Congress: White House leaves us with 'no choice' but subpoena for Ukraine docs


Congress has already subpoenaed the State Department and Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani.

In response to "flagrant disregard" or previous requests for documents, three congressional committees issued a warning to the White House on Wednesday as the House continues its impeachment investigation.

"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," the Wednesday letter, authored by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), chair of the House Oversight Committee, stated. Cummings wrote the letter in coordination with two other committees, the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the House Intelligence Committee.

The committees are working together to investigate "the extent to which President 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, as well as any efforts to cover up these matters."

The subpoena warning follows three separate requests for documents sent during September. According to Cummings, the White House not only refused to provide any documents but refused to reply at all to the congressional requests.

The committee will issue the subpoena on Friday, Oct. 4, unless the White House complies before then.

At issue is Trump's July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. During the call, Trump allegedly asked Zelensky to dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden in an attempt to interfere in the 2020 election. Soliciting election interference from a foreign national is against the law.

If the subpoena moves forward, the White House would join the State Department and Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, in receiving subpoenas since the official impeachment inquiry started last week.

Trump has stonewalled congressional investigations ever since Democrats took control of the House of Representatives, following the 2018 election. Congressional authority to conduct oversight is laid out in the U.S. Constitution, Trump has routinely refused to cooperate with investigations and encouraged administration officials to ignore requests for information and demands to testify.

In July, the House took the rare step of voting to hold both Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt of Congress for their refusal to cooperate.

Prior to Democrats taking control of the House, Trump tried several times to obstruct special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into election interference in the 2016 election.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.