Pompeo to Meet With Ukraine’s Zelensky in Kyiv

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Mr. Pompeo’s visit comes a month after Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, visited Kyiv seeking to meet with former Ukrainian prosecutors whose allegations of corruption played a role in Mr. Giuliani’s and pro-Trump news organizations’ promotion of claims about Mr. Biden and his son.

In March, after at least two telephone calls with Mr. Giuliani, Mr. Pompeo ordered the recall of the American ambassador to Ukraine, Marie L. Yovanovitch. Mr. Giuliani and associates tied to Ukrainian businesspeople had pushed for the ouster of Ms. Yovanovitch, who was known for promoting anti-corruption efforts in Kyiv.

Mr. Pompeo picked a veteran diplomat, William B. Taylor Jr., to replace her as head of mission, but Mr. Taylor became concerned over the summer about the withheld aid, writing in a cable dated Aug. 29 that the administration’s action was “folly.” Mr. Taylor later testified to Congress, infuriating Mr. Trump.

Mr. Taylor was scheduled to leave his post in January, but a close aide to Mr. Pompeo, T. Ulrich Brechbuhl, asked Mr. Taylor to turn over his duties to the deputy chief of mission on Jan. 1, before Mr. Pompeo’s arrival, a person with knowledge of the discussion said. That would allow Mr. Pompeo to avoid interacting with Mr. Taylor, who then chose to leave Ukraine on Jan. 2.

In late August, Mr. Pompeo joined John R. Bolton, the national security adviser, and Mark T. Esper, the defense secretary, to argue to Mr. Trump in an Oval Office meeting that the White House should release the aid, but Mr. Trump ignored their recommendation. Around the same time, Mr. Trump was told about a whistle-blower complaint filed by a C.I.A. officer on the issue, and separately members of Congress were pressing for the aid to be released. On Sept. 11, Mr. Trump ordered an end to the hold.

Two senior State Department officials spoke with reporters on Monday about Mr. Pompeo’s upcoming trip, which also includes stops in Belarus, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Cyprus, but declined to answer repeated questions about the pressure from the White House on Mr. Zelensky.

Mr. Pompeo spoke in general terms about the impeachment process when asked about it on “Fox and Friends” on Monday. “Whatever happens here in Washington, the American people should know that President Trump and our national security team are focused on keeping them safe,” he said.

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