US House Democrats Subpoena Pompeo for Documents in Trump Impeachment Inquiry
Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives have issued a subpoena to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for Ukraine-related documents as they continue their impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.
The heads of three House committees Friday gave Pompeo one week to produce the documents and also scheduled depositions for five State Department officials over the next two weeks.
The committees said they were investigating "the extent to which 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," according to a statement by the House Foreign Affairs, Intelligence and Oversight committees.
The House investigations were launched in response to a complaint from a whistleblower who alleged that Trump, in a July 25 phone call, sought help from the new president of Ukraine in digging up incriminating information about former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter that would hurt Biden's prospects of winning the Democratic presidential nomination and challenging Trump in 2020.
Earlier Friday, Trump called for the resignation of a key lawmaker who he said had misrepresented him during a congressional hearing.
Trump said Adam Schiff, the California Democrat who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, misrepresented him during a hearing Thursday on the administration's delay in submitting the whistleblower's complaint to Congress.
"He was supposedly reading the exact transcribed version of the call, but he completely changed the words to make it…sound horrible, and me sound guilty," Trump tweeted.
“Adam Schiff therefore lied to Congress and attempted to defraud the American Public,” Trump said. “I am calling for him to immediately resign from Congress based on this fraud!”
…sound horrible, and me sound guilty. HE WAS DESPERATE AND HE GOT CAUGHT. Adam Schiff therefore lied to Congress and attempted to defraud the American Public. He has been doing this for two years. I am calling for him to immediately resign from Congress based on this fraud!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 27, 2019
Speaking to reporters Friday afternoon, presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway said Schiff "made up an entire phone call yesterday" and accused him of being "a drama queen just trying to make up the whole story, a phone call that never happened."
In his opening of the Thursday hearing with the acting director of national intelligence, Schiff read what he emphasized was a parody of what the president said to the Ukraine leader during the call.
"We've been very good to your country, very good," Schiff said, portraying the president. "No other country has done as much as we have, but you know what? I don't see much reciprocity here. I hear what you want. I have a favor I want from you, though, and I'm gonna say this only seven times, so you better listen good — I want you to make up dirt on my political opponent, understand? Lots of it."
Schiff then said, "It would be funny if it wasn't such a graphic betrayal of the president's oath of office."
Schiff said that as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy tried to ingratiate himself with Trump during the call, Trump's response read "like a classic organized crime shakedown" and proceeded to describe his interpretation of Trump's remarks.
Meanwhile, in an interview Friday with MSNBC, Pelosi said Attorney General William Barr, the nation’s top law enforcement official, “had gone rogue” in his handling of the complaint.
A public readout of the July conversation disclosed by the White House this week shows Trump urged Zelenskiy to work with Barr and Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, to investigate Biden and his son.
Pelosi accused Barr of being part of a White House “cover-up” of the phone call. “I think where they’re going is a cover-up of a cover-up,” she said.
The whistleblower’s complaint also said the White House tried to “lock down” the information to prevent its public disclosure. Efforts to hide the information allegedly included the removal of the transcript of the call from the computer system that is typically used for such records of calls with foreign leaders and the insertion of it into a separate electronic system that is used only for classified information of an "especially sensitive nature."
The complaint noted that a White House official described that as an abuse of the secure system because there was nothing "remotely sensitive" on the phone call from a national security perspective.
The whistleblower noted that White House officials said this was "not the first time" the Trump administration had placed a presidential transcript into this “codeword-level system solely for the purpose of protecting politically sensitive — rather than national security sensitive — information."
On Thursday, before leaving New York where he attended the U.N. General Assembly, Trump told a crowd of staff from the U.S. Mission to the U.N. that he wanted to know who provided information to the whistleblower. He said that whoever did so was “close to a spy” and that “in the old days," spies were dealt with differently, according to The New York Times.