Pompeo admits he was on Ukraine call with Trump ahead of ‘urgent’ Hill briefing by inspector general

A State Department inspector general will brief congressional committees Wednesday after requesting an “urgent” meeting in a new twist to the impeachment inquiry that has pitched Donald Trump’s presidency into its deepest-ever crisis.

The meeting will come after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo admitted he was on the now-notorious July 25 call between Trump and Ukraine’s President that ended up triggering the impeachment inquiry.

A congressional aide described the request by the State Department’s independent watchdog official, Steve Linick, to discuss documents related to Ukraine as “highly unusual and cryptically worded.”

Speaking at a news conference in Rome, Pompeo again accused Democrats of “bullying” State Department staffers, after seeking to prevent several important witnesses from appearing on Capitol Hill in the coming days. The move appeared to be an attempt to buy time to come up with a long term blueprint to save Trump by turning the politics of impeachment.

Pompeo’s initiative was at least more substantive than Trump’s tweeting and cable news appearances from conspiracy-theory touting supporters that constituted his early defense.

But the sharp Democratic response to Pompeo’s claims of bullying against potential witnesses, and a key source’s decision to show up anyway, suggested that the added gravity of a formal impeachment process could shift Washington’s balance of power.

It is only a week since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi formally announced an impeachment probe into evidence that Trump pressured Ukraine to dig up dirt on his potential 2020 rival Joe Biden. But the drama has turned Washington on its head and comprehensively altered the dynamics of the Trump presidency.

Trump appears under siege from multiple directions.