Democrats subpoena Pentagon, budget chiefs in impeachment push

House Democrats on Monday subpoenaed the heads of the Defense Department and Office of Management and Budget for documents related to the Trump administration's decision to withhold financial aid to Ukraine while the president pushed the allied nation for an investigation into former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenRussia says 24 diplomats asked by U.S. to leave by September Biden discusses Canadian citizens detained in China with Trudeau Biden administration to keep Trump-era rule of turning away migrants during pandemic MORE and his son, Hunter.

In letters to Defense Secretary Mark EsperMark EsperOvernight Defense: Pentagon chief defends Milley after Trump book criticism | Addresses critical race theory | Top general says Taliban has 'strategic momentum' in war The Biden administration and Tunisia: Off to a good start Overnight Defense: Navy pulls plug on 0 million railgun effort | Esper defends Milley after Trump attacks | Navy vet charged in Jan. 6 riot wants trial moved MORE and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) acting director Russell Vought, the three committee chairmen leading the House's impeachment inquiry asked for the documents to be provided by Oct. 15.

“The enclosed subpoena demands documents that are necessary for the committees to examine this sequence of these events and the reasons behind the White House’s decision to withhold critical military assistance to Ukraine that was appropriated by Congress to counter Russian aggression,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffA new kind of hero? Last week's emotional TV may be a sign Officers offer harrowing accounts at first Jan. 6 committee hearing Live coverage: House panel holds first hearing on Jan. 6 probe MORE (D-Calif.), Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelNYC snafu the latest flub from a broken elections agency Cynthia Nixon backs primary challenger to Rep. Carolyn Maloney Democrats call on Blinken to set new sexual misconduct policies at State Department MORE (D-N.Y.) and Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsFormer Cummings staffer unveils congressional bid McCarthy, GOP face a delicate dance on Jan. 6 committee Five big questions about the Jan. 6 select committee MORE (D-Md.) wrote.

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Congress had appropriated $250 million to the Defense Department for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative. But according to reports, President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden administration to keep Trump-era rule of turning away migrants during pandemic On The Money: Biden, Pelosi struggle with end of eviction ban | Trump attorney says he will fight release of tax returns Lack of transatlantic cooperation on trade threatens global climate change goals MORE asked Mick MulvaneyMick MulvaneyHeadhunters having hard time finding jobs for former Trump officials: report Trump holdovers are denying Social Security benefits to the hardest working Americans Mulvaney calls Trump's comments on Capitol riot 'manifestly false' MORE, currently the acting White House chief of staff, to put a hold on the Ukraine aid in July 2019.

Trump held a call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on July 25 in which he urged an investigation into the Bidens and said he would instruct his personal lawyer, Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiGiuliani rips Ukraine investigation: 'I committed no crime' Capitol insurrection hearing exposes Trumpworld delusions DOJ declines to back Mo Brooks's defense against Swalwell's riot lawsuit MORE, and Attorney General William BarrBill BarrTrump called acting attorney general almost daily to push election voter fraud claim: report Highest-ranking GOP assemblyman in WI against another audit of 2020 vote Native Americans are targets of voter suppression too MORE to follow up with the Ukrainian government.

The White House eventually released its hold on the aid around the date of Sept. 11, following multiple inquiries from members of Congress about why the aid was delayed.

The committee chairmen are demanding that Esper hand over documents related to Trump's phone calls with the Ukrainian president and efforts by any current or former Trump administration officials to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate the Bidens.

They are also seeking documents from both Esper and Vought on the delay of foreign assistance to Ukraine, including communications with people in the White House and other agencies, as well as the decision in September announcing that the aid would go forward. In addition, the committee chairmen are asking for documents related to communications with Congress about the status of the foreign aid, such as briefings and written notifications.

The House committee chairmen have issued three other subpoenas as part of the impeachment inquiry launched two weeks ago.

They have subpoenaed Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoNoem to travel to South Carolina for early voting event Poll: Trump leads 2024 GOP primary trailed by Pence, DeSantis Pence v. Biden on China: Competing but consistent visions MORE, Giuliani and Mulvaney for documents related to Trump's conversations with Zelensky and the efforts to hold up the financial aid for Ukraine.

The committees also sent a letter on Friday to Vice President Pence asking for documents related to his role in Trump's efforts to press for an investigation into the Bidens, but the request was not a subpoena.

The chairmen reiterated a threat to other subpoena recipients in recent days that failing to comply with their demands would be used as evidence of obstruction in potentially writing articles of impeachment.

"Your failure or refusal to comply with the subpoena, including at the direction or behest of the president or the White House, shall constitute evidence of obstruction of the House's impeachment inquiry and may be used as an adverse inference against you and the president," they wrote in the letters to Esper and Vought.

The three House committees are also conducting depositions this week with two State Department officials. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland is scheduled to appear on Tuesday, while former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch is set to speak with lawmakers on Friday.

Updated at 1 p.m.