House impeachment inquiry requests White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney testify

Wednesday, 06 Nov, 2019

The White House has called the impeachment inquiry illegitimate while instructing officials not to comply with requests for depositions, including subpoenas. It is uncertain if Mulvaney will appear.

Lawmakers were especially interested in questioning the lawyer, John Eisenberg, who took the unusual step of moving a transcript of the call into the White House's most classified computer system, according to a person familiar with last week's testimony by Army Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, an NSC official who listened in on the call.

The Trump administration has directed US officials not to cooperate with the investigation. Among other things, he advocated that the whistleblower whose complaint sparked the inquiry testify publicly.

Transcripts of the inquiry's closed-door interviews of current and former White House officials could be released as early as this week, U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, told the Associated Press on Friday.

A spokesperson for the Energy Department told CNN that Energy Secretary Rick Perry will not appear at a scheduled closed-door deposition on Wednesday.

Volker resigned as special representative in September.

Democrats, meanwhile, want Sondland to clarify his testimony after he appeared behind closed doors on October 17, when he said that Trump had directed him and other diplomats to work with Giuliani on Ukraine issues.

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney's October 17 press conference performance encouraged House Democrats to demand he give testimony before the impeachment inquiry.

There's still the small matter of Trump leaning on a foreign power to investigate the Democratic frontrunner, which many Dems would tell you is enough to support impeachment, but certainly the type of quid pro quo Sondland originally described is less alarming than one in which Trump was holding back military aid appropriated by Congress for Ukraine's assistance to gain leverage.

President Donald Trump makes his way to board Air Force One before departing from Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on November 4, 2019.

However, Democrats allege that Trump removed Yovanovitch in May 2019 because she was proving to be an obstacle to Rudy Giuliani's investigation into Joe and Hunter Biden and Ukraine's involvement in 2016 election interference.

Trump froze almost US$400 million in United States military assistance to Ukraine shortly before speaking to Zelenskiy, prompting accusations from Democrats that he had misused taxpayer dollars destined for a vulnerable USA ally for personal gain. Trump on Sunday said that Republicans should release their own transcripts, even though each witness will have a chance to review the official transcript to ensure accuracy.

The White House's excuse for total non-cooperation was that the House had not voted to authorize the impeachment inquiry or offered the president certain procedural rights.

Sondland had initially denied knowledge of any link between the aid and Trump's request that Ukraine investigate the Bidens.

Sondland testified that he did not ultimately know why the aid to Ukraine was withheld.

Sondland testified that it would be "improper" for Giuliani to push the Ukrainians to investigate Biden or get involved in the 2020 election. "There's going to be political influence in foreign policy". "The president is actively obstructing our investigation by trying to blockade the witnesses".

The release comes as two White House officials, Wells Griffith, senior director for global energy and environment at the National Security Council, and Michael Duffey, Office of Management and Budget associate director for national security programs, failed to appear for scheduled depositions Tuesday.

Wells Griffith, a special assistant to Trump and senior director for worldwide energy and environment for the National Security Council, was also scheduled to be deposed on Tuesday but hadn't shown up.