Donald Trump was warned.
On Wednesday, House oversight chair Elijah Cummings circulated a memo announcing his intention to subpoena the White House in the event administration officials continued to stonewall Congress on document requests.
Cummings said the subpoena would be delivered on Friday. “I do not take this step lightly. 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”, Cummings wrote.
Right on schedule, Cummings, Adam Schiff and Eliot Engel sent a letter conveying the subpoena to acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney on Friday.
“During a press conference on Wednesday, President Trump was asked if he would cooperate with the House impeachment inquiry. He responded, ‘I always cooperate.'”, the chairmen wrote to Mulvaney, as if Mick needn’t a reminder about all of the things Trump said this week.
“President Trump’s claim is patently false. The White House has refused to engage with—or even respond to—multiple requests for documents from our Committees on a voluntary basis”, Cummings, Schiff and Engel continued, adding that “after nearly a month of stonewalling, it appears clear that the President has chosen the path of defiance, obstruction, and cover-up”.
For reference, here are all the times the administration has been asked for documents related to the Ukraine scandal:
On September 9, 2019, the Committees sent a letter asking the White House to voluntarily produce documents by September 16, 2019. The White House did not produce any documents, did not send any reply letter, and did not acknowledge receipt of the request.
On September 24, 2019, the Committees sent a follow-up letter warning that the Chairmen would be forced to consider compulsory process if the White House continued to disregard the request, and they set a new deadline of September 26, 2019. Again, the White House ignored the request.
On October 2, 2019, Chairman Cummings sent a memo to Members of the Oversight Committee explaining that he intended to issue a subpoena today if the White House continued to disregard the requests. The White House has not produced any documents and has not sent any reply.
With those requests being summarily rebuffed by a belligerent Trump, Mulvaney now finds himself in the same position as Mike Pompeo, Mike Pence and other officials – faced with the prospect of noncompliance being cited as evidence of obstruction in the impeachment probe.
“We deeply regret that President Trump has put us—and the nation—in this position, but his actions have left us with no choice but to issue this subpoena”, the congressmen lament.
You can read the letter in full below.2019-10-04.EEC Engel Schiff to Mulvaney-WH re Subpoena