US ambassador to EU will testify on Thursday, will not share documents

US Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland poses ahead of a meeting with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and White House senior adviser Jared Kushner (unseen) at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, June 4, 2019. — Reuters pic
US Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland poses ahead of a meeting with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and White House senior adviser Jared Kushner (unseen) at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, June 4, 2019. — Reuters pic

WASHINGTON, Oct 11 — Gordon Sondland, the US ambassador to the European Union, will testify before the committees leading an impeachment inquiry into US President Donald Trump on Oct. 17, his lawyers said today, complying with House Democrats’ subpoena.

Sondland was initially scheduled to testify before the House committees on Tuesday and had flown from Brussels to do so, but was blocked by the Trump administration from appearing.

“Notwithstanding the State Department’s current direction to not testify, Ambassador Sondland will honour the Committees’ subpoena, and he looks forward to testifying on Thursday,” his lawyers, Robert Luskin and Kwame Manley, said in a statement.

But Sondland is not authorised to release the documents the House committees have sought, his lawyers said, adding that Sondland hopes the material will be shared with the committees before his Thursday appearance.

House Democrats launched an impeachment inquiry to investigate Trump after a US intelligence official filed a whistleblower’s complaint about a July 25 call between the US president and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

In the call, Trump pressed Zelenskiy to investigate his political rival Joe Biden, a former US vice president and a leading candidate seeking the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

The whistleblower’s complaint also raised concerns about the classification of the July 25 call and other calls between Trump and foreign leaders.

Sondland, a Trump political donor, participated in text messages about Washington’s relationship with Ukraine with other top diplomats. House Democrats received a cache of the texts as part of their impeachment inquiry.

The White House has said it would not cooperate with the impeachment inquiry, which it says is illegitimate and constitutional. — Reuters

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