House Democrats Subpoena White House as Part of Impeachment Inquiry

White House

House Democrats investigating
the role of White House officials in pressuring their Ukrainian counterparts to do
political propaganda work
for Donald Trump have sent a subpoena letter to
the White House’s acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney.

The letter was sent on Friday by House Oversight Committee
Chairman Elijah Cummings on behalf of his committee, along with House Foreign
Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel, and House Intelligence Committee
Chairman Adam Schiff, who has been leading the Democrats’ efforts in the House
to impeach Trump.

The subpoena requires Mulvaney, who allegedly implemented
Trump’s order to temporarily freeze military aid to Ukraine, and other White
House officials to turn over documents related to the Ukraine investigation by
Oct. 18. Failure to do so, the letter states, “shall constitute evidence of
obstruction of the House’s impeachment inquiry…”

Among the documents
lawmakers seek
are all records relating to the Ukraine scandal, as well as the
president’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, the president’s imprisoned former
campaign manager, Paul Manafort, correspondence about investigations into Joe
Biden’s son, Hunter, and other related information.

House Democratic leaders had given White House counsel Pat
Cipollone until Sept. 16 to turn over these documents, and they had ordered
White House staff to preserve all related documents and transcripts. But according
to lawmakers, White House officials ignored that request.

The House committee chairs wrote
again on Sept. 24
seeking the same documents, and urging the White House to
take steps to protect the identity of the whistleblower who denounced a July 25
phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. That
whistleblower complaint prompted Congress’ ongoing impeachment inquiry.

White House officials apparently ignored that letter, too.
In both cases, the Trump White House did not even acknowledge receiving the letters from Congress.

“The Committees are investigating the extent to which
President Trump jeopardized national security by pressing Ukraine to interfere
with our 2020 election and by withholding security assistance provided by
Congress to help Ukraine counter Russian aggression, as well as any efforts to
cover up these matters,” the letter to Mulvaney states.

It also addresses one of the latest defense strategies by
Trump and his Republican sycophants: the claim that Trump administration
officials don’t have to respond to document requests and subpoenas from
Congress until the House holds
a full vote on impeachment on the floor

“A vote of the full House is not required to launch an
impeachment inquiry, and there is no authority for the White House to make this
claim. There is no such requirement in the Constitution or in the House rules,”
Cummings wrote.

That is similar to what House
Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Friday.

“We may decide to do it,” Pelosi told reporters on Friday,
referring to a full House vote, “but it has nothing to do with the president
saying what he’s saying.”

The letter from lawmakers concluded: “We deeply regret that
President Trump has put us—and the nation—in this position, but his actions
have left us with no choice but to issue this subpoena.”

House committee leaders on Friday also sought more documents
from Vice President Mike Pence, who is increasingly under scrutiny for his role
in the Ukraine scandal.

In a separate
from Engel, Cummings, and Schiff, the lawmakers set an Oct. 15
deadline for Pence to turn over the related documents.

They wrote:

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. The reports include specific references to
a member of your staff who may have participated directly in the July 25, 2019,
call, documents you may have obtained or reviewed, including the record of the
call, and your September 1, 2019, meeting with the Ukrainian President in
Warsaw, during which you reportedly discussed the Administration’s hold on U.S.
security assistance to Ukraine.

To date, Pence isn’t wavering in terms of his support for
Trump. And members of Pence’s staff appear to be stonewalling Congress’
document requests.

“Given the scope, it does not appear to be a serious request
but just another attempt by the Do Nothing Democrats to call attention to their
partisan impeachment,” Pence’s press secretary, Katie Waldman, tweeted in
response to Congress’ letter.

That statement was similar to a response to the subpoena by White
House press secretary Stephanie Grisham, who said
in a statement on Friday
that, “This subpoena changes nothing – just more
document requests, wasted time, and taxpayer dollars that will ultimately show
the President did nothing wrong.”

She added: “The Do Nothing Democrats can continue with their
kangaroo court while the President and his Administration will continue to work
on behalf of the American people.”

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