It’s getting down and dirty in Washington over the Ukraine issue. In a nutshell, Gordon Sondland, the U.S. Ambassador to the EU was blocked from testifying before Congress by the Trump administration, at 12:30 a.m. Tuesday, mere hours before he was to appear on Capitol Hill. This is not normal. So now, the chairs of the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, and Oversight committees have announced their intention to subpoena Sondland — and the State Department’s move will be considered evidence of obstruction of justice. This is getting fierce. Axios:

The big picture: The chairs said in a statement that the State Department’s decision to stop Sondland from testifying will be considered evidence of obstruction in their impeachment inquiry. They added that the State Department is withholding relevant messages from Sondland’s personal device about the Trump administration’s interactions with the Ukrainian government.

“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.”

— Chairmen Adam Schiff, Eliot Engel and Elijah Cummings

Background: According to the committees, “Sondland was at the center of the effort to orchestrate a Ukrainian statement confirming the initiation” of investigations into Joe Biden and alleged Ukrainian involvement in the 2016 election in exchange for a White House visit.

  • “The pressure on Ukraine took place as the White House also withheld hundreds of millions of dollars in vital military assistance to counter Russian aggression.”
  • “Sondland and other State Department officials discussed whether military security assistance was being withheld from Ukraine as leverage to force the initiation of the political investigations.”

This is another milestone in American politics. In Nazi Germany, knocks on the door in the middle of the night were common. The State Department of the United States typically has not worked that way. What is additionally ironic, is that Mike Pompeo used to cry out “obstruction” back when the Benghazi farce was going on. Trump is committed to see Ambassador Sondland not testify. This is one of the hot spots, probably the hottest spot in Washington right now, and that’s saying something with foreign affairs becoming unglued over the Syrian troop withdrawal and Trump’s withdrawing the U.S. from the Open Skies Treaty. What a town, with Trump running it.

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8 Comments on "State Department Blocked Sondland Testimony at 12:30 a.m., Now There’s A Subpoena and Obstruction Charges"

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P J Evans
Guest

Himself’s tweets about the investigation make it clear he thinks he’s on trial now. He has *no effing clue* how the process works.

pwhitten
Member

I wonder who’s taking him to the potty and dressing him every morning. I see a custom straight jacket in his near future at this rate.

lurker
Guest

Nice catch! Personally, I hope it’s orange and from Armani.

Bareshark
Guest

Ever get the impression that Trump is confusing the impeachment process with criminal proceedings? Because if he knew the difference, he’d know that works in one doesn’t fly in the other.

P J Evans
Guest

I’m sure he’s confused about the two. I don’t know if there’s anyone who can get it through his head that impeachment is the grand jury part of the process.

Cherl Harrell
Guest

He wouldn’t understand how a grand jury works. He doesn’t understand most things, in my opinion.

Alfred Higgins
Guest

tRump’s total stonewall of the House impeachment process appears to contain the strategy of attempting to force every committee request to a subpoena, every subpoena into a judicial hearing, an appellate court, and eventually to flood the SCOTUS with these cases in hopes of a friendly conservative majority thanks to the stolen bench appointments of Gorsuch and Kavanaugh. This is the raw end game of McConnell’s Machiavellian manipulation of the Senate.

Markm Mitchell
Member

When this is all done, many people will be in jail.