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House panel halts contempt proceedings against Pompeo after documents turned over

House panel halts contempt proceedings against Pompeo after documents turned over
© Greg Nash

The House Foreign Affairs Committee is halting contempt proceedings against Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoPompeo warns any arms sales to Iran will result in sanctions as embargo expires Trump turns his ire toward Cabinet members Azerbaijan accuses Armenia of missile strike that killed at least 13 MORE after the State Department gave the panel documents it had sought.

Rep. Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelIs Trump a better choice for Jewish voters than Biden? Overnight Defense: Trump says he's leaving Walter Reed, 'feeling really good' after COVID-19 treatment | White House coronavirus outbreak grows | Dems expand probe into Pompeo speeches House Democrats push forward on probe of Pompeo's political speeches MORE (D-N.Y.), the chairman of the panel, said the State Department handed over documents that had been given to Senate Republicans in their investigation into Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden: Trump 'continues to lie to us' about coronavirus Rally crowd chants 'lock him up' as Trump calls Biden family 'a criminal enterprise' Undecided voters in Arizona wary of Trump, crave stability MORE as well as those it gave to the Senate after President TrumpDonald John TrumpPolice say man dangling off Trump Tower Chicago demanding to speak with Trump Fauci says he was 'absolutely not' surprised Trump got coronavirus after Rose Garden event Biden: Trump 'continues to lie to us' about coronavirus MORE’s impeachment. 

Engel had subpoenaed the documents and threatened to hold Pompeo in contempt if he did not give them to House Democrats.

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“It shouldn’t have taken a subpoena, let alone the threat of contempt, for Secretary Pompeo to comply with the Committee’s oversight request," Engel said in a statement Friday. "Nevertheless, I’m gratified that we’ve received these materials and can review them before Senate Republicans issue their report."

The controversy surrounded two batches of documents the House committee had asked the State Department to provide. The first is regarding documents involving the House impeachment investigation into Trump’s withholding of military assistance to Ukraine. Engel was also asking for documents the State Department has provided to two Republican-controlled Senate committees that are probing Biden’s work in Ukraine during his time as vice president.

The pressure campaign from Engel came as his committee is investigating Pompeo over whether he has misused government resources for political reasons.

The State Department had initially rebuffed Democrats’ request for documents it sent to the two Senate committees, saying it was not obliged to provide the information on Biden because the foreign affairs panel is investigating Pompeo, not allegations against the former vice president.

Engel repeated past condemnations of the Senate GOP probes, accusing Pompeo of aiding Republicans’ efforts to hurt Biden heading into the presidential election.

“This ‘investigation’ is obviously designed to boost the president’s campaign and tear down his opponent while our own Intelligence Community warns it is likely to amplify Russian disinformation," Engel said. "We’re going to make sure the American people see the whole picture, not just cherrypicked information aimed at breathing new life into debunked conspiracy theories."