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Mike Pompeo in Greece, Oct. 5. Photo: Costas Baltas/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on a trip to Greece Saturday that the State Department will follow the law in the House impeachment investigation into President Trump's attempts to push Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, according to AP.

Why it matters: Pompeo previously accused Democrats of "intimidating" State Department officials who had been asked to cooperate and said the dates for the witness interviews the House had scheduled were "not feasible." In response, the chairs leading the inquiry warned that defiance would be considered "evidence of obstruction." Pompeo will allow Democrats to interview several witnesses next week, per AP.

Details: Among the witnesses being interviewed next week is Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union who helped draft a statement that would have committed Ukraine's president to investigate the Ukrainian energy company on whose board Hunter Biden had served.

  • Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch will testify on Oct. 11. Rudy Giuliani told the Wall Street Journal last week that he considered Yovanovitch to be an obstacle to his efforts to push Ukraine to investigate the Bidens and that he informed Trump of his concerns shortly before she was abruptly recalled in May 2019.

Yes, but: "The Trump administration and House Democrats often disagree about what the law requires, leaving open the question of how Pompeo may interpret Democrats’ demands for key information about Trump’s handling of Ukraine," per AP.

  • Axios first reported last week that the White House is planning to send Speaker Nancy Pelosi a letter arguing that Trump and his team can ignore lawmakers' demands until she holds a full House vote formally approving an impeachment inquiry.

Go deeper: U.S. envoys drafted statement committing Ukraine president to Biden probe

Go deeper

5 hours ago - World

Maximum pressure campaign escalates with Fakhrizadeh killing

Photo: Fars News Agency via AP

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s military nuclear program, is a new height in the maximum pressure campaign led by the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government against Iran.

Why it matters: It exceeds the capture of the Iranian nuclear archives by the Mossad, and the sabotage in the advanced centrifuge facility in Natanz.

Scoop: Biden weighs retired General Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star General Lloyd Austin as his nominee for defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.

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