Democratic U.S. lawmaker says he is probing Pompeo's Republican convention appearance
By Jonathan Landay WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The chairman of a Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee announced on Tuesday an investigation into whether Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's appearance at the Republican National Convention breaks federal law and regulations. 'The Trump administration and Secretary Pompeo have shown a gross disregard not only of basic ethics, but also a blatant willingness to violate federal law for political gain,' Joaquin Castro, head of the House Foreign Affairs Committee's oversight subcommittee, said in a statement.
By Jonathan Landay
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The chairman of a Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee announced on Tuesday an investigation into whether Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's appearance at the Republican National Convention breaks federal law and regulations.
"The Trump administration and Secretary Pompeo have shown a gross disregard not only of basic ethics, but also a blatant willingness to violate federal law for political gain," Joaquin Castro, head of the House Foreign Affairs Committee's oversight subcommittee, said in a statement.
In a letter to Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun, Castro said Pompeo's appearance is "highly unusual and likely unprecedented," and "may also be illegal."
Pompeo, who is traveling overseas, was to speak to the convention on Tuesday evening in a video recorded during a stop in Jerusalem, an appearance that has ignited an outcry by Democrats, former senior diplomats and others.
John Bellinger, the top State Department lawyer under former Republican Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, said the agency has long barred its senior political appointees from partisan political activities, including attending party conventions, even if these may be permitted under the 1939 Hatch act that limits the political activities of federal employees.
His address also appears to violate his own instructions restating the department's long-stand prohibition on political activities - which applies to official and private time -- sent to personnel in a July 24 cable reviewed on Monday by Reuters.
A State Department official told a pool reporter traveling with Pompeo that the secretary was appearing in his personal capacity and no State Department personnel or resources were involved.
Castro told Biegun that it is "readily apparent" from documents in his panel's possession that Pompeo's appearance may violate the Hatch Act, federal regulations implementing that law and federal rules.
He asked that Biegun answer by no later than Sept. 1 a series of questions and arrange a briefing for lawmakers by the same date.
(Additional reporting by Arshad Mohammed; Editing by David Gregorio)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.