The Trump administration plunged further into crisis on Friday, a day after the release of the whistle-blower complaint at the heart of the Ukraine scandal revealed a White House cover-up and a sweeping conspiracy involving Rudy Giuliani and, at least tangentially, William Barr.
The House Intelligence Committee is set to call both men to testify in an impeachment inquiry, according to CNN, a testament to Michael Cohen’s warnings from February, when he cautioned Republicans and Trump allies that if they weren’t careful, they’d end up like him before it was all said and done.
Meanwhile, Mike Pompeo has been subpoenaed. “Pursuant to the House of Representatives’ impeachment inquiry, we are hereby transmitting a subpoena that compels you to produce the documents set forth in the accompanying schedule by October 4, 2019”, Eliot Engel, Elijah Cummings and Adam Schiff wrote in a letter to America’s top diplomat, embedded in full below.
The list of documents the committee chairs are after is long. As a reminder, this document request was made weeks ago, prior to the Ukraine situation spiraling out of control. Pompeo refused to produce them. Now we know why.
In addition, Engel, Cummings and Schiff have scheduled depositions for five State Department officials over the next two weeks including Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, who Trump maligned on the phone call with Volodymyr Zelensky, and who featured in the whistle-blower compliant.
In addition to Yovanovitch, depositions have been scheduled for Kurt Volker, George Kent, Ulrich Brechbuhl and Gordon Sondland. Sondland and Volker were also central characters in the complaint.
That’s hardly the end of it. Reps. John Yarmuth and Nita Lowey – who head the House Budget and Appropriations committees – are asking the White House to turn over documents related to the Office of Management and Budget’s involvement in the decision to withhold the $400 million in military aid to Ukraine that Trump allegedly used as leverage to compel Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden and other matters seen as beneficial to the president’s reelection bid.
The Pentagon says it will give House Democrats “whatever information” it can on why the aid was delayed. “We will provide to Congress and whomever whatever information we can provide with regard to this incident, just–with regard to this matter, just as we would with any other matter”, a flustered Mark Esper said Friday.
As for Pompeo, if he refuses to comply with the subpoena, the secretary of state is put on notice that his recalcitrance will “constitute evidence of obstruction of the House’s impeachment inquiry”, Schiff said.
Donald Trump spent most of his morning demanding Schiff resign for what the president asserts was an inaccurate dramatic retelling of the Zelensky call. “Adam Schiff totally made up my conversation with Ukraine President and read it to Congress and Millions. He must resign and be investigated”, the president said, before calling Schiff “a sick man!”
In case it’s not clear enough, Trump has lost control of the narrative. His Friday tweets were desperate on any objective reading.
As for Barr, Nancy Pelosi delivered something of a pseudo-warning to the attorney general on Friday, during remarks to MSNBC. “He’s gone rogue”, she said.