Just one day after President Trump dared House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to hold an impeachment inquiry vote - a move which would open Democrats up to Republican subpoenas, House Democrats slapped the White House with a subpoena first.
Addressed to acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, the subpoena demands documents and communications related to the case being constructed against Trump - namely that his request that Ukraine investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son for corruption constitutes election interference and endangered national security. Of note, the Justice Department concluded that Trump's phone call with Zelensky did not violate campaign finance law.
How the White House, which has routinely rejected congressional requests for information, responds to the demands for documents could significantly shape the impeachment investigation going forward. Under normal circumstances, the White House could claim materials referred to in both requests were privileged, using that as a defense in court. -New York Times
What Democrats aren't pursuing, by the by, is anything resembling due diligence on Biden - the (still) leading Democratic candidate trying to fend off accusations of nepotism in Ukraine and China while abusing his office as Vice President.
As we noted earlier Friday, Vice President Mike Pence was hit with a subpoena as well over, demanding information on "any role you may have played" in helping with the Ukraine effort against Biden.
Pence press secretary Katie Waldman said "given the scope, it does not appear to be a serious request but just another attempt by the ‘Do Nothing Democrats’ to call attention to their partisan impeachment."
Pelosi and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) have warned that failure to comply with subpoenas will be viewed as obstruction of Congress - which the Times says is "itself a potentially impeachable offense."
"he White House has refused to engage with — or even respond to — multiple requests for documents from our Committees on a voluntary basis," reads the subpoena, demanding information by October 15. "After nearly a month of stonewalling, it appears clear that the president has chosen the path of defiance, obstruction, and cover-up."
The actions came at the end of another day of fast-moving developments in the House impeachment investigation, which is centered on allegations that Mr. Trump and his administration worked to bend America’s diplomatic apparatus for his own political benefit.
Mr. Trump himself appeared resigned to the prospect that he would be impeached, and was gearing up for an epic political battle to defend himself, predicting the Democrat-led House would approve articles of impeachment against him and the Republican-controlled Senate would acquit him. -New York Times
"They’ll just get their people," Trump said of the Democratic-controlled House. "They’re all in line. Because even though many of them don’t want to vote, they have no choice. They have to follow their leadership. And then we’ll get it to the Senate, and we’re going to win."
Trump also huddled with House Republicans on a Friday conference call, defending his efforts in Ukraine and gathering support for the upcoming battle.
On Friday, the House Intelligence Committee questioned Michael Atkinson, the intelligence community inspector general who first analyzed the whistleblower complaint by a CIA employee, on a recently altered form which allowed said whistleblower to provide second-hand information.
Congressional Democrats are also trying to use a trove of texts between American diplomats and a top Zelensky aid, which came from former US envoy to Ukraine, Kurt Volker, following his Thursday closed-door testimony.
The 'gotcha' is a text from US diplomat to Ukraine William Taylor, who said in a Sept. 9 text message to US ambassador to the EU, Gordon Sondland: "I think it's crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign."
To which Sondland replies "Bill, I believe you are incorrect about President Trump's intentions. The President has been crystal clear no quid pro quo's of any kind," adding "I suggest we stop the back and forth by text."
The moral of the story; it's OK for Joe Biden to have allegedly steered millions, if not billions of dollars towards his son Hunter and his associates by abusing his office as Vice President. It's not ok to question it - and shouldn't be investigated if it means exposing said (alleged) wrongdoing and ruining Biden's chances in 2020.