Ukraine inquiry: Democrats demand documents from White House

Vice President Mike Pence speaks during the 6th meeting of the National Space Council on

Mike Pence told to turn over Ukraine files as Trump inquiry gathers pace

A whistleblower complaint said that Trump sought to use military assistance for Ukraine to push President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Biden, who is now running to be the Democratic Party's 2020 presidential candidate. Elijah Cummings, Adam Schiff and Eliot Engel, in issuing Friday's subpoena after White House resistance to the panel's request for witnesses and documents.

"This subpoena changes nothing - just more document requests, wasted time, and taxpayer dollars that will ultimately show the President did nothing wrong", White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said in a statement.

Trump said he would formally object to the impeachment investigation, even as he acknowledged that House Democrats "have the votes" to proceed.

The letter says there are "questions about any role you may have played in conveying or reinforcing the president's stark message to the Ukrainian president". "As everybody knows, we've been treated very unfairly, very different from anybody else", he said.

The Democratic leaders of the House Oversight and Reform, Intelligence, and Foreign Affairs Committees-Reps.

Pence's level of involvement in the scandal was unclear until Wednesday, when reporting from The Washington Post revealed that the vice president was on the July 25 phone call to Zelensky-along with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo-the news of which set the scandal in motion.

Democrats in the House of Representatives have demanded the White House hand over documents relating to the impeachment inquiry. His office has dismissed the request, saying that given its wide scope "it does not appear to be a serious request".

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And the Wall Street Journal reported that, in an interview, Republican Senator Ron Johnson said he had learned that a quid pro quo had been proposed to Zelensky's government by Trump's emissaries, tying military aid to a Ukraine corruption investigation into Biden.

The inspector general, Michael Atkinson, testified before a closed-door session of the House Intelligence Committee on Friday.

Democrats have warned that the Trump administration's obstruction of the investigation is itself a potentially impeachable office.

When Mr Pence met with Mr Zelenskiy, the two discussed the $US 250 million in security assistance that the US Congress had approved but that the Trump administration had not disbursed.

But that outcome is seen as unlikely given that the president's fellow Republicans control the Senate.

A cache of diplomatic texts Democrats received as part of their impeachment inquiry showed USA officials pressured the Ukrainian government to launch investigations that might benefit Mr Trump's personal political agenda in exchange for a meeting of the two countries' leaders.

If the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives voted to impeach Mr Trump, there'd be a trial in the Senate.

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US President Donald Trump waits to speak on the phone with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar in 2017.

Trump has alleged that Biden's son Hunter earned "millions" from sitting on the board of directors of a Ukraine tycoon's gas company.

Trump said on Friday he would not tie a much-anticipated trade deal with China to his desire for Beijing to investigate Joe Biden.

"Speaker Pelosi has confirmed that an impeachment inquiry is underway, and it is not for the White House to say otherwise", the letter said.

Democrats have sought to use their declared impeachment investigation to bolster their case to access all sorts of documents from the administration, most recently secret grand jury information that underpinned special counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The coming weeks will test whether Trump's unconventional behavior and demagogic appeals have created a strong enough shield for him - and Republican lawmakers - to avoid normal political consequences for his efforts to get foreign governments to take down his political enemies.

In a signal of how Kiev will handle investigations being watched in Washington, Ukrainian prosecutors said they would review 15 old probes related to Burisma's founder but added that they were unaware of any evidence of wrongdoing by Biden's son.

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