Pompeo Objects to Deposition Dates for State Department Officials

Secretary of state’s comments come as House panels set to depose former and current officials

ROME—Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday rejected the proposed dates for depositions of current and former State Department employees, and he alleged that House investigators looking into President Trump’s call with Ukraine’s leader were intimidating and bullying the officials.

In a letter to House lawmakers investigating Mr. Trump’s July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Mr. Pompeo said officials were given too short notice to testify. Citing procedural and legal hurdles, he said that the “requested dates for depositions are not feasible.”

In the letter to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, he said he would work to expose what he called any attempts to intimidate employees.


Should State Department members, current and former, appear before the House to testify during President Trump’s impeachment inquiry? Why or why not? Join the conversation below.

Mr. Pompeo said he is “concerned with aspects of the Committee’s request that can be understood only as an attempt to intimidate, bully, & treat improperly the distinguished professionals of the Department of State, including several career [foreign-service officers].”

The comments come as House lawmakers have announced a plan to depose former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch; former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker; Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs George Kent; counselor Ulrich Brechbuhl; and U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland.

Ms. Yovanovitch was scheduled for Oct. 2, followed by Mr. Volker on Oct. 3. Messrs. Kent, Brechbuhl and Sondland were scheduled for next week.

Mr. Volker resigned his post last week. Mr. Sondland said he planned to attend the deposition.

Mr. Pompeo said the proposed dates of the depositions don’t give officials adequate time to prepare, including consulting with the department’s legal counsel. Several officials have requested more time to prepare, the secretary said, without naming them.

Mr. Pompeo made the comments after he met Italy’s president, Sergio Mattarella, in Rome on Tuesday. The secretary is on a week-long trip to Italy and Greece, accompanied by his wife, that includes a trip to his ancestral home.