WASHINGTON – Amid an impeachment inquiry prompted by a whistleblower's allegation about President Donald Trump's July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, House Democrats said Wednesday that they were planning to subpoena the White House on Friday.
Democrats have scheduled a Thursday deposition with Kurt Volker, who resigned last week as U.S. special envoy for Ukraine negotiations, and they want to depose State Department officials, including T. Ulrich Brechbuhl, a counselor at the State Department, who listened in on the call.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters in Rome on Wednesday that he was also on the phone call, and he "won't tolerate folks on Capitol Hill bullying, intimidating State Department employees. That's unacceptable."
During a news conference with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö, Trump lashed out at House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who suspect Trump abused his power when he allegedly pressured Zelenskiy to investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden and his family --with a $250 million foreign aid package for Ukraine on the table.
Trump said the national security whistleblower, whose identity is protected by the Whistleblower Protection Act, and "Shifty" Schiff were dishonest, and he called for Schiff's resignation, accusing him of treason. He later also said Pelosi hands out subpoenas "like cookies" and Biden and his son are "stone cold crooked."
The president also said Sen. Rick Scott had seen the transcript of the call and he didn't think that there were any grounds for impeachment. Democrats said the Trump administration's refusal to cooperate with the impeachment inquiry could be considered an impeachable offense.
"This is a hoax," Trump said.
During Schiff and Pelosi's Wednesday news conference, Trump was so angry he tweeted an expletive, saying, "the Do Nothing Democrats should be focused on building up our Country, not wasting everyone's time and energy on B-----T."
In a Wednesday memo, House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings wrote the subpoena of Trump's acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney was meant to request 13 sets of documents.
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said the subpoena is "nothing but more document requests, wasted time and taxpayer dollars that will ultimately show the president did nothing wrong."
Pelosi said Trump was afraid.