Pompeo: State Department's Ukraine actions 'entirely appropriate'

Pompeo: State Department's Ukraine actions 'entirely appropriate'
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Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoPompeo explodes at NPR reporter, asks if she could find Ukraine on a map Huawei endangers Western values The Hill's 12:30 Report: Democrats turn to obstruction charge MORE defended Thursday the State Department’s actions related to Ukraine as “entirely appropriate” amid an impeachment inquiry into President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says his advice to impeachment defense team is 'just be honest' Trump expands tariffs on steel and aluminum imports CNN's Axelrod says impeachment didn't come up until 80 minutes into focus group MORE's dealings with Ukraine.

“To the best of my knowledge from what I’ve seen so far, each of the actions that were undertaken by State Department officials was entirely appropriate and consistent with the objective that we’ve had,” Pompeo told reporters in New York.

Pompeo was also asked whether the claim from Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, that the State Department had enlisted him to talk to Ukrainian officials was true. Pompeo did not directly address Giuliani’s claim in his answer.

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A whistleblower complaint released Thursday by the House Intelligence Committee alleges Trump sought to enlist Ukraine's help in the 2020 election by mounting a corruption investigation against former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenSchiff closes Democrats' impeachment arguments with emotional appeal to remove Trump Conservative reporter on Sanders: He's not a 'yes man' Democrats feel political momentum swinging to them on impeachment MORE.

That followed the White House on Wednesday releasing a partial transcript of a call between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Trump that showed Trump encouraged Zelensky to investigate allegations against Biden, who is leading Trump is several polls on the 2020 election.

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiCNN's Axelrod says impeachment didn't come up until 80 minutes into focus group On The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Social Security emerges as flash point in Biden-Sanders fight | Dems urge Supreme Court to save consumer agency | Trump to sign USMCA next week Veronica Escobar to give Spanish-language response to Trump State of the Union address MORE (D-Calif.) announced the launching of a formal impeachment inquiry on Tuesday, a position she had previously resisted.

The complaint released Thursday names several State Department officials. It says department counsel T. Ulrich Brechbuhl listened into the Trump-Zelensky call and that multiple State officials were briefed on the contents of the call.

The complaint also says Kurt Volker, the department’s special representative for Ukraine, and Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, met with Zelensky a day after the call to provide advice on how to “navigate” Trump’s request.

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Pompeo said Thursday that he only read the “first couple of paragraphs” of the complaint.

But he appeared to dismiss its contents, saying that the whistleblower has “secondhand knowledge.”

Pompeo also stressed the importance of ending corruption in Ukraine, saying the United States has hoped to build a stronger relationship with Ukraine after Zelensky’s election.

“We have tried to use this opportunity to create a better relationship between the United States and Ukraine to build on the opportunities to tighten our relationship to help end corruption in Ukraine,” Pompeo said. “This is what President Zelensky ran on. We’re hopeful that we can help him execute and achieve that. It’d be a good thing for the Ukraine, it’d be a good thing for Europe, it would push back against Russia in important ways, as well, if we could achieve that objective."

“The State Department has been working tirelessly to try to achieve that objective,” he continued. “A long way to go, a lot of work yet to do, but everything I’ve seen that our team has tried to do has been aimed squarely at that foreign policy goal.”