By Melissa Leon
Published October 23, 2019
The records, requested by ethics watchdog American Oversight, must be produced within 30 days, District Judge Christopher Cooper said, agreeing with the watchdog that the documents were of public importance.
The organization sued the State Department on Oct. 1 for documents relating to President Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and Ukraine. The government has said it doesn't know how many records exist.
The former New York City mayor is alleged to have "pressed the Ukrainian government to pursue two politically motivated investigations” against the former vice president and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter in exchange for foreign aid.
Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel and now-deceased Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings said Giuliani claimed he admitted to being "in possession of evidence -- in the form of text messages, phone records and other communications -- indicating that [he was] not acting alone and that other Trump administration officials may have been involved in this scheme."
“This wasn’t just one phone call or Rudy Giuliani acting on his own,” American Oversight Executive Director Austin Evers said. “This was a monthslong, coordinated effort across multiple federal departments that hijacked American foreign policy to benefit Trump’s campaign, and the public needs to know who else was involved."
The Democratic chairs' subpoena is one of several issued over the past month for documents related to Ukraine that they say pertain to the impeachment inquiry.
On Sept. 27, the trio of Democrats subpoenaed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, demanding State Department correspondence and documents dating from Jan. 20, 2017, to the present. The documents, they said, relate to reports that Trump pressed Ukrainian officials to investigate his potential 2020 election rival, his son and the family's business activity in Ukraine.
The Democratic lawmakers also requested any copies of the transcript of Trump's July 25 controversial call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, and a list of State Department officials who might have been involved with the conversation, according to a letter sent to Pompeo last month. The chairmen additionally asked for any State Department records about Giuliani and anything relating to U.S. military aid to Ukraine.
The White House has said it will not comply with any requests for the "illegitimate and unconstitutional" impeachment inquiry.
Trump has called the probe "another witch hunt," and has repeatedly said his call with Zelensky was "perfect." The president has also denied withholding military aid from the Eastern European country as a condition of a probe of the Bidens for a "quid pro quo." Zelensky has said that "nobody pushed me" during his July call with Trump.
An intelligence community whistleblower filed a complaint and accused Trump of "using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election." House Democrats launched their impeachment probe following the complaint.
A memorandum of the Trump-Zelensky call was later made public. It showed that while Trump sought an investigation into the Biden family for corruption, he did not explicitly leverage military aid in order to get Ukraine to investigate.
Fox News' Brooke Singman, John Roberts and Vandana Rambaran contributed to this report, as well as The Associated Press.