Secretary of State Pompeo admits he was on Trump’s scandalous call

The Rachel Maddow Show, 10/1/19, 9:05 PM ET

Pompeo confronted on effort to discourage testimony on Ukraine

Rachel Maddow reports on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s effort to discourage current and former State Department officials from testifying about the Trump Ukraine scandal to the Trump impeachment inquiry, and the stern pushback he has received from the
After the public learned about Donald Trump pressing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for political assistance, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sat down with ABC News’ Martha Raddatz on Sept. 22 to discuss the burgeoning scandal. The Kansas Republican’s strategy was based on a simple idea: feigning ignorance.

Indeed, when Raddatz asked the secretary about the call, Pompeo acted as if he didn’t know relevant details. “You just gave me information about [an intelligence community] report, none of which we’ve seen,” he said.

On Monday night, there were media reports that the secretary of State was actually on the phone call. This morning, Pompeo admitted that those reports were true.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed Wednesday that he was on the controversial July phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy which is now the subject of an impeachment inquiry launched by the House last week.

“I was on the phone call,” he told the reporters during a news conference alongside Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio.

A Wall Street Journal report added this morning, “Mr. Pompeo has been asked several times previously about the call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky but until Wednesday hadn’t said that he listened in on the conversation.”

It must’ve slipped his mind.

What’s more, as Rachel noted on the show on Monday night, this leaves Pompeo in a rather unique position. He knew his own State Department had signed off on U.S. military assistance to Ukraine; he knew that Trump was effectively making that aid dependent on a partisan electoral scheme; and he said nothing.

This further positions Pompeo near the center of the intensifying scandal that’s likely to lead to the sitting president’s impeachment. Indeed, it appears the nation’s chief diplomat has quite a bit of explaining to do.

Consider some of the recent revelations:

* As of yesterday, Pompeo appears to be obstructing the congressional impeachment inquiry.

* Pompeo removed U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch under controversial circumstances.

* Pompeo’s special envoy for Ukraine, Kurt Volker, resigned unexpectedly late Friday afternoon.

* There’s a growing list of questions about what Pompeo’s State Department did to assist Rudy Giuliani in his Ukraine-related schemes.

* Pompeo’s State Department is also investigating officials who sent emails to Hillary Clinton.

And now we know that Pompeo participated in one of the most scandalous presidential phone calls in history but said nothing. As Rachel put it on the show last night, the secretary of State is “sizzling under a very hot and very unflattering spotlight.”

Postscript; In case all of this weren’t quite enough let’s also not forget that the State Department’s Inspector General has scheduled “a surprising briefing on Capitol Hill Wednesday with staffers from a group of House and Senate committees on documents related to the State Department and Ukraine.” I have no idea what the briefing is about, but it seems pretty important.