Democrats subpoena White House, Pence over Ukraine documents

Democrats subpoena White House, Pence over Ukraine documents

Pompeo objected last week to efforts by Democrats to obtain depositions from current and former department officials as part of the investigation into whether Trump pressured his Ukrainian counterpart for a probe of Biden and his son in a July 25 call. In their letter to acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, the committees demanded that he turn over the requested files by October 18.

The chairmen's 13 document requests also included any information about a White House meeting on May 24 that involved Kurt Volker, the special envoy to Ukraine at the time; Pence's September 18 call with Zelensky; and any information about the actual or potential withholding, freezing, or other actions of foreign assistance of any kind to Ukraine for fiscal year 2019.

Democrats have sent subpoenas both to Donald Trump at the White House and Vice-President Mike Pence, right, seeking documents to be provided to them in the next two weeks.

"Recently, public reports have raised questions about any role you may have played in conveying or reinforcing the president's stark message to the Ukrainian president", Messrs Cummings, Schiff and Engel wrote in a letter to Mr Pence. "I don't know", he said.

Trump's comments at the White House came shortly before Democrats sent a separate extensive request for documents to Vice President Mike Pence about his contacts with Ukraine. His office has dismissed the request, saying that given its wide scope "it does not appear to be a serious request".

Democratic Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi, a member of the Intelligence Committee, said he believed the whistleblower's identity should be kept secret even from members of the panel.

Most Republicans are standing squarely behind Mr Trump, though two Republican senators have spoken out against the president.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) answers questions with House Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Rep. Adam Shiff (D-CA) at the U.S. Capitol October 2, 2019 in Washington, DC.

Democrats have warned that the Trump administration's obstruction of the investigation is itself a potentially impeachable office. Republicans who control the Senate have shown little appetite for ousting Trump.

A cache of diplomatic texts Democrats received as part of their impeachment inquiry showed U.S. officials pressured the Ukrainian government to launch investigations that might benefit Mr Trump's personal political agenda in exchange for a meeting of the two countries' leaders.

The release followed a 10-hour interview with one of the diplomats, Kurt Volker, who stepped down as special envoy to Ukraine after the impeachment inquiry had begun.

Trump made this shift under duress, after newly released texts from concerned US diplomats in Ukraine directly undercut his denials that he was seeking a quid pro quo - USA aid for Ukraine's war with Russian-backed insurgents in exchange for dirt on a potential Democratic presidential nominee next year.

Mr Trump has said Mr Biden and his son are "corrupt" but has shown no evidence to back that up.

"When the only American citizen President Trump singles out for China's investigation is his political opponent in the midst of the Democratic nomination process, it strains credulity to suggest that it is anything other than politically motivated", Romney said on Twitter.

Mr Trump said on Friday he would not tie a much-anticipated trade deal with China to his desire for Beijing to investigate Joe Biden.

If the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives voted to impeach Mr Trump, there'd be a trial in the Senate.

He argued that nothing was wrong with his soliciting a foreign power to investigate a former USA vice president - who has not been accused by others of any wrongdoing - or with withholding congressionally approved US military aid or a promised visit to the White House to get his way. His campaign has blasted Mr Trump's efforts as desperate.

There has been no evidence of wrongdoing by Hunter Biden, who served on the board of the Ukrainian gas company Burisma until earlier this year.

The letter is expected to say the administration will not cooperate with the inquiry without that vote.

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