House Democrats are going all out impeachment President Trump before Christmas, in the process refusing to issue subpoenas to key witnesses who have sought to avoid testifying.

Former national security adviser John Bolton did not testify Thursday and earlier, the Democrats, despite initial threats, decided not to subpoena his deputy Charles Kupperman who had approached a federal court on the matter. The Democrats are trying to avoid a long-drawn legal process that will push impeachment to next year, which is what Trump and his political strategists would want as the campaign for the 2020 elections would be shifting gears by then.

House Democrats have now subpoenaed acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney but he too is expected to skip the deposition. House Democrats' fast-track impeachment strategy seeks to avoid court battles and limit the number of witnesses at public hearings.

On a day of predictable developments, Trump's ability to latch on to issues that can turn the tide of public attention shone through -- again. The President demanded, in a tweet, that former Vice-President Joe Biden and his son Hunter testify too. Although that demand may not materialize, considering Democrats' dominance of the House, it is something that the President and the Republicans can harp on, and cause discomfort to the Democrats.

International Business Times brings the key developments Thursday around the Congressional impeachment inquiry against President Trump.

Mulvaney will not testify

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney was subpoenaed to appear before the House Intelligence Committee at 9:00 a.m. ET on Friday. According to a White House official Mulvaney won’t testify despite the subpoena, CNN reported.

"Mulvaney has the opportunity to uphold his oath to the nation and constitution by testifying tomorrow under oath about matters of keen national importance. We hope Mr. Mulvaney does not hide behind the President’s ongoing efforts to conceal the truth and obstruct our investigation," an official who was working on the impeachment inquiry told CNN.

The subpoena, which was expected, did not change the White House’s view on the impeachment inquiry, a White House official told CNN.

Trump was pursuing partisan interests, Kent says in testimony

George Kent, a deputy assistant secretary at the State Department, said in his testimony that President Trump was pursuing “partisan interests” when White House withheld its invitation to the Ukrainian President until Ukraine launched an investigation on Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice-President Joe Biden.

In his closed-door deposition, Kent said pressing Ukraine to investigate the Bidens and the National Committee servers was not anti-corruption. Instead it was a selective elimination of political opponents, which contradicts the President’s and the Republicans' arguments that the President acted in good faith to clean up corruption in Ukraine.

Kent also offered details on Rudy Giuliani’s campaign of slander that took down former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch.

“He had very high -- a media promise, so he was on TV, his Twitter feed ramped up and it was all focused on Ukraine, and it was focused on four storylines that unfolded in those days between March 20 and 23rd,” he told lawmakers.

Diagram on what could happen next in the US impeachment inquiry on President Donald Trump
Diagram on what could happen next in the US impeachment inquiry on President Donald Trump AFP / Gal ROMA

Trump says the Bidens should testify

In what is seen as a desperate attempt to deflect the allegations of the Ukraine scandal, President Trump focused on the Bidens and said they should testify.

“What did Hunter Biden do for the money?” @SenJohnKennedy A very good question. He and Sleepy Joe must testify!” Trump tweeted, borrowing Sen. John Kennedy’s quote.

While the Republicans can request a subpoena for witnesses, it is highly unlikely that the Bidens will testify in the ongoing impeachment inquiry.

Trump’s continued attack on the Bidens come at a time when the Democrats are planning to hold public hearings starting next week.

Yovanovitch communicated with Democrat staffer on 'delicate' issues

According to emails obtained by Fox News' "Tucker Carlson Tonight," former ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch communicated with a Democrat staffer, Laura Carey, regarding a "delicate issue" via her personal email, just a couple of days after the whistleblower complaint was filed.

According to Fox News, it is a breach of procedure for congressional staff to reach out to a State Department employees via their personal email for official business.

Yovanovitch had testified that she had not responded to Carey's email or follow-up email.

According to Fox News, Yovanovitch responded to one of Carey’s emails saying, “Thanks for reaching out -- and congratulations on your new job. I would love to reconnect and look forward to chatting with you. I have let EUR [Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs] know that you are interested in talking and they will be in touch with you shortly."

White House receives cease and desist letter from whistleblower’s lawyer

White House Pat Cipollone, received a cease and desist letter from Andrew Bakaj, one of the attorneys for the anonymous whistleblower, warning President Trump's rhetoric was putting the the whistleblower and his family in danger.

"I am writing to respectfully request that you counsel your client on the legal and ethical peril in which he is placing himself should anyone be physically harmed as a result of his, or his surrogates', behavior," Bakaj wrote.

He added that the President was engaging in rhetoric to discredit his client that put the safety of his client and his family at risk.