involvement in the matter. Yet several of his top diplomats have gone to Congress to pull back the curtains on Mr. Trump’s efforts, infuriating the president. State Department employees privately have cheered on those diplomats while criticizing Mr. Pompeo for what they call a failure of leadership.

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Secretary of State Pompeo was 'in the loop' on Trump 's Ukraine pressure campaign, Sondland reveals in impeachment testimony. Variants of that theory argue that Ukraine , in an effort to damage Trump 's campaign that same year, also fabricated or improperly released documents detailing work

Pompeo and Pompeo aides that pointed to his ongoing effort to steer Ukraine President The latest updates in the Trump impeachment hearings. Sondland also made clear the degree to As for the public, anyone who cares to can see that the Republicans who do so are simply enablers in a corrupt

Mr. Sondland noted that Mr. Pompeo and several of the secretary’s top aides received his emails about Ukraine. “On Aug. 22, I emailed Secretary Pompeo, directly copying Secretariat Kenna,” he said of one instance, referring to Lisa Kenna, the executive secretary. He also said Ms. Kenna would sometimes print out his emails on Ukraine addressed to Mr. Pompeo and “put them in front of him.”

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Mr. Pompeo has told associates that he believes the impeachment testimonies are partly aimed at forcing him to play a Washington game that would end with him turning on the president to save his own career. And he refuses to participate, Mr. Pompeo has said.

On Wednesday, Mr. Sondland painted a picture of an activist secretary of state who was informed of attempts to force Mr. Zelensky to announce opening the investigations. Replying to the Aug. 22 email from Mr. Sondland, Mr. Pompeo even approved a plan to have Mr. Zelensky tell Mr. Trump at a scheduled meeting in Warsaw that Mr. Zelensky would pledge to move forward “on those issues of importance” to the president, Mr. Sondland said.

“We kept the leadership of the State Department and the N.S.C. informed of our activities,” Mr. Sondland said, referring to Mr. Pompeo and John R. Bolton, the national security adviser at the time who oversaw the National Security Council staff. “They knew what we were doing and why.”

He added, “State Department was fully supportive of our engagement in Ukraine efforts, and was aware that a commitment to investigations was among the issues we were pursuing.”

Mr. Pompeo appears to have kept his Ukraine and Russia policy staff in the dark on those efforts. In effect, that means diplomats outside the executive offices were trying to carry out the traditional American policy to support Ukraine against Russia — and get the military aid flowing — while Mr. Pompeo was involved in Mr. Trump’s efforts.

After helping Mr. Trump and Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, remove Marie L. Yovanovitch as ambassador of Ukraine — she championed anticorruption measures — Mr. Pompeo failed to inform the veteran diplomat he picked to succeed her, William B. Taylor Jr., of the political demands being made of Mr. Zelensky.

In testimony, Mr. Taylor described slowly uncovering the plan, and sending Mr. Pompeo a cable on Aug. 29 saying that withholding the aid was “folly.”

Even then, Mr. Taylor did not appear to know of Mr. Pompeo’s role.

“The Ukraine scandal is a great microcosm of how this administration’s real foreign policy machinery operates,” said Andrew S. Weiss, a former senior official at the National Security Council, State Department and Pentagon who advised on Russia and Ukraine. “Our allies and adversaries all know about this. Yet it’s just so dysfunctional to have people like Marie Yovanovitch and Bill Taylor spinning their wheels out in Kyiv while Pompeo and Giuliani indulged the president’s affection for baseless conspiracy theories and hand-to-hand political combat.”

In Brussels on Wednesday, Mr. Pompeo said he had not seen Mr. Sondland’s testimony. Under questioning by reporters, he also said he would not recuse himself from any decisions by the State Department to release documents related to the impeachment inquiry.

Mr. Pompeo repeated a broad answer he has given on questions about Ukraine. “I know precisely what American policy was with respect to Ukraine,” he said. “I was working on it, and I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished.”

Morgan Ortagus, a spokeswoman for the department, later disputed parts of Mr. Sondland’s testimony. “Gordon Sondland never told Secretary Pompeo that he believed the president was linking aid to investigations of political opponents,” she said. “Any suggestion to the contrary is flat-out false.”

On Wednesday evening, a Pentagon official provided new details about when the Ukrainians might have learned about the hold on military aid. Laura K. Cooper, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, told Congress that officials in Ukraine may have been aware by July 25 that security aid had been frozen — much earlier than previously known. That was the same day Mr. Trump talked on the phone with the president of Ukraine.

She said the Ukrainian Embassy asked her staff about the aid on July 25, and also cited emails from that day between members of her staff and State Department officials in which diplomats said the embassy knew about the hold.

As Mr. Sondland testified, Mr. Pompeo’s future came up at a separate congressional session, the Senate confirmation hearing of Stephen E. Biegun, the envoy on North Korea nominated to be deputy secretary of state. Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey, the top Democrat in the hearing, said Mr. Biegun could end up as acting secretary of state “for quite some time” given expectations that Mr. Pompeo would resign early next year to run for Senate.

He added that Mr. Pompeo could soon realize it is “untenable to continue making decisions” on agency documents related to impeachment, so Mr. Biegun might assume that responsibility.

Private testimony by David Hale, the third-ranking State Department official, has also implicated Mr. Pompeo. In spring 2019, Mr. Hale said, Mr. Pompeo looked into a right-wing campaign against Ms. Yovanovitch that had been orchestrated by Mr. Giuliani and his associates. Mr. Pompeo even called up Sean Hannity, the Fox News personality who is a Trump ally, to ask for details of wrongdoing by Ms. Yovanovitch, but concluded “there was no evidence,” Mr. Hale said, according to a transcript. (Mr. Hannity has denied any such call.)

Yet, in April, Mr. Pompeo complied with Mr. Trump’s demand to oust Ms. Yovanovitch. After she was suddenly ordered to fly back to Washington that month for meetings, Mr. Pompeo’s deputy delivered the news of her professional future. Mr. Pompeo has refused to defend her and the other top diplomats now under attack by Mr. Trump, leading to a quiet revolt against him by career officials and denunciations by former officials.

For many in the diplomatic corps, the latest testimonies confirm the troubling portrait of Mr. Pompeo that has emerged this year. Some say he should resign, to restore leadership and correct the agency’s direction.

“People are deeply concerned about the future of professional diplomacy,” said Virginia Bennett, a former acting assistant secretary of state. She said a former colleague had told her that “you can see it across the building, this kind of degradation of capability.”

Michael Crowley contributed reporting.

Pompeo suggests debunked Ukraine election meddling theory should be probed .
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday suggested that Ukraine should be investigated over allegations that it interfered in the 2016 election, a debunked theory advanced by President Donald Trump that witnesses told the congressional impeachment inquiry was spread by Russian spy agencies. Pompeo was asked at a news conference if the United States should probe accusations of Ukrainian election meddling that Trump's fellow Republicans have raised in the Democrat-led U.S. House of Representatives probe into whether Trump abused his power for domestic political gain.

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