Despite a vow by the White House not to cooperate, House Democrats pressed ahead with their investigation Thursday – with a subpoena to Energy Secretary Rick Perry over his role in President Trump’s effort to get Ukraine’s president to dig into Biden.
In a letter to Perry, the heads of the Oversight, Foreign Affairs and Intelligence Committees pointed to reports that Perry may have helped in "conveying or reinforcing" Trump's request that Ukraine's president investigate former Vice President Joe Biden.
SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) US PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: “I don’t know why they’d be calling Rick Perry, I don’t know why they’d be calling all these people.
It’s a very bad situation for our country.” Meanwhile, Congress is expected to hear Friday from former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch - but Congressional sources acknowledged some concern that she could be blocked from testifying.
When asked - President Trump Thursday didn’t seem very enthusiastic.
SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) US PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: “I just don’t think that you can have all of these people testifying about every conversation you’ve had.” Earlier this week the administration abruptly blocked the U.S. ambassador to the European Union from giving his deposition to three House committees.
The investigation is focused on whether Trump pressured Ukrainian president to launch an investigation into Biden – and whether Trump used almost $400 million in congressionally approved aid to Ukraine as leverage.
Trump recently made a public pitch to China to also investigate the Bidens...which many Republican leaders brushed off as a joke.
But Thursday – he seemed to welcome China's involvement.
SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) US PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: “If China wants to look into something, I think that’s great.
And if they don’t want to, I think that’s great too.” A new curveball Thursday — two Ukrainian businessmen, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, whose testimony the House had sought, were arrested at Dulles airport with one-way international tickets.
The two men are associates of the president’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, and had reportedly aided Giuliani in his efforts to dig up dirt on Joe Biden.
The two face federal charges that they allegedly conspired to funnel foreign money to U.S. political candidates.
The pair were subpoenaed by Democrats Thursday.