After being subpoenaed following the release of the whistleblower complaint, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday said that State Department employees had been contacted directly by lawmakers or their staff and told not to talk to the State Department's legal counsel, which he called 'bullying'.
Pompeo acknowledged on Wednesday that he was on the telephone call between Donald Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart that sparked impeachment proceedings against the Republican president.
Following a whistleblower complaint last week, Democrats are looking into Trump's request to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy during a July 25 phone call to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden.
Biden is a leading contender for the Democratic nomination to challenge Trump in the 2020 presidential election.
"I was on the phone call," Pompeo told reporters during a visit to Italy.
He said the call was in the context of U.S. policymaking in Ukraine, including "taking down the Russia threat," rooting out corruption in government and boosting the economy.
Trump made the request to Zelenskiy shortly after he had frozen nearly $400 million in U.S. aid to Ukraine.
Democrats accuse Trump of soliciting foreign interference in a U.S. election and of using taxpayer money as leverage for personal political gain.
The call and the whistleblower's complaint prompted House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi to launch a formal impeachment inquiry on Sept.
In an intensifying battle between Congress and the executive branch, lawmakers have subpoenaed Pompeo and Trump's personal lawyer Rudolph Giuliani, as well as documents.
They will begin depositions of current and former State Department officials this week.
The department's inspector general, Steve Linick, was due to brief congressional staff on Wednesday to address Ukraine-related documents that have been subpoenaed, according to two sources familiar with the situation.
Pompeo on Tuesday objected to House efforts to obtain depositions and accused Democrats of bullying and intimidation.
Asked about his concerns, Pompeo said State Department employees had been contacted directly by lawmakers or their staff and told not to talk to the State Department's legal counsel.
He said, however, that he would cooperate with Congress.
"We will of course do our constitutional duty to cooperate with this co-equal branch but we are going to do so in a way that is consistent with the fundamental values of the American system," he said.
The heads of three House committees leading the impeachment probe have, in turn, accused Pompeo of intimidating witnesses, and said doing so was illegal.
The Democratic chairmen of the three committees warned Pompeo on Tuesday that he would be considered "a fact witness in the House impeachment inquiry" if he was on Trump's call with Zelenskiy.
The United States may ban Chinese-video sharing app TikTok, said President Donald Trump, amidst rising tensions between Beijing and Washington on a range of issues. "We are looking at TikTok, we may be banning TikTok. We may be doing some other things, we have a couple of options. We are looking at a lot of alternatives with respect to TikTok," he said. Trump added that he would sign an executive order and take action as soon as Saturday. In July, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had said that the Trump administration was considering a ban on TikTok application. The ban on access to TikTok was being considered over privacy concerns, Pompeo had added. Video-sharing application TikTok is owned by Beijing-based startup ByteDance. Recently, India had banned 59 Chinese mobile apps including TikTok, WeChat and Helo. Most of the apps banned in the June 29 order were red-flagged by intelligence agencies. The apps were banned with a view of threat to the nation's sovereignty and security.
Credit: HT Digital Content Duration: 01:53Published
US President Donald Trump has said that his government is looking at banning Chinese video-sharing application Tiktok. When asked a question on the issue, the US President said they are looking into the issue and are thinking about making a decision. This comes after Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said that the US government was carrying out a national security review on TikTok and that his department would advise Trump what, if any, needs to be taken against it. Earlier in the month, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the Trump administration was considering a ban on access to the TikTok application over privacy concerns. Meanwhile, Beijing has accused the US of using government mechanisms to pressure Chinese companies. Tiktok has claimed that user data is safe and not shared with Chinese authorities. This comes after India earlier banned the video-sharing app and several others over privacy concerns. The US had lauded India's decision and said that the move will protect India's integrity and national security. Watch the full video for all the details.
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President Donald Trump said on Wednesday (July 22) it was "always possible" he would order the closure of more Chinese consulates in the United States in the wake of the State Department's order to close Beijing's consulate in Houston.
US Customs and Border Protection officers seized a 13-ton shipment of beauty products made out of human hair on Wednesday. CNN reports CBP officials at the Port of New York/Newark say the shipment originated in Xinjiang, China. That's a clue that human rights abuses and forced labor were at play when the hair was collected. The US State Department estimates that over one million Uyghurs have been imprisoned in a huge network of camps in Xinjiang.
White House health experts are warning of a slow rise in the percentage of people testing positive for coronavirus in U.S. cities such as Boston, Chicago, Detroit and Washington and urged local leaders to remain vigilant to avoid a surge. Lisa Bernhard produced this report.
[NFA] Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said on Thursday he had tested positive for COVID-19 as part of a safety protocol to greet U.S. President Donald Trump when he arrived in Cleveland to visit a Whirlpool washing machine factory. This report produced by Yahaira Jacquez.
On Wednesday, Joe Biden's campaign announced it planned $280 million in ad buys, with 20% going to digital. This is in line with our pre-pandemic predictions that digital political ad spend would skyrocket this cycle. Biden's campaign plans to purchase $280 million in ads across 15 states this fall. Business Insider reports that this is, by far, the largest ad spend by any political candidate.
Indians in the United States celebrated the foundation laying ceremony of Ayodhya's Ram Temple. Indians gathered outside Capitol Hill in Washington for the celebration. People wore saffron clothes, held saffron flags to celebrate the Bhoomi Pujan. Members of Indian community also chanted 'Jai Shri Ram'. Prime Minister Narendra Modi performed 'bhumi pujan' & laid foundation stone of the new Ram temple. PM Modi also offered prayers at Hanumangarhi and the idols of 'Ram lalla' or child deity. All participants, including PM and priests, wore face masks and observed social distancing norms. Attendance at the event was limited due to outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic. RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, UP CM Yogi Adityanath also attended the grand ceremony. Construction of Ram Temple is beginning 9 months after SC verdict. Ram Janmabhoomi Teertha Kshetra Trust is overseeing temple construction.
Credit: HT Digital Content Duration: 03:05Published
In a hearing on Capitol Hill Tuesday, Attorney General William Barr denied accusations by House Democrats that he is doing President Trump's bidding by intervening in high-profile cases and sending federal agents into U.S. cities. Lisa Bernhard reports.
A motorcade carrying the casket of Rep. John Lewis wound through Washington, D.C., Monday before arriving at the Capitol rotunda, where lawmakers gave the civil rights pioneer an emotional sendoff and where his body will lie in state through Tuesday. Lisa Bernhard produced this report.
Years of fighting between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian separatists may finally be coming to an end, as a ceasefire backed by presidents Vladimir Putin and Volodymyr Zelenskiy enters into effect. Francis Maguire reports.
During her weekly press briefing, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi criticized Republicans for not understanding the "gravity of the situation" when it came COVID-19 and the urgent need to pass another relief bill for Americans.
[NFA] U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said talks with the White House on a new coronavirus aid bill were not yet on a path toward reaching a deal on Friday, hours before the expiration of a federal unemployment benefit that has been an essential lifeline for millions of Americans. This report produced by Jillian Kitchener.
Former adviser to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who abruptly resigned last week, on Wednesday spoke to an impeachment inquiry into allegations President Donald Trump pursued political interests..