Secretary of State Mike Pompeo finally promised an investigation into alleged surveillance of former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch Friday, saying that it’s his “obligation” to “investigate” and “evaluate,” though he doubts that she was truly being tracked.
“We will do everything we need to do to evaluate whether there was something that took place there,” he told conservative radio host Tony Katz.
“I suspect that much of what’s been reported will ultimately prove wrong, but our obligation, my obligation as secretary of state, is to make sure that we evaluate, investigate,” he added. “Any time there is someone who posits that there may have been a risk to one of our officers, we’ll obviously do that.”
Pompeo vows to “evaluate” whether there was surveillance of former Ambassador Yovanovitch pic.twitter.com/RrDHxXYBMV
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) January 17, 2020
The interview marks only the second time Pompeo has spoken about the alleged tracking of Yovanovitch and the first time he has registered any objection to it.
Earlier on Friday, Pompeo spoke to another rightwing radio personality, Hugh Hewitt, saying only that he’d “never heard of” the alleged surveillance.
Pompeo also asserted in both interviews that he’d never met Lev Parnas, the associate of Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani whose messages, provided to the House Intel Committee, revealed the alleged surveillance in the first place.
Robert Hyde, a Connecticut landscaper and congressional candidate, told Parnas in the exchanges about Yovanovitch’s movements. Both Hyde and Parnas have now dismissed the conversations as unserious. Parnas insinuated that Hyde is a heavy drinker; Hyde called Parnas a “scumbag con artist.”
Pompeo’s silence has prompted anger from some foreign policy experts and questions about how much he knew, and when.
According to the New York Times, Pompeo had two calls with Giuliani in late March, during which Giuliani shared with his research he’d been doing in Ukraine. At the time, Pompeo was feeling the pressure from Giuliani and the White House to oust Yovanovitch, to clear the position for someone more amendable to assisting with the Ukraine pressure campaign. She was unceremoniously recalled to Washington a month later.