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Pompeo confirms he was on call between Trump and Ukraine leader

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed on Wednesday that he had been on a call between US President Donald Trump and Ukraine's leader that has caused a storm, saying it was a legitimate conversation that focused on US policy priorities.

[ROME] US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed on Wednesday that he had been on a call between US President Donald Trump and Ukraine's leader that has caused a storm, saying it was a legitimate conversation that focused on US policy priorities.

Following a whistleblower complaint last week, Democrats are investigating Mr Trump's request to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy during the July 25 phone call to investigate former vice president Joe Biden.

"I was on the phone call," Mr Pompeo told reporters during a visit to Italy.

He added that Mr Trump's comments had fallen within the context of US policymaking, including cutting corruption in the east European state, boosting the economy and "taking down the threat Russia poses there in Ukraine".

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"I know precisely what the American policy is with respect to Ukraine, it's been remarkably consistent. We will continue to try to drive those set of outcomes," he said.

Pompeo on Tuesday objected to a move by the US House of Representatives to obtain depositions from five current and former State Department officials as part of the Democrat-led impeachment inquiry, and accused Democrats of bullying and intimidation.

Asked about his concerns, Mr Pompeo said State Department employees had been contacted directly by lawmakers or their staff and told not to talk to the State Department's legal counsel.

"What we objected to were the demands that deeply violate the fundamental principles of separation of powers," he said.

"There are important constitutional prerogatives that the executive branch has to be present so that we can protect important information so our partners ... can have confidence that the information that they provide the State Department will continue to be protected," he said.

The leaders of three US House of Representatives committees have, in turn, accused Pompeo of intimidating witnesses, and said doing so was illegal.

REUTERS