A senior US official has said that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo among the administration officials who participated in the July 25 phone call between President Donald Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky which has led to an impeachment inquiry against Trump.
The revelation, which was made by the official to The Wall Street Journal on Monday, has brought the State Department closer to the impeachment inquiry that was launched by the House Democrats on September 24, reports Efe news.
Pompeo’s participation on the call, which hadn’t been previously reported, was one of several developments related to the controversy that centres on Trump repeatedly urging Zelensky to cooperate with his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and Attorney General William Barr, to investigate a Ukrainian gas company that might be related to former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, according to a transcript of the call released on September 25 by the White House.
Three House committees – Foreign Affairs, Intelligence and Oversight – on September 27 subpoenaed Pompeo for documents related to the inquiry; he has until October 4 to produce them.
The impeachment inquiry is focused on Trump’s dealings with Ukraine. Lawmakers are honing in on a whistleblower complaint by a person identified as an officer at the Central Intelligence Agency and a record of the call between the two presidents that were released by the administration.
If the Democrats approve articles of impeachment, the matter would move to trial in the Senate, which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell confirmed on Monday he would hold.
“I would have no choice but to take it up,” the Kentucky Republican said on CNBC. “How long you are on it is a different matter, but I would have no choice but to take it up based on a Senate rule on impeachment.”
The scrutiny of the call with Ukraine, which came at a time when Trump had ordered US aid to Ukraine put on hold, has prompted a wider examination of efforts by the Trump administration to engage foreign leaders in assisting with issues important to the President.
Barr has asked Trump to make introductions to a number of foreign officials he believes might have information relevant to the Justice Department’s review of the origins of the Russia investigation and has held overseas meetings with some of them, a Justice Department official said on Monday.
Trump recently called Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison at Barr’s request, two government officials said, to ask him to help with the inquiry.
But the department official did not specify from which other countries Barr is seeking information.
The Republican-led Senate is considered unlikely to convict Trump in any impeachment trial. Removing the president requires approval by two-thirds of the 100-member Senate.
Some Senate Republicans have voiced concern over the allegations outlined in a whistleblower complaint made public last week, but none has voiced support for impeachment.