- The letter demanded that the documents relating to the Trump administration's relations with Ukraine be forwarded to three House committees.
- The House committees urged five US State Department officials to testify next week.
- The White House and President Trump argue that the telephone conversation with Zelensky is entirely in accordance with laws, regulations and state traditions.
Three committees in the US House of Representatives subpoenaed US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for all Ukraine-related documents within one week as part of the investigation against President Donald Trump. The House of Representatives Foreign Affairs, Intelligence, and Oversight and Reform Committees sent a jointly signed letter to Pompeo with their requests.
The letter demanded that the documents relating to the Trump administration’s relations with Ukraine be forwarded to the committees. The House of Representatives, in which the Democrats are the majority, urged five US State Department officials to testify. US Special Representative for Ukraine, Kurt Volker, resigned on Friday.
Trump rejected the claim that he pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former President Joe Biden, and his son Hunter, in a July telephone conversation. Joe Biden served as Vice President under Barack Obama, while his son Hunter Biden was a board member of a Ukrainian energy company.
Trump also argued that there was a conflict of interest, calling for a review of the Ukrainian connections of the Biden family. He alleged Biden played a role in the 2016 dismissal of Viktor Shokin, General Prosecutor of Ukraine. However, Trump did not provide any evidence of irregularities in making these calls. Recent polls in the United States show a small margin of the public supporting the impeachment investigation against the Republican President.
A simple majority in the 435-member House is required to impeach the President, while a two-thirds majority in the 100-member Senate is required for conviction and removal from office. There are 53 Republicans, 45 Democrats and 2 independent members who caucus with the Democrats in the Senate. For this reason, at least 20 fellow Republicans would be required to vote for a successful conviction.
Two Presidents have been impeached, Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998. Both were Democrats, and both were acquitted in the Senate. In 1974, Republican President Richard Nixon was accused of obstruction of justice, abuse of power, and contempt of Congress as part of the Watergate scandal that broke out when a number of close people had placed a bugging device in the Democratic Party’s office at the Watergate business center. Nixon resigned before the impeachment process was completed. The common belief at that time was that Nixon would be removed if he did not resign.
The current accusations of a major scandal come from an unnamed official within the US intelligence community. The White House and President Trump argue that the telephone conversation with Zelensky is entirely in accordance with laws, regulations and state traditions. However, the House of Representatives has already started the process of impeachment, accusing the President of abuse of office.
Trump has often said at rallies and press conferences that his potential Democratic rival Joe Biden, and his son, should be investigated. Trump implies that the Biden family may have broken the law when Biden served as US Vice President. This is not Trump’s first such act. In 2016, President Trump explicitly called for Russian intelligence to investigate the leaked e-mails of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton before the elections. Last year, he said he would listen to foreign officials who provided information about competitors before the elections.