“All roads seem to lead to Putin with the president,” Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said in an ABC News press conference on Tuesday in which she provided updates on the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.
As of Tuesday evening, the White House has remained defiant in the face of the House investigations.
Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph Guiliani has refused to meet Tuesday’s deadline to turn documents over to investigators per subpoena, according to reports from the New York Times.
Guiliani is at the center of Trump’s attempts to gather damaging information on Joe Biden through his son Hunter’s involvement with Bursima, a Ukranian oil and gas company.
Hunter Biden admitted to “poor judgment” in regard to his dealings in Ukraine in a statement released today by his legal team.
Vice President Mike Pence has also refused to turn over documents requested by the House in order to clarify Pence’s potential role in the Ukraine/Trump situation and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is toeing the company line as well, according to Vox.
However, two State Department officials and an aide have cooperated with investigators.
The first crack in the White House’s stonewalling of Congress came from the ambassador to Ukraine, Marie L. Yovanovitch, who was recalled from her post in Kiev after Trump decided to replace the 60-year-old diplomat with 33 years of foreign service.
Yovanovitch characterized her removal from the post in her opening remarks to the House as a choice “to remove an ambassador based, as best as I can tell, on unfounded and false claims by people with clearly questionable motives.”
The wheels were set in motion for her removal by two Russian associates of Guiliani, Igor Fruman and Lev Parnas who were part of the president’s personal lawyer’s team charged with digging up dirt on the Bidens.
Both Fruman and Parnas were apprehended at Dulles International Airport last Wednesday, Oct. 9 with one-way tickets out of the country, according to a Washington Post report.
Yovanovitch portrayed the current state of affairs in the State Department during her testimony as “attacked and hollowed out from within,” according to the New York Times, and overall provided a scathing review and rebuke of the Trump administration’s approach to foreign policy.
Another strike against the administration came from an advisor to former National Security Advisor John Bolton, Fiona Hill. Hill told a closed session of House investigators on Monday, Oct. 14 that Bolton was “alarmed about a rogue effort from Mick Mulvaney (White House Chief of Staff), Guiliani, and European Union ambassador/former Trump campaign donor Gordon Sondland” in regards to the Ukrainian aid deal withheld by Trump.
George P. Kent, deputy assistant secretary of state then testified Tuesday that he was told explicitly to “lay low” on Ukrainian affairs and to not cooperate with what the White House has deemed as an “illegitimate investigation.”
At the time of publication, there are seven more requests to Trump administration officials requiring documents, while two of those, including Energy Secretary and one-time Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry, are also being subpoenaed for testimony, according to the New York Times.
The initial whistleblower revealed to be a CIA liaison between the agency and the White House has also not yet responded to a request to meet with investigators.
While the evidence of obstruction and corruption continues to accumulate, according to Politico, Pelosi and her Democrat colleagues are unsure at this time about bringing a formal vote to the House floor, despite 228 lawmakers currently on the record supporting impeachment proceedings.
The cause for apprehension for Democrat and Republican representatives alike is a worry that any action moving forward with the inquiry will be seen by constituents as an attempt to reverse the results of the 2016 election. Despite the mounting evidence, lawmakers on both sides are still worried at this early stage in the inquiry that formally moving forward is a great political risk with off-year elections coming up in November.
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