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Administration and Congress Clash Over Deposition as Impeachment Fights Begin


During an appearance on Fox Business Network, Peter Navarro, Mr. Trump’s trade adviser, compared the Democrats’ effort to an “attempted coup d’état,” Soviet-era secret police and the threat posed by three foreign adversaries: Russia, China and Iran.

Democrats were no less hyperbolic with their reactions to the president’s menacing talk about the whistle-blower.

On Twitter, Representative Maxine Waters, Democrat of California and a committee chairwoman, implored Republicans to halt Mr. Trump’s “filthy talk of whistle-blowers being spies & using mob language implying they should be killed.” But in the same message, she added the president “needs to be imprisoned & placed in solitary confinement.”

Mr. Pompeo’s letter appeared more likely to have an immediate effect on the unfolding case.

In a letter and a pair of tweets sent from Rome shortly after meeting with President Sergio Mattarella of Italy, the secretary described the Sept. 27 demand for the senior State Department officials’ testimony as “an attempt to intimidate, bully and treat improperly” American diplomats.

“Let me be clear: I will not tolerate such tactics, and I will use all means at my disposal to prevent and expose any attempts to intimidate the dedicated professionals whom I am proud to lead and serve alongside at the Department of State,” he wrote.

Other State Department employees who have been called for depositions by the House are George P. Kent, a deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs; T. Ulrich Brechbuhl, a State Department counselor; and Gordon Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union.

In his letter to Mr. Engel, Democrat of New York, Mr. Pompeo said the witnesses would not testify without Trump administration lawyers present. He also said the request did not leave the witnesses enough time to prepare for their interviews under oath.

But he did not rule out allowing the witnesses to talk to House investigators, and said the State Department would respond to a subpoena he received from the committees on Friday for documents by the Oct. 4 deadline.


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