UPDATED 10:25 AM PST – Tue. October 8, 2019
The U.S. ambassador to the European Union will not appear at a hearing on the Ukraine controversy.
Reports said the State Department advised Gordon Sondland not to testify Tuesday during a deposition with House Democrats, who are leading an impeachment inquiry.
Sondland is considered a key witness to President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine. In released text messages, he made clear the President said there was never a request for a “quid pro quo” regarding talks with the Ukrainian government.
His attorney released a statement Tuesday, saying Sondland wanted to testify, but is required to follow the State Department’s directions.
On Twitter, President Trump addresses the State Department’s decision to block Washington’s ambassador to the EU from testifying on the Ukraine controversy.
The President said he would love to have Sondland testify. However, he said Sondland would be testifying before a “compromised kangaroo court,” where Republicans rights have been taken away, and true facts are not allowed out for the public to see.
I would love to send Ambassador Sondland, a really good man and great American, to testify, but unfortunately he would be testifying before a totally compromised kangaroo court, where Republican’s rights have been taken away, and true facts are not allowed out for the public….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 8, 2019
Meanwhile, GOP lawmakers have also been quick to defend the move, with Representative Jim Jordan calling out House Intel Chair Adam Schiff for running this “unfair and partisan.”
We understand the reason why the State Department decided not to have Ambassador Sondland appear today.,” said Jordan. “Unfortunately when you have a speaker of the house who says strike when the iron is hot, when you have a chairman of the committee who is so biased against this president he didn’t tell us he met with the whistle blower prior to his complaint and frankly this is a pattern with Mr. Schiff.”
Jordon went on to slam House Democrats for selectively leaking information from the investigation, noting the house panels decision to only share select text messages between President Trump and Sondland, rather than releasing the entire transcript.