Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was on the July 25 phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that has come under scrutiny following last week’s release of a whistleblower complaint dealing, in part, with circumstances surrounding that conversation, a source familiar told CNN.
A rough transcript of the conversation released by the White House shows Trump repeatedly pushed Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
During that call, Trump asks Zelensky to speak with his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and suggests that the Ukrainian President “look into” Biden and his son.
“There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the attorney general would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it. … It sounds horrible to me,” Trump said, according to the White House transcript.
There is no evidence of wrongdoing by either Joe or Hunter Biden.
The Wall Street Journal first reported that Pompeo was on the July 25 phone call between the two leaders. The State Department has not yet responded to CNN’s request for comment.
Pompeo was asked about the whistleblower complaint last week while in New York for the United Nations General Assembly and said at the time he had not yet read it in full. When asked if he or his staff acted improperly Pompeo did say that, to the best of his knowledge, “each of the actions that were undertaken by State Department officials was entirely appropriate.”
The top US diplomat offered a similar response during an ABC News interview eight days ago when questioned about the complaint and reports that Trump had repeatedly pressed the Ukrainian leader to investigate the Bidens with help from Giuliani.
“You just gave me a report about a (intelligence community) whistleblower complaint, none of which I’ve seen,” Pompeo said at the time.
Pompeo has not publicly addressed the State Department’s role in Giuliani’s dealings with Ukraine.
But when asked earlier this month about Giuliani’s efforts at getting himself involved in foreign affairs as he publicly called for an investigation by the Ukrainian government into Biden, Pompeo was generally supportive.
“If there was election interference that took place by the vice president, I think the American people deserve to know,” he said.
Late last week, the chairmen of three House committees subpoenaed Pompeo over his failure to produce documents related to Ukraine.
“Pursuant to the House of Representatives’ impeachment inquiry, we are hereby transmitting a subpoena that compels you to produce the documents set forth in the accompanying schedule by October 4, 2019,” the chairmen of the House Foreign Affairs, Intelligence and Oversight committees wrote in a letter to Pompeo.
“The subpoenaed documents shall be part of the impeachment inquiry and shared among the Committees,” wrote Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff of California, Eliot Engel of New York and Elijah Cummings of Maryland. “Your failure or refusal to comply with the subpoena shall constitute evidence of obstruction of the House’s impeachment inquiry.”
In addition to the subpoena, the chairmen informed the top US diplomat in a separate letter that they had scheduled depositions for five State Department officials who have been mentioned in relation to the inquiry: Ambassador Marie “Masha” Yovanovitch, now-former Ambassador Kurt Volker, Deputy Assistant Secretary George Kent, Counselor T. Ulrich Brechbuhl and Ambassador Gordon Sondland. Volker resigned on Friday.
In August, a State Department spokesperson confirmed that Volker, at the request of Ukrainian Presidential Adviser Andriy Yermak, had “put Yermak in direct contact with Mr. Giuliani.”
“Mr. Giuliani is a private citizen and acts in a personal capacity as a lawyer for President Trump. He does not speak on behalf of the U.S. Government,” the spokesperson said in a statement at the time.
Schiff, Engel and Cummings also issued a subpoena to Giuliani on Monday for documents related to his Ukrainian work.