Pompeo accuses House Democrats of trying to 'intimidate, bully' State Department officials

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Pompeo accuses House Democrats of trying to 'intimidate, bully' State Department officials originally appeared on abcnews.go.com

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday accused the Democratic chairs of three House committees investigating the State Department's role in Rudy Giuliani's Ukraine efforts of trying to "intimidate, bully, and treat improperly" five State Department officials called for depositions.

In the fierce letter addressed to the House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman, Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., Pompeo blasted the depositions in the impeachment probe as rushed and potentially in violation of executive privilege, accused committee staff of not following protocol, and appeared to say the officials will not show up.

""I will not tolerate such tactics, and I will use all means at my disposal to prevent and expose any attempts to intimidate the dedicated professionals whom I am proud to lead and serve alongside at the Department of State," Pompeo wrote.

PHOTO: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his wife Susan Pompeo walk out of the plane upon arriving at Ciampino military airport, in Rome, Oct. 1, 2019. (Andrew Medichini/AP)

PHOTO: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his wife Susan Pompeo walk out of the plane upon arriving at Ciampino military airport, in Rome, Oct. 1, 2019. (Andrew Medichini/AP)

PHOTO: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his wife Susan Pompeo walk out of the plane upon arriving at Ciampino military airport, in , Oct. 1, 2019. (Andrew Medichini/AP)

Five State Department officials have been scheduled for depositions, according to the letter from House Democratic chairs Friday: Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Europe George Kent, State Department Counselor Ulrich Brechbuhl, US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, and Kurt Volker, the Special Envoy for Ukraine who submitted his resignation Friday.

But Pompeo made it seem that the four still employed by State will not appear: "The committee has not issued any subpoenas for depositions, and we are not aware of any other authority by which the committee to could compel appearance at a deposition."

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He says there has been no official notice of a deposition and the department has not been given enough time to prepare the officials -- some of whom have sought personal attorneys, he says, while others need more time to do so.

While the House Democratic chairmen have warned that not appearing at these depositions would be "evidence of obstruction," Pompeo blasts that, too: "There is no legal basis for such a threat... I urge you to exercise restraint in making such unfounded statements in the future."

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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