Trump impeachment acquittal leaves diplomats bracing for impact

Unburdened by impeachment, they fear that Trump could unleash on the foreign policy establishment he’s long equated with what some of his advisers and supporters call the “Deep State.”

The retaliation could come in any number of forms, according to numerous State Department staff who discussed their concerns about what comes next on condition of anonymity: firings or transfers, or the slashing of staff or budgets. Some fret that Secretary of State Michael Pompeo — who throughout the impeachment process repeatedly declined to defend beleaguered department officials publicly — won’t shield them.

“Active-duty officers are scared of word getting out and then facing retribution, not just from the president but also from political ambassadors,” said Lewis Lukens, the former deputy envoy in London who was removed last year by Trump’s choice to lead the embassy there, New York Jets owner Woody Johnson. “The president’s acquittal will reinforce in his mind that he can get rid of career people, not just at State, who he thinks are blocking or slow-rolling his agenda.”