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Pompeo supports Rudy Giuliani calling for Ukraine to investigate Biden

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday that he supports President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Guiliani’s push for the Ukrainian government to investigate Joe Biden’s son.

A bombshell New York Times story published on May 1 revealed that the former vice president had successfully gotten a Ukrainian prosecutor removed from office, which raised questions about a possible conflict of interest and if Biden was trying to shield his son from an investigation into a business he sat on the board of.

Trump and Giuliani have pushed claims for months that the former vice president bribed government officials in Ukraine to stifle investigations into Burisma, the gas company for which Hunter served on the board.

Margaret Brennan pressed Pompeo on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” asking if it was “appropriate” for Giuliani to be pushing for the investigation into Biden, a 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful and one of Trump’s political rivals.

“The president’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani is publicly calling for an investigation by the Ukrainian government into Joe Biden, who is obviously a political opponent of the president,” Brennan said. “Is it appropriate for the president’s personal attorney to be inserting himself in foreign affairs like this?”

Pompeo said the American people “deserve to know” if there was election interference by the vice president, likening the allegations against Biden to the election interference that investigators detected in the 2016 presidential election. The claim appeared to be a suggestion that Biden attempted to kill the investigation into Burisma in anticipation of his 2020 run. There is no evidence to substantiate that theory.

“If there was election interference that took place by the vice president, I think the American people deserve to know,” Pompeo said. “We know there was interference in the 2016 election and if it’s the case that there was something going on with the president or his family that caused a conflict of interest and Vice President Biden behaved in a way that was inconsistent with the way leaders ought to operate, I think the American people deserve to know that.”

Read more: The Joe and Hunter Biden Ukraine investigation, explained

Joe Biden was part of a larger push coming from former President Obama’s administration for the Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin to be removed over concerns of corruption in his office. Biden acted as a vocal opponent of Shokin and has publicly detailed his threat to withhold $1 billion in loan guarantees from the country if Shokin wasn’t fired.

Since the initial report, Ukrainian officials have said there was not an active investigation into Hunter when the former vice president made the push for Shokin’s firing, and Yuriy Lutsenko, Ukraine’s prosecutor general, later said that he had no evidence of wrongdoing against either Biden.

Pompeo added that the Trump administration has “consistently worked to support the Ukrainian people.” Trump is set to meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky this week at the UN General Assembly and Pompeo said he has spoken with Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko “a couple of times.”

“We talk about the important relationship between our two countries and how we can make Ukraine stronger and have great economic commerce between our two great nations,” Pompeo said.

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