- The Washington Times
Friday, October 25, 2019

House Democrats on Friday subpoenaed top officials at the State Department and White House Office of Management and Budget as they continue to lineup witnesses for the impeachment inquiry.

Subpoenas were issued for Office of Management and Budget acting Director Russell Vought, Associate Director for National Security Programs Michael Duffey and Ulrich Brechbuhl, counsel at the State Department.

Depositions for Mr. Vought and Mr. Brechbuhl are scheduled for Nov. 6, while Mr. Duffey will appear on Nov. 5.

In letters to the three officials, Democrats said failure to appear will be viewed as “obstruction of justice.” All three had rebuffed recent requests by investigators to voluntarily appear.

Mr. Vought tweeted on Monday that he and Mr. Duffey would not participate in depositions, which had been scheduled this week. He cited a letter for White House counsel for their refusal to appear.

“As the [White House] letter made clear two weeks ago, OMB officials — myself and Mike Duffey — will not be complying with the deposition requests this week,” he tweeted.

Mr. Vought and Mr. Duffey will be questioned about administration freezing military aid to Ukraine. Mr. Duffey was given authority by the White House to hold up Ukraine funds after career officials at the OMB questioned why the funds were delayed.

The issue of military aid is the centerpiece of the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry. Democrats have alleged that President Trump withheld military aid from Ukraine to pressure its leader to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden’s family and a conspiracy theory related to the 2016 election.

Mr. Brechbul, meanwhile, is one of the few State Department officials who listened in on Mr. Trump’s controversial calls with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky. That phone call in which Mr. Trump asked his Ukraine counterpart to investigate the Bidens was the subject of an anonymous whistleblower complaint that accelerated the impeachment inquiry process.

In letters to the three officials, Democrats said failure to appear will be viewed as “obstruction of justice.”

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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