Trump-Ukraine inquiry: lawmakers demand White House hand over documents

"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" - Democrats

US President Donald J. Trump
US President Donald J. Trump

US Democratic lawmakers have demanded documents from the White House as part of their impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.

The documents relate to a call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on 25 July in which Trump allegedly urged Zelensky to investigate his leading Democratic political rival, Joe Biden.

The impeachment inquiry comes as a result of the call, which was exposed by a whistleblower in August.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing, accusing his political opponents of a "witch hunt". The three House committees leading the investigation have given him until 18 October to hand over the documents.

A separate request has also been sent to Vice-President Mike Pence, with Democrats asking him to clarify any role he may have played in Trump's advances to Ukraine.

"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 Democrats wrote in a letter to the White House.

The subpoena, an order to hand over evidence, was issued on Friday by the chairmen of the committees for Oversight, Intelligence and Foreign Affairs.

It follows several unsuccessful appeals for the White House to produce documents voluntarily. The letter warns that failure to comply with the subpoena – even if at the direction of the president – “shall constitute evidence of obstruction of the House’s impeachment inquiry and may be used as an adverse inference against you and the president”.

The White House sought to play down the issue of the subpoena, saying it "changes nothing".

 

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