Pompeo was on Trump-Ukraine call at center of impeachment inquiry

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By Abigail Williams and Dareh Gregorian  with NBC News Politics
Image: President Trump Holds A Cabinet Meeting At The White House
President Donald Trump, from right, talks with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a cabinet meeting at the White House on July 16, 2019.   -   Copyright  Chip Somodevilla Getty Images file

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was on the July phone call where President Donald Trump asked his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate Joe Biden and his son, a senior State Department official told NBC News.

The July 25th phone call between Trump and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy and a related whistleblower complaint are now at the center of House Democrats' impeachment inquiry.

Pompeo's involvement in the call — during which Trump told Zelenskiy that Biden's conduct sounded "horrible" to him — was firstreported by the Wall Street Journal. It's not unusual for the nation's top diplomat to be on a president's call with a foreign leader, but Pompeo has not acknowledged his involvement.

Pompeo dodged questions about the phone call and the complaint during an interview with ABC's "This Week"on Sept. 22, days before the White House released a summary of the call which showed Trump asking about the Bidens' dealings in Ukraine.

Pompeo had argued against releasing the transcript, saying it would set a bad precedent — never acknowledging he knew exactly what was in the call.

Asked about reports of the substance of the conversation, Pompeo said he wasn't familiar with them and couldn't comment on them. "You just gave me information about a [intelligence community] report, none of which we've seen," he said.

He then turned to the subject of former Vice President Biden, who's running for president.

"I do think if Vice President Biden behaved inappropriately if he was protecting his son and intervened with Ukrainian leadership in a way that was corrupt, I do think we need to get to the bottom of that," he said. "America can not have our elections interfered with, if that's what took place there."