22:43 GMT +315 October 2019
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    US Congressional Committees Threaten to Subpoena Trump Administration Over Ukraine Documents

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    Congressional leaders from both the House of Representatives and the Senate have threatened to open an investigation into, and subpoena transcripts of, US President Donald Trump's July phone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in which he ostensibly asked Zelenskyy to open a probe into former US Vice President Joe Biden.

    Three committees in the Democrat-controlled House threatened subpoenas of relevant documents on Monday, and Sen. Chuck Schumer, the lead Democrat in the Republican-controlled Senate, called his on colleague Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to join him in issuing a subpoena for the documents.

    The chairs of the House committees on Foreign Affairs, Intelligence and Oversight ​notified US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a Monday letter requesting relevant documents be turned over voluntarily, giving Pompeo a deadline of Thursday evening to tell the congressmembers "whether you intend to fully comply or whether subpoenas will be necessary."

    Trump's July 25 call with Zelenskyy sits at the intersection of two different Washington scandals, which converged on Friday when twin reports by the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal revealed them to be about the same thing, Sputnik reported.

    In the call, Trump reportedly asked Zelenskyy to open an investigation into Joe Biden for allegedly covering up a Kiev investigation into his son, Hunter Biden, by pressuring Kiev to fire Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin in 2016. Hunter sat on the board of Burisma Holdings, a Cyprus-based natural gas firm operating in the Ukrainian gas sector, which was being probed for corruption; Shokin's timely termination was helped along by then-VP Joe Biden's threatening to withhold "another billion dollar loan guarantee" to Kiev.

    Biden is now a leading contender among Democratic candidates for the party's presidential nomination, the recipient of which will run against Trump in the November 2020 election.

    This phone call was also revealed to be the subject of an August whistleblower report that was hushed up by the Trump administration, which refused to allow Congress to view the report.

    Moreover, the involvement of Rudy Giuliani, Trump's personal lawyer who holds no government office, in the talks with the Zelenskyy administration have drawn special ire from Democratic lawmakers.

    On Monday, Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph MacGuire and Michael Atkinson, head of the Office of Intelligence Community Inspector General, announced they would brief the chair and vice-chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee later this week on the whistleblower situation.

    "If press reports are accurate, such corrupt use of presidential power for the President's personal political interest - and not for the national interest - is a betrayal of the President's oath of office and cannot go unchecked," the three committee chairs wrote Monday.

    When asked about the growing calls for impeachment proceedings relating to the Zelenskyy call, Trump told reporters outside the United Nations building in New York that he took the calls "not at all seriously," noting that he "had a perfect phone call with the president of Ukraine. Everybody knows it. It’s just a Democrat witch hunt.”

    Related:

    If Ukraine Connection With Trump Is True, Could This Be The Real "Russiagate"?
    Pompeo Accuses Biden of Covering Up Son's Corruption Amid Calls for Ukraine Probe
    Trump Says He Will Consider Releasing Transcript of His Call with Ukraine's President Zelensky
    Tags:
    impeachment, threats, subpoena, probe, Whistleblower, Joe Biden, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, US Senate, Donald Trump, US House of Representatives
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