State Dept. watchdog expected to brief congressional panels on Ukraine: reports

The State Department inspector general is expected to meet with staff from multiple congressional committees on Wednesday and brief them on documents related to the Trump administration’s dealings with Ukraine, according to multiple reports.

Key congressional committees were notified Tuesday of the inspector general's desire to meet with them, according to a letter obtained by The Washington Post. The letter reportedly stated that Steve Linick’s office wanted "to discuss and provide staff with copies of documents related to the State Department and Ukraine."

A Democratic Senate Intelligence Committee aide confirmed to The Hill that the State Department inspector general asked the panel to send staff to a meeting Wednesday but did not disclose the topic.


Another committee aide said the request involved "multiple committees" and would be "one meeting with the House and Senate." The aide did not describe the topic or the nature of the request.

A Senate Foreign Relations staffer said that committee staff will be attending the meeting.

ABC News noted that the inspector general would brief staffers on documents obtained by the department’s Office of the Legal Adviser.

The Office of the Inspector General of the Department of State, which operates independently, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.

The briefing comes as the Trump administration faces intensifying scrutiny regarding the president's interactions with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

A whistleblower complaint filed by a member of the U.S. intelligence community accused Trump of seeking help from Ukraine to boost efforts for his 2020 reelection campaign.

The complaint focuses largely on a July 25 phone call in which Trump pressured Zelensky to investigate 2020 presidential candidate Joe BidenJoe BidenBaltimore police chief calls for more 'boots on the ground' to handle crime wave Biden to deliver remarks at Sen. John Warner's funeral Garland dismisses broad review of politicization of DOJ under Trump MORE and his son Hunter Biden over unsubstantiated allegations of corruption.

It remains unclear what information Linick will provide to the committees, which will reportedly include the Foreign Relations, Intelligence, Appropriations and Oversight panels in the House and Senate.

His meeting on Capitol Hill will come a week into the House’s formal impeachment inquiry of Trump and amid a bitter standoff between Democrats and Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoWhite House denies pausing military aid package to Ukraine The Hill's Morning Report - ObamaCare here to stay The Hill's Morning Report - After high-stakes Biden-Putin summit, what now? MORE.

Last week, the House Foreign Affairs Committee subpoenaed Pompeo for documents related to the Trump administration’s dealings with Ukraine. The letter in which the subpoena was issued also notified Pompeo that the House had scheduled depositions for five current and former State Department officials between Wednesday and Oct. 10.

Pompeo on Tuesday rejected Democrats’ demands, arguing that their request raised significant “legal and procedural concerns.” He also claimed that lawmakers had “no legal basis” to assert that the failure to meet their deadline for documents and testimony would amount to obstruction of the impeachment inquiry. 

“Let me be clear: I will not tolerate such tactics, and I will use all means at my disposal to prevent and expose any attempts to intimidate the dedicated professionals whom I am proud to lead and serve alongside at the Department of State,” Pompeo wrote.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) issued a strong rebuke of Pompeo in response, writing in a joint statement that Pompeo’s comments raised the possibility of witness intimidation. 

Citing a report that Pompeo took part in the July 25 phone call between Trump and Zelensky, the chairmen said that the revelation would make him a “fact witness” in the impeachment inquiry and that his actions could amount to obstruction of Congress. 

Morgan Chalfant and Rebecca Kheel contributed.