US President Donald Trump is lashing out at House Democrats amid an impeachment investigation and a whistleblower complaint over his efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden. (Sept. 26) AP Domestic
WASHINGTON – Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s name isn’t mentioned in the explosive whistleblower complaint that alleges President Donald Trump used the power of his office to press a foreign government for damaging information about a top political rival.
And the nation’s top diplomat insisted on Thursday that State Department officials had acted appropriately in their dealings with Ukraine’s new government, led by President Volodymyr Zelensky.
But Pompeo – one of Trump’s most trusted advisers and his former CIA chief – was almost certainly briefed on the controversial Trump-Zelensky phone call that prompted an intelligence officer to file the whistleblower complaint and House Democrats to launch an impeachment inquiry.
Pompeo is now under growing scrutiny from Democrats in Congress, who have demanded information about the State Department’s alleged role in arranging conversations between Ukrainian officials and Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer. House Democrats on Friday subpoenaed Pompeo for documents related to Giuliani and Ukraine, and a top Senate Democrat also demanded information about Pompeo’s role in the scandal.
On Thursday, Giuliani posted a text message on Twitter that appeared to be from the State Department’s special envoy for Ukraine, Kurt Volker, connecting the former New York mayor to Andriy Yermak, a top aide to Zelensky.
“As discussed, connecting you here with Andrey Yermak, who is very close to President Zelensky,” the July 19 text message reads, using an alternative spelling for Yermak’s first name. “I suggest we schedule a call together on Monday – maybe 10 am or 11 am Washington time?”
Earlier this week, Giuliani said he only contacted Ukrainian officials at the urging of the State Department.
“I never talked to a Ukrainian official until the State Department called me and asked me to do it,” Giuliani told Fox News on Tuesday. “And then I reported to every conversation back to them.”
For months, Giuliani has been pressing the Ukrainians for damaging information on former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, whose sat on the board of a Ukrainian energy company when Biden was Obama’s No. 2. Trump and Giuliani have alleged wrongdoing by the Bidens, but they have not produced any evidence of impropriety.
Volker, who serves in the unpaid position on a part-time basis, did not respond to an email seeking comment, nor did the State Department’s press office. Giuliani did not respond to a voicemail and text messages from USA TODAY.