House Committee Launches Contempt Proceedings Against Mike Pompeo

August 28, 2020 Updated: August 28, 2020

The chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Friday said he is proceeding to draft a resolution accusing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of contempt for ignoring the panel’s requests to investigate him.

Chairman Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) said the resolution is in response to hand over subpoenaed documents related to an investigation about whether he has misused government resources for political purposes. One involves a subpoena issued in September 2019 related to the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine’s leadership, and the second one is related to thousands of documents that the Department of State provided to Republican-controlled Senate panels related to an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden.

“The Secretary’s ongoing defiance of two duly authorized subpoenas on matters directly linked to American foreign policy toward Ukraine has left the Committee no further option but to begin drafting a resolution finding Secretary Pompeo in contempt of Congress,” Engel said in a statement.

The State Department has not responded to a request for comment.

“[Pompeo] seems to think the office he holds, the Department he runs, the personnel he oversees, and the taxpayer dollars that pay for all of it are there for his personal and political benefit,” the chairman added.

Rep. Eliot Engel
Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) arrives to hear testimony from U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondlandin Washington, on Oct. 17, 2019. (Erin Scott/File Photo/Reuters)

Engel alleged, without evidence, that Pompeo is helping the Senate and Russia’s agenda to sow discord in the 2020 election by spreading claims about Biden and his son Hunter, who sat on the board of a Ukrainian energy company long accused of corruption.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said he is investigating Hunter Biden’s ties and work at the company, Burisma Holdings.

“Mr. Pompeo’s final response makes it clear where he stands: the Department would turn over the documents if the Committee announced that we, too, were pursuing an investigation into the same conspiracy theory that’s been debunked again and again,” Engel said.

Earlier this month, Pompeo sent a letter to Engel about his probe.

“Let me express how outrageous it is for you to suggest that the Department is ‘stonewalling’ any investigation into the President’s replacing of Steve Linick,“ Pompeo wrote to the chairman. “For the past three months, you have refused every offer and attempt by the Department to reach a mutually agreeable accommodation to provide you with information you purport to seek.”