Mike Pompeo: House Using Impeachment To 'Distract' Trump While Abroad

The secretary of state argued that hearings should pause during the president's trip to London.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo scolded House Democrats on Monday for continuing to hold impeachment hearings while President Donald Trump is in London, calling it a diversion tactic.

During a “Fox & Friends” appearance, Pompeo argued that lawmakers were breaking with the United States’ “long tradition” of supporting presidents abroad, instead attempting to “distract America’s president from his important mission overseas.”

“I regret that they’ve chosen to hold these hearings at the same time that the president and our entire national security team will be traveling to Europe, to London, to work on these important matters,” he said. “It’s very unfortunate.”

Pompeo’s remarks echoed criticism from show co-host Brian Kilmeade, who contended that “internationally, you’re supposed to hold your fire.”

Trump is spending two days at a NATO summit, which kicks off Tuesday, marking the military alliance’s 70th anniversary.

Meanwhile the House Judiciary Committee has set its first impeachment hearing for Wednesday to speak with academics and constitutional scholars specializing in the process. 

On Friday, committee chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) asked Trump whether he or his lawyers intended to participate in the panel’s proceedings, welcoming him to call witnesses or provide evidence.

Though given a week to decide, White House counsel Pat Cipollone swiftly rejected the offer on Sunday, accusing Nadler of having “no doubt purposely” matched the start date with Trump’s trip.

In his letter to the congressman, Cipollone denounced the impeachment probe as “baseless and highly partisan,” contending that it “violates all past historical precedent, basic due process rights, and fundamental fairness.”

The White House is not yet ruling out participating in future hearings, and said it plans to respond separately this week.