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Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The chairs of the House Foreign Affairs, Intelligence and Oversight committees said in a letter Tuesday that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo "appears to have an obvious conflict of interest" over President Trump's impeachment inquiry. And they warn that Pompeo may be in violation of the law if he tries to prevent staff from testifying.

Why it matters: The letter to Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan is the latest escalation in a war of words between Pompeo and these House committees probing the Trump administration's alleged efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate 2020 candidate Joe Biden.

  • Pompeo sent a letter to the House Foreign Affairs Committee earlier Tuesday accusing Democrats of "an attempt to intimidate, bully, and treat improperly" officials from the State Department who've been asked to cooperate in the investigation.
  • The secretary of state has been subpoenaed to release to the committees documents related to the Ukraine probe, and he's expected to face increased scrutiny following reports that he was present during President Trump's phone call to his Ukrainian counterpart that triggered the whistleblower complaint.
  • The State Department inspector general has requested to meet Wednesday with several Senate and House committees on the issue.

Read the letter to to Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan:

Go deeper:

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

Go deeper

Americans are super-sizing their holiday travel

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Americans are rushing back into holiday travel, and many are taking even longer trips now than they did before the pandemic began.

The big picture: After skipping Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings last year, many people are eager to maximize this year's celebrations with friends and family. And flexible remote working arrangements make that easier than ever.

Updated 16 hours ago - Sports

The potential GOAT of chess faces intriguing challenger

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The World Chess Championship between Norway's Magnus Carlsen and Russia's Ian Nepomniachtchi began on Friday, 1,094 days after Carlsen won his fourth consecutive title.

Why it matters: During the long, COVID-fueled layoff, chess entered a new era, and with the championship finally here, the age-old game is ready for its close-up.

Department of Interior proposes raising cost of drilling on public lands

A horizontal drilling rig and a pump jack sit on federal land in Lea County, New Mexico. Photo: Callaghan O'Hare/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Oil and gas companies should pay more to drill on federal lands and waters, the Department of the Interior argued in a report released Friday, saying that the current rates were "outdated."

Driving the news: The Department of Interior report said that the federal government's oil and gas leasing and permitting program "fails to provide a fair return to taxpayers, even before factoring in the resulting climate-related costs that must be borne by taxpayers."