The Roundup: October 3-9

Yesterday, the White House took an unprecedented stance against the House’s impeachment inquiry, calling the probe into Trump’s criminal wrongdoing unconstitutional. 

Covering up the facts is a trademark of the Trump administration. The White House declaration came just hours after the State Department blocked Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, from testifying about his involvement in Trump’s phone call with Ukraine. Sondland is yet another name on a long list of Trump-appointed officials who were explicitly told by the White House to withhold testimony and keep the cover-up going. 

But, thanks to lawmakers’ persistence, the inquiry marches on. This week, the House issued numerous subpoenas — including to the Pentagon, the Office of Management and Budget, Rudy Guiliani, and Mike Pence — for documents and testimony that could better illuminate what occurred between Trump and Ukraine, particularly around withholding U.S. military aid to pressure a foreign government to interfere with our upcoming elections. 

As the House’s inquiry reveals more layers of criminal activity, support for impeachment is at an all-time high. The American people want to see Trump held accountable — even more so after Trump went on national television and urged both Ukraine and another foreign government to interfere in our elections. In the face of Trump’s flagrant attempts to hide the truth, the House must push forward and continue to send the message that no one is above the law in this country.

Covering up the details of the Ukraine scandal, blocking witness testimony, and calling the impeachment inquiry unconstitutional aren’t the actions of an innocent man. 

Get the top stories from this week:

Politico: White House vows to block ‘illegitimate’ impeachment effort
A letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the three committee chairs leading the impeachment probe declared that the Trump administration will refuse to engage with a process it considers to be “constitutionally invalid.” The White House’s argument may already be in legal trouble, however. The chief judge of Washington’s federal district court indicated that she gives great “deference” to the House’s authority to devise its own impeachment procedures.

The New York Times: White House Declares War on Impeachment Inquiry, Claiming Effort to Undo Trump’s Election
The White House declared war on the House impeachment inquiry, announcing that it would not cooperate with what it called an illegitimate effort “to overturn the results of the 2016 election.” House Democrats have made clear that his failure to comply with their demands for information could form the basis for its own article of impeachment.

NBC News: White House refuses to cooperate with impeachment investigation
The move was the latest demonstration of a White House strategy of near-universal resistance in their efforts to stymie the Democratic investigation and came hours after a last-minute move to block Gordon Sondland — the U.S. ambassador to the European Union and a central player in Trump’s bid to persuade Ukraine to publicly commit to investigating Trump’s political opponents — from appearing before the House.

The Washington Post: Poll: Majority of Americans say they endorse opening of House impeachment inquiry of Trump
A majority of Americans say they endorse the decision by House Democrats to begin an impeachment inquiry of Trump, and nearly half of all adults also say the House should take the additional step and recommend that Trump be removed from office, according to a Washington Post-Schar School poll.

CNN: Democrats subpoena Pentagon and OMB, expanding impeachment probe
The subpoenas to the Pentagon and the Office of Management and Budget are related to the decision to hold up foreign aid to Ukraine, which came at the same time that Giuliani and Trump were pushing for Ukraine to launch an investigation into the 2016 US election, then-Vice President Joe Biden, and his son, Hunter Biden.

The New York Times: Impeachment Investigators Subpoena White House and Ask Pence for Documents on Ukraine
In a letter to Pence, the chairmen of three House committees conducting the impeachment inquiry wrote that they were interested in “any role you may have played” in conveying Trump’s views to Ukraine. They asked for a lengthy list of documents detailing the administration’s dealings with Ukraine, to be produced by Oct. 15.

Vice News: Here’s What We Know About the Second Whistleblower in Trump’s Ukraine Scandal
Attorney Mark Zaid confirmed that he is representing a second whistleblower with “firsthand knowledge” of the events central to the first whistleblower complaint, which was filed in August. Democrats will be eager to speak to the new whistleblower as the information provided could help counter claims from Trump that the original whistleblower was providing inaccurate, secondhand information — despite a rough transcription backing up the whistleblower’s account of the call.

Politico: Lindsey Graham invites Giuliani to testify before Senate Judiciary panel
Sen. Lindsey Graham invited Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee about his efforts to convince the Ukraine government to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden. The offer comes as Giuliani appears poised to defy a subpoena to provide documents and may decline to testify before the Democrat-led House Intelligence Committee. 

The New York Times: ‘Nothing to See Here’: Diplomats Urged to Play Down Release of Ukraine Aid
American diplomats who pushed for the Trump administration to restore security funding to Ukraine were advised by the White House to play down the release of the money when it was finally approved. “Keep moving, people, nothing to see here…,” Brad Freden, the State Department’s acting deputy assistant secretary overseeing issues in Europe and Eurasia, wrote in a Sept. 12 email.

Vox: Trump encouraged 2 countries to interfere in the 2020 election — on camera
The core of the argument for impeachment is that Trump is inappropriately wielding the power of the presidency to solicit foreign interference in the 2020 election. That is literally what he did with not one but two different foreign leaders — Ukraine and China — on camera and in front of reporters.