A group of House committee chairmen issued a subpoena to Ambassador Gordon Sondland Tuesday evening, after finding out earlier in the day that he chose not to testify before them, on the White House’s orders.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA), Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Eliot Engel (D-NY) and Oversight Committee chairman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) said in a statement that they got word from Sondland’s attorneys that he would not be testifying at 12:30 a.m., and that he had turned over his communications to the State Department, which was withholding them in violation of a different subpoena.
“We will be issuing subpoena to Ambassador Sondland for both his testimony and documents,” they wrote.
Sondland’s lawyers said Tuesday morning that he was “profoundly disappointed” not to be testifying, though he could have flouted the order and testified anyway. President Donald Trump confirmed that the order came from him through the State Department soon after.
Read the chairmen’s full statement here:
“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. Today, the White House has once again attempted to impede and obstruct the impeachment inquiry.
“This morning, we learned from Ambassador Sondland’s personal attorneys that the State Department left a voicemail last night at 12:30 a.m. informing them that the Trump Administration would not allow the Ambassador to appear today as part of the House’s impeachment inquiry.
“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 Pompeo.
“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. Ambassador Sondland’s testimony and documents are vital, and that is precisely why the Administration is now blocking his testimony and withholding his documents.
“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.”
The House Democrats issued their subpoena around 6 p.m. Tuesday: