Grassley Calls for Protecting Whistle-Blower: Impeachment Update

(Bloomberg) -- House Democrats accelerated their impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump’s interactions with Ukraine’s president, issuing a subpoena that seeks documents from his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

Secretary of State Michael Pompeo has until the end of the week to turn over documents subpoenaed by three House committees. The Wall Street Journal reported that Pompeo listened to Trump’s phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Here are the latest developments:

Grassley Calls for Protecting Whistle-Blower (11:08 a.m.)

Republican Senator Chuck Grassley said the whistle-blower who raised an alert about Trump’s call with Ukraine’s president followed the law and deserves to be “heard out and protected.”

The statement from the senior Republican lawmaker, long a proponent of whistle-blower protections, represents a rebuke of Trump’s call for the anonymous intelligence official to be unmasked and questions from other Republican lawmakers about the complaint’s credibility because it wasn’t entirely based on first-hand knowledge.

“No one should be making judgments or pronouncements without hearing from the whistle-blower first and carefully following up on the facts,” Grassley said. “When it comes to whether someone qualifies as a whistle-blower, the distinctions being drawn between first- and second-hand knowledge aren’t legal ones.”

Pompeo Rejects Panel’s Deposition Request (10:44 a.m.)

Pompeo rejected a House committee’s plan to take testimony starting Wednesday from several State Department officials. He said the proposed dates were “not feasible,” in a letter to Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel.

Pompeo said in the letter he’s “concerned” about portions of the request for information from the State Department and its employees. The committee appears to trying to “intimidate, bully, & treat improperly the distinguished professionals of the Department of State,” he wrote.

“Let me be clear: I will not tolerate such tactics, and I will use all means at my disposal to prevent and expose any attempts to intimidate the dedicated professionals whom I am proud to lead and serve alongside at the Department of State,” Pompeo wrote.

Pompeo, who is currently traveling in Italy, will face considerable congressional scrutiny over Ukraine, now that it’s known he heard the Trump-Zelenskiy exchange on July 25. Pompeo brushed off the whistle-blower’s complaint at a news briefing on Friday in New York, saying he hadn’t read the document.

Key Events

  • Trump’s private lawyer Rudy Giuliani was subpoenaed for documents Monday by Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee, as the impeachment inquiry accelerates.
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Attorney General William Barr were drawn deeper into the inquiry. The Wall Street Journal said Pompeo listened to a July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukraine’s president. The Justice Department said Barr asked Trump to contact “other countries” for help with a probe into the origins of the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
  • The intelligence community’s inspector general said the law doesn’t require first-hand knowledge for whistle-blower complaints. Some Republicans have asked about recent changes used to forms used for whistle-blower complaints and have tried to dismiss the one about Trump as “hearsay.”

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