House Panels Demand Pompeo Turn Over Ukraine Records

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo listens Thursday during an event hosted by the Department of State’s Energy Resources Governance Initiative in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

WASHINGTON (CN) – The chairmen of three House committees subpoenaed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday for documents related to President Donald Trump’s communications with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, which is at the center of the chamber’s impeachment inquiry.

As a part of the probe, chairmen of the House Intelligence Committee, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and House Oversight Committee issued a joint letter to Pompeo notifying him that a subpoena has been submitted and he has until Oct. 4 to hand over a long series of requested documents.

The Democratic lawmakers – Congressmen Adam Schiff of California, Eliot Engel of New York and Elijah Cummings of Maryland – want to review and investigate records they say are at the heart of the Trump’s attempt to pressure Zelensky to interfere in the 2020 U.S. election by investigating former Vice President Joe Biden’s son or face a freeze on military aid from the U.S.

“Your failure or refusal to comply with the subpoena shall constitute evidence of obstruction of the House’s impeachment inquiry,” Friday’s four-page letter states.

The committees have for weeks tried to get access to records at the State Department. A request sent to Pompeo on Sept. 9 zeroed in on a growing number of media reports indicating  Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani was operating “outside legitimate law enforcement and diplomatic channels” by coercing officials in the Ukrainian government to conduct politically motivated investigations under the guise of anti-corruption activities, according to that letter.

Friday’s subpoena seeks documents mentioning former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, Biden’s son Hunter Biden, the Ukrainian natural gas firm Burisma Holdings where the younger Biden served on the board, or the former Ukrainian prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko, plus a full list of State Department officials who participated in Trump’s July 25 call with Zelensky.

The request also includes a list of all current and former department employees or contractors who may have access to records related to Giuliani’s contact with Ukraine officials and any information on the department’s records preservation protocol.

In addition to the subpoena, five State Department officials are also expected to be deposed by the committees between Oct. 2 and 10, including Ambassadors Marie Yovanovitch, Gordon Sondland and Kurt Volker as well as Deputy Assistant Secretary George Kent and Counselor Ulrich Brechbuhl.

Interviews with each official have been requested within the last month but the department has ignored the committees’ letters.

“Your actions are all the more troubling given that since our September 13 request, it has become clear that multiple State Department officials have direct knowledge of the subject matters of the House’s impeachment inquiry,” the chairmen wrote in Friday’s letter.

The State Department did not immediately return a request for comment Friday.

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