Subpoena to Pompeo adds to Trump woes
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.- AP
Washington - The committees are investigating the extent to which President Trump jeopardised national security.
US President Donald Trump survived the two-year Russia election meddling probe intact, but the revelation that he asked Ukraine to dig up dirt on potential 2020 election campaign rival Joe Biden has now exploded into a scandal threatening his presidency.
As more skeletons tumble out of the White House closet, Trump's special representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker resigned on Friday, after being named in a whistleblower complaint relating to the July 25 phone call with the Ukrainian president. House Democrats also subpoenaed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for Ukraine-related documents on Friday as they plunged into an impeachment probe of Trump.
The heads of three House committees gave Pompeo one week to produce the documents, saying a number of State Department officials have direct knowledge of Trump's efforts to enlist the Ukraine government's help in his domestic political campaign for reelection.
"The committees are investigating the extent to which President Trump jeopardised national security by pressing Ukraine to interfere with our 2020 election and by withholding security assistance provided by Congress to help Ukraine counter Russian aggression," they said.
"The subpoenaed documents shall be part of the impeachment inquiry and shared among the committees. Your failure or refusal to comply with the subpoena shall constitute evidence of obstruction of the House's impeachment inquiry," they wrote.
In another damning revelation, a former White House official said the White House severely restricted distribution of memos detailing Trump's calls with foreign leaders, including Russia's Vladimir Putin and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, in an effort to curtail the kind of leaks about such private conversations that had embarrassed him early in his tenure.
The clampdown was not an attempt to conceal improper discussions but rather keep distribution about the substance of the calls to a minimum in light of the leaked transcripts from the summer of 2017, according to the official. At that time, Trump was enraged by leaks that disclosed tough conversations with the leaders of Mexico and Australia on paying for the border wall and abiding by an Obama administration deal on asylum-seekers.