US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
AFP Photo

Washington: Democratic lawmakers in the US House of Representatives subpoenaed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo over a whistleblower complaint alleging President Donald Trump's misconduct in a phone call with the Ukrainian president.

It is the first subpoena sent by the Democrats after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Tuesday the initiation of a formal impeachment inquiry into Trump over his interactions with Ukraine.

"Pursuant to the House of Representatives' impeachment inquiry, we are hereby transmitting a subpoena that compels you to produce the documents set forth in the accompanying schedule by October 4, 2019," read a letter sent to Pompeo on Friday, Xinhua news agency reported.

The subpoena was issued by Eliot Engel, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, in consultation with House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff and House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings.

"The subpoenaed documents shall be part of the impeachment inquiry and shared among the Committees," the three chairmen wrote in the letter. "Your failure or refusal to comply with the subpoena shall constitute evidence of obstruction of the House's impeachment inquiry," they told the top US diplomat.

In addition to the subpoena, Engel, Schiff and Cummings had also scheduled depositions for five State Department officials, namely former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, US Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker, Deputy Assistant Secretary George Kent, Counselor T. Ulrich Brechbuhl and US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, according to a separate letter the chairmen sent to Pompeo.

The depositions are scheduled to take place between October 2 and October 10, according to the second letter. A whistleblower complaint was filed by an unidentified intelligence official on August 12, alleging that Trump abused his power to solicit foreign interference in the 2020 US election.

It further revealed details of a July 25 phone call between Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky, in which Trump, the complaint claimed, pressured Zelensky "to initiate or continue an investigation into" an anti-corruption case against a Ukrainian gas company that is purportedly related to Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.

A redacted version of the whistleblower complaint and a rough transcript of the Trump-Zelensky conversation were made public Thursday and Wednesday, respectively.

Biden has denied having spoken with his son about the latter's overseas business dealings. Former Ukrainian prosecutor general Yuri Lutsenko said Biden junior, who once served as a board member of Burisma Holdings, the troubled company, "did not violate anything," according to a report by The Washington Post on Thursday.

Trump on Thursday slammed the impeachment inquiry as "a disgrace" to the country and "another witch hunt" against him. Zelensky told reporters Wednesday at a bilateral meeting with Trump in New York that nobody had pushed him. He said he didn't want to be involved in the US election, and that the phone call with Trump was "good" and "normal."

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