Democratic senators press Pompeo for answers on dismissal of ambassador to Ukraine

Democratic senators press Pompeo for answers on dismissal of ambassador to Ukraine
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Ten Democratic senators on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee wrote to Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoForeign Relations Democrat calls on Iran to release other American prisoners Documentary groups challenge Trump administration's vetting of immigrants' social media Iran releases American graduate student in prisoner swap MORE Thursday seeking answers on the May removal of then-ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.

The senators, led by Ranking Member Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezForeign Relations Democrat calls on Iran to release other American prisoners GOP senator blocks Armenian genocide resolution The job no GOP senator wants: 'I'd rather have a root canal' MORE (D-N.J.), asked Pompeo not to “impede” Yovanovitch’s upcoming deposition to Congress and shield her from any possible retaliation.

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The letter accused Pompeo of remaining silent amid a “smear campaign” of Yovanovitch by figures including President TrumpDonald John TrumpPence: It's not a "foregone conclusion" that lawmakers impeach Trump FBI identifies Pensacola shooter as Saudi Royal Saudi Air Force second lieutenant Trump calls Warren 'Pocahontas,' knocks wealth tax MORE, his son Donald Trump Jr.Donald (Don) John TrumpWhite House calls Democratic witness's mentioning of president's youngest son 'classless' Lawmakers to watch during Wednesday's impeachment hearing Top Democrats knock Trump on World AIDS Day MORE and his personal attorney Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiTrump: Giuliani to deliver report on Ukraine trip to Congress, Barr Trump denies report that he still uses personal cell phone for calls Giuliani draws attention with latest trip to Ukraine MORE.

It further claims Pompeo has refused to publicly support State Department personnel amid Trump’s ongoing attacks on the unnamed whistleblower whose complaint about his July call with Ukraine’s president led the House to launch an impeachment inquiry.

“As the head of our country’s global diplomatic force, your refusal to stand up for career employees and support whistleblowers is disturbing,” the letter states. “It is incumbent on you not to further the President’s damaging and unfounded attacks, but to send a simple message to everyone who works at the Department of State—you have their backs.”

The letter also asked Pompeo about specific remarks Trump made in the July 25 call, including referring to Yovanovitch as “bad news,” and for an explanation of why she was removed early and whether Trump or Giuliani gave him specific instructions regarding Yovanovitch.

The letter came the same day as the announcement that two Florida businessmen and associates of Giuliani, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, have been indicted in connection with campaign finance violations.

Parnas and Fruman also allegedly lobbied an unnamed former congressman to get Yovanovitch fired. Details of the indictment align with contributions to former Rep. Pete SessionsPeter Anderson SessionsTexas GOP rep predicts heavy Democratic presence in state ahead of 2020 Bottom Line The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Better Medicare Alliance - GOP snags mic with impeachment protest MORE (R-Texas), who has denied any wrongdoing.