Publicado: Sol, Noviembre 10, 2019
Global | Por Milagro Delgado

Secretary of State Pompeo's role examined in impeachment inquiry


US Department of State (WASHINGTON) - Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday defended his public statement that a senior adviser did not ask him to issue a statement of support for the former USA ambassador to Ukraine after the adviser testified to the House under oath that he asked Pompeo three times to do so.

Michael McKinley, a veteran diplomat Pompeo tapped as a senior adviser early in his tenure, testified that after the memo was released, he had three conversations with Pompeo, asking him to issue a statement of support for Yovanovitch.

But Pompeo has denied that McKinley ever spoke to him about a statement in support of Yovanovitch. Pompeo decided against it, McKinley told impeachment investigators, saying he did not want to "draw undue attention to her". "It was just an acknowledgement that I was raising it", McKinley recalled of Pompeo's reaction. But this time the secretary conditioned his answer on whether McKinley had raised Yovanovitch's plight in May, when she was telephoned in the middle of the night and told she had to come back to the USA on the next plane for her own safety. "In May, when that took place, he didn't say a thing to me".

This comes as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo becomes increasingly involved in the inquiry. Pompeo, a former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, has lent credence to their theory that Ukraine is to blame and framed Moscow in the process.

"From the time that Ambassador Yovanovitch departed Ukraine until the time that he came to tell me that he was departing, I never heard him say a single thing about his concerns with respect to the decision that was made", Pompeo said.

Pompeo portrays the inquiry, which centers on President Donald Trump's attempt to link USA military aid to Ukraine to a corruption probe of a political rival, as unworthy of his attention.

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Yovanovitch, who was removed from her posting in May, has already appeared before investigators in the impeachment inquiry into Trump. McKinley added that he had been upset by Trump's "negative comments on Ambassador Yovanovitch". A second conversation yielded no more progress.

Pompeo has said the impeachment process is unfair to State employees because they are not allowed to have department lawyers with them when they testify. "I haven't had the chance - it's a pretty busy world out there - I haven't had the chance to follow this". "I said, you know, this situation isn't acceptable", he said.

That seemed to contradict what Pompeo told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on This Week on October 20.

Yovanovitch, who was unexpectedly recalled from her position in May, said that her removal could create a "dangerous precedent" that "private interests and people who don't like a particular American ambassador could combine to, you know, find somebody who was more suitable for their interests".

Asked during a press conference why he never released such a statement, Pompeo instead denied the adviser's testimony. She detailed efforts by Giuliani and other Trump allies to push her out of Ukraine, testifying that a senior Ukrainian official told her that "I really needed to watch my back". But behind the scenes, officials say morale is plummeting at the State Department over the whole affair.

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