Pompeo to visit Ukraine on Friday, weeks after Trump’s impeachment

Pompeo to visit Ukraine on Friday, weeks after Trump’s impeachment

Pompeo spoke warmly of Kansas, calling it "home" before adding that "it's my intention to stay here and continue to serve as President Trump's secretary of State".

As the Senate weighs options for a trial, Pompeo will depart Thursday on a five-nation tour of Europe and Central Asia.

The trip will make Pompeo the most senior U.S. official to visit Kiev since a scandal erupted earlier this year over a controversial phone call in which Trump allegedly tried to pressure his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky to find dirt on Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden.

The New York Times reported on Sunday that the three senior officials had met with Trump in the Oval Office on a "late-August day", in the Times' words, so that they could each explain why it was important for Ukraine to receive the almost $400 million in aid. Witnesses told House investigators that Trump wanted Ukraine to announce an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden's son in return for releasing critical military aid to Ukraine. The official gave details about the trip on condition of anonymity under State Department rules for such briefings.

Pompeo, a staunch Trump defender, was personally implicated by several witnesses during the impeachment inquiry, in part for allowing the president's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, to establish a parallel diplomatic track in Ukraine in coordination with Trump, bypassing regular channels.

The State Department statement did not mention corruption in Ukraine, although the White House has insisted this was the reason Trump asked Zelensky to investigate the Bidens. Trump has denied any wrongdoing.

"Excited to travel to Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Cyprus in the new year to meet with counterparts and affirm US priorities across Europe and South Central Asia", Pompeo said in a tweet.

Pompeo is due in Minsk on January 4 to meet with Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko and Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei "to underscore the US commitment to a sovereign, independent, stable, and prosperous Belarus, and affirm our desire to normalize relations to move our bilateral relationship forward", according to the State Department.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday he will be traveling to Ukraine and a few other countries in the new year to meet with counterparts there. Click the link to confirm your subscription and begin receiving our newsletters.

Pompeo is also set to visit Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Cyprus to talk to leaders.

In September, the US and Belarus agreed to upgrade diplomatic ties by returning ambassadors to each other's capitals after an 11-year break. Human rights, energy independence and economic reform will top Pompeo's agenda at each of those stops, the department said. President Alexander Lukashenko has pursued better relations with the West since Russia's annexation of Crimea as Belarus is wary that Russian Federation could try to absorb it.

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