Sondland's attorney Robert Luskin released a statement explaining that the State Department had "directed" Sondland to skip his scheduled, voluntary testimony before three congressional committees pursuing the impeachment inquiry.
In their messages, top U.S. diplomats discussed leveraging a potential summit between Trump and Ukraine's newly inaugurated President Volodymyr Zelensky on a pledge to investigate 2016 election interference and a company that employed the son of Joe Biden, the frontrunner in the Democrat race to challenge Trump in 2020.
Sondland placed a call to Trump after a top American diplomat in Ukraine expressed concern that Washington was linking the USA military aid to a request for an investigation that would help Trump's political campaign, according to a person familiar with the matter.
SCHIFF on Sondland not being allowed to testify & the administration withholding documents: "The failure to produce this witness, the failure to produce these documents, we consider yet additional strong evidence of obstruction of the constitutional functions of Congress".
That shouldn't come as a huge surprise, since the president himself has asserted that the entire investigation is illegitimate and the State Department has already objected to its employees testifying before Congress.
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The White House letter spelled out Trump's evolving strategy of stonewalling lawmakers' demands for witnesses and documents, while questioning the legality of the inquiry.
"And they have done it with enormous efficacy and they've sacrificed immensely, and we've basically just said to them, 'See ya.'" The Turks, she added, "are like the hungry wolf trying to kill the lamb", but "Trump woke up on the wrong side of the bed, it appears", and he made a decision to give Turkey the green light, "which is why, finally, the Republicans in Congress have gotten a pulse today".
"The days of playing nice are done", the source said.
Trump has denied he did anything wrong in the phone call. "Those messages are also deeply relevant to this investigation and the impeachment inquiry".
A whistleblower complaint about a July 25 phone call in which Trump pressed his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, to investigate his political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, prompted the inquiry.
"Had breakfast with Rudy this morning-teeing up call w Yermak Monday".
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What did Sondland's texts say? Volker resigned from his post before a date was set for his deposition.
There has been no evidence of wrongdoing by Biden or his son.
"Are we now saying that security assistance and WH meeting are conditioned on investigations?"
Sondland responded with a lengthy statement. "He stands ready to testify on short notice, whenever he is permitted to appear", Luskin said.
After Taylor expressed concern in a September 1 exchange that withholding U.S. military funds in exchange for an investigation was "crazy", Sondland responded, "the president has been crystal clear no quid pro quo's of any kind". Zelensky, a former comedian, assumed office on May 20. He was appointed by Trump to the European Union ambassadorship previous year to succeed Obama appointee Anthony Gardner. But he then praised Sondland's comments.
"When you're gonna have a chairman release certain parts of what was said in a closed-door interview and not release the entire transcript and give it context, you could see why they didn't want to subject Ambassador Sondland to the same kind of treatment", Jordan told reporters in Washington.
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The request for Sondland's appearance marked a shift for the investigation because he is a Trump donor and political appointee. While he is ambassador to the European Union, he's had a specific interest in Ukraine. At the time, the government in Kiev was eagerly awaiting the release of almost $400 million in US military aid and the arrangement of a face-to-face meeting between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. "And we've been tasked with sort of overseeing the Ukraine-US relationship between our contacts at the highest levels of the US government, and now the highest levels of the Ukrainian government".