US Democrats leading the impeachment inquiry said they had "no choice" but to subpoena the Trump administration. They accuse the White House of refusing to hand over documents and of actively obstructing the inquiry.
Democrats in the House of Representatives have demanded the White House hand over documents relating to the impeachment inquiry.
The heads of the Democratic-led committees involved in the investigation said in a joint statement to acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney that they "deeply regret" having to issue subpoenas for the investigation, but that President Donald Trump had left them with "no choice."
"The White House has refused to engage with — or even respond to — multiple requests for documents from our committees on a voluntary basis. After nearly a month of stonewalling, it appears clear that the president has chosen the path of defiance, obstruction, and cover-up," the committee chairmen wrote.
House Democrats have given Trump until October 18 to produce the documents they have requested. Subpoenas have also been sent to Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
The subpoenas are the latest escalation in the battle between the Trump administration and the Democratic-led House, since a whistleblower report of a conversation between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy triggered the impeachment inquiry last week.
The US president is being investigated for allegedly using his office and US military aid to pressure Zelenskiy to open an investigation into the son of his 2020 political rival, Joe Biden.
Democrats seek Pence's records
Trump has accused Democrats of carrying out "a coup" and doubled down on the notion that Biden's son, Hunter, should be investigated for his activities in Ukraine.
On Thursday the president publicly urged China to investigate the Bidens, in televised remarks to reporters outside the White House.
Democrats have also sent an extensive request for information to Vice President Mike Pence about his contacts with Ukraine. His office has dismissed the request, saying that given its wide scope "it does not appear to be a serious request."
jcg/cmk (AP, AFP, Reuters)