Revelations that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was unwilling to defend career State Department officials under political attack have damaged his standing within the Department and devastated morale there, according to multiple people familiar with the situation.
Details of the inner workings of the Department have emerged this week after House Democrats conducting the impeachment probe began releasing the full testimony of senior State officials, including the ousted former ambassador to Ukraine. Those details have put a spotlight on Pompeo’s role in the unfolding impeachment drama and compounded concerns inside the Department that he has prioritized his relationship with President Donald Trump over the well-being of his own staff.
One senior administration official who has been a consistent defender of Pompeo told CNN that conditions within the Department have gotten significantly worse since the start of the impeachment inquiry.
“Morale in the building is always bad, but this is different,” said the official. “I think part of it is Ukraine, it is a game changer.”
When asked for a State Department response, a senior official pushed back on that characterization.
“This is complete nonsense,” the official said. “Everybody in the department is concerned about the political situation in Washington because we are citizens, and we are citizens with a special interest in foreign policy. That is clearly true. But that is different from saying that there is a plummeting morale.”
The release on Monday of testimony from former US ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch and Michael McKinley, the former senior adviser to Pompeo, were damaging to Pompeo internally, said this official.