The House impeachment inquiry issued a subpoena to U.S. Ambassador Gordon Sondland today, after he caved to the Trump regime at the last minute and declined to show up and testify voluntarily. But while Sondland will get what’s coming to him, he’s just a pawn in all this, and the House has decided to hit his boss Mike Pompeo where it hurts.
Democratic Congressman Mark Pocan is demanding that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo explain who told Gordon Sondland not to show up and testify today, and he’s revealed that he’s going to cut off Pompeo’s salary if it doesn’t happen. Pocan is citing the specific section of federal law that allows him to do this, and because he sits on the House Appropriations Committee, he’s in position to make this happen.
We’ll see how Mike Pompeo, who is already taking on water from all sides, responds to losing his paycheck. While Donald Trump’s previous Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was very wealthy and didn’t need his government salary, Pompeo appears to have no such wealth, and may not be able to pay his bills.
There have long been questions about how the House impeachment inquiry would enforce its subpoenas and punish obstruction. Contempt of Congress powers aren’t all that strong under the law in comparison to say, contempt of court powers. But now that House Democrats are going after Pompeo’s salary, and presumably the salary of anyone in the Trump regime who refuses to cooperate, it’s clear that the enforcement phase has begun.
If this doesn’t work, we expect we’ll see the House move on to arresting people. These moves have to be done in such a manner that the majority of Americans see them as being appropriate. New polling today reveals that 58% of Americans now support the impeachment inquiry, and as those numbers keep rising, the House will have more leverage to do whatever they want to Trump’s non-cooperative people.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report