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 PompeoEstablishment-backed Marshall defeats Kobach in Kansas GOP Senate primary Biden offers well wishes to Lebanon after deadly explosion Overnight Defense: Marines find human remains after training accident | Fourth service member killed by COVID-19 | Pompeo huddles with Taliban negotiator MORE Thursday seeking answers on the May removal of then-ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.

The senators, led by Ranking Member Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezVOA visa decision could hobble Venezuela coverage Bottom line Koch-backed group urges Senate to oppose 'bailouts' of states in new ads 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 TrumpMark Kelly clinches Democratic Senate nod in Arizona Trump camp considering White House South Lawn for convention speech: reports Longtime Rep. Lacy Clay defeated in Missouri Democratic primary MORE, his son Donald Trump Jr.Don John TrumpTwitter limits Donald Trump Jr.'s account after sharing coronavirus disinformation South Dakota governor flew with Trump on Air Force One after being exposed to coronavirus: report Gianforte halts in-person campaigning after wife, running mate attend event with Guilfoyle MORE and his personal attorney Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiNunes declines to answer if he received information from Ukraine lawmaker meant to damage Biden Democratic attorneys criticize House Judiciary Democrats' questioning of Barr Swalwell: Barr has taken Michael Cohen's job as Trump's fixer 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 SessionsThe Hill's Campaign Report: New polls show Biden leading by landslide margins The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Argentum - In Rose Garden, Trump launches anti-Biden screed Pete Sessions wins GOP runoff in comeback bid MORE (R-Texas), who has denied any wrongdoing.