From the roof of a hotel in Jerusalem, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was beamed to television screens across the country Tuesday night as he defended the Trump administration’s foreign policy.

It was an unprecedented address from the country’s top diplomat, aired during a Republican National Convention already remarkable for being held at the White House amid a global pandemic. And, in the eyes of many viewers, Pompeo’s remarks were illegal—striking a number of legal observers as not just a violation of State Department policies but also of a law that broadly restricts federal employees from engaging in political activities in the course of their public work.

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