29 September 2019 - 09:13
News ID: 447361
A
The US House of Representatives Intelligence Committee could kick off impeachment hearings for US President Donald Trump as early as next week, media reported Friday.

RNA - "We will move as expeditiously as possible [...] But we have to see what witnesses are going to make themselves available and what witnesses are going to require compulsion," House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff stated, cited by CNN.

Earlier in the day, Trump called on Schiff to resign and be investigated over what the beleaguered US president called a fictitious account of his phone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

During a House hearing on Thursday, Schiff provided an interpretation of the 25 July Trump-Zelensky telephone conversation. The lawmaker later added that his reading of the transcript was intended to be partly a "parody".

The chairmen of three House committees also subpoenaed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Friday over his failure to produce documents related to Ukraine.

"Pursuant to the House of Representatives' impeachment inquiry, we are hereby transmitting a subpoena that compels you to produce the documents set forth in the accompanying schedule by October 4, 2019," the chairmen of the House Foreign Affairs, Intelligence and Oversight committees wrote in a letter to Pompeo.

"The subpoenaed documents shall be part of the impeachment inquiry and shared among the Committees," wrote Reps. Adam Schiff, Eliot Engel and Elijah Cummings, adding, "Your failure or refusal to comply with the subpoena shall constitute evidence of obstruction of the House's impeachment inquiry."

In addition to the subpoena, the chairmen informed the top US diplomat in a separate letter that they had scheduled depositions for five State Department officials who have been mentioned in relation to the inquiry --- Ambassador Marie "Masha" Yovanovitch, Ambassador Kurt Volker, Deputy Assistant Secretary George Kent, Counselor T. Ulrich Brechbuhl and Ambassador Gordon Sondland.

On Tuesday, the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives launched a long-awaited impeachment inquiry over allegations that Trump, in an attempt to boost his 2020 re-election bid, pressed Zelensky to probe the business activities of former US Vice President Joe Biden’s's son in Ukraine in the July phone talk. House Dems allege that Trump threatened to withhold military aid to Ukraine unless Zelensky did him the favor.

On Wednesday, the White House declassified an unredacted transcript of the phone conversation. The transcript revealed that Trump asked Zelensky to work with his personal lawyer and the US attorney general to "look into" the case of Joe Biden, who "went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution" into his son’s possible corruption in Ukraine. In the course of the phone call, Zelensky assured Trump that Ukraine's next prosecutor general would be "100 percent my person" and would look into the Biden case. The transcript did not show that the US president overtly threatened to withhold financial assistance to Ukraine.

Trump noted on Wednesday that he did not applied pressure on the Ukrainian president. Zelensky told reporters on the same day at a joint news conference with Trump that he did not feel any pressure during the July phone conversation with his US counterpart.

Trump earlier slammed the impeachment announcement based on his telephone call with Zelensky as a "political witch hunt".

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