Giuliani faces subpoena as inquiry accelerates
Trump rages about treason; Pompeo took part in Ukraine call
WASHINGTON (AP) — At one end of Pennsylvania Avenue, the president raged about treason. At the other, the methodical march toward impeachment proceeded apace.
Democrats on Monday subpoenaed Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer who was at the heart of Trump’s efforts to get Ukraine to investigate political rival Joe Biden’s family. That was after one of Trump’s staunchest defenders, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, said he would have “no choice” but to consider articles of impeachment if the House approved them.
With Congress out of session for observance of the Jewish holidays, Democrats moved aggressively against Giuliani, requesting by Oct. 15 “text messages, phone records and other communications” that they referred to as possible evidence. They also requested documents and depositions from three of his business associates.
Meanwhile, the circle of officials with knowledge of Trump’s phone call to Ukraine’s president widened with the revelation that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo listened in on the July 25 conversation.
Pompeo’s presence on the Ukraine call, confirmed by two officials who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss an internal matter, provided the first confirmation that a Cabinet official heard Trump press President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate Hunter Biden’s membership on the board of a Ukrainian gas company. It is that call, and the circumstances surrounding it, that are fueling the new Democratic drive for impeachment.
McConnell, a steadfast Trump defender, nonetheless swatted down talk that that the GOP-controlled Senate could dodge the matter of impeachment if the House approved charges against Trump.
“It’s a Senate rule related to impeachment, it would take 67 votes to change, so I would have no choice but to take it up,” McConnell said on CNBC. “How long you’re on it is a whole different matter.”
Trump took to Twitter to defend anew his phone call with Zelenskiy as “perfect” and to unleash a series of attacks, most strikingly against House intelligence committee Chairman Adam Schiff. The Democrat, he suggested, ought to be tried for a capital offense for launching into a paraphrase of Trump during a congressional hearing last week.
“Rep. Adam Schiff illegally made up a FAKE &terrible statement, pretended it to be mine as the most important part of my call to the Ukrainian President, and read it aloud to Congress and the American people,” the president wrote. “It bore NO relationship to what I said on the call. Arrest for Treason?”
Trump tweeted repeatedly through the day but was, for the most part, a lonely voice as the White House lacked an organization or process to defend him. Senior staffers, including acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and White House counsel Pat Cipollone, were to present Trump this week with options on setting up the West Wing’s response to impeachment, officials said.
A formal war room was unlikely, though some sort of rapid response team was planned to supplement the efforts of Trump and Giuliani. But Trump was angry over the weekend at both Mulvaney and press secretary Stephanie Grisham for not being able to change the narrative dominating the story, according to two Republicans close to the White House not authorized to speak publicly about private conversations.
Trump sought Australia’s help on Russia probe
WASHINGTON (AFP) — Donald Trump asked Australia to “assist” in discrediting a Russia investigation that has clouded his presidency, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison admitting Tuesday that he agreed to help.
An Australian government spokesperson confirmed Trump asked Morrison to investigate issues raised in Robert Mueller’s probe — which concluded that Russia tried to swing the 2016 election in the Republican’s favor.
The official said Australia “has always been ready to assist and cooperate with efforts that help shed further light on the matters under investigation.”
“The PM confirmed this readiness once again in conversation with the President.”
The revelation will fuel allegations Trump is using the power of the Oval Office and risking long-standing relationships with allies for his own political ends.
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, left, poses with U.S. President Donald Trump at the clubhouse of Trump International Golf Club, in Bedminster Township, N.J., in this 2016 file photo.