President Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani and Vice President Pence said they would not comply with congressional demands to turn over documents related to the July 25 phone call between Trump and his Ukraine counterpart -- a call central to a House impeachment inquiry -- as the deadline for cooperating expires Tuesday.
Giuliani's own attorney, Jon Sale, whom he retained to represent him in matters relating to impeachment, said his client would not abide by a subpoena "because this appears to be an unconstitutional, baseless and illegitimate "impeachment inquiry," according to a letter sent Tuesday to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
"The subpoena is overbroad, unduly burdensome and seeks documents beyond the scope of legitimate inquiry. Moreover, documents sought in the subpoena are protected by attorney-client, attorney work-product, and executive privileges," Sale wrote.
Giuliani told Fox News he is parting ways with Sale, a former Watergate prosecutor, stating that unless Congress tries to enforce the subpoena, he won't need a lawyer.
Three House committees conducting depositions this week to move the impeachment inquiry forward alleged that Giuliani "pressed the Ukrainian government to pursue two politically motivated investigations” against the former vice president and 2020 Democratic presidential frontrunner Joe Biden and his son Hunter in exchange for foreign aid.
Meanwhile, Pence's attorney, Matthew Morgan, rebuffed Congress' request saying the impeachment inquiry "has been designed and implemented in a manner that calls into question your commitment to fundamental fairness and due process rights," he wrote in a letter to the three committee heads.
"Please know that if the committees wish to return to the regular order of legitimate legislative oversight requests, and the committees have appropriate requests for information in the custody of the Office of the Vice President, we are prepared to work with you in a manner consistent with well-established bipartisan constitutional protections and a respect for separation of powers," Morgan wrote. "Until that time, the Office of the Vice President will continue to reserve all rights and privileges that may apply, including those protecting executive privileges, national security, attorney-client communications, deliberations, and communications among the president, the vice president and their advisors."
In addition, the House also subpoenaed the Pentagon and the White House Office of Management and Budget, for documents that explain why military aid to Ukraine was withheld in the days leading up to the July 25 call.
An attorney for Defense Secretary Mark Esper questioned the validity of the impeachment probe in a response to Congress writing "none of your committees has identified any House rule or House resolution that authorized the committees to begin an inquiry pursuant to the impeachment power."
The letter, sent to Congress on Tuesday, recognized "the significance of your request” but took issue with the committees' assertion that failing to hand over documents would constitute as "obstruction" of the impeachment inquiry, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs Robert Hood wrote.
Esper had previously said he would comply with the subpoena, despite protests from the White House, but Hood's letter said that the Department of Defense is "unable to comply with your request for documents at this time."
George Kent, a senior State Department official who worked in Ukraine in 2015 and 2018, overlapping with both the Obama and Trump administrations, was deposed on Capitol Hill Tuesday for more than six hours behind closed doors, as House committees sought to determine what information he had about potential Ukrainian investigations.
Congressional Democrats are in their fourth week of impeachment hearings against Trump, which center around whether he attempted to persuade Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate the Biden family for possible corruption in exchange for the release of that frozen U.S. military aid.
During the July call, Trump said: “There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that, so whatever you can do with the attorney general would be great.”
Trump's reference to Biden and his son relates to the former vice president's insistence that Ukraine fire its top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, who was investigating the natural gas firm Burisma Holdings, where Hunter Biden was on the board. Biden has maintained that corruption concerns centering on Shokin prompted his intervention.