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Home / World / Michael McKinley, ex-Advisor to Pompeo, exposes the politicization of the State Dept.

Michael McKinley, ex-Advisor to Pompeo, exposes the politicization of the State Dept.



"The unwillingness of the Foreign Ministry leadership to defend Yovanovitch or to prevent an obvious party-political intervention in our relationship with Ukraine for political advantage of the President was too much for him," said the person who spoke about the condition of anonymity to be open.

McKinley's last day was Friday, even though he had informed Pompeo more than a week ago that he was resigning. The split was bitter, as evidenced by the absence of a statement from Pompeo thanking McKinley's 37-year ministry.

The person familiar with McKinley's testimony said the veteran diplomat would not directly criticize Pompeo, although he would discuss his concerns about the politicization of the agency in the Trump administration.

McKinley arrived on Capitol Hill and understood exactly how Pompeo exercised power in the highest ranks of the State Department, having been on his many overseas trips near the highest diplomat. McKinley flew into Pompeo's plane, consulting him on a variety of issues and using his connections throughout the Foreign Service to help Pompeo measure the temperature of the building.

Pompeo is proud to bring back the "swagger" of the State Department following an accident, by his predecessor Rex Tillerson, but by lately the buzzword has sparked laughter when the secretary asks questions about his loyalty to professional diplomats.

His testimony comes when the house's impeachment investigation dives deeper into the actions of Trump's top diplomats. McKinley will issue an opening statement on Wednesday, underscoring a August State Department Inspector General's report concluding that the Trump government-appointed politicians have harassed and accused the staff of political loyalty to the president the person.

The report condemns Kevin Moley, deputy secretary of the Bureau of International Organization Affairs, and his former senior adviser Mari Stull. She is a former lobby and food industry advisor who left the department earlier this year after reports in foreign affairs and other outlets revealed that she had compiled a list of employees whom she considered insufficiently loyal to Trump held. Moley is still in his position, and officials said Pompeo does not have the authority to dismiss political candidates, which diplomats disagree with.

The State Department accepted the report's recommendation in August, saying it would submit a "corrective action plan" within 60 days, but that deadline has passed. Officials have also said that there is a second general inspector report criticizing the dismissal of State Department officials under Pompeo's supreme hand in Iran, Brian Hook, but this report has not yet been published.

McKinley, a professional diplomat and Latin American specialist, has served in several high-level diplomatic offices, including ambassadors in Afghanistan, Colombia and Peru. He was an ambassador to Brazil last year when Pompeo hired him as a political adviser and as a link between his office and the career service.

The testimony of McKinley, who occupied the seventh-floor office next to Pompeo, could do more to clarify persistent questions about the secretary's role in trying to pressure Ukraine against former Vice President Joe Biden for the sudden removal of Yovanovitch in the spring. Prior to her death, the President's personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, campaigned against Yovanovitch, accusing her of protecting Biden and his son from a Ukrainian investigation and maintaining undue loyalty to the liberal billionaire George Soros.

Yovanovitch denied these allegations last week and said she was "disbelieving" that her superiors had decided to remove her due to "unfounded and false claims by people with clearly questionable motives" were financially fueled by her anti-corruption efforts in Ukraine threatened.

Current and former US State Department officials said Pompeo had done little to prevent her being released.

said a former State Department official who spoke on internal processes on condition of anonymity.

Pompeo has defended his actions, s In an interview with the Tennesseaner he said Friday: "I protect every single member of the Foreign Ministry. This is one of the reasons why we have asked the House of Representatives to end the abusive charges if they do not allow US State Department lawyers to sit with our staff. "

But Pompeo's proposal that he do diplomats a favor by resisting congressional requests to interview them has in some cases not been celebrated or even welcomed. Instead, several current and former US officials have openly resisted the White House's instructions to avoid testifying before investigators. Instead, they have decided to defend their actions and expose the role of other Trump officials while the House issues subpoenas for their participation. On Thursday, US Ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, is scheduled to appear on Capitol Hill as a key figure in an effort to urge the Ukraine to launch the investigation.

Pompeo's status as the most trusted advisor in Trump's Cabinet has Many in the building wondered why he could not spend this capital for the defense of Yovanovitch or even thank a professional diplomat on his way to the door.

Although he is the most popular in the national security environment, "the person familiar with McKinley's statement emphasized that this was a personal observation, not McKinley's. "The secretary felt that he could not praise Mike or publicly thank him. Nor could he campaign for Yovanovitch, who was obviously the subject of a diplomatic attack. "

Karen DeYoung contributed to this report.


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