By VOA News
Three House leaders are demanding Secretary of State Mike Pompeo start turning over all documents related to the Trump-Ukraine telephone call by Thursday or face subpoenas.
The Democratic chairmen of the House Foreign Affairs, Intelligence, and Oversight committees — Elliot Engel, Adam Schiff, and Elijah Cummings — say they first made their demand in a letter to the State Department two weeks ago.
The chairmen say the State Department has admitted that a senior Pompeo staffer directly helped set up meetings between U.S. President Donald Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and Ukrainian officials days after Trump’s telephone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
Trump has admitted he and Zelenskiy talked about corruption and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden during their July 25 telephone call.
The three chairmen say according to press reports, Giuliani personally briefed two top State Department officials about his meeting.
They want Pompeo to let them know by Thursday if he will comply with their demand for documents before subpoenas are served.
«By withholding these documents and refusing to engage with the committees, the Trump Administration is obstructing Congress’ oversight duty under the Constitution to protect our nation’s democratic process,» they wrote.
A Wall Street Journal report says Trump urged Zelenskiy eight times to investigate Biden and his son Hunter, and whether a Ukrainian gas company tried to win favors by hiring Hunter while Joe Biden was vice president. The reports say Trump was looking to get Zelenskiy to collaborate with Giuliani, in an apparent effort to dig up dirt on the Bidens.
Biden has been the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination even before he declared his candidacy and could face off against Trump in November 2020.
If the Wall Street Journal report is true, that would be a direct appeal to a foreign government to interfere in a presidential election — a potentially impeachable offense. Democrats also want to know if Trump promised Zelenskiy anything in return for an investigation of Biden, including the August release of $250 million in military aid to Ukraine which Trump froze earlier this year.
«Such corrupt use of presidential power for the president’s personal political interest, and not for national interest, is a betrayal of the president’s oath of office and cannot go unchecked,» the three congressional chairmen wrote.
Trump dismissed the Democratic drumbeat for impeachment Monday, saying he does not take such threats «at all seriously.» He insisted his call with Zelenskiy was a «very nice call,» congratulating him on becoming Ukrainian president.