Mike Pompeo to visit Ukraine amid Trump impeachment trial, report says

Clark Mindock

US secretary of State Mike Pompeo is expected to travel to Ukraine and meet with the country’s president next week, just over a week into Donald Trump’s ongoing impeachment trial in the Senate.

Mr Pompeo will be in Kiev next Friday, according to reports, and his visit is expected to include a meeting with Volodymyr Zelensky, who Mr Trump and his administration is accused of attempting to coerce into launching an investigation into the US president’s domestic political rival.

The visit, first reported by Buzzfeed News, will represent the first time that a member of Mr Trump’s cabinet has met with Mr Zelensky since last fall when impeachment investigations against the US president first began, spurred on by his alleged use of congressionally approved military aid to Ukraine to compel Mr Zelensky to launch that investigation into Joe Biden and his family.

Those allegations have led to the impeachment trial in the Senate, which formally began on Tuesday.

Mr Trump has denied any wrongdoing, even as he became the third president in US history to face impeachment in December, with charges of obstruction of Congress and abuse of power.

Timing of Mr Pompeo’s visit aside, the trip is aimed at reassuring Ukrainian leaders that the US is still an ally in its fight against Russian aggression in the east of the country.

The travel plans haven’t been officially announced, but Mr Pompeo is expected to stay one night in Kiev before heading to Belarus.

The visit comes just after Ukrainian officials opened an investigation into possible illegal surveillance of former US ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, who was abruptly brought back to Washington last year.

Text messages released last week show that Lev Parnas, an associate of Mr Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, had discussed Ms Yovanovitch’s movements in Kiev with Robert Hyde, a donor to Mr Trump who is running for Congress in Connecticut.