August 21, 2020

Menendez Statement on Secretary Pompeo’s Subversion of Congressional Oversight for Political Purposes

NEWARK – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today released the following statement regarding Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s recent actions to leverage the work of the State Department to obstruct transparency, escape accountability, and advance the personal and electoral agenda of President Donald Trump:

“It is no secret that the President and his Secretary of State recoil from scrutiny. They claim to act on behalf of the American people, yet they fight against any congressional or public scrutiny of their actions. Secretary Pompeo has repeatedly obstructed Democratic inquiries at every turn, but welcomed Republican investigations aimed at aiding the President or harming his electoral opponents.

“To date, the State Department has not produced a single document related to the 2019 decision to withhold U.S. security assistance to Ukraine—which jeopardized critical funds to counter Kremlin aggression and led to the impeachment of President Trump—but it has quickly handed over thousands of pages about Vice President Biden and unsupported conspiracies related to Ukraine.

“The latest revelation that the Department appears to be fast-tracking requests by Republican Senators—inquiries aimed at boosting the President’s favorite victim theories about the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation just before a presidential election—only gives further credence to the perception that the State Department is being weaponized under Secretary Pompeo for the president’s electoral gain. Further, the Secretary’s reported decision to withhold briefings from Congress simply because he is displeased with congressional oversight is wholly inappropriate.

“The State Department should not be used to promote or defend the President’s preferred election narratives, or impede congressional oversight out of political convenience. As we reflect on Secretary Pompeo’s tenure at the agency and the failed foreign policy agenda of the Trump administration, it is imperative that Congress reassert our Constitutional responsibilities to do the difficult work of repairing the President’s broken diplomacy and restoring U.S. standing in the world.”

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