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Pompeo blasts Ukraine critics for ‘silly gotcha game’

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ATHENS, Greece (AP) – US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday defended the Trump administration's approach to Ukraine, which is conducting an impeachment investigation in Congress, and called it typical in the transactional way between countries.

Pompeo said the focus of the media and commentators on President Donald Trump and Ukraine is "wrong" because it does not "affect the lives of real people."

"Instead, they engage in some silly game," he said, answering a question from a Greek reporter after Pompeo gave a speech on US-Greece relations.

The top US diplomat supported the government's demand, although not supported by evidence of irregularities, for Ukraine to open investigations into alleged corruption that could target former Vice President Joe Biden's son Hunter and possible interference. in the 2016 presidential elections in the USA. Pompeo considered it reasonable, responsible and necessary to direct the graft, to ensure that aid is properly spent and to protect American democracy.

Lawmakers made Trump's request in July for Ukraine to investigate the Bidens as the centerpiece of an impeachment investigation. A complainant complaint said Trump tried to use military assistance for Ukraine as leverage to pressure President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate Biden, one of the leading Democratic contenders.

He strongly defended the government's campaign to get Ukraine's president to agree to a corruption investigation in exchange for a trip to Washington and the release of military aid. However, the order comes without evidence of Bidens irregularities.

"We know exactly what we were doing there," Pompeo said. "We were trying to create a situation where there was no corrupt government. We wanted to make sure that they did not interfere with our election in 2016. We wanted to make sure that if we subscribe to Javelin missile systems, something that the previous government refused to In doing so, we wanted to make sure that we were doing this with a government that was honest and would use that money for the things it said would use that money. "

Proponents of the impeachment investigation say the government's actions against Ukraine increase the possibility of a president using the power of his office to get a foreign government to help him get reelected. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in California launched the formal inquiry last week, accusing the president of "treason swearing", treason for national security and treason for the integrity of the American elections.

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Asked if Greece or other US allies can expect similar political pressure from Washington, Pompeo said it was the normal way for governments to deal with each other.

"You will be under enormous political pressure, let me assure you," he said. "That's what we do. We work together in a political environment to achieve what the Greek people want. And America tries to advance its interests around the world."

"When I talk to his foreign minister, he pressures me all the time," Pompeo said. "It's totally appropriate. Nations do that. Nations work together. They say, 'Boy God, if you can help me with X, we'll help you reach Y.' That's what partnerships do. . It's win-win. "

In Trump's telephone call in July with the President of Ukraine, Trump referred to a theory of discredited conspiracy aimed at casting doubt on Russia's role in the 2016 Democratic National Committee hacking and claims that Ukraine spread misinformation during the US elections. USA.

Pompeo also said the State Department responded to a congressional subpoena for him to produce documents related to Ukraine. He did not say what the answer was. He had met Friday's deadline to deliver the documents, but suggested he did not and would instead adopt the subpoena at his own pace.

"We are going to work on this process," said Pompeo, a former congressman who was tireless in investigating the attack on the US premises in Benghazi, Libya that occurred during the Obama administration.

"I remember precisely when I was on the side and we were looking for documents. I remember exactly how long it took for these documents to appear… Let's be more receptive than the Obama administration at the time. Years before this congress in private ".

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