WASHINGTON, D. C.: Democratic lawmakers demanded Friday (Saturday in Manila) that the White House turn over documents related to allegations that President Donald Trump pressured Ukraine for political favors, as the explosive impeachment investigation against the US leader intensified.
The congressional committees leading the probe cranked up the heat on the White House as evidence mounted that Trump illicitly used his office to enlist Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky’s help to damage 2020 Democratic rival Joe Biden in exchange for military aid.
“The White House has refused to engage with — or even respond to — multiple requests for documents from our Committees on a voluntary basis.
After nearly a month of stonewalling, it appears clear that the President has chosen the path of defiance, obstruction and cover-up,” the Democratic chairmen of the House oversight, Intelligence and Foreign Affairs Committees said in a statement.
“We deeply regret that President Trump has put us — and the nation — in this position, but his actions have left us with no choice but to issue this subpoena.”
The committees sent a letter to acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, demanding that he turn over the requested files by October 18.
The subpoena followed a broad demand earlier Friday for documents from Vice President Mike Pence.
The investigators pointed to Pence’s knowledge of Trump’s calls to Zelensky and his own meeting on September 1 with the Ukraine leader, as well as discussions he may have made with Trump and US diplomats about Ukraine and obtaining political dirt on Biden.
A series of text messages between US diplomats dealing with Ukraine supported Democratic accusations that Trump had illegally sought foreign help for his reelection effort.
And the Wall Street Journal reported that, in an interview, Republican Sen. Ron Johnson said he had learned that a quid pro quo had been proposed to Zelensky’s government by Trump’s emissaries, tying military aid to a Ukraine corruption investigation into Biden.
Trump pushed back hard, saying there was no quid pro quo and, in an effort to recast the entire saga, insisted it was his responsibility to investigate “corruption.”
“I don’t care about Biden’s campaign but I care about corruption,” he told reporters.
“I don’t care about politics,” he added. “I believe there was tremendous corruption with Biden.”