Secretary of State Mike Pompeo missed Friday’s deadline to comply with a subpoena issued by three Democrat-led House committees last week to hand over documents related to the department’s dealings with Ukraine and President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, Fox News has confirmed.
The subpoena came as Congress conducts a probe into a whistleblower’s complaint to the national intelligence community over Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky — the incident that has since touched off the Trump impeachment inquiry.
The president is under fire for urging Zelensky, during that call, to investigate Democratic 2020 presidential frontrunner Joe Biden, his son Hunter Biden, and the Ukrainian firm Burisma, where Hunter Biden held a board position.
Last week, the chairmen of the three House panels — Reps. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., of the Intelligence Committee; Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., of the Foreign Affairs Committee; and Elijah Cummings, D-Md., of the Oversight and Reform Committee — demanded a list of State Department officials who might have been involved with the Ukraine conversation. The chairmen additionally requested any State Department records about Giuliani, and any records relating to U.S. military aid to Ukraine. (Giuliani had traveled to Ukraine on business on behalf of the president, he told Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Wednesday.)
Fox News confirmed the State Department is in touch with the three House panels regarding the deadline breach. Trump told reporters he would send House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a letter Friday, saying the White House would not comply with the impeachment inquiry until it is made official by a vote before the entire chamber. It was unclear if the State Department failed to comply with the subpoena at Trump’s request.
Pompeo confirmed Wednesday — while in Rome — that he was on the July 25 call, describing his involvement as appropriate, and within the purview of his role as secretary of state. As a stand-off between the executive branch and Congress escalated, he also said he would fight a request from the Democratic chairmen for depositions from five State Department officials. He accused the lawmakers of not giving department employees enough time to prepare and voiced concern that the committee was trying to prevent State Department counsel from participating.
“What we objected to was the demands that were put that deeply violate fundamental principles of the separation of powers,” Pompeo said. “They contacted State Department employees directly and told them not to contact legal counsel at the State Department.”
“What we objected to was the demands that were put that deeply violate fundamental principles of the separation of powers. They contacted State Department employees directly and told them not to contact legal counsel at the State Department.”
Lawmakers from the Foreign Affairs, Intelligence and Oversight committees moved forward with testimony from their first key witness Thursday — former U.S. envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker, who resigned last week after receiving word his name had surfaced in the whistleblower complaint. Text messages released by Volker to Congress show U.S. officials involved with Ukraine arguing internally last month over whether Trump was engaged in a quid pro quo. Fox News on Friday also obtained Volker’s prepared testimony, in which he details his interactions with Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who was probing whether Burisma had sought to garner influence with Biden by paying high fees to his son.
A memorandum of the July 25 call between Trump and Zelensky released last month showed that while Trump sought a Ukrainian probe into the Biden family, he did not explicitly use the $400 million in military aid as leverage. Trump tweeted Thursday that he had an “absolute right, perhaps even a duty, to investigate or have investigated corruption, and that would include asking or suggesting other countries to help us out!”
Joe Biden has acknowledged on camera that in spring 2016, when he was vice president and spearheading the Obama administration’s Ukraine policy, he successfully pressured Ukraine to fire top prosecutor Viktor Shokin. At the time, Shokin was investigating Burisma Holdings — where Hunter had a lucrative role on the board despite limited relevant expertise. Biden allies maintain his intervention was driven by corruption concerns.
Michael Atkinson, the inspector general of the intelligence community, gave testimony before the House Intelligence Committee on Friday, as he was the first to receive the whistleblower complaint. The complaint was eventually declassified by the Trump administration and a redacted versions sent to Congress. House Democrats are scheduled to hear testimony from several other officials next week.
Fox News’ Chad Pergram, Brooke Singman, Alex Pappas and Catherine Herridge contributed to this report.