House panels seek Ukraine docs from Pence for Trump impeachment inquiry

Three House committees conducting an impeachment inquiry asked Vice President Pence on Friday to turn over documents concerning his involvement in President TrumpDonald John TrumpCampaigns face attack ad dilemma amid coronavirus crisis Outgoing inspector general says Trump fired him for carrying out his 'legal obligations' Trump hits Illinois governor after criticism: 'I hear him complaining all the time' MORE's efforts to pressure Ukraine into launching investigations into a political rival.

The House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight panels requested that Pence hand over the documents by Oct. 15.

“Recently, public reports have raised questions about any role you may have played in conveying or reinforcing the President’s stark message to the Ukrainian President,” the chairmen of the three committees wrote in a letter to Pence.

ADVERTISEMENT

"Your failure or refusal to comply with the request, including at the direction of or behest of the president or the White House, shall constitute evidence of obstruction of justice of the House's impeachment inquiry and may be used as an adverse inference against you and the president," wrote House Intelligence Chairman Committee Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffTrump defends firing of intel watchdog, calling him a 'disgrace' Democrats seize on Trump's firing of intelligence community watchdog Trump fires intelligence community watchdog who flagged Ukraine whistleblower complaint MORE (D-Calif.), Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelHillicon Valley: Facebook reports huge spike in usage during pandemic | Democrats push for mail-in voting funds in coronavirus stimulus | Trump delays deadline to acquire REAL ID Lawmakers urge EU to sanction Putin associate for election interference Democrats press Pompeo to help Americans stranded abroad amid coronavirus MORE (D-N.Y.) and Oversight Chairman Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsMaryland postpones primary over coronavirus fears Maryland governor: 'Simply not enough supplies' on hand to tackle coronavirus Meadows joins White House facing reelection challenges MORE (D-Md.).

The Washington Post reported earlier this week that Trump repeatedly involved Pence in his efforts to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to look into the business dealings of Hunter Biden, who served on the board of a Ukrainian energy company while his father Joe BidenJoe BidenCampaigns face attack ad dilemma amid coronavirus crisis Biden to host 'virtual fireside chat' with donors Esper faces tough questions on dismissal of aircraft carrier's commander MORE was vice president.

According to the Post, Trump told Pence not to attend Zelensky's inauguration in May and had Pence tell Zelensky that U.S. aid to Ukraine was being withheld while demanding more aggressive action on investigating corruption. Officials close to Pence told the Post that he was unaware of Trump's efforts to dig up damaging information on the Bidens.

The Post also reported that Pence's national security adviser, Keith Kellogg, had been monitoring the July 25 call between Trump and Zelensky in which the president called for a probe of the Bidens.

The committees are seeking all documents and communications relating to Trump's April 21 and July 25 phone calls with Zelensky. They also asked Pence for documentation on meetings with former Ukraine special envoy Kurt VolkerKurt VolkerGOP senators request details on Hunter Biden's travel for probe Yovanovitch retires from State Department: reports Live coverage: Senators enter second day of questions in impeachment trial MORE, who appeared before a closed-door deposition on Capitol Hill on Thursday, as well as with Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland and Ukrainian officials.

The committees further asked for documents related to Pence's call with Zelensky on Sept. 18, and anything he knew about withholding aid from Ukraine.

The request for documents came a day after Trump publicly urged Ukraine and China to investigate Biden, which Pence defended.

"One of the main reasons we were elected to Washington, D.C., was to drain the swamp," Pence told reporters on Thursday. "And I think the American people have a right to know if the vice president of the United States or his family profited from his position."

Biden as vice president had pushed for Ukraine to oust its then-prosecutor general for failing to properly investigate corruption. The prosecutor general had at one point looked into Burisma, the energy company where Hunter Biden served on the board. There is no evidence either of the Bidens engaged in wrongdoing.

The committees' request for documents is the latest in a series of document and witness demands as Democrats ramp up their impeachment inquiry.

Last week, the panels subpoenaed Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoTrump administration eyes Afghan security forces funding for aid cut: report Trump says 40,000 Americans have been repatriated who were stranded abroad US should adopt a Marshall Plan for Ethiopia MORE for documents and requested depositions with current and former State Department officials, including Volker and Sondland.

They have also issued subpoenas to Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiGiuliani touts experimental coronavirus treatment in private conversations with Trump Trump team picks fight with Twitter, TV networks over political speech Sunday shows preview: As coronavirus spreads in the U.S., officials from each sector of public life weigh in MORE, Trump's personal lawyer who was involved in urging Ukrainian officials to investigate the Bidens.

And on Wednesday, the committees threatened to issue a subpoena to the White House if documents related to Trump exerting pressure on the Ukrainian government aren't turned over by Friday.

The House Intelligence Committee is also conducting a closed-door briefing with the intelligence community inspector general about the preliminary review of a whistleblower complaint about Trump's efforts to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate the Bidens.