Pompeo Heads To Ukraine As Impeachment Stalls

CIA Director Mike Pompeo, picked to be the next secretary of state, listens during his introductions before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a confirmation hearing on his nomination to be Secretary of State, Thursday, April 12, 2018 on Capitol Hill in Washington. Pompeo's remarks will be the first chance for lawmakers and the public to hear directly from the former Kansas congressman about his approach to diplomacy and the role of the State Department, should he be confirmed to lead it. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) Chairman Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., Ranking Member Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., The Senate Foreign Relations Committee holds Pompeo's confirmation hearing Thursday.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is set to travel to Ukraine Friday, Jan. 3, even as impeachment of his boss, President Donald Trump, has stalled.

While Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has made no move to send articles of impeachment related to Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky over to the Senate for trial, Pompeo has made the decision to visit with Zelensky personally on a trip through Eastern Europe and South Central Asia.

Secretary Pompeo will travel to Kyiv on January 3, where he will meet with President Zelenskyy, Foreign Minister Prystaiko, and Defense Minister Zahorodnyuk to reaffirm U.S. support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.  The Secretary will also attend a wreath laying ceremony at St. Michael’s to honor those who have fallen in the Donbass, and meet with religious, civil society and business community leaders to discuss human rights issues, the investment climate, and the government’s reform agenda.

On January 4, in Minsk, the Secretary will meet with President Lukashenka and Foreign Minister Makei to underscore the U.S. commitment to a sovereign, independent, stable, and prosperous Belarus, and affirm our desire to normalize relations to move our bilateral relationship forward.

Interestingly, acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor, who was instrumental as a witness against Donald Trump in the impeachment inquiry hearings, has been asked to step down from his post prior to Pompeo’s arrival.

The timing means that Pompeo will not have to meet, be seen or photographed with Taylor, who drew the President’s ire after his damning House testimony that Trump demanded his appointees set up a quid pro quo with Ukraine, explicitly offering much-needed US military aid and an Oval Office meeting in exchange for personal political favors.
Pompeo, a stalwart Trump ally who many expect to announce a run for a US Senate seat in Kansas in the near future, has insulated himself from Taylor for weeks, the source familiar said.
Taylor, who was reportedly convinced to take the job as acting ambassador by the Secretary of State himself, was later criticized by Trump for being a “Never Trumper.”
There is no word yet on who will replace the outgoing ambassador.