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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Photo: Mike Segar/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

The House Foreign Affairs Committee announced Friday that it will launch contempt proceedings against Secretary of State Mike Pompeo over his refusal to comply with a subpoena for records related to the State Department's involvement in attempts to link Joe Biden to corruption in Ukraine.

Why it matters: Democrats on the committee say that Pompeo gave similar documents to Senate Republicans, alleging he has undertaken a "transparently political misuse of Department resources" and shown "an unprecedented record of obstruction and defiance of the House’s constitutional oversight authority."

What they're saying: "Mr. Pompeo has demonstrated alarming disregard for the laws and rules governing his own conduct and for the tools the constitution provides to prevent government corruption," Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), the committee's chairman, said in a press release,

  • "Mr. Pompeo’s final response makes it clear where he stands: the Department would turn over the documents if the Committee announced that we, too, were pursuing an investigation into the same conspiracy theory that’s been debunked again and again."
  • "Mr. Pompeo is demanding that the Committee do essentially the same thing Russia is doing, according the Office of the Director of National Intelligence: ‘spreading claims about corruption’ in order to 'interfere in the American presidential election.'"

Read State's response that prompted the contempt decision.

Go deeper

House approves new committee chairs and ranking members

Photo: Win McNamee via Getty

House Democratic and Republican caucuses announced the approval of several committee chairs and ranking members in the 117th Congress on Thursday.

The big picture: The lawmakers who lead House committees will help shape future legislation and hopeful progress under President-elect Joe Biden. The Democrats Thursday statement noted the first-ever African American chairs of the Agriculture and Foreign Affairs committees.

Senate retirements could attract GOP troublemakers

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.). Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sen. Roy Blunt's retirement highlights the twin challenge facing Senate Republicans: finding good replacement candidates and avoiding a pathway for potential troublemakers to join their ranks.

Why it matters: While the midterm elections are supposed to be a boon to the party out of power, the recent run of retirements — which may not be over — is upending that assumption for the GOP in 2022.

Congressional diversity growing - slowly

Data: Brookings Institution and Pew Research Center; Note: No data on Native Americans in Congress before the 107th Congress; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

The number of non-white senators and House members in the 535-seat Congress has been growing steadily in the past several decades — but representation largely lags behind the overall U.S. population.

Why it matters: Non-whites find it harder to break into the power system because of structural barriers such as the need to quit a job to campaign full time for office, as Axios reported in its latest Hard Truths Deep Dive.