Washington, D.C. (Oct. 4, 2019)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, Rep. Adam Schiff, the Chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and Rep. Eliot L. Engel, the Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, sent a letter conveying a subpoena to White House Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney for key documents as part of the House of Representatives’ impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump.
In an extraordinary escalation of the impeachment battle, House Democrats on Friday subpoenaed the White House for a sweeping array of documents on President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine and demanded numerous additional records from Vice President Mike Pence.
The subpoena was the Democrats’ most aggressive step yet in the 10-day-old impeachment inquiry, and it came as Trump angrily insisted — at least 27 times in a 23-minute news conference — that he was only seeking to root out corruption when he pressed Ukraine to investigate his Democratic political opponents.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday warned that officials at his agency would not show up for scheduled depositions with House investigators, ramping up a heated battle with Democrats in their impeachment inquiry.
Democrats responded by arguing that Pompeo’s actions may constitute witness intimidation and obstruction of Congress’s investigation, which could be used as an argument for filing articles of impeachment.
Read the letter to Giuliani from the House Intelligence, Oversight and Reform, and Foreign Affairs committees below:
Democrats said they had also sent letters requesting documentary evidence and to schedule depositions in the coming two weeks with three associates of Mr. Giuliani: Lev Parnas, Igor Fruman and Semyon Kislin. They were signed by the chairmen of the House Intelligence Committee, in consultation with the House Foreign Affairs and Oversight and Reform Committees.
„Americans have demanded to hear directly from the Special Counsel so they can understand what he and his team examined, uncovered, and determined about Russia’s attack on our democracy, the Trump campaign’s acceptance and use of that help, and President Trump and his associates‘ obstruction of the investigation into that attack,“ House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler and House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff said in a joint statement.
House Democrats have used their majority power in a resolution authorizing the House Judiciary Committee to go to court to enforce subpoenas against the Trump administration. CNN’s Sunlen Serfaty has the details.
Donald Trump Jr. will testify Wednesday behind closed doors before the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee, Fox News has learned, as part of what the president has called an „unfair“ effort to subject his son to yet another interview on Russia-related matters.
Key allies who share intelligence with the United States could soon be dragged into the middle of Attorney General Bill Barr’s politically-charged Justice Department review of how the Russia investigation began.
President Donald Trump has said he wants Barr to look into the role key intelligence partners, including the United Kingdom and Australia, played in the origins of Russia probe.
The move marked an escalation in Trump’s efforts to „investigate the investigators,“ as he continues to try to undermine the findings of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe amid mounting Democratic calls to bring impeachment proceedings against Trump.
By CNN’s count, there are at least 35 House Democrats who’ve made public comments advocating at least for starting the impeachment inquiry process — while some have gone further.
House Democrats who have publicly state they at least support starting an impeachment inquiry:
Some legal experts have argued that there is a simple solution to this standoff: The legitimate legislative purpose could be easily satisfied by launching impeachment proceedings.
Trump ran away from Nancy Pelosi today… Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian, hosts of The Young Turks, break it down.
President Trump abruptly blew up a meeting with Democratic congressional leaders on Wednesday, declaring that he could not work with them until they stopped investigating him and lashing out at Speaker Nancy Pelosi for accusing him of a cover-up.
He then marched out into the Rose Garden, where reporters had been gathered, and delivered a statement bristling with anger as he demanded that Democrats “get these phony investigations over with.”
The House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday issued subpoenas to former White House officials Hope Hicks and Annie Donaldson for documents and testimony, setting the stage for another clash with the White House over former officials appearing before Congress.
The committee issued the subpoenas to Hicks and Donaldson as part of their sweeping investigation into possible obstruction of justice, corruption and abuse of power.
“You present them with everything, and you give them a recommendation, and nothing happens,” said Tammy McFadden, a former Deutsche Bank anti-money laundering specialist who reviewed some of the transactions. “It’s the D.B. way. They are prone to discounting everything.”
Ms. McFadden said she was terminated last year after she raised concerns about the bank’s practices.
“All I hear from my constituents is that we’ve got to get rid of this president — that’s basically all I hear,” said Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.), chairman of the House Budget Committee, who warned of the political risk if the Democrats’ investigations don’t produce some public results in the next few months.
“If we get to the fall and nothing’s happened, and no report has been issued and no referrals have been made, then we risk demoralizing all of our people who are pushing us very hard to take action against the administration,” Yarmuth said.
The committee’s 24-16 contempt vote, taken after hours of debate that featured apocalyptic language about the future of American democracy, marked the first time that the House has taken official action to punish a government official or witness amid a standoff between the legislative and executive branch.
Attorney General William Barr has previously told Congress that he has no objection to Mueller, who is technically a Justice Department employee, testifying before lawmakers. Peter Carr, the special counsel’s spokesman, declined to comment on the president’s tweet.
Because the current Congress has not authorized an impeachment inquiry, the ability of the House to enforce its subpoenas or to punish Barr is sharply circumscribed. History affords Congress maximum power only when it is investigating a possible impeachment. The 1974 staff report bluntly stated, “The Supreme Court has contrasted the broad scope of the inquiry power of the House in impeachment proceedings with its more confined scope in legislative investigations.”
Barr skipped the House Judiciary Committee hearing because he objected to Democratic demands that their staff counsel be able to question him.
Democrats went forward with the theater of the hearing anyway, setting up an empty chair for the absent attorney general.
In this new case, Trump’s team says it couldn’t get access to details of the subpoenas through the House committees and instead learned about them through Deutsche Bank on April 17.
Trump’s attorneys say the chairs of the House Intelligence and Financial Services committees — Reps. Adam Schiff and Maxine Waters, both of whom are California Democrats — confirmed two banks received subpoenas from their committees for information related to Trump’s finances but have refused to provide copies of the subpoenas.
The Trump administration escalated its defiance of Congress on Wednesday, as the Justice Department refused to let an official testify on Capitol Hill and President Trump vowed to fight what he called a “ridiculous” subpoena ordering a former top aide to appear before lawmakers.
The bank is already the subject of a joint investigation between the House Financial Services and Intelligence committees into Trump’s businesses and money laundering.
Deutsche Bank has been one of the few big banks willing to lend to the Trump Organization in recent years.
That’s an outrageous and indefensible position. Congress has a fundamental constitutional role to play overseeing the executive branch; the president cannot simply announce that he will not be overseen, that his administration will not obey legitimate legal orders. He may be right about the political motives of some Democrats, but even so, a blanket declaration of noncompliance is extraordinarily irresponsible.
The two committees that issued the subpoena, the House’s Intelligence and Financial Services committees, also demanded documents from numerous other financial institutions, including JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Citigroup, related to possible money-laundering by people in Russia and Eastern Europe, according to three people with knowledge of the investigation.
A lower court last week upheld the subpoena after the company, which is owned by a foreign government, argued that it was immune from criminal proceedings under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act and that the subpoena was unenforceable because it would require “the Corporation” to violate “Country A’s” domestic law.
The immediate concern, according to the former CIA operative Glenn Carle, is that turning over information related to FISA records could compromise sources and methods.
„Congressional oversight is not operational control, it’s policy control,“ Carle said. „So it’s not really appropriate for an oversight body and its members to have detailed knowledge of sources and methods, because they are not trained in how to handle that.“
Trump’s legal team is bracing for the dramatic possibility that Mueller would subpoena the President, setting up a collision that could force a lengthy court fight and test the legal limits of the President’s power all the way up to the Supreme Court.