The U.S. State Department’s homepage was updated on Monday with photo of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo under the headline: “Being A Christian Leader.”
The update highlighted Pompeo’s recent speech on faith in Nashville, Tennessee. Pompeo was quoted on the website saying, “As believers, we draw on the wisdom of God to help us get it right, to be a force for good in the life of human beings. I know some people in the media will break out the pitchforks when they hear that I ask God for direction in my work.”
After criticism, the headline on the State Department homepage was changed to “Secretary Pompeo at the America Association of Christian Counselors” and by Tuesday the speech was off the site and U.S. sanctions on Turkey were the top story.
A senior adviser to Pompeo resigned last week, with the State Department mired in a controversy over the Trump administration's dealings with Ukraine that has prompted an impeachment inquiry targeting the president.
Michael McKinley, a career diplomat who has served as Pompeo's policy adviser since May 2018 following previous posts as ambassador to Brazil, Afghanistan, Colombia and Peru, said in a note to staff made available on Friday that his departure after 37 years with the department was "personal."
He said he was "leaving the Department to pursue other opportunities, wherever they may lead."
McKinley departure comes as the congressional impeachment inquiry heated up.
While McKinley has not been directly involved with Ukraine, he has served as a conduit between Pompeo's office and career staff, according to the Washington Post, which first reported his resignation on Thursday night.
House Democrats have issued a subpoena to Pompeo for documents as part of their probe, which centers on a July 25 call Trump made to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in which he pressed for an investigation into former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, a leading Democrat seeking the party's nomination in the 2020 presidential election.
Lawmakers have said Pompeo was not cooperating with the subpoena.
The State Department earlier this week blocked testimony by the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, who was then subpoenaed to appear on Oct. 16.
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