Impeachment Updates: More Supoenas are Issued


Congress has issues more subpoenas in the impeachment investigation. (Photo from the AP)

Patrick Kane, The Carroll News

Since the House of Representatives opened an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump last month, the process has produced bombshell development after bombshell development. Last week was no different, as two men closely associated with Rudy Giuliani, former New York City mayor and Trump’s personal lawyer, were indicted for aiding the Trump administration’s efforts to gather damaging information on his political rivals, namely former Vice President Joe Biden.

According to The New York Times, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman were indicted by the Southern District of New York for violating campaign finance laws on Oct. 10. However, it was revealed that the two were at the center of a pressure campaign against Marie Yovanovitch, former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, at the behest of Giuliani and Trump. According to the indictment papers issues by the SDNY Parnas and Fruman met with an individual labeled “Congressman-1” to convince him to work towards the dismissal of Ambassador Yovanovitch, after which they donated money to his campaign far exceeding the $106,000 limit instituted by campaign finance regulations.

The identity of Congressman-1 was revealed to be Pete Sessions, a former congressman for Texas’ 32nd Congressional District, through campaign finance filings. Allegedly, Sessions used his position as the chairman of the House Rules Committee to pen a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arguing that Yovanovitch should be terminated for “privately expressing disdain for the current administration.” When questioned, Sessions said he could not confirm or deny his status as Congressman-1, but did deny any and all wrongdoing.

In addition, Giuliani has downplayed the gravity of the situation, despite the FBI opening a criminal investigation into his ties with Parnas and Fruman on Friday, according to The New York Times.

According to statements provided by former Ukrainian officials documented in the Southern District’s official indictment, close allies of the president believed that Yovanovitch was trying to obstruct their efforts to gather potentially damaging information on Joe Biden and his son Hunter. Additionally, House Democrats are currently looking into whether or not Yovanovitch’s recall was connected to the president’s attempts to gain foreign intel on a political opponent. It was also said that if the U.S. State Department tries to prevent any testimony from Yovanovitch, the House Democrats are more than willing to issue a subpoena.

Colin Swearingen, associate professor of Political Science at John Carroll, sat down with The Carroll News to explain his take on the events transpiring.

“It’s not a good look,” he summarized with a chuckle. When asked about the indictment, he responded, “The goal of impeachment process is to say, ‘Let’s get the information out there. What happened? When? Who knew about, and how much did they know?’”

When asked if Yovanovitch was recalled due to speaking ill of the Trump administration, Swearingen answered, “I wouldn’t be shocked. There’s always stuff going on behind the scenes in politics; what people say behind closed doors.” 

Swearingen encapsulated the situation saying, “The big fish is Trump. So the significance of this will, rightly or wrongly, be measured in ‘What does it mean for the impeachment of the president?’ Whether it means impeachment and removal, or just impeachment.”

Swearingen continued, “If Congress wants to win, they’ll win,” he said, referring to the possibility of the Trump administration fighting back against any potential subpoenas in this case. “But they have to do it the right way.”