United States sent blocked from Trump impeachment inquiry

Gordon Sondland the United States Ambassador to the European Union adresses the media during a press conference at the US Embassy to Romania in Bucharest

Gordon Sondland the United States Ambassador to the European Union adresses the media during a press conference at the US Embassy to Romania in Bucharest

Separately on Tuesday, lawyers for House Democrats urged a judge to release secret grand jury testimony from special counsel Robert Mueller's Trump-Russia investigation, arguing that it is needed for the impeachment inquiry.

Schiff added: "Those messages are also deeply connected to this investigation and the impeachment inquiry".

What did Sondland's texts say?

While the lawyer pointed to State, Trump swiftly owned the decision, telling followers on Twitter that he would "love" to have sent Sondland to sit for a Capitol Hill deposition.

Sondland's absence on Tuesday raised questions about whether other witnesses called by the committee would appear.

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

And in text messages turned over to House investigators Thursday, Sondland insisted that Trump's decision to withhold almost $400 million in military aid to Ukraine was not a quid pro quo - as diplomat William "Bill" Taylor had feared, according to the texts.

"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.

The House will subpoena USA ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland after the State Department blocked his voluntary testimony Tuesday.

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

House Republicans said House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff's (D-Calif.) refusal to release a full transcript of one ambassador's testimony prompted the White House to block another ambassador from testifying on Tuesday.

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Sondland is a key witness of the controversy surrounding a phone call on July 25 between U.S. President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky which alarmed an intelligence official, who filed a whistleblower complaint on August 12 alleging Trump's misconduct on the phone.

"As a sitting USA ambassador to the European Union and employee of the State Department, Ambassador Sondland is required to follow the Department's direction", the statement explained, adding that Sondland was "profoundly disappointed" that he was not able to testify on Tuesday and hoped "the issues raised by the State Department" would be resolved.

Luskin said Sondland - a wealthy hotel investor and major donor to Trump's 2016 presidential campaign - had traveled from Brussels to Washington and was prepared to testify.

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.

Lawmakers heard final week from Volker after he resigned his place and turned over his communications to Congress. Sondland stays in his submit and has turned over the paperwork that lawmakers wish to the State Division as an alternative, organising a combat between the legislative and govt branches over entry to the data.

He had no diplomatic experience, United States media report, before Mr Trump nominated him to his position as ambassador in May.

Amid all the political chaos, Sondland, a man with no diplomatic background, emerged as a key figure in the Trump administration's dealings with Ukraine.

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. Importantly, Ambassador Sondland's tweet, which few report, stated, "I believe you are incorrect about President Trump's intentions".

Sondland then suggests to the group take the conversations off line, typing, "I suggest we stop the back and forth by text".

"The president has been crystal clear no quid pro quo of any kind", he added.

In one of the texts, for example, Sondland emphasized that Trump "really wants the deliverable".

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