WASHINGTON (CN) – The impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump hurtled forward Tuesday as Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani said he would not comply with a subpoena for records demanded by House Democrats.
The subpoena from the chairmen of the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight and Reform Committees focuses on Giuliani’s involvement in the president’s efforts to have the Ukrainian government investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son.
In a phone call on July 25, Trump asked Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to coordinate with Giuliani on an investigation into Hunter Biden, shortly after the two leaders discussed Ukraine buying missiles from the United States. The call, and the whistleblower complaint that revealed it, became the tipping point that spurred Democratic leadership in the House to begin the impeachment inquiry.
The House committees gave Giuliani until Tuesday to respond to the subpoena.
On Tuesday morning, the former New York City mayor appeared unconcerned with the subpoena deadline, saying he planned to attend a Yankees game.
But later in the day, he confirmed via Twitter he would not comply with the request of an “illegitimate, unconstitutional and baseless impeachment inquiry.”
“At this time, I do not need a lawyer,” Giuliani added, referring to the news that he parted ways with attorney Jon Sale.
Giuliani’s flouting of the congressional deadline comes one day after he disclosed to Reuters that he was paid $500,000 for his work with Fraud Guarantee, the Florida-based management and security firm co-founded by recently indicted Ukrainian-American businessman Lev Parnas. Prosecutors allege Parnas and another business associate of Giuliani’s, Igor Fruman, violated campaign finance laws in a bid to influence U.S.-Ukraine relations.
Giuliani is also said to be under the microscope of federal prosecutors in New York, who are reportedly scrutinizing whether he violated lobbying laws and undermined the role of Marie Yovanovitch, the ousted U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.
House Democrats’ spotlight on Giuliani will likely intensify after Fiona Hill, an ex-White House aide, reportedly told lawmakers Monday that former National Security Adviser John Bolton described Giuliani in July as a “hand grenade who’s going to blow everybody up.” He also asked her to inform White House counsel that Giuliani was conducting a “rogue” operation in Ukraine, she said.
Bolton may soon be drawn directly into the probe as Democrats mull issuing a subpoena to him.
Though a formal subpoena has yet to be issued to Vice President Mike Pence, the House committees also asked him to turn over records related to the call between Trump and Zelensky by Tuesday. Lawmakers also want documents about Pence’s own visit with Zelensky in Poland last month.
If a subpoena is issued and Pence ignores it, lawmakers could either bring a legal challenge in court or hold a House vote holding the vice president in contempt.
Pence has already said he would not cooperate with an “unconstitutional” inquiry and that he will claim executive privilege over his communications with or involving President Trump.
Mark Rozell, a constitutional law expert and dean of George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government, said claiming executive privilege “weakens substantially” in the case of credible allegations of wrongdoing.