Pompeo’s involvement was not known until the Journal reported it on Monday, and the revelation indicates the State Department may have been involved in Trump’s efforts to solicit election interference from Ukraine.
The whistleblower who alerted the intelligence community’s inspector general to the nature of the call — during which Trump pushed Zelensky to investigate a debunked conspiracy theory about 2016 election interference, as well as Joe Biden’s efforts to force the nation’s prosecutor general out of office — wrote in his complaint that “approximately a dozen” White House officials were on the line, as was T. Ulrich Brechbuhl of the State Department. As the Journal points out, the State Department disputed Brechbuhl’s involvement last week.
The revelation that the State Department’s top official was on the call adds a new dimension to the scandal, which last week led House Democrats to launch a formal impeachment inquiry against Trump. At the very least, Pompeo knew Trump was pushing Ukraine to dig up dirt on one of his chief political opponents.
It appears Pompeo’s involvement may go far deeper than this, though. On Sunday, Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer who has no official government role, said on Face the Nation that Pompeo knew of his efforts to convince Ukraine to look into the Bidens, and that he did so with the State Department’s blessing. “I did not do this on my own,” he said. “I did it at the request of the State Department and I have all of the text messages to prove it. And I also have a thank you from them from doing a good job. When I talked to the secretary last week, he said he was aware of it.”
Emboldened by the newly launched impeachment inquiry, House Democrats have already taken steps to uncover the extent of Pompeo’s involvement. On Friday, three committee chairmen subpoenaed him after he failed to voluntarily provide documents related to Ukraine. “The subpoenaed documents shall be part of the impeachment inquiry and shared among the Committees,” wrote Reps. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), and Elijah Cummings (D-Md.). “Your failure or refusal to comply with the subpoena shall constitute evidence of obstruction of the House’s impeachment inquiry.”
The Journal‘s report that Pompeo was on the July 25th call was based on comments from a State Department officials. It’s unclear why the State Department waited until now to reveal that Pompeo participated in the call.