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Democrats accuse US State Department of obstructing impeachment proceedings

Under Secretary of State, John Sullivan sent a letter

Photo: REUTERS / Jonathan Ernst

Democrats in the US House of Representatives on Wednesday sent Under Secretary of State John Sullivan a letter accusing the State Department of obstructing the impeachment process of US President Donald Trump because of his refusal to provide Congress with documents containing information important to continue the investigation. The letter was composed by the chairpersons of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Eliot Engel (New York Democrat), Adam Schiff Special Committee on Intelligence (California Democrat), and the Elijah Cummings Oversight and Government Reform Committee (Maryland Democrat).

“The committees (House of Representatives) consider the refusal to comply with the requirements of an authorized request as creating obstacles to the legitimate work of Congress and the impeachment procedure,” the letter quoted Reuters.

The documents requested by Congress, according to representatives of the US Democratic Party, contain evidence that Trump exceeded the powers of the president for “personal political gain.”

Engel, Schiff, and Cummings previously sent a joint letter to US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, in which they demanded that the head of the department provide the legislators with documents regarding Trump's contacts with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky. Former US Ambassador to Kyiv Marie Jovanovic, former US Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Walker, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent and others were also called to hearings to testify to Congress.

On October 1, Pompeo in a letter to Engel stated that the Democrats are trying to “force” the representatives of the foreign ministry to appear at the hearing, although the legislators did not write out any subpoenas for this. The US Secretary of State emphasized that the “five officials” in question cannot participate in any interrogation or hearing without consulting the executive branch, which would ensure that as a result of this confidential information or data regarding diplomatic correspondence. In this regard, Pompeo demands that the legal advisor of the Department of State be present at the hearing along with the people called to Congress.

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