WASHINGTON – Secretary of State Mike Pompeo failed to comply with a Friday deadline to turn over Ukraine-related documents to House Democrats leading an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.
Pompeo said the State Department sent a letter to Congress Friday night, but not the requested documents, and he accused House Democrats of harassing State Department employees in their quest for information.
"Sadly there have been congressional inquiries that have harassed and abused State Department employees," Pompeo told reporters in Greece during a news conference with that country's foreign minister.
"We'll obviously do all the things that we are required to do by law," he said, without specifying how long it might take to comply.
The State Department's delay in producing reams of documents related to the agency's dealings with Rudy Giuliani, Trump's personal attorney, and Ukrainian leaders comes amid an increasingly high-stakes standoff between the executive branch and Congress. Democrats are investigating allegations that Trump used the power of his office to press a foreign government for damaging information about a top political rival.
Pompeo's comments alleging "harassment" of State Department employees has sparked fury among some former Obama administration officials, who recalled Pompeo's demands when he was a Kansas congressman. Pompeo helped lead the House probe into the State Department’s handling of a terrorist attack on the U.S. compound in eastern Libya where four Americans died, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
In that congressional inquiry, Pompeo accused the Obama administration of delay and obstruction as GOP leaders asked the State Department for records related to the attack. Democrats "have played hide the ball and have denied us records that the American people deserve and that our committee needs to complete our investigation," he charged in an October 2015 interview.