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Ukraine scandal: House panels subpoena Mike Pompeo

By
Nicholas Sakelaris & Danielle Haynes
Three House committees said U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo ignored a request for documents they sent earlier in the month. Photo by Monika Graff/UPI
Three House committees said U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo ignored a request for documents they sent earlier in the month. Photo by Monika Graff/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 27 (UPI) -- Three House committees subpoenaed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday, requesting he produce documents related to reports President Donald Trump pressed Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden.

The chairmen of the House committees on foreign affairs, oversight and reform, and intelligence signed a letter sent to Pompeo on Monday. They called for a response by Thursday, a deadline which has passed.

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The letter says the lawmakers asked for the documents on Sept. 9 with a deadline of Sept. 16.

"To date, the State Department has failed to comply in any way with the Committees' request and has not even sent a formal reply," the letter read. "Instead on September 20 -- four days after the deadline for producing the documents -- State Department staff sent an email claiming that they were still reviewing our requests, without giving any indication of when -- or whether -- the Department will produce the documents."

RELATED In Ukraine, Donald Trump impeachment controversy is unwanted distraction

The letter accuses Trump of "seeking to enlist a foreign actor to interfere with an American election." The subpoena came amid a week of revelations that Trump urged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a phone call to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, who worked for a Ukrainian gas company for five years.

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced an official impeachment investigation this week after Trump acknowledged he'd withheld military aid to Ukraine. The aid was ultimately granted, but House Democrats want to know whether there was any connection to the aid and Trump's asking Zelensky to investigate the Bidens.

Pelosi accused U.S. Attorney General William Barr Friday of going "rogue" to protect Trump over his phone call.

RELATED Whistle-blower complaint shows concern Trump abused power to 'solicit interference'

The California Democrat's words follow a release of a complaint about the call and other actions Thursday, which was submitted by an unidentified intelligence official to Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson. Atkinson turned it over to acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire.

Barr is mentioned several times in the July 25 phone call, as is Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani. The complaint says White House officials were concerned enough that they attempted to "lock down" the record of the call.

"[Barr has] gone rogue," Pelosi told MSNBC Friday. "I think where they're going is a coverup of a coverup. I think it's sad, to have a Justice Department go so rogue. Well, they have been for a while. And now it just makes matters worse."

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RELATED Phone call shows Trump urged Ukrainian leader to investigate Biden's son

Also Friday, nearly 300 former U.S. foreign policy and national security officials signed a letter supporting the impeachment investigation. The coalition said Trump's actions constitute a "profound national security concern."

"We applaud those members of Congress, including Speaker Pelosi, who have started us down that necessary path," the letter states. "President Trump appears to have leveraged the authority and resources of the highest office in the land to invite additional foreign interference into our democratic process. That would constitute an unconscionable abuse of power.

"It would also represent an effort to subordinate America's national interests -- and those of our closest allies and partners -- to the president's personal political interest."

Trump has denied there was any impropriety with the phone call. Friday, he denounced the complainant and again said the call with Zelensky was a "perfect conversation"

"Sounding more and more like the so-called whistle-blower isn't a whistle-blower at all," he tweeted. "In addition, all second-hand information that proved to be so inaccurate that there may not have been somebody else, a leaker or spy, feeding it to him or her? A partisan operative?"

Vice President Mike Pence also had interactions with Ukrainian leaders, the whistle-blower complaint shows, and he met with Zelensky in Poland earlier this month. He said neither former Vice President Joe Biden or Hunter Biden were discussed.

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