U.S House Democrats Subpoena Pompeo For Ukraine Documents

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives who are pursuing an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump forged ahead with their probe on Friday, issuing a subpoena to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for documents concerning contact with the Ukrainian government.



Following a whistleblower complaint that Trump, a Republican, solicited a political favour from Ukraine’s president that could help him get re-elected, the lawmakers are investigating concerns that Trump’s actions have jeopardized national security and the integrity of U.S. elections. The House Foreign Affairs, Intelligence and Oversight Committees also scheduled depositions for five State Department officials over the next two weeks, including Kurt Volker, Trump’s envoy to Ukraine. Volker resigned his post on Friday, according to sources familiar with the matter. The reason for Volker’s resignation was not immediately known. The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the subpoena or Volker’s resignation.

More than 300 former national security officials from both Republican and Democratic administrations on Friday endorsed the impeachment inquiry, saying they did not prejudge the outcome but wanted to know more facts. As the subpoena was announced, Trump’s re-election campaign said it would spend $10 million next week airing an ad called “Biden corruption” on television and websites that accuses Democrats of playing politics with the impeachment investigation.

A week before his call with Zelenskiy, Trump had ordered $400 million in military aid and foreign assistance for Ukraine to be put on hold. He lifted the freeze earlier this month. Trump denies he pressured Zelenskiy to do anything improper and said he was not using the aid as leverage, but wanted to make sure Ukraine was taking steps to address corruption. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Friday the freeze in aid to Ukraine had no impact on U.S. national security. “At this point most of the money is out the door,” Esper told reporters.

Esper said the Pentagon would provide whatever information it could to Congress about the incident. On Friday, the Pentagon’s inspector general - an internal watchdog - said it was reviewing a request from Democratic Senator Dick Durbin to investigate the hold. Democratic leaders of two House committees asked the White House Office of Management and Budget on Friday for a long list of written details and documents by Oct. 1 about the decision to withhold the aid, saying they were concerned the delay was an abuse of executive branch authority.

White House officials also defended the handling of records of the Trump-Zelenskiy call on Friday after the whistleblower complaint described how an electronic record had been moved from the computer server where such records are normally kept to one reserved for highly classified intelligence matters. The Washington Post, citing three former officials, reported late Friday that records of a 2017 Oval Office conversation Trump had with two Russian diplomats - in which he told them he was unconcerned about Moscow’s meddling in the U.S. election - was limited to a few officials in an attempt to keep his comments from being disclosed publicly.

White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway told reporters that procedures for handling records of Trump’s conversations with world leaders had changed early in his tenure. “Early on in our time here, his calls with the leaders of Mexico and Australia leaked and then his conversation with the Russian ambassador ... leaked,” Conway said. “My understanding is we changed some of the protocols then, in other words, in handling leader calls.”

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The sorry losers (democrats) took the bait, hook, line and sinker on the Ukraine telcon. SleepyCreepy Joe is out. Trump knows it's a slam dunk against Pocahontas. 


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