SHAFAQNA- Press TV: A subpoenas has been issued to the Pentagon by Democratic leaders in the House of Representatives, requesting to impeach President Donald Trump over his push to smear former Vice President Joe Biden, his chief rival in the 2020 elections.
Trump stands accused of urging Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy during a phone call in July to investigate the dealings of Biden and his son, Hunter, and also briefly suspending $400 million in military aid in order to force Kiev into accepting his request.
On Monday, the chairmen for the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, and Oversight and Reform committees directed subpoenas to US Defense Secretary Mark Esper, asking him to produce documents about the halt that last from July last year until September 2019.
“The committees are investigating the extent to which President Trump jeopardized US national security by pressing Ukraine to interfere with our 2020 election and by withholding military assistance provided by Congress to help Ukraine counter Russian aggression, as well as any efforts to cover up these matters,” Representatives Adam Schiff, Eliot Engel, and Elijah Cummings wrote in a letter that accompanied the subpoenas.
Jonathan Hoffman, the Pentagon’s chief spokesman, said last week that defense officials had been instructed by the Defense Department General Council to provide all Ukraine-related documents and records for cataloging and review.
This way, he argued, all the necessary information would be ready if required in the impeachment inquiry.
A similar letter was also sent to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) acting director Russell Vought.
Both Esper and Vought are required to produce documents on the delay of the Ukraine aid as well as the decision in September to continue the aid.
The house is also asking for documents on the communications with Congress about the status of the foreign aid.
The Democrats launched the inquiry in late September, after a whistleblower came forward with information about the phone call, which could amount to a high crime punishable by impeachment.
According to a White House memo describing the July 25 phone call in detail, Zelenskiy had asked Trump for more Javelin anti-tank missiles in order to fight Russian-backed forces in the Donbass Region.
Trump agreed, responding: “I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it.”
He then proceeded to ask the Ukrainian head of state to probe Biden, who is currently the frontrunner in the crowded Democratic field for the 2020 White House race.
The chairmen have asked Esper to produce documents and communications from January 1 of 2019 related to 14 issues, including the Trump phone call.
He is also required to produce reports about military aid to other countries, including Ukraine, for fiscal year 2019.
Hoffman downplayed the hold on security assistance to Ukraine as “a brief pause,” saying the bulk of the aid package, which included money for training operations and nonlethal military gear, has been already delivered.
He said that the money was withheld over corruption allegations in Ukraine in June, but declined to discuss who made the decision to withhold the funding.
The House committee chairmen have issued three other subpoenas on the same matter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani and Mick Mulvaney, currently the acting White House chief of staff.
They have also sent a letter to Vice President Mike Pence asking him for documents about his role.