Pompeo Subpoenaed Over Ukraine Documents by House Committee

By Janita Kan
Janita Kan
Janita Kan
Janita Kan is a reporter based in New York covering the Justice Department, courts, and First Amendment.
September 27, 2019 Updated: September 27, 2019

A House committee issued a subpoena on Sept. 27 to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in order to compel him to provide documents relating to the Trump administration’s dealings with the Ukraine government.

Although the House is scheduled for a two-week recess, House Intelligence Committee members told Politico earlier in the day that they will be staying in Washington to work on the inquiry. This comes after Democrats and progressive groups called on the House leadership to cancel the congressional break.

The subpoena was issued by the House Foreign Affairs Committee after consultations with the Oversight and Reform Committee as well as the Intelligence Committee, according to a letter dated Sept. 27 sent to Pompeo (pdf) that was signed by the chairmen of all three committees.

The three Committees also scheduled depositions for five State Department officials over the next two weeks (pdf). The depositions will be conducted jointly by the three committees.

They include: former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch on Oct. 2; Ambassador Kurt Volker, the U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine, on Oct. 3; Deputy Assistant Secretary George Kent on Oct. 7; Counselor Ulrich Brechbuhl on Oct. 8; and Ambassador Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, on Oct. 10.

The chairmen of the three committees warned Pompeo in their letter that a failure to comply with the subpoena constitutes “evidence of obstruction of the House’s impeachment inquiry.”

They also said the State Department had missed a Thursday deadline to provide documents and information about contacts with Ukrainian officials, as well as details about a July phone conversation between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The State Department did not immediately respond to our request for comment.

Pelosi announced on Tuesday that the House is “moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry,” alleging that Trump “seriously violated the Constitution,” over reports of an anonymous whistleblower complaint that accuses the president of misconduct during his call with Zelensky.

During her speech, Pelosi alleged that Trump’s presidency “revealed dishonorable facts of the president’s betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of national security, and betrayal of the integrity of our elections.”

House Democrats claimed that Trump had pressured Ukraine to launch an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and that such a request was inappropriate since Biden was officially running for president at the time of the call. Pelosi noted that the request did not need to feature a quid pro quo in order to be inappropriate.

The transcript of the call was released hours after Pelosi made the announcement. It revealed that although Trump had asked Zelensky to look into Biden’s dealing with Ukraine, and his son, Hunter, he did not pressure the Ukrainian leader to compel him from carrying out the request.

Meanwhile, Pelosi was subsequently criticized for making the announcement prior to reviewing the documents.

The handling of the complaint sparked controversy on Capitol Hill after the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) failed to comply with demands from the House Intelligence committee to hand over the complaint to Congress. The complaint has also been released to the public this week.

The DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel released an opinion (pdf) that found that Joseph Maguire, acting director of the DNI, did not have to send the complaint to Congress. Moreover, the inspector general also found “some indicia of an arguable political bias on the part of the Complainant in favor of a rival political candidate.”

Trump has repeatedly denied acting improperly in calls with any foreign leaders. After Pelosi’s announcement, he called the inquiry another “witch hunt” and said Democrats were driven by “hatred and fear.”

“There has been no President in the history of our Country who has been treated so badly as I have. The Democrats are frozen with hatred and fear. They get nothing done. This should never be allowed to happen to another President. Witch Hunt!” he said in a Tweet on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Trump had ordered $400 million in military aid and foreign assistance for Ukraine to be put on hold a week before the call, and lifted the freeze earlier this month. He confirmed that he had delayed the aid in his remarks at the United Nations on Sept. 24, saying that it was due to issues of corruption and to urge European nations to contribute to Ukraine.

Epoch Times reporter Ivan Pentchoukov and Reuters contributed to this report.

Update: A previous version of the story incorrectly stated the number of House committees that issued the subpoena. According to the Sept. 27 letter, the House Foreign Affairs Committee issued the subpoena after consultation with the other two committees. The Epoch Times regrets the error.

Janita Kan
Janita Kan
Janita Kan is a reporter based in New York covering the Justice Department, courts, and First Amendment.