The House Foreign Affairs Committee has finally had enough of waiting for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to comply with subpoenas for documents and testimony related to his misuse of department resources for President Donald Trump’s persecution of his opponents.
Pompeo has been helping Trump undermine the 2020 Election by actively aiding his effort to smear Democratic nominee Joe Biden, first by helping him extort Ukraine and then refusing to release any documentation about that scheme during the impeachment inquiry, and then aiding Senate Republican committees in their own witch hunts against Biden.
The effort to smear Biden is also being pushed by Russia to help Trump.
Seeing as how the State Department should not be used in this way, the House Foreign Affairs Committee has demanded answers from Pompeo, only to be rebuffed repeatedly.
Well, Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), the chairman of the committee, formally announced on Friday that the committee will seek to hold Pompeo in contempt.
“From Mr. Pompeo’s refusal to cooperate with the impeachment inquiry to his willingness to bolster a Senate Republican-led smear against the President’s political rivals to his speech to the RNC which defied his own guidance and possibly the law, he has demonstrated alarming disregard for the laws and rules governing his own conduct and for the tools the constitution provides to prevent government corruption,” Engel said in a statement. “He seems to think the office he holds, the Department he runs, the personnel he oversees, and the taxpayer dollars that pay for all of it are there for his personal and political benefit.”
“I gave Mr. Pompeo ample opportunity to fulfill my request for documents, which I first made more than three months ago,” Engel continued. “These documents were already produced to the Senate, and his refusal to provide them to the Foreign Affairs Committee required that I issue a subpoena on July 31.”
Engel went on to rebuke Pompeo for trying to blackmail the committee in exchange for the subpoenaed materials.
“Mr. Pompeo’s final response makes it clear where he stands: the Department would turn over the documents if the Committee announced that we, too, were pursuing an investigation into the same conspiracy theory that’s been debunked again and again,” Engel said. “Mr. Pompeo is demanding that the Committee do essentially the same thing Russia is doing, according the Office of the Director of National Intelligence: ‘spreading claims about corruption’ in order to ‘interfere in the American presidential election.’ In other words, Pompeo will give the Committee what we were seeking if we join in a smear of the President’s political rival. Sound familiar?”
“I want no part of it,” he concluded. “Under no circumstances will I amplify Putin’s debunked conspiracy theories or lend them credence. And I won’t stand by and see the Committee or the House treated with such disdain by anyone.”
If Pompeo continues to defy congressional subpoenas, he should not only be held in contempt, he should be arrested by Capitol Police and locked in a jail cell. It’s time for the legislative branch to start exercising their power of oversight. If that means a bunch of Trump officials go to jail, so be it. A message needs to be sent that Congress will not allow this administration to flout the law.
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