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Democrats threaten to subpoena White House for Ukraine docs


House Democrats are threatening to subpoena the White House for documents on President Trump's dealings with Ukraine as part of their impeachment inquiry, with three House panels signaling Wednesday they plan to move forward with the effort unless they get the material.

“Over the past several weeks, the Committees tried several times to obtain voluntary compliance with our requests for documents, but the White House has refused to engage with—or even respond to—the Committees,” reads a memo from House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.).

The subpoena will be issued on Friday if the White House does not comply with document requests.

“The White House’s flagrant disregard of multiple voluntary requests for documents —combined with stark and urgent warnings from the Inspector General about the gravity of these allegations — have left us with no choice but to issue this subpoena,” the memo states.

It's the third subpoena unveiled in recent days by the three House committees jointly leading the impeachment inquiry: Oversight, Intelligence and Foreign Affairs.

The committees first issued a subpoena to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for documents late last week. And on Monday, the committees subpoenaed Rudy Giuliani, the president's personal lawyer, for communications documenting his involvement in urging Ukrainian officials to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.

The committee chairmen have been pursuing documents from the White House regarding the effort to press Ukraine to pursue an investigation to undermine a potential 2020 presidential rival for weeks, to no avail.

The White House last week released a rough transcript of a July 25 call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. During that call, Trump brought up the Bidens and said that he would tell Giuliani and Attorney General William Barr to contact Zelensky about pursuing an investigation.

Democrats are demanding all recordings, transcripts, notes and preparatory memos regarding Trump's July 25 call with Zelensky as well as another call from April shortly after the Ukrainian leader won election.

The lawmakers are also asking for "the identity of all individuals who listened to, participated in, assisted in preparation for, transcribed, took notes during, or received information" about the two calls.

In addition, the lawmakers are requesting records of all meetings and communications between current and former White House officials, including Trump, as well as Giuliani.

The whistleblower complaint filed over Trump's July call with Zelensky stated that senior White House officials moved to "lock down" all records of the call, including removing the transcript from the computer system where it would be typically stored to a separate, restricted electronic system used to handle particularly sensitive classified information.

Accordingly, Democrats are seeking documents related to efforts to restrict access to records of the phone call.

They also are demanding documentation of efforts by current or former White House officials to identify or retaliate against the whistleblower, who filed their complaint in August.

Trump and his allies have publicly attacked the whistleblower and demanded to know the person's identity.

"[W]hy aren’t we entitled to interview & learn everything about the Whistleblower, and also the person who gave all of the false information to him. This is simply about a phone conversation that could not have been nicer, warmer, or better. No pressure at all (as confirmed by  Ukrainian Pres.). It is just another Democrat Hoax!" Trump tweeted on Tuesday.

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