White House, Pentagon, Giuliani reject House subpoenas

The White House, the Pentagon and President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says voters should choose who nominates Supreme Court justice Trump, Biden will not shake hands at first debate due to COVID-19 Pelosi: Trump Supreme Court pick 'threatens' Affordable Care Act MORE's personal attorney Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiThe Hill's Campaign Report: GOP set to ask SCOTUS to limit mail-in voting CIA found Putin 'probably directing' campaign against Biden: report Democrats fear Russia interference could spoil bid to retake Senate MORE on Tuesday all refused to comply with House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry subpoenas, escalating the fight between the administration and Democratic lawmakers.

Democrats set a Tuesday deadline for Defense Secretary Mark EsperMark EsperOvernight Defense: Stopgap spending measure awaits Senate vote | Trump nominates former Nunes aide for intelligence community watchdog | Trump extends ban on racial discrimination training to contractors, military Overnight Defense: Pentagon redirects pandemic funding to defense contractors | US planning for full Afghanistan withdrawal by May | Anti-Trump GOP group puts ads in military papers Official: Pentagon has started 'prudent planning' for full Afghanistan withdrawal by May MORE, Giuliani and the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to turn over documents related to Ukraine.

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Three House committees also requested Vice President Pence hand over documents by Tuesday, though no subpoena had been issued.

The refusals from top administration officials were unsurprising after the White House counsel's office sent a letter to top Democrats last week making clear that the administration would refuse to cooperate with the impeachment inquiry.

Matthew Morgan, counsel to the vice president, wrote in a letter to the three committee chairmen that Pence would not comply with their request, citing the lack of a vote establishing formal procedures for the impeachment inquiry and questioning the fairness of the process.

A letter from Giuliani's lawyer to the House Intelligence Committee dismissed the subpoena, saying it is "overbroad, unduly burdensome, and seeks documents beyond the scope of legitimate inquiry."

The Pentagon said in a letter to the three committee leaders that it has taken steps to identify and preserve potentially relevant documents, but that the subpoena “raises a number of legal and practical concerns" and the department would not comply “at this time.”

A senior administration official said that OMB and acting Director Russ Vought "are not participating in the sham impeachment process."

House Democrats could move to hold those defying the subpoenas in contempt, though it is unlikely the Justice Department would prosecute them.

Democrats are leading an impeachment inquiry into whether Trump abused his office when he urged Ukraine to look into Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden says voters should choose who nominates Supreme Court justice Trump, Biden will not shake hands at first debate due to COVID-19 Joe Biden should enact critical government reforms if he wins MORE during a July 25 phone call with the Ukrainian president.

As part of the investigation, the Oversight and Reform, Intelligence and Foreign Affairs committees are seeking documents and communications among administration officials related to the call, as well as documents pertaining to the administration's handling of military aid for Ukraine.

White House counsel Pat Cipollone wrote in a letter to Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi: Trump Supreme Court pick 'threatens' Affordable Care Act Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers prepare for SCOTUS confirmation hearings before election Will Democrats attempt to pack the Supreme Court again? MORE (D-Calif.) last week that the administration would refuse to cooperate with requests for documents and communications, decrying the impeachment inquiry as an "invalid" effort to "overturn the results of the 2016 election."

Cipollone argued in his letter that the House had yet to hold a vote on the impeachment inquiry and therefore the White House did not have to comply with their requests. 

It's unclear whether such a vote would change the White House's stance. Trump has said he would cooperate if the established rules for the investigation were "fair."

Democrats have also issued subpoenas to Energy Secretary Rick PerryRick PerryEnergy secretary questions consensus that humans cause climate change OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Democrats push resolution to battle climate change, sluggish economy and racial injustice | Senators reach compromise on greenhouse gas amendment stalling energy bill | Trump courts Florida voters with offshore drilling moratorium OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump signs major conservation bill into law | Senate votes to confirm Energy's No. 2 official | Trump Jr. expresses opposition to Pebble Mine project MORE and indicted Giuliani associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman as part of their investigation.

In recent days, a host of current and former administration officials have testified privately to the House committees leading the impeachment inquiry, alleging that Giuliani and others were conducting a shadow influence campaign in Ukraine that undermined official channels.