Oct 4, 2019

House Democrats ask what Mike Pence knew about Ukraine

Trump and Pence speak on Sept. 30 at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Virginia. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

House committees leading the impeachment inquiry against President Trump requested documents on Friday from Vice President Mike Pence to examine the extent of his participation in or knowledge of Trump's actions while he allegedly pressured the Ukrainian president to investigate Joe Biden and his son.

The big picture: The committees are requesting these documents by Oct. 15 — if Pence fails to comply, a subpoena will follow. Per Axios' reporting, the White House is planning to send Speaker Nancy Pelosi a letter arguing that Trump and his team can ignore lawmakers' demands until she holds a full House vote formally approving an impeachment inquiry.

Highlights of what the committees are requesting:

  • Documents relating to Trump's July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and the identity of who listened, participated in or reviewed the call.
  • Communications between current and former White House officials, Justice Department officials, and others on that phone call and other communication between Trump and Zelensky.
  • Documents relating to Pence's Sept. 18 call with Zelensky.

What they're saying: Katie Waldman, Pence's press secretary, confirmed to NBC News that the vice president's office received the letter on Friday and said that it did not appear to be a serious request, "given the scope" of it.

Go deeper: Trump letter dares Pelosi to hold vote on impeachment inquiry

Go deeper

House Democrats subpoena White House in impeachment inquiry

Mick Mulvaney. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

House committees leading the impeachment inquiry against President Trump subpoenaed acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney on Friday.

The big picture: This comes after nearly a month of White House refusals to comply with House investigations into whether Trump jeopardized national security by pressing Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 presidential election, and by withholding security assistance provided by Congress to help Ukraine, per the subpoena. The committees are demanding documents by Oct. 18.

Go deeperArrowOct 4, 2019

Pence tells House committees he will not cooperate in impeachment inquiry

Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The counsel for Vice President Mike Pence sent a letter to the chairmen of the House committees investigating President Trump and Ukraine on Tuesday informing them that he will not cooperate with a request for documents in their "self-proclaimed" impeachment inquiry.

Why it matters: This is in line with the White House's current stance of blanket noncooperation, which has prompted the House chairmen conducting the investigation to warn that defiance could be used as evidence of obstruction in a future article of impeachment. Some have speculated that Speaker Nancy Pelosi could call the White House's bluff and announce a full House vote authorizing the impeachment inquiry, daring the administration to continue to defy subpoenas and document requests.

Trey Gowdy agrees to serve as outside counsel for Trump

Trey Gowdy conducts a House Oversight and Government Reform committee hearing in 2018. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

President Trump has asked former South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy to assist him with legal advice from outside the White House and Gowdy has agreed, though details are yet to be finalized, according to people familiar with the situation.

Where it stands: As the president faces an impeachment inquiry, Gowdy can offer Trump another opinion on where legal theory meets political reality, a person familiar told Axios' Margaret Talev, adding that his Benghazi experience is seen as an asset. Gowdy is expected to advise the White House behind the scenes and appear on TV to advocate on behalf of the president.

Go deeperArrowOct 9, 2019