Jan 22, 2020

BuzzFeed: Pompeo to meet with Ukraine's Zelensky next week

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel to Ukraine on Jan. 31 to meet with President Volodymyr Zelensky, BuzzFeed News reported Wednesday, citing three diplomatic sources with knowledge of Pompeo's schedule.

Why it matters: It's the first time a member of the U.S. cabinet will meet Zelensky since the House voted to impeach President Trump on charges that he sought to pressure his Ukrainian counterpart to announce investigations into his political rivals.

  • Trump and Zelensky met personally at the United Nations in September, a day after Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that the House would begin an impeachment inquiry.
  • The meeting between Pompeo and Zelensky will almost certainly take place at the same as the Senate impeachment trial.

The big picture: It is not clear what the pair will discuss, but sources described the meeting as "substantive and not simply a drop-in," BuzzFeed reports. The meeting would mark a show of support for Ukraine as Zelensky continues to seek an end to the country's six-year war with Russia.

  • The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Go deeper: Ukraine, Russian-backed rebels swap prisoners in step toward ending war

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Virginia governor announces removal of Richmond's Robert E. Lee statue

Photo: Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced on Thursday that the state will remove the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from Richmond's historic Monument Avenue.

Why it matters: It's a watershed moment for Virginia, which has been at the center of a years-long national debate about whether Confederate monuments should be displayed publicly. That discussion reached a boiling point when protests about a statue of Lee in Charlottesville turned violent in 2017.

RNC expands convention search across the Sun Belt

Donald Trump, Mike Pence and their families on the last night of the Republican National Convention in Ohio in 2016. Photo: David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images.

The Republican National Committee is planning site visits over the next 10 days to more than a half-dozen cities — across the South and into Texas and Arizona — as it scrambles for a new convention host, people familiar with the internal discussions tell Axios.

Driving the news: The RNC's executive committee voted Wednesday night to allow most of the convention to move — with only a smaller, official portion remaining in Charlotte — after North Carolina's governor said the coronavirus pandemic would mean a scaled-back event with social distancing and face coverings.

Oil faces tough road back from coronavirus

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Oil companies in the battered shale patch are starting to bring back some production as prices climb, but a new report underscores how the pandemic is taking a heavy financial toll despite signs of revival.

Driving the news: Fourteen North American producers have filed for bankruptcy thus far during the second quarter, per a tally from the law firm Haynes and Boone, which closely tracks the sector's finances.