Accuracy in Media

Mike Pompeo’s State Department is “increasingly demoralized and resentful under his leadership, amid a growing belief that he has subordinated its mission and abandoned colleagues in the service of President Trump’s political aims,” according to a story Tuesday in the Washington Post.

As is customary with the Washington Post on stories critical of President Trump, “Demoralized State Department personnel question Pompeo’s role in Ukraine crisis,” by Karen DeYoung, John Hudson, Josh Dawley and Ellen Nakashima, is based almost entirely on anonymous sources.

The one named source about the mood in Foggy Bottom is Thomas Pickering, who is 87 years old, hasn’t served in the State Department on a permanent basis since 2000, and now works for the liberal Brookings Institution. He said the “prevailing mood is low and getting lower, if it can.”

The story parrots the discredited line of Democrats in Congress that President Trump held funding for Ukraine hostage until it agreed to investigate Joe Biden and how his son, who had been kicked out of the Navy for cocaine use, immediately thereafter gained a $60,00-per-month gig sitting on the board of a corrupt Ukraine energy company.

“State Department officials strongly supported $141 million in department funds that Congress appropriated this year for Ukraine – in addition to $250 million in aid from the Defense Department,” DeYoung, Hudson, Dawley and Nakashima wrote. “But there is no indication that Pompeo objected when Trump withheld all of the assistance while Trump’s personal attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani – and the president himself – pressed the government of Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son.”

The president of Ukraine said he felt no pressure on the call with Trump, and he didn’t even know the aid package was being held up.

Trump’s decision to remove Marie Yovanovitch as U.S. ambassador to Ukraine did not happen because she had shared a “do not prosecute” list with the government of Ukraine. It was not because she appeared to work against the president’s interest in Kyev or because she had “bad-mouthed” him as some have indicated.

It was, rather, a situation where Pompeo, as secretary of state, should have stood up for his ambassador, even though his job is to carry out the directives of the president, not the rank-and-file at State, the Post wrote.

“Most worrisome to the department is concern that Pompeo did not intervene to protect U.S. diplomats either enlisted by Giuliani to assist his efforts or punished for being insufficiently committed to the cause, according to more than a dozen current and former officials, most of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive matter.”

The complaints by the Trump administration against Yovanovitch are “baseless,” the Post reported. It said accusations of her providing a “do not prosecute list” could not be true because, quoting another State Department official, “’One key sign of it being fake is that most of the names are misspelled in English – we would never spell most that way.’”

The other official said he suggested State “push back by ‘circling in red all the misspelling and grammar mistakes and reposting it,’ as the U.S. Embassy in Moscow had done in similar counterpropaganda campaigns.”

It also refers to the move against Yovanovitch as a “smear campaign” and, as another State Department official put it, a “’classic disinformation operation.’”

It wasn’t just that State Department officials were protecting the Bidens, the Post wrote. They also were accused of “working at the behest of George Soros, the billionaire philanthropist. The Open Society Foundation that Soros underwrites has been one of the funders of anti-corruption and transparency causes in Ukraine, along with the U.S. Agency for International Development and the congressionally funded National Endowment for Democracy.”

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