House Democrats issued a stark warning to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Tuesday after the top US diplomat accused lawmakers of “intimidating and bullying” State Department officials by calling them for depositions related to the Ukraine inquiry.
In a letter sent Tuesday afternoon, the chairmen of the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees told Pompeo that any effort to prevent those officials from speaking to Congress “is illegal and will constitute evidence of obstruction of the impeachment inquiry.”
The response came just hours after Pompeo wrote to chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Eliot Engel of New York, notifying him that the proposed dates for depositions “do not provide adequate time for the Department and its employees to prepare” and that the request was “not feasible.”
The chairmen of the House Foreign Affairs, Intelligence and Oversight committees responded to Pompeo’s letter saying that “any effort to intimidate witnesses or prevent them from talking with Congress – including State Department employees – is illegal and will constitute evidence of obstruction of the impeachment inquiry.”
Kurt Volker, President Trump’s former special envoy for Ukraine, has confirmed he will appear at a deposition before Congress this Thursday, a House official said.
The House Intelligence Committee official also said that Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, would appear for a deposition on Oct. 11. She was previously scheduled to appear this Wednesday.
House Democrats have requested testimony from five current and former State Department officials in connection with the inquiry, which centers on a July 25 conversation between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
During the call, Trump encouraged the foreign leader to open an investigation into unsubstantiated allegations against former Vice President Joe Biden, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate.