Defense Secretary Says Pentagon Will Comply With Subpoena In Impeachment Inquiry

Defense Secretary Mark Esper speaks during a press conference at Parliament of New South Wales on August 04, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)
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October 13, 2019 12:49 p.m.
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Defense Secretary Mark Esper indicated on Sunday that the Pentagon will not participate in the White House’s stonewalling of the House impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.

During an interview on CBS News’ “Face the Nation,” show host Margaret Brennan asked Esper if he’ll comply with the subpoena House Democrats leading the inquiry sent to the Pentagon (along with the Office of Management and Budget) last Monday regarding Trump’s decision to withhold congressionally-approved military funds to Ukraine.

“Yeah, we will do everything we can to cooperate with the Congress,” the Defense secretary replied. “Just in the last week or two, my general counsel sent out a note, as we typically do in these situations, to ensure documents are retained.”

“Is that a yes?” Brennan asked.

“That’s a yes,” Esper responded.

“You will comply with the subpoena?” the CBS host pressed.

“We will do everything we can to comply,” Esper said.

But during an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” the Pentagon leader didn’t commit to meeting the House’s deadline of October 15.

“I don’t know the status of what that document preparation is,” Esper told Fox News host Chris Wallace. “I don’t know what restrictions we may will have internally with regard to releasing them.”

“The White House has a say on the release of documents as well,” he added. “There are a number of things that play into this.”

The Defense secretary’s position is in stark contrast with that of the OMB, whose acting director asserted on Wednesday that his agency will refuse to cooperate with what he called a “sham process.”

Several weeks ago, the Pentagon said that none of its officials, including Esper, were on the call in which Trump pushed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden while they were discussing U.S. military aid to Ukraine.

Watch Esper on “Face the Nation” and “Fox News Sunday” below:

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