The New York Times reports:
The Trump administration directed a top American diplomat involved in its pressure campaign on Ukraine not to appear Tuesday morning for a scheduled deposition with House Democrats conducting an impeachment inquiry, according to two people briefed on the matter.
The decision to block Gordon D. Sondland, the United States ambassador to the European Union, from speaking with investigators is certain to provoke an immediate conflict with potentially profound consequences for the White House and President Trump.
House Democrats have repeatedly warned that if the administration tries to interfere with their investigation, it will be construed as obstruction, a charge they see as potentially worthy of impeachment.
The hearing was scheduled for 9AM. Over the weekend I reported that Sondland has become the new focus of the Ukraine probe.
Breaking — Ambassador Gordon Sondland has been told by the State Department to not appear this morning before the House regarding his role in the Ukraine scandal. His attorney said he has no choice but to comply.
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) October 8, 2019
NEW: Ambassador Gordon Sondland has been told by State to not appear this morning before the House – so he won’t.
His attorney Robert Luskin said Tuesday morning he has no choice. “He is a sitting Ambassador and employee of State and is required to follow their direction”
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) October 8, 2019
NEW: “Early this morning, the U.S. Department of State directed Ambassador Gordon Sondland not to appear today for his scheduled transcribed interview before the U.S. House of Representatives Joint Committee,” per statement from Sondland’s attorney. https://t.co/qPSV9soayf
— Jennifer Hansler (@jmhansler) October 8, 2019