House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said that the White House blocking testimony from Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland was “additional strong evidence of obstruction.”
Schiff said that Sondlands personal device, which contains texts and emails that Democrats want to read as part of the impeachment inquiry, was being withheld in addition to Sondland himself.
“The failure to produce this witness, the failure to produce these documents, we consider [it] yet additional strong evidence of obstruction of the constitutional functions of Congress, a co-equal branch of government,” Schiff told reporters in Washington on Tuesday.
“There are four issues that we are looking at, at least four issues that we are looking at, all that go to the heart of our national security. And by preventing us from hearing from this witness and obtaining these documents, the president and secretary of state are taking actions that prevent us from getting the facts needed to protect the nations security.”
Sondlands lawyer said earlier Tuesday his client was told by the State Department not to appear for a deposition, a claim President Donald Trump later confirmed.
“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 Republicans rights have been taken away, and true facts are not allowed out for the public to see,” Trump said in a statement on Twitter.
“Importantly, Ambassador Sondlands tweet, which few report, stated, I believe you are incorrect about President Trumps intentions. The President has been crystal clear: no quid pro quos of any kind. That says it ALL!”