The White House:
David Jackson, USA TODAY
Published 2: 08 p.m. ET Dec. 7, 2019 | Updated 2: 12 p.m. ET Dec. 7, 2019
WASHINGTON – The office of Vice President Mike Pence on Saturday turned down a Democratic request for information on a call between Pence and the president of Ukraine, saying it doesn’t know exactly what impeachment investigators are seeking.
“Because Adam Schiff continues to operate in an underhanded manner, the Office of the Vice President does not even know what he wants declassified,” said Pence spokeswoman Katie Waldman. “It’s simply further proof that this shoddy committee is pursuing a sham investigation.”
In a letter late Friday, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, asked Pence to declassify supplemental testimony from aide Jennifer Williams over his Sept. 18 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Schiff said the committee “strongly believes that there is no legitimate basis” to keep details of the call “classified,” and noted that Pence himself has said he has no problem with release of a transcript.
The White House counsel’s office, meanwhile, has refused to release the transcript.
In their impeachment investigation, House Democrats are looking at evidence that Trump and perhaps others pressured Ukraine into investigating Democratic political opponents; they are also investigating whether the Trump administration withheld military aid from Ukraine until Zelensky followed through.
Pence has denied any involvement in any plan to pressure Zelensky, telling WISN 12 News in Wisconsin that he was “not aware of the allegations that U.S. aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations at any point before those matters became public in September.”
In a report on the impeachment investigation, House Democrats said Pence is among the top officials who “were either knowledgeable of or active participants in an effort to extract from a foreign nation the personal political benefits sought by the president.”
Trump, Pence, and their allies have denounced the entire impeachment investigation as a “sham.”
Williams, a foreign policy adviser who works at the State Department and is still detailed to Pence’s office, provided information to the House Intelligence Committee as it investigates Trump and Ukraine. That included a discussion of Pence’s interactions with Zelensky.
Williams also told the committee that she regarded Trump’s July 25 phone call with Zelensky – in which Trump discussed investigations of campaign opponents – as “unusual and inappropriate.”
Trump responded by criticizing Williams directly, tweeting Nov. 17 that Williams “should meet with the other Never Trumpers, who I don’t know & mostly never even heard of, & work out a better presidential attack!”
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