Pompeo to investigate charges of surveillance against Yovanovitch

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoHaley has 'positive' meeting with Trump No time for the timid: The dual threats of progressives and Trump Psaki: Sexism contributes to some criticism of Harris MORE on Friday said he will investigate allegations that former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie YovanovitchMarie YovanovitchGiuliani hires attorneys who defended Harvey Weinstein The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Emergent BioSolutions - Facebook upholds Trump ban; GOP leaders back Stefanik to replace Cheney Former Ukrainian prosecutor says he was fired for not investigating Hunter Biden: report MORE was under surveillance by private American citizens intent on her removal from Kyiv and possibly threatening harm.

The secretary's remarks, made in an interview with the Tony Katz Today radio program, mark his first public comments nearly two days since bombshell revelations emerged that an associate of Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiRudy Giuliani becomes grandfather after son welcomes child Press: For Trump endorsement: The more sordid, the better Former NYC police commissioner to testify before Jan. 6 committee, demands apology MORE was discussing tracking the ambassador’s movements as part of a larger campaign to secure her removal.

“We will do everything we need to do to evaluate whether there was something that took place there,” Pompeo said in the interview.

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“I suspect that much of what’s been reported will ultimately prove wrong, but our obligation, my obligation as secretary of State, is to make sure that we evaluate, investigate. Any time there is someone who posits that there may have been a risk to one of our officers, we’ll obviously do that.”

Pompeo has come under harsh criticism from congressional Democrats and State Department officials for failing to speak out in defense of Yovanovitch, whose removal from her post in Kyiv in May is a central piece of the impeachment allegations against President TrumpDonald TrumpGOP grapples with chaotic Senate primary in Pennsylvania ​​Trump social media startup receives commitment of billion from unidentified 'diverse group' of investors Iran thinks it has the upper hand in Vienna — here's why it doesn't MORE
 
House investigators this week released new documents illustrating the larger effort to remove Yovanovitch from her post, including text message conversations between Lev Parnas, an associate of Giuliani, and Robert Hyde, a former Marine, Trump campaign donor and Connecticut congressional candidate.

Parnas told MSNBC’s Rachel MaddowRachel Anne MaddowPaul, Cruz fire back after Fauci says criticism of him is 'dangerous' An unquestioning press promotes Rep. Adam Schiff's book based on Russia fiction Biden's safe-space CNN town hall attracts small audience, as poll numbers plummet MORE that the only motivation to remove Yovanovitch was to make it easier to pressure the Ukrainian president, and that he worked at the direction of Giuliani who in turn kept the president updated on their efforts. The effort was focused on getting Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenMarcus Garvey's descendants call for Biden to pardon civil rights leader posthumously GOP grapples with chaotic Senate primary in Pennsylvania ​​Trump social media startup receives commitment of billion from unidentified 'diverse group' of investors MORE and his son Hunter Biden.

The president “knew exactly what was going on,” Parnas said in the interview.

In text messages that Hyde sent to Parnas, the former Marine alludes to having inside connections close to the ambassador and suggests he has her under physical surveillance.

Both Parnas and Hyde have since downplayed the exchanges, with Parnas saying he doesn’t believe Hyde had the capacity to track the ambassador and Hyde rejecting that he had eyes on Yovanovitch. 
 
The president was impeached last month on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, for blocking witnesses and documents related to House Democrats' investigation. A Senate trial to decide whether the president should be removed from office will take place next week.