Published: Fri, October 11, 2019

USA ambassador Gordon Sondland now plans to testify in Trump impeachment inquiry

USA ambassador Gordon Sondland now plans to testify in Trump impeachment inquiry

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Sondland's attorney said that while his client can provide testimony to the impeachment investigation, the subpoenaed documents are another matter entirely.

The statement was released on Friday on the same morning that the former USA ambassador to Kiev, Marie Yovanovitch, was to testify before the panels about what she knows of the Trump administration's pressure effort on Ukraine.

Gordon Sondland, the United States ambassador to the European Union, will testify to the House under subpoena next week, according to his legal team. That refusal came just hours before Sondland, a Trump mega donor, was to appear. Democrats subsequently issued a subpoena for Sondland's testimony.

Sondland was a Seattle, Wash. -based hotelier until Trump nominated him to his position as ambassador in May.

"Notwithstanding the State Department's current direction not to testify, Ambassador Sondland will honor the committees' subpoena, and he looks forward to testifying on Thursday", Sondland's attorney Robert Luskin and Kwame Manley said in a statement. She was expected to answer questions about efforts by Mr. Trump and his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, to press Ukraine's government to investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden and how career USA diplomats handled that pressure.

On Thursday, two foreign-born Florida businessmen who had helped Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani investigate Biden were arrested in what prosecutors said was a scheme to illegally funnel money to a pro-Trump election committee and other US political candidates.

Yovanovitch became the target in March of allegations - vehemently denied by the State Department - that she gave a Ukrainian prosecutor a list of people not to prosecute.

On Monday, Fiona Hill, a former White House adviser who focused on Russian Federation, is expected to testify. She did not respond to questions posed by reporters. Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, alleged she blocked efforts to persuade Ukraine to investigate the Bidens.

President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy looks on during a meeting in NY on September 25, 2019, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

Sondland's decision to testify marks a 180-degree shift from earlier this week, when he declined to do so.

The investigation of Trump could lead to the approval of articles of impeachment - or formal charges - against the president in the House.

Democrats have accused Trump of abusing his office and potential campaign finance violations.

Mr. Trump, in a July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, called her "bad news" and said "she's going to go through some things", according to a rough transcript released by the White House.

The White House has said it would not cooperate with the impeachment inquiry, which it says is illegitimate and constitutional.

Yovanovitch was to speak to the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight and Reform committees behind closed doors Friday.

ABC News has repeatedly asked the State Department for comment on Yovanovitch's planned appearance.

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