Trump formally objecting to probe, won't cooperate until vote

U.S. President Trump and Finland's President Niinisto hold joint news conference at the White House in Washington

Trump formally objecting to probe, won't cooperate until vote

President Donald Trump is seething over an impeachment inquiry into his conduct after Democrats subpoenaed the White House about contacts with Ukraine and he signaled his administration would not cooperate. The probe centers around a July 25 phone call between Trump and newly elected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, during which the American president asked his Ukrainian counterpart to look into whether Biden halted an investigation into Ukrainian gas firm Burisma Holdings, where Biden's son Hunter once sat on the board.

US House Democrats on Friday subpoenaed the White House for documents they want to see as part of their impeachment investigation.

The subpoena from House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings was issued on Friday in consultation with the House Intelligence and Foreign Affairs Committees, reports Xinhua news agency. Democrats warned Trump is "on a path of defiance, obstruction and cover-up" and said defying their subpoena would be considered "evidence of obstruction", potentially an impeachable offense.

Democrats leading the impeachment probe are examining whether Mr. Trump made the request while leveraging millions of dollars in assistance already earmarked by Congress for Ukraine, in addition to whether the White House tried to keep details about the call under wraps.

The New York Times said the unnamed official had "more direct information" about the events surrounding Mr Trump's phone call with Mr Zelensky.

Fighting the inquiry, the White House was expected to send a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arguing that Congress could not mount its impeachment investigation without first having a vote to authorize it.

It is necessary to highlight this sharp division between Republicans and Democrats before Trump's meeting with the Ukrainian leader because regardless of what this inquiry results in, a "divided" America will determine the victor of the 2020 presidential elections.

Michael Atkinson, the general inspector of the intelligence community, interviewed this official to corroborate the original whistleblower's allegations, the paper reported.

Trump acknowledged that Democrats in the House "have the votes" to begin a formal impeachment inquiry, but said he is confident they don't have the votes to convict in the GOP-controlled Senate.

"No, the White House needs to provide the documents right now".

Sen. Johnson said he heard that President Trump was considering not allowing military support to be sent to Ukraine and called Trump on August 31 in an effort convince him otherwise.

Could impeachment inquiry help Trump?

"We can investigate the crimes of Donald Trump for the next four or five years and if we do we will be going into a second term", he said.

Democrats on the Intelligence Committee will also be looking into further leads surrounding texts they released to the public late last night.

In prepared testimony to the committees, Volker said Giuliani had called him and Sondland and said "he believed the Ukrainian president needed to make a statement about fighting corruption" and that he had discussed it with a top aide to Zelenskiy.

Pompeo said the State Department has given an "initial response" to the committees' request for documents, pledging full cooperation within the law.

Former Ukrainian envoy Kurt Volker was interviewed by House lawmakers for nearly 10 hours.

The White House has planned to send a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arguing Congress can not undertake an impeachment investigation without first having a vote to authorise it.

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