State Dept. to provide legal aid to employees testifying in impeachment inquiry

State Dept. to provide legal aid to employees testifying in impeachment inquiry
© Anna Moneymaker

The State Department said Thursday that it will provide legal aid assistance to agency officials called to testify in the House's impeachment probe.

State Department officials confirmed to The Hill that the agency would do so partly because House Democrats were refusing to allow Trump administration attorneys to attend testimonies in the House, thereby forcing those who cooperate with House investigators to retain private counsel.

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Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoIran lays foundation for second nuclear plant: report Pompeo knocks Iran's treatment of UN nuclear inspector Reagan statue unveiled near site where he called for Gorbachev to 'tear down' Berlin Wall MORE had indicated that the State Department would take such steps earlier Thursday at a press availability in Germany, where he was attending a commemorative event of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

"[A]s for assisting our senior officials who will have legal burdens connected to all of this noise, I think we’ll have an announcement shortly that’ll make good sense and be consistent with what we’ve done previously," he said.

The State Department's decision to provide legal aid comes as the White House has refused all cooperation with the probe, citing a process that Republicans consider to be partisan and unfair to the administration.

House Democrats are investigating whether the administration held up military aid to Ukraine on the condition that it launch of an investigation into former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenImpeachment week: Trump probe hits crucial point Trump DACA fight hits Supreme Court Juan Williams: Honesty, homophobia and Mayor Pete MORE and his son Hunter Biden.

Republicans and the White House have argued that aid was not withheld on the condition of an investigation being launched, while accusing Democrats of attempting to overturn the results of the 2016 election.

Morgan Chalfant contributed to this report.