In the midst of the House of Representatives’ impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, several subpoenas have been issued to compel people to testify in front of various committees looking into the July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Fox News reported that earlier this month, the White House sent a letter signed by its counsel Pat Cipollone, saying that Trump and his administration would not participate in the House’s impeachment inquiry because they see it as “partisan and unconstitutional.”
Earlier today, the president’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, also said he would not comply with the subpoena he received. Giuliani will not hand over his communication and documents as requested by the House. The former mayor of New York City said he is waiting to see if congress enforces its subpoena. The deadline for compliance is Tuesday.
According to a tweet from The Hill, Senator Lindsey Graham appeared to confirm that failing to comply with a subpoena from Congress is an impeachable offense.
“20 years ago, you said not complying with a subpoena was an impeachable offense?” a reporter asked Graham.
“Nothing’s changed,” Graham answered.
Graham made his original statement about subpoenas during former president Bill Clinton’s impeachment inquiry in 1998. Given the senator’s answer, it at least sounds like he also means that Trump or Vice President Mike Pence could face impeachment for merely failing to comply with the subpoenas that the House sent.
Graham’s unexpected answer came one day after he made another surprising announcement about working across party lines with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to condemn Trump’s recent removal of U.S. troops in Syria, MSN reported. The withdrawal of the soldiers allowed Turkey to begin attacks on the Kurds, who served as U.S. allies in the fight against the Islamic State.
Reporter: "20 years ago, you said not complying with a subpoena was an impeachable offense."— The Hill (@thehill) October 15, 2019
Sen. Lindsey Graham: "Nothing's changed." pic.twitter.com/RDkmOWks7U
Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the Department of Defense, the Office of Management and Budget, and the Pentagon also have been issued subpoenas and face looming deadlines to produce the materials required by the House committees investigating the president’s actions with Ukraine. Those who fail to comply with the legal documents from the House may face contempt of Congress.
While it has been nearly 90 years since Congress has jailed someone for inherent contempt, which is one of the three types of contempt of Congress, officials reportedly mulled how to enforce the punishment, should the aforementioned individuals and departments fail to comply with their subpoenas.
In its impeachment inquiry, Congress wants to know if Trump withheld $400 million in aid to Ukraine in return for President Zelensky opening an investigation into former vice president Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, and his involvement with Burisma Holdings. At this time, Joe Biden is among the front-runners for the 2020 presidential election ticket for the Democratic Party.