Oct 2, 2019

House chairs threaten White House subpoena in impeachment inquiry

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The chairs of the House Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs committees released a memo and draft subpoena on Wednesday that would compel the White House to turn over documents related to their impeachment inquiry into President Trump's alleged efforts to push Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden.

"The White House’s flagrant disregard of multiple voluntary requests for documents—combined with stark and urgent warnings from the Inspector General about the gravity of these allegations—have left us with no choice but to issue this subpoena."
— Chairs Adam Schiff, Elijah Cummings and Eliot Engel

The big picture: The committees are giving the White House until Friday to respond to a voluntary request for documents that was first submitted on Sept. 9. House Democrats are pursuing the impeachment inquiry on a rapid timeline, already having issued subpoenas to Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Between the lines: Immense pressure from House Democrats is part of what ultimately forced the White House to release a summary of Trump's now-infamous phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. It remains to be seen how the Trump administration will respond to the new wave of subpoenas, but Pompeo on Tuesday told the committees that he will not allow State Department officials to be "intimidated" into testifying.

  • In response, the chairs warned Pompeo that he was a witness in the investigation — since he has admitted to being on the Trump-Ukraine call — and that efforts to block testimony would be considered evidence of obstruction in the House's impeachment inquiry.

Read the draft subpoena:

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House chairmen suggest Pompeo conflict of interest

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The chairs of the House Foreign Affairs, Intelligence and Oversight committees said in a letter Tuesday that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo "appears to have an obvious conflict of interest" over President Trump's impeachment inquiry. And they warn that Pompeo may be in violation of the law if he tries to prevent staff from testifying.

Why it matters: The letter to Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan is the latest escalation in a war of words between Pompeo and these House committees probing the Trump administration's alleged efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate 2020 candidate Joe Biden.

Go deeperArrowOct 2, 2019

3 House committees subpoena Pentagon and Office of Management and Budget

OMB director and acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees on Monday subpoenaed the Department of Defense and the White House Office of Management and Budget for documents related to President Trump's efforts to push Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden.

The big picture: The impeachment committees are probing whether Trump froze U.S. military aid to Ukraine in order to pressure its government to investigate Biden and his son over unsubstantiated corruption allegations. The subpoena compels the two agencies to turn over documents by Oct. 15.

Go deeperArrowOct 7, 2019

House Democrats: White House blocking witnesses is obstruction

Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch at the U.S. Capitol on Oct. 11. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Following former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch's Friday testimony, the 3 House committees investigating President Trump and Ukraine said they subpoenaed the ambassador after the White House, through the State Department, directed her not to testify.

The big picture: The White House has refused to comply with House investigations into whether Trump jeopardized national security by allegedly pressing Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 presidential election, and by withholding security assistance provided by Congress to help Ukraine.

Go deeperArrowOct 11, 2019