Many Democrats have already convinced themselves that the July phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky constitutes an impeachable offense and are pressing forward, full steam ahead, on the long-promised effort to impeach the president.
The Democratic chairmen of three influential House committees have issued a subpoena demanding documents and testimony from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and at least four other State Department employees. The letter included a threat of obstruction charges, should Pompeo fail to comply by Oct. 4.
The subpoena against Pompeo was issued jointly by the chairmen of the House Foreign Affairs, House Intelligence, and House Oversight Committees, The Daily Caller reported. The committees are chaired by Reps. Eliot Engel, Adam Schiff, and Elijah Cummings, respectively.
The collective of committee chairs fired off a letter to Pompeo on Friday informing him that certain documents and personnel pertaining to the phone call with Ukraine’s president had been subpoenaed, and set a deadline of October 4 for their demands to be met.
The letter also included a terse reminder that Pompeo had already failed to comply with two prior requests from the committees for the now-subpoenaed documents, and clearly implied that the secretary could be charged with obstruction of justice if he failed or refused to comply once again.
Allegations stem from “whistleblower” complaint
At issue are allegations that, in the phone call, Trump pressured Zelensky to open an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter in relation to a lucrative job Hunter held with a corrupt Ukrainian energy company.
Democrats have accused Trump of jeopardizing national security by enlisting the help of a foreign government to interfere in the 2020 election, as well as withholding Congressionally appropriated military aid to Ukraine as leverage to compel compliance, and covering all of that up subsequent to the phone call.
Those accusations all stem from a “whistleblower” complaint from an anonymous individual who gained their information via second- and third-hand hearsay from others. It has since been reported that the “whistleblower” was a CIA agent assigned to the White House.
Furthermore, a rough transcript of the July phone call that was released publicly by the White House significantly undercuts virtually all of the allegations by revealing there was no pressure, no “quid pro quo,” and no real wrongdoing by the president. Ukrainian officials, including President Zelensky himself, have also stated that there was no pressure or quid pro quo to open certain investigations in exchange for promised aid.
Impeachment or bust
Nevertheless, facts don’t appear to matter all that much to House Democrats, regardless of what they may say, and they rushed headlong into the effort to launch an impeachment against Trump. At the least, they hope to see him smeared as a corrupt criminal, given the strong likelihood that he would be acquited by the Republican-controlled Senate if the Democrat-controlled House actually passed articles of impeachment.
The reality of the situation, though, is that Democrats are increasingly fearful that none of their many 2020 candidates will be able to defeat Trump in 2020, leaving them little option but to pursue the chimera of impeachment on the thinnest of pretexts in order to defeat Trump.
It will be quite interesting to see if Secretary Pompeo plays along with the demands of the House committees or decides to plays hardball by forcing the Democrats to fight for every step of the impeachment process.