November 22, 2019

Foreign Relations Committee Democrats Demand Sec. Pompeo Recuse Himself from Ukraine Related Matters

WASHINGTON – Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was joined by the entire Democratic bench of the Committee in penning a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to demand his immediate recusal from any proceedings and decisions related to the ongoing Trump-Ukraine scandal.

The Senators’ letter follows explosive testimony before the House of Representatives by U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, in which he confirmed Secretary Pompeo’s direct involvement in the President’s scheme of withholding security assistance for Ukraine until Ukrainian President Zelensky announced investigations aimed at helping the President politically. The Senators also cited Pompeo’s ongoing efforts to impede the House’s impeachment inquiry by denying investigators and witnesses access to State Department records as inappropriate, due to his own direct involvement in the scandal.

“These acts leave us with little doubt that you are blocking the Congress and American people from obtaining a full account of the scandal solely because the facts are damaging to your and  the President’s personal and political interests,” wrote the Senators. “The only legitimate option is for you to recuse and to delegate the Department’s response to the Trump-Ukraine scandal to a senior career Department official.”

Pompeo was also on the infamous July 25 call between President Trump and President Zelensky, which precipitated the impeachment inquiry.

“Given your direct involvement in the scandal, you have a profound conflict of interest and you must recuse yourself,” added the Senators, who previously called on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman to hold hearings on the Trump-Ukraine scandal since its jurisdiction is responsible for conducting oversight of the conduct of U.S. diplomacy and foreign policy.

Joining Menendez in sending the letter were Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), and Cory Booker (D-N.J.).

A copy of the letter can be found here and below:

Dear Secretary Pompeo,

We write to express our deep concern that you continue to impede congressional inquiries into the Trump-Ukraine scandal. Given your direct involvement in the scandal, you have a profound conflict of interest and you must recuse yourself.

As you reluctantly admitted several weeks ago, you were on the infamous July 25 call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Zelensky. We now know, according to today’s testimony from Ambassador Gordon Sondland, that you were fully aware of President Trump’s scheme to withhold urgently needed security assistance to Ukraine for his personal and political gain.

Yet, you have continued to impede the House impeachment inquiry, including by refusing to produce any State Department records on the Trump-Ukraine scandal—including those that may shed further light on your own complicity. As Ambassador Sondland testified, the Department also refused to provide him access to his own materials as he prepared to testify.

These acts leave us with little doubt that you are blocking the Congress and American people from obtaining a full account of the scandal solely because the facts are damaging to your and  the President’s personal and political interests.

The only legitimate option is for you to recuse and to delegate the Department’s response to the Trump-Ukraine scandal to a senior career Department official. We urge you to do so immediately.

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