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Pompeo. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo dodged multiple questions at a press conference Monday about why he has declined to offer public support to State Department employees, like former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, who have been caught up in impeachment proceedings.

Why it matters: President Trump has attacked career civil servants in general — and Yovanovitch in particular — as "Never Trumpers" determined to remove him from office. Former diplomats have warned that such rhetoric is inflicting lasting damage on the foreign service, and Pompeo's silence on the issue has been met with significant criticism.

In a press conference today, Pompeo said he was not going to "get into issues surrounding Democrat impeachment inquiry," but said he was "proud of what this administration has done toward Ukraine."

  • Asked again whether he would defend his employees, Pompeo said "I always defend State Department employees" — though he declined to do so with any specificity in this case.
  • When another reporter asked about Trump's tweets attacking Yovanovitch, Pompeo said, "I don't have anything to say."
  • Pompeo also declined to say whether he has full confidence in Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat currently in Ukraine and another impeachment witness.
  • Yovanovitch, who is still a State Department employee, said during last week's hearing that she found Trump's tweets "very intimidating" and called on State Department leaders to defend employees who were being "denigrated and undermined."

Go deeper: Highlights from Marie Yovanovitch's testimony

Go deeper

Biden's Day 1 challenges: Systemic racism

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Kirsty O'Connor (PA Images)/Getty Images

Advocates are pushing President-elect Biden to tackle systemic racism with a Day 1 agenda that includes ending the detention of migrant children and expanding DACA, announcing a Justice Department investigation of rogue police departments and returning some public lands to Indigenous tribes.

Why it matters: Biden has said the fight against systemic racism will be one of the top goals of his presidency — but the expectations may be so high that he won't be able to meet them.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
2 hours ago - Health

Most Americans are still vulnerable to the coronavirus

Adapted from Bajema, et al., 2020, "Estimated SARS-CoV-2 Seroprevalence in the US as of September 2020"; Cartogram: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

As of September, the vast majority of Americans did not have coronavirus antibodies, according to a new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Why it matters: As the coronavirus spreads rapidly throughout most of the country, most people remain vulnerable to it.

Trump set to appear at Pennsylvania GOP hearing on voter fraud claims

President Trumpat the White House on Tuesday. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Trump is due to join his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Wednesday at a Republican-led state Senate Majority Policy Committee hearing to discuss alleged election irregularities.

Why it matters: This would be his first trip outside of the DMV since Election Day and comes shortly after GSA ascertained the results, formally signing off on a transition to President-elect Biden.