White House

Sondland to Testify Under Subpoena Next Week Despite State Department Order Not to Appear

U.S. Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland poses in Brussels, Belgium, June 4, 2019. (Francois Lenoir/Reuters)

U.S. ambassador to the E.U. Gordon Sondland announced Friday that he will testify before House committees next week despite being ordered by the Trump administration on Tuesday not to appear for the scheduled depositions, a prohibition House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D., Calif.) called an act of “obstruction of a coequal branch of government.”

“Notwithstanding the State Department’s current direction not to testify, Ambassador Sondland will honor the Committees’ subpoena, and he looks forward to testifying on Thursday,” a statement released Friday reads. “Ambassador Sondland has at all times acted with integrity and in the interests of the United States. He has no agenda apart from answering the Committees’ questions fully and truthfully.”

Sondland is of interest to the House impeachment inquiry due to his dealings with former special representative to Ukraine, Kurt Volker. Text messages between Volker and Sonland suggest that State Department officials were working at the behest of the White House to coordinate investigations into Hunter Biden’s business dealings.

The House had scheduled Sondland to testify this past Tuesday, but the State Department decided to block the move, before a letter from the Trump administration told the House it won’t cooperate with the “unconstitutional” impeachment inquiry.

In the statement, Sondland also stated that he is prohibited “from producing documents concerning his official responsibilities.”

“Ambassador Sondland does not control the disposition of his documents. By federal law and regulation, the State Department has sole authority to produce such documents, and he hopes the materials will be shared with the Committees in advance of his Thursday testimony,” the statement read.

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