WASHINGTON • US Vice-President Mike Pence and Mr Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, said on Tuesday that they will not cooperate with a House of Representatives impeachment inquiry, prompting a leading Democrat to say that would strengthen the case against the President.
The Pentagon also said it would not comply with lawmakers' request for documents related to Mr Trump's effort to pressure Ukraine to investigate a political rival, further illustrating Mr Trump's determination to stonewall the Democratic-led impeachment effort, which threatens to consume his presidency.
Other US government officials have not been as reluctant to cooperate. A senior US diplomat, Mr George Kent, said in closed-door testimony that he had been alarmed by efforts by Mr Giuliani and others to pressure Ukraine, according to one lawmaker who heard his testimony.
House Democrats are focusing on Mr Trump's request to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a July 25 phone call to look into unsubstantiated allegations about former vice-president Joe Biden, a leading contender to become the Democratic nominee to run against Mr Trump in the 2020 presidential election.
If the Democratic-controlled House votes to approve articles of impeachment - formal charges - the Republican-controlled Senate would then hold a trial on whether to remove Mr Trump from office. Success is seen as unlikely at this point as few Republican senators have criticised Mr Trump.
Mr Giuliani had faced a Tuesday deadline to produce the requested documents. His lawyer, Mr Jon Sale, said the documents were protected by legal principles that shield attorney-client communications and presidential communications.