White House subpoenaed by Congress as Trump impeachment inquiry intensifies

06 Octobre, 2019, 02:43 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media caption Trump calls for China and Ukraine to investigate the Bidens

U.S. senator and former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said on Friday it was "wrong and appalling" for Trump to push other nations to investigate Biden.

A file photo from 2012 shows Mitt Romney shaking Donald Trump's hand during Mr Romney's push for the presidency.

"This is a fraud against the American people!" he tweeted. They said Pence may have played a role "conveying or reinforcing the President's stark message the Ukrainian President" and cited reports that said a member of Pence's staff may have been on the call between Trump and Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine's head, in July.

At the time, the Trump administration was withholding hundreds of millions in aid for Ukraine and Democrats said they suspect Trump was using us foreign policy and taxpayer money for his personal political gain. "I don't know", he said.

If this is what he's proven to have done, then yes: it's illegal to ask foreign entities for help winning a USA election.

Fighting the inquiry, the White House was expected to send a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arguing that Congress could not mount its impeachment investigation without first having a vote to authorize it.

The Ukrainians "were completely freaking out about how they could avoid getting completely sucked into USA domestic politics and how they could shift the focus back to the legitimate agenda and no one could tell them what to do".

"After almost a month of stonewalling, it appears clear that the president has chosen the path of defiance, obstruction, and cover-up", the committee chairmen wrote. If he fails or refuses, the chairmen wrote, that "shall constitute evidence of obstruction of the House's impeachment inquiry and may be used as an adverse inference against you and the President". Trump has called the impeachment investigation a "hoax" and accused the media and Democrats of corruption.

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 had with Trump and U.S. diplomats about Ukraine and obtaining political dirt on Biden.

"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", said Representatives Elijah Cummings of the Oversight Committee, Adam Schiff of the Intelligence Committee and Eliot Engel of the Foreign Affairs Committee.

The three said they were forced to issue the subpoena after the White House failed to produce documents they requested in a 9 September letter.

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The White House has planned to send a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., arguing that Congress can not undertake an impeachment investigation without first having a vote to authorize it.

In announcing that the House was beginning the investigation, Pelosi did not seek the consent of the full chamber, as was done for impeachment investigations into former presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton.

But it is underway, and at a rapidly escalating pace.

Democrats have also sent an extensive request for information to Vice President Mike Pence about his contacts with Ukraine.

A spokeswoman for Mr Pence said the broad nature of the request showed that it was not "serious".

The House has also subpoenaed US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. "We will obviously do all the things we are required to by law", Pompeo said in a news conference in Greece.

U.S. President Donald Trump, in his latest remarks explaining his requests to foreign governments to investigate his political opponents, is asserting he has a constitutional duty to fight corruption.

Kurt Volker, who resigned last week as Trump's special envoy to Ukraine, gave the messages to the House committees in a closed-door meeting on Thursday, and the chairmen released them later in the day.

The impeachment inquiry stems from the call, which was flagged up by a whistleblower in August.

Trump repeated on Friday that he was pressing Ukraine to investigate corruption, not trying to undermine Biden, who could be his 2020 presidential election opponent. Trump also publicly called on China to investigate the Biden family.

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