Mike Pompeo with Italy's foreign minister. Photo: Allberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images)

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed during a press conference in Rome Wednesday that he was on the line during the July phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Why it matters: Pompeo had previously been coy about his role in the call, giving ABC News' Martha Raddatz an evasive answer when she asked him directly about the call last week: "You just gave me a report about an IC whistleblower complaint — none of which I've seen."

The big picture: Pompeo's confirmation ties the State Department more closely to House Democrats' ongoing impeachment inquiry and comes a day after he accused Democrats on the House Foreign Affairs Committee of "an attempt to intimidate, bully, and treat improperly" State Department officials who have been asked to take part in a series of depositions for the Trump-Ukraine investigation.

  • It also comes the same day that the State Department's inspector general requested an "urgent" meeting with a number of House and Senate committees "to discuss and provide staff with copies of documents related to the State Department and Ukraine."

During today's press conference, Pompeo declined to say whether he'd heard anything inappropriate on Trump's call.

  • He said only that he, former Ukraine envoy Kurt Volker (who resigned after being named in a whistleblower's memo about the call), and the State Department had been focused on reducing government corruption in Ukraine, as well as the threat from Russia.
  • He said the State Department has a "constitutional duty" to cooperate with congressional investigations, but must do so in a way that protects sensitive information and doesn't allow employees to be bullied or intimidated.

Go deeper: State Department watchdog requests "urgent" Congress meeting on Ukraine

Go deeper

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9:45 p.m. ET: 19,282,972 — Total deaths: 718,851 — Total recoveries — 11,671,491Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9:45 p.m. ET: 4,937,441 — Total deaths: 161,248 — Total recoveries: 1,623,870 — Total tests: 60,415,558Map.
  3. Politics: Trump says he's prepared to sign executive orders on coronavirus aid.
  4. Education: Cuomo says all New York schools can reopen for in-person learning.
  5. Public health: Surgeon general urges flu shots to prevent "double whammy" with coronavirus — Massachusetts pauses reopening after uptick in coronavirus cases.
  6. World: Africa records over 1 million coronavirus cases — Gates Foundation puts $150 million behind coronavirus vaccine production.

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Why it matters: That's the same night Joe Biden's running mate (to be revealed next week) will address the nation. Clinton and Warren represent two of the most influential wise-women of Democratic politics with the potential to turn out millions of establishment and progressive voters in November.

Trump considering order on pre-existing condition protections, which already exist

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President Trump announced on Friday he will pursue an executive order requiring insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions, something that is already law.

Why it matters: The Affordable Care Act already requires insurers to cover pre-existing conditions. The Trump administration is currently arguing in a case before the Supreme Court to strike down that very law — including its pre-existing condition protections.