Washington (CNN)Democratic chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Eliot Engel, announced Friday that his panel is moving to hold Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in contempt of Congress for repeatedly refusing to comply with subpoenas of records related to “his transparently political misuse of Department resources.”
Engel, a New York Democrat and 16-year incumbent, was recently defeated by primary challenger Jamaal Bowman but has continued to spar with Pompeo publicly in the weeks since that election loss. “The Secretary’s ongoing defiance of two duly authorized subpoenas on matters directly linked to American foreign policy toward Ukraine has left the Committee no further option but to begin drafting a resolution finding Secretary Pompeo in contempt of Congress,” Engel said in a statement.
“From Mr. Pompeo’s refusal to cooperate with the impeachment inquiry to his willingness to bolster a Senate Republican-led smear against the President’s political rivals to his speech to the RNC which defied his own guidance and possibly the law, he has demonstrated alarming disregard for the laws and rules governing his own conduct and for the tools the constitution provides to prevent government corruption,” he added. “He seems to think the office he holds, the Department he runs, the personnel he oversees, and the taxpayer dollars that pay for all of it are there for his personal and political benefit,” Engel said.Read MoreA State Department spokesperson told CNN that the documents Engel is asking for have already been given to Senate Democrats and called his statement Friday “political theatrics.””The House Foreign Affairs Committee is seeking documents which the State Department has already produced to Senate Democrats. We have previously offered to provide copies of these documents to Chairman Engel, with the only condition being that he send a letter explaining what foreign policy issue he is investigating that requires these documents. Once this letter is received, the Department will produce the documents. This press release is political theatrics and is an unfortunate waste of taxpayer resources,” the spokesperson said.Last month, Engel issued a subpoena to Pompeo demanding the top US diplomat provide “all records purportedly dealing with the Bidens and Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings the department has produced to Republican-led Senate committees” as well as “internal State Department correspondence about responding to Congress.”At the time, a State Department spokesperson claimed the department had a history of accommodating Engel’s “legitimate investigative requests” and accused him of “(ceding) the Committee and its oversight duties to his misguided staff.”The subpoena required documents be turned over by August 7 but that deadline came and went. In a letter Thursday, the State Department told Engel it “categorically rejects your baseless assertion that the Department may have acted inappropriately or violated any law by producing documents to two Senate Committees, in your words, in ‘what appears to be partisan misuse of resources.'”
Engel also issued a subpoena in September 2019 seeking records as part of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump but the State Department never complied.”That inquiry found that, with the assistance of his lawyer Rudy Giuliani, the President abused the power of his office to pressure the Government of Ukraine for his own political gain, leading to the President’s impeachment by the House of Representatives,” Engel noted in his statement Friday.