October 23, 2019 / 5:17 PM / 2 months ago

State Department refusing to turn over 'significant' information for impeachment inquiry: U.S. House Democrats

FILE PHOTO: Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) leaves a closed-door meeting after hearing testimony from U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, as part of the impeachment inquiry led by the House Intelligence, House Foreign Affairs and House Oversight and Reform Committeesl in Washington, U.S., October 17, 2019. REUTERS/Erin Scott/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives impeachment investigation said on Wednesday that the State Department refused to comply with a subpoena for documents that they now know are key to their probe into whether President Donald Trump should be removed from office.

Adam Schiff, chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Eliot Engel, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, and Carolyn Maloney, acting chairwoman of the Oversight Committee, said in a letter to Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan that they consider “the refusal to comply with a duly authorized congressional subpoena as obstruction of the lawful functions of Congress and of the impeachment inquiry.”

Their committees “have gathered evidence about the direct relevance of these documents, including highly significant information contained in these materials that pertain to allegations that the President abused the power of his office for personal political benefit.”

By not producing the documents, which included memoranda on efforts to intimidate employees, as well as communications on Trump’s request to Ukraine to conduct political investigations, the Department “indicates that these documents support the allegations against the President and others,” they also wrote.

Reporting by Lisa Lambert and Susan Heavey; Additional reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Steve Orlofsky

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