ADDS DETAILS THROUGHOUT
By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was subpoenaed Friday by three House committees for documents related to Ukraine as part of an impeachment investigation into President Donald Trump.
The House Foreign Affairs, Intelligence and Oversight committees demanded Pompeo produce the documents no later than Oct. 4.
"The subpoenaed documents shall be part of the impeachment inquiry and shared among the Committees. Your failure or refusal to comply with the subpoena shall constitute evidence of obstruction of the House’s impeachment inquiry,” the chairmen of the committees wrote in their letter to the top diplomat.
The chairmen said the documents were requested over two weeks ago and Pompeo had so far failed to produce them.
They further notified Pompeo in a separate letter that they have scheduled depositions for five State Department officials beginning Oct. 2.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi formally opened the impeachment investigation into Trump on Tuesday after resisting calls to do so. But she faced mounting pressure to launch the probe following revelations of a whistleblower complaint surrounding a July 25 call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Trump has repeatedly maintained that the call was "perfect" and denied any sort of wrongdoing took place.
The whistleblower's complaint was made public Thursday by the House Intelligence Committee.
In it, the individual alleges that White House lawyers scrambled to "lock down" records of the telephone conversation, in which Trump asked Zelensky to investigate leading Democratic candidate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, over the president’s so-far unsubstantiated claims of corruption.
The individual said in the nine-page complaint that he received information from "multiple U.S. government officials" alleging Trump was "using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election."
That included requests to Zelensky during the July 25 telephone call to investigate the Bidens.
Biden is the leading Democratic nominee heading into the 2020 presidential race, making him a clear political rival to the president.
In the ensuing days following the call, the whistleblower alleges the White House sought to reign in any records of the conversation, including a "word-for-word" transcript that normally accompanies calls made in the White House Situation Room.
Officials told the whistleblower that White House lawyers directed staffers to remove the electronic transcript of the call from the computer system where they are normally held and transfer it to another system on which classified information "of an especially sensitive nature" is normally stored.
The White House released a rough transcript of the call Wednesday, which it noted is not verbatim.
"I would like you to do us a favor," Trump said after Zelensky raised the issue of arms purchases from the U.S., according to the transcript.
"There's a lot of talk about Biden's son, that Biden stopped the prosecution, and a lot of people want to find out about that, so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great," Trump said.
"I will have Mr. Giuliani give you a call, and I am also going to have Attorney General Barr call, and we will get to the bottom of it. I'm sure you will figure it out."
Trump was referring to his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.
The whistleblower said multiple officials informed him that Giuliani then traveled to Spain around Aug. 2 to meet Zelensky aide Andriy Yermak as a "direct follow-up" to the July 25 call.