Even as President Donald Trump again declared his opposition to an impeachment investigation in the U.S. House, Democrats sent out more subpoenas on Thursday, as the probe gathered more steam with the arrest of two associates of the President's personal lawyer, who were charged with illegally funneling foreign money into U.S. election campaign contributions.
Democrats wasted little time in sending subpoenas for Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who were arrested at Dulles Airport on Wednesday night, heading for Europe on one-way plane tickets.
"Your clients are private citizens who are not employees of the Executive Branch. They may not evade requests from Congress for documents and information necessary to conduct our inquiry," Democrats told the lawyer for Parnas and Fruman.
"I don't know those gentlemen," President Trump told reporters at the White House. "Maybe they were clients of Rudy (Giuliani)."
Q: "What conversations have you had with Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman?"— CSPAN (@cspan) October 10, 2019
President Trump: "I don't know those gentlemen. It's possible I have a picture with them because I have a picture with everybody." pic.twitter.com/nnxOW2Wzp3
⚡ Trump had dinner with Parnas at the White House on or about May 1, 2018, according to @OCCRP— David S. Joachim (@davidjoachim) October 10, 2019
They took a screenshot of Parnas's Facebook post about it, before he deleted ithttps://t.co/ID8mW7pXkr pic.twitter.com/srGpGEuUb7
"It just gets greasier and greasier," said Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN).
Democrats also sent a subpoena to Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, about his contacts with Ukraine government officials, and possible involvement in gas sales involving Ukraine.
It wasn't clear that Perry had done anything to press leaders in Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter - but it was clear the ex-Governor of Texas was now getting bogged down in this Ukraine investigation.
Investigators also want to know more about pressure reportedly put on the former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, who was unhappy with Giuliani's activities.
“WASHINGTON (AP) — The former US ambassador to Ukraine was removed from her post after insisting that Rudy Giuliani’s requests to Ukrainian officials for investigations be relayed through official channels, according to a former diplomat who spoke w/ her.” https://t.co/gQWjXFaUex— John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) October 11, 2019
"We are moving methodically but expeditiously to uncover how the President used the levers of his office to press Ukraine to investigate a political opponent," Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.
Democrats have made clear to a number of witnesses that if they do not cooperate, it 'shall constitute evidence of obstruction of the House's impeachment inquiry.'