Published: Thu, October 10, 2019

US State Department blocks European Union ambassador's testimony over Ukraine controversy

US State Department blocks European Union ambassador's testimony over Ukraine controversy

Trump and the White House have telegraphed they plan to send the House a letter indicating they will not comply with the Democrats' subpoena unless the House takes a vote to formally authorize the impeachment inquiry.

Schiff told reporters the failure to allow Sondland to testify and turn over his text messages or emails was further evidence of obstruction.

Impeachment is a measure by which Can not Sondland explain his no-show?Mr. Sondland said he had been instructed by the Department of State the congressional deposition.

"Ambassador Sondland had previously agreed to appear voluntarily today, without the need for a subpoena, in order to answer the committee's questions on an expedited basis", Sondland's attorney, Jim McDermott, said in a statement.

Mr Sondland was set to be grilled about any role Donald Trump's political rival, Joe Biden.

House Democrats were keen to press Sondland on recently revealed text messages that showed he worked with other administration diplomats to encourage Ukraine to investigate an energy company with ties to Joe Biden's son.

"We know from the text messages that Ambassador Sondland was in discussion with Ukrainian counterparts, with fellow diplomatic personnel, and the president, and at least one USA senator, about the course of events we are investigating", Schiff said.

Luskin says Sondland "is profoundly disappointed that he will not be able to testify".

They are also demanding that he produce documents, including communications from his personal device that have been turned over to the State Department but not to Congress.

Schiff and other Democrats have said that they will consider such obstruction if they draft articles of impeachment against the president.

Across the Capitol, Senate Judiciary Committee Lindsey Graham - one of Trump's staunchest defenders - said he would call the president's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani to testify about corruption in Ukraine.

Former Special Envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker departs following a closed-door deposition led by the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington on October 3, 2019.

Sondland was supposed to be the first of two witnesses the committee would speak to this week, along with former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, who is still a State Department employee.

A Trump donor and Portland, Oregon, hotelier, Sondland became the USA envoy to the European Union in July 2018. At the time, the government in Kiev was eagerly awaiting the release of almost $400 million in USA military aid and the arrangement of a face-to-face meeting between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

In a separate thread that included William Taylor, the top US diplomat in Ukraine, the three discuss a plan for an "interview" in exchange for the release of almost $400 million of USA security assistance to Ukraine.

Sondland was one of a handful of U.S. diplomats on a text message chain, provided to Democrats leading the probe, that go to the heart of the focus of the investigation. Sondland then responded "Bill, I believe you are incorrect about President Trump's intentions". After the call, Sondland assured another diplomat in a text message that there were "no quid pro quo's of any kind" with Ukraine.

Rice said Trump "seems to be trying to couch this in 'We've been at war too long, you know, I'm sick and exhausted of all this, somebody else should take up the burden, bye.'" Colbert said Trump's forever-wars argument isn't a bad one, and Rice pointed out that this isn't one of those wars, and in this case, America has "very smartly" let "these very fearless Kurdish allies" do the fighting while USA troops offer advice and support. The President is trying to evaluate whether Ukraine is truly going to adopt the transparency and reforms that President Zelensky promised during his campaign I suggest we stop the back and forth by text If you still have concerns I recommend you give Lisa Kenna or S a call to discuss them directly.

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