Democratic lawmakers issued a subpoena for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and five other State Department officials as they continue to pursue an impeachment inquiry against President Trump for a phone call he had with the Ukrainian president.
Pompeo is being roped into the debacle for his proximity to the president and his capacity as a lead foreign diplomat at the State Department.
“The subpoenas are for documents related to the State Department’s role in facilitating [Trump attorney Rudy] Giuliani, including communications with him and records around Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in July,” ABC News reports. “That call and the White House’s decision to withhold $400 million of U.S. military assistance to Ukraine are at the heart of a whistleblower complaint that has roiled Washington and sparked House Democrats to begin impeachment proceedings.”
According to the report, three Democratic committee chairmen announced the subpoenas in a joint statement which gave Pompeo and company until October 4th to comply.
“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,” Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot L. Engel, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, and House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah E. Cummings said in the announcement per the Daily Caller.
Failure to answer the subpoena would “constitute evidence of obstruction of the House’s impeachment inquiry,” they added.
Pompeo responded to the inquiry and the president’s phone call as completely legal and acted within the goal to “to tighten our relationship [and] to help end corruption in Ukraine.”
“To the best of my knowledge, so from what I’ve seen so far, each of the actions that were undertaken by State Department officials was entirely appropriate and consistent with the objective that we’ve had,” the secretary of state said per ABC News.
Here’s more from the report:
The committees also notified Pompeo that they’d scheduled depositions in the coming weeks for five senior State Department officials, all of whom have become embroiled in the investigation.
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Giuliani has spent months now trying to pressure Zelenskiy’s government to investigate unfounded allegations of corruption by former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, and of election interference against Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign by Ukrainian officials, accused of leaking details about then-campaign manager Paul Manafort and his work for the corrupt Russian-backed oligarch who once led Ukraine.
In particular, House Democrats alleged that Trump withheld $400 million of military aid from the Pentagon and State Department, including light arms, maritime security equipment and special ops gear, a week before the call to pressure Zelenskiy.
And, per the Daily Caller:
Trump has denied saying anything wrong in the call, a transcript of which the White House released on Wednesday. In a 30-minute chat, Trump and Zelensky discussed a broad array of topics, including Zelensky’s recent election win, U.S. support for Ukraine, and an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.
Trump brought up allegations that originated with his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, that as vice president in 2016, Joe Biden forced Ukraine’s president at the time to fire a prosecutor who was investigating a company affiliated with Hunter Biden.