US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has dismissed reports that his aide decided to leave because the former was not doing enough to protect employees called to testify about President Trump’s July call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, which subsequently kick started an impeachment inquiry.
A senior aide to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has resigned after working for 37 years in the department. Michael McKinley has held several diplomatic posts, including US ambassador to Peru, Columbia, and Afghanistan. He worked closely with the Trump administration on such issues as Venezuela, Mexico and Southeast Asia and talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban, which both sides said were close to reaching an agreement, before they were cancelled last month. His last diplomatic post was as US ambassador to Brazil. That is when he was hired by Pompeo to serve as a conduit between his office and a career service.
In his resignation letter addressed to staff, McKinley said the decision was personal, saying he was “leaving the Department to pursue other opportunities, wherever they may lead”.
The US mainstream media, however, quickly jumped to the conclusion that McKinley’s resignation was prompted by the impeachment investigation into President Trump. The Washington Post reported that McKinley was allegedly disappointed with the US secretary of state’s unwillingness to protect the department’s employees named in the impeachment inquiry.
McKinley’s resignation comes after former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testified before Congress. Yovanovitch said Pompeo had failed to protect her when President Trump decided to recall her from her post in May.
The top US diplomat brushed aside reports accusing him of a lack of support for his employees. In an interview with The Tennessean, Mike Pompeo said: “I protect every single State Department employee. When the State Department employees are doing things right, when they’re behaving in ways that are consistent with the rule of law and working under President Trump’s mission, I’ll always stand for them”.
Speaking about McKinley’s resignation, he stressed that he had known the diplomat for 37 years and that McKinley was thinking about the next phase of his life.
“He told me for lots of good and sufficient reasons for him and his family he wanted to go on and begin the next phase of his life”, Pompeo said in an interview with WKRN-TV.
The impeachment investigation into President Trump centres around his July call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. An anonymous whistleblower who later filed a complaint claimed that President Trump pressured Mr Zelensky to dig up dirt on Joe Biden, his rival in the 2020 presidential elections. The White House has released the transcript of Trump’s call with Mr Zelensky.
The transcript did not show any misconduct mentioned by the whistleblower in his complaint. Democrats, however, continue to insist that Trump is guilty of abuse of power and claim that he is openly encouraging foreign powers to interfere in US elections. This is not the first time the Democrats have accused President Trump of colluding with a foreign nation to influence US elections. They insisted that he conspired with Russia to win the 2016 presidential race. The investigation conducted by special counsel Robert Mueller later showed that President Trump did not collude with a foreign government.