Vice President Mike Pence‘s office said on Tuesday it will not comply with a request from the House of Representatives to turn over documents pertaining to President Donald Trump’s contacts with Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky, Axios reports.
In a letter sent to the chairmen of the House committees investigating the commander-in-chief in what is being described as a formal impeachment inquiry, Pence’s office said that some of the documents are “clearly not vice-presidential records, pursuant to a self-proclaimed ‘impeachment inquiry.'”
Stating that it “recognizes the oversight role” of House committees, the Office of the Vice President pointed out that the House has not actually held a vote to authorize an impeachment inquiry.
“Never before in history has the Speaker of the House attempted to launch an ‘impeachment inquiry’ against a President without a majority of the House of Representatives voting to authorize a constitutionally acceptable process,” the letter reads.
Concluding the letter, Pence’s office said that it “encourages the Committees to first seek information from primary sources that may be responsive to your broad requests.”
As Axios notes, the White House has long been stonewalling House Democrats’ investigations, stalling the process and refusing to comply with subpoenas.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi will hold a press conference Tuesday night, during which she is expected to announce a full House vote in order to formally authorize the impeachment inquiry.
Pence’s refusal to cooperate comes as no surprise, given that other Trump allies have done the same. As NBC News reported, Management and Budget Director Russell Vought and Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani have both refused to comply with subpoenas for documents.
Last month, in response to Trump’s contacts with Ukraine, the House launched a formal impeachment inquiry. Trump’s allegedly impeachable conduct was revealed by an anonymous intelligence community whistleblower, who claims that the president used the power of his office to damage a political opponent.
According to the anonymous individual, Trump threatened to withdraw military aid unless Ukraine investigates one of his main competitors in the 2020 presidential election, the Democratic front-runner and former Vice President Joe Biden. Trump wanted the Ukrainian government to investigate Biden and his son Hunter in order to damage Biden’s 2020 White House bid, according to the whistleblower.
According to pro-impeachment House Democrats, the transcript of Trump’s conversation with Ukraine’s Zelensky confirms the allegations.
According to the latest polls, a majority of Americans believe Trump and his allies should cooperate with the impeachment probe. According to a new CBS News poll, for instance, 63 percent of Americans believe the president and other members of the administration should cooperate with the House.