The Trump administration has had its back to the wall since last Friday with three committees of the House of Representatives having subpoenaed the Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, for failure to produce documents pertaining to America’s involvement in Ukraine, most particularly the revelations of the unidentified whistleblower. Constitutionally, this is a critical measure of forward movement towards the possible impeachment of Donald Trump.

The three chairmen of as many committees have let it be known that “the subpoenaed documents shall be part of the impeachment inquiry and shared among the committees. Your failure or refusal to comply with the subpoena shall constitute evidence of obstruction of the House’s impeachment inquiry.” Is there an attempted coverup at the highest level? Such suspicions are bound to arise not the least in the context of the statement by the President’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, to the effect that he won’t testify without consulting Mr Trump.

Which would suggest that the testimony will be crafted accordingly. The Democratic chairmen wrote to Pompeo on September 9 with a request for six categories of documents “related to reported efforts by President Trump and his associates to improperly pressure the Ukrainian government to assist the President’s bid for re-election.” Coupled with the meddling of Vladimir Putin’s Russia in US Election 2016, the Ukraine factor lengthens the loop of Trump’s diplomatic disasters.

Diplomats have expressed alarm over Trump’s treatment of former ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, who was unexpectedly recalled from her post in May this year. She was also mentioned in the White House rough transcript of President Trump’s July 25 call with the Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky. Trump asked Zelensky to speak with Giuliani and suggested that the Ukrainian President “look into” Joe Biden, former Vice- President and his son, Hunter Biden.

The subpoena and demands for depositions are the first major investigative actions the House has taken since it launched impeachment proceedings following revelations that Trump exerted pressure on the Ukraine President, Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Mr Biden, a contender for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. An attempt to use US aid as leverage cannot be ruled out quite yet.

Democrats are said to be working on two tracts. For one, the party is meticulously outlining a set of investigative steps. For another, the party, under the ebullient Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, has signalled what promises to be a divisive and politically charged process. A year before the presidential election, there is little doubt that opposition pressure has been ramped up. Donald Trump and his cabal are on a sticky wicket.