The State Department’s Inspector General shared a packet of months-old news stories and other Ukraine-related documents during an “urgent” briefing with Congressional staffers on Wednesday, sources told the Daily Caller.
Sources familiar with the meeting said the IG handed over a packet containing, among other old materials, news articles written this past spring by The Hill’s John Solomon about Democratic ties to Ukraine.
The packet was allegedly given to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in May and was intended to smear the former US ambassador to Ukraine. An administration official noted to the Caller that the packet was properly dealt with at the time, and questioned the “urgent” nature of the briefing. The IG announced the “urgent” meeting after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused House Democrats of trying to “bully” the State Department by requesting impeachment-related interviews with various officials.
“The matter is from four months ago. They’ve been sitting on it for four months. The urgent-ness of this seems a little contrived,” the official told the Caller. “This was handled the exact way it should have been. The information was turned over by a senior official to a career lawyer who then gave it to the IG. That was four months ago.”
The briefing was a huge blow to Democrats, who were expecting bombshell information regarding the Trump administration’s contact with Ukraine and investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden. In fact, several news outlets reported earlier in the day that the briefing would be about State Department leadership retaliating against career employees who wanted to cooperate with the Democrats’ investigation into Trump.
Confirmed: A source familiar tells me the State Department IG briefing on the Hill is about retaliation against State Department officials who are trying to cooperate with House Democrats.
— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) October 2, 2019
Maryland Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin, who was in the briefing with the IG, said the meeting “raises more questions than it answers,” but confirmed that it had nothing to do with President Donald Trump.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) October 2, 2019
Rep. Jamie Raskin says the State Dept IG briefing was about “nothing relating to the president’s impeachable conduct,” and nothing to do with retaliation.
Instead, he says, it was about a packet of misinformation apparently meant to smear the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.
— Andrew Desiderio (@AndrewDesiderio) October 2, 2019
One GOP aide celebrated the fact that the briefing didn’t involve any new bombshells, asserting that Raskin “imploded” in his press briefing.
“The packet is a big nothing burger,” the aide declared. “Amazing. We’re relieved. Actually thrilled.”
Another source familiar with the briefing said the Democrats were underwhelmed by the materials they received.
The State Department released its own statement confirming that the materials presented Wednesday were indeed submitted to the IG back in May. (RELATED: Democrats Had No Problem Asking Ukraine To Investigate Political Opponents When The Target Was Trump)
“We understand that the Department’s Inspector General has provided relevant Congressional Committees materials relating to Ukraine,” a State Department spokesperson said. “The State Department can confirm that these materials were provided by the Department to the Inspector General on May 3, 2019 for his review and for such action as the Inspector General deemed appropriate. We refer any further questions relating to these materials to the Inspector General.”