National Security

House chair threatens subpoenas if Pompeo doesn’t provide Biden docs he gave Senate GOP

The top House Democrat is threatening to issue subpoenas for documents and testimony if the State Department does not agree to turn over documents given to the Senate that relate to former Vice President Joe Biden. 

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) in a Thursday letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo voiced concern about “partisan misuse” of the agency, alleging that he was helping Senate Republicans take part in a “smear campaign” against Biden. He warned that if he does not receive these documents the Senate has received for its investigation, he will take action.

“As the coronavirus spread from overseas and began to ravage American cities, scarce State Department resources were expended on producing documents to advance conspiracy theories damaging for a candidate for president of the United States,” Engel wrote in the letter.

“If the requested documents are not produced in full by the close of business on June 1, 2020, then I am prepared to issue subpoenas for the relevant documents and the testimony of relevant Department officials,” he continued.

Republican Sens. Ron Johnson (Wis.) and Chuck Grassley (Iowa) — chairmen of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and the Finance committees, respectively — had asked the State Department to turn over documents related to Biden and his son’s work in Ukraine shortly after the Senate acquitted President Trump on two impeachment charges earlier this year.

Efforts by the Trump administration to press Kiev to investigate Biden and his son sparked an impeachment inquiry last year that led the House to impeach Trump for seeking to recruit a foreign nation to investigate a political foe. He was impeached in December by the Democratic-controlled House for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. 

The Republican-controlled Senate then voted largely along party lines to acquit Trump. 

Engel compared how the agency has cooperated with the GOP investigation into Biden by producing thousands of documents both in February and then again in April, after taking up a policy of “blanket defiance” when Democrats were seeking to obtain records about Trump’s contacts with Ukraine, among other record requests.

“The Department has refused to provide the information the Committee has requested, and frequently produced nothing at all, in response to these requests,” Engel wrote.

If the State Department is helping a partisan agenda, Engel warned, then they could potentially be violating the Hatch Act, the Anti-Deficiency Act and the Impound Act, among others.

He also noted that the State Department inspector general, Steve Linick, could’ve investigated the matter, but Pompeo recommended for him to be fired. Engel along with other Democrats are pressing Pompeo to provide information on Linick’s dismissal as well.

Tags Chuck Grassley Donald Trump Eliot Engel Joe Biden Mike Pompeo Ron Johnson

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