Washington: House Democrats has issued a subpoena to the White House seeking documents related to President Donald Trump’s interactions with the Ukrainian leadership, ratcheting up the Democratic impeachment inquiry into Trump.
The subpoena from House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings was issued on Friday in consultation with the House Intelligence and Foreign Affairs Committees, reports Xinhua news agency.
In a letter to Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, Cummings, Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff and Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel ordered that the documents should be produced by October 18.
“Your failure or refusal to comply with the request, including at the direction or behest of the President or others at the White House, shall constitute evidence of obstruction of justice of the House’s impeachment inquiry and may be used as an adverse inference against you and the President,” the Chairmen warned Mulvaney.
The action is part of the ongoing impeachment inquiry into Trump stemming from a whistleblower complaint alleging that he pressured his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky, during a July 25 phone call to investigate former Vice President and 2020 Democratic candidate Joe Biden, as well as issues related to alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election.
“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,” Cummings added in the letter.
The subpoena also includes a request for a host of documents and communications tied to the holding up of foreign aid to Ukraine and efforts by Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and his associates to push the Ukrainians to investigate Biden and Burisma, the company that hired his son Hunter to be on its board, according to a memo Cummings sent on the subpoena earlier this week.
In a memo on Wednesday, Cummings had notified committee members of the intent to subpoena the White House, citing the reason that it had refused to engage with — or even respond to the three committees’ several efforts in the past to obtain voluntary compliance with our requests for documents.
The subpoena came after the three committees separately sent a letter earlier on Friday seeking documents from Vice President Mike Pence as part of their investigation into the Trump-Zelensky conversation.
Meanwhile, Trump said he would leave it to his lawyers to decide whether to comply with the subpoena.
The President told reporters earlier Friday that he would issue a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who announced the impeachment inquiry on September 24, in response to Congress’ request for documents.
White House lawyers were reportedly drafting a letter saying they could not be compelled to produce documents until the full House voted to open an impeachment inquiry.