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Pompeo decries harassment over Dems subpoena on White House
Published on: Monday, October 07, 2019

WASHINGTON: The Trump administration complained of harassment by Democratic lawmakers who issued subpoenas for documents regarding President Donald Trump’s alleged pressuring of Ukraine for political favors.

And in a key development, a potential second whistleblower was reportedly weighing whether to come forward.

The latest explosive turns in the impeachment investigation against Trump came as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (pic) accused Democratic-led congressional committees leading the probe of having “harassed and abused” State Department employees by contacting them directly for documents rather than going through department lawyers.

“That’s harassment,” Pompeo said during a visit to Athens, “and I’m never going to let that happen to my team.”

He called the impeachment drama “some silly gotcha game,” saying the matter distracts from important issues like improving lives and growing economies.

The House committees issued their subpoenas—including to the White House  as evidence mounted that Trump abused his powers by attempting to withhold US military aid to pressure Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky into seeking damaging information on 2020 Democratic rival Joe Biden.

Trump has alleged that Biden’s son Hunter earned “millions” from sitting on the board of directors of a Ukraine tycoon’s gas company.

But no evidence has surfaced showing wrongdoing by either Biden.

The impeachment investigation saga began after an original whistleblower—

reportedly a CIA analyst—filed a formal complaint to the intelligence community inspector general about Trump’s alleged pressuring of Zelensky. 

“Look, nations do this,” Pompeo said in Athens. “Nations work together and they say, ‘Boy, goodness gracious, if you can help me with X, we’ll help you achieve Y.’ This is what partnerships do. It’s win-win.” 

Trump and his supporters have aggressively attacked the still-anonymous whistleblower whom Trump has denounced as “close to a spy.”

But if a second whistleblower emerges, and if that person has more direct information about the events in question, as The New York Times reported late Friday, the allegations would become more difficult to shrug off.

However, the possibility did not seem to deter Trump, who welcomed the idea of another whistleblower, stating on Twitter: “Keep them coming!”

The Times said the second official was among those interviewed by inspector general Michael Atkinson about the allegations lodged by the original whistleblower. 

The newspaper, citing two people briefed on the matter, said the second official was still pondering whether to lodge a formal complaint.

In a tweet, Trump said that the first whistleblower “got my phone conversation almost completely wrong, so now word is they are going to the bench and another ‘Whistleblower’ is coming in from the Deep State, also with second hand info.”

Congressional investigators led by House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff have promised a quick and expeditious inquiry, but said Friday the White House was not cooperating with their demand for documents.

“The White House has refused to engage with—or even respond to—multiple requests for documents,” said a letter signed by the chairmen of the House oversight, intelligence and foreign affairs committees.

“His actions have left us with no choice but to issue this subpoena.”

The committees ordered the White House to turn over requested files by October 18. –AFP

 



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