House Democrats on Monday subpoenaed the heads of the Defense Department and Office of Management and Budget for documents related to the Trump administration’s decision to withhold financial aid to Ukraine while the President pushed the allied nation for an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, The Hill reports.
In letters to Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) acting director Russell Vought, the three committee chairmen leading the House’s impeachment inquiry asked for the documents to be provided by October 15.
“The enclosed subpoena demands documents that are necessary for the committees to examine this sequence of these events and the reasons behind the White House’s decision to withhold critical military assistance to Ukraine that was appropriated by Congress to counter Russian aggression,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) and Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) wrote.
Congress had appropriated $250 million to the Defense Department for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative. But according to reports, President Trump asked Mick Mulvaney, currently the acting White House chief of staff, to put a hold on the Ukraine aid in July 2019, The Hill adds.
Trump held a call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on July 25 in which he urged an investigation into the Bidens and said he would instruct his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and Attorney General William Barr to follow up with the Ukrainian government.
The White House eventually released its hold on the aid around the date of September 11, following multiple inquiries from members of Congress about why the aid was delayed, the news outlet noted.
The committee chairmen are demanding that Esper hand over documents related to Trump’s phone calls with the Ukrainian president and efforts by any current or former Trump administration officials to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate the Bidens.