New documents released by the State Department following a lawsuit from American Oversight “further implicate” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in the Ukraine scandal at the heart of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, reports The New York Times.
The documents suggest Pompeo collaborated with Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, to seek dirt on the president’s political opponents, including former Vice President Joe Biden.
Pompeo worked with Giuliani as Trump was withholding military aid from Ukraine, according to the documents, and the investigations were meant to damage Biden and other Democrats, helping the president’s re-election campaign.
The two men also collaborated to oust former United States Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. Only one month after speaking with Giuliani, the documents indicate, Pompeo ordered Yovanovitch’s removal.
In an apparent effort to paint Yovanovitch as hostile to Trump, the State Department reportedly sent the United States Congress a “deliberately misleading reply” about her departure.
Giuliani collaborated with Trump’s media allies to manufacture a narrative about the ambassador being opposed to the president, the documents suggest.
According to the NYT, the secretary of state contacted Fox News host Sean Hannity, inquiring about Yovanovitch, and the president’s lawyer encouraged conservative media outlets to publish unsubstantiated claims about the ambassador’s disloyalty to the commander-in-chief.
According to Austin Evers, the executive director of American Oversight, the documents reveal “a clear paper trail from Rudy Giuliani to the Oval Office to Secretary Pompeo to facilitate Giuliani’s smear campaign against a U.S. ambassador.”
The documents also include a letter from six former United States ambassadors to Ukraine. In the letter addressed to top State Department officials, the six former ambassadors said they were “deeply concerned” about media allegations that Yovanovitch is disloyal to the commander-in-chief.
Pompeo never issued a statement of support for Yovanovitch, despite her telling top State Department official David Hale that she would rather discontinue her service than have the department stand idly by while the media spreads unsubstantiated accusations against her, according to the documents.
As the NYT notes, the documents corroborate testimonies from witnesses in the impeachment probe, suggesting that top Trump administration officials coordinated to help the president’s 2020 campaign by damaging his political opponents with investigations.
According to the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Eliot Engel, the documents confirm that Pompeo and other officials were working on ousting Yovanovitch in order to help the president in his effort to dig up dirt on Democrats.
“Now that we know more facts it makes sense: Secretary Pompeo was apparently helping the president with his scheme to get political help from the Ukrainians, and Ambassador Yovanovitch was standing in the way,” he said.
House Democrats are reportedly looking to impeach Trump over bribery, obstruction of the United States Congress, abuse of power, and obstruction of justice.