The chairmen of three House committees said they will subpoena Gordon Sondland, the US ambassador to the European Union, to testify and turn over documents in a House impeachment deposition.
“Ambassador Sondland’s testimony and documents are vital, and that is precisely why the Administration is now blocking his testimony and withholding his documents,” Chairmen Adam Schiff, Eliot Engel and Eljiah Cummings said in a joint statement.
Sondland had been scheduled to testify before the three committees in a closed-door meeting Tuesday, but the State Department ordered him not to show up.
“The House of Representatives is engaged in an impeachment inquiry to determine whether the President violated his oath of office and endangered our national security by pressing Ukraine to launch sham investigations to assist his personal and political interests rather than the interests of the American people,” the three chairmen said in their statement.
“Today, the White House has once again attempted to impede and obstruct the impeachment inquiry,” added the statement, which noted that the State Department informed Sondland’s attorney at 12:30 a.m. that Team Trump would not allow him to appear.
“In addition, Ambassador Sondland’s attorneys have informed us that the Ambassador has recovered communications from his personal devices that the Committees requested prior to his interview today. He has turned them over to the State Department, however, and the State Department is withholding them from the Committees, in defiance of our subpoena to Secretary [of State Mike] Pompeo,” the chairmen said.
“These actions appear to be part of the White House’s effort to obstruct the impeachment inquiry and to cover up President Trump’s misconduct from Congress and the American people,” they added.
“We consider this interference to be obstruction of the impeachment inquiry. We will be issuing subpoena to Ambassador Sondland for both his testimony and documents.”
Meanwhile, a lawyer for the House told a federal judge that “we’re getting almost nothing” from the Justice Department for the impeachment inquiry, according to CNN.
House general counsel Doug Letter told the judge Tuesday morning that the Justice Department has refused to share FBI memos on what former White House counsel Don McGahn and other White House staffers told special counsel Robert Mueller about Trump’s alleged attempts to obstruct justice.
The memos go to “the very heart of what we need to look into” in the impeachment inquiry, Letter told Chief Judge Beryl Howell of the US District Court.
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