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Three Chairs Issue Statement On White House Blocking Ambassador Sondland Testimony And Documents Oct 8, 2019 Press Release
Committees to Issue Subpoena to Sondland Today
Washington—Today, Rep. Adam B. Schiff, the Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Rep. Eliot L. Engel, the Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, issued the following statement:

“The House of Representatives is engaged in an impeachment inquiry to determine whether the President violated his oath of office and endangered our national security by pressing Ukraine to launch sham investigations to assist his personal and political interests rather than the interests of the American people.  Today, the White House has once again attempted to impede and obstruct the impeachment inquiry.

“This morning, we learned from Ambassador Sondland’s personal attorneys that the State Department left a voicemail last night at 12:30 a.m. informing them that the Trump Administration would not allow the Ambassador to appear today as part of the House’s impeachment inquiry.  

“In addition, Ambassador Sondland’s attorneys have informed us that the Ambassador has recovered communications from his personal devices that the Committees requested prior to his interview today.  He has turned them over to the State Department, however, and the State Department is withholding them from the Committees, in defiance of our subpoena to Secretary Pompeo.

“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.   

“We consider this interference to be obstruction of the impeachment inquiry.  

“We will be issuing subpoena to Ambassador Sondland for both his testimony and documents.”

The call record of the President’s July 25 conversation with Ukrainian President Zelensky makes clear that the President pressed Ukraine to initiate investigations to benefit him personally and politically.

Text messages among senior State Department officials put Ambassador Sondland at the center of efforts to extract from the Ukrainians a pledge to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden and debunked conspiracy theories concerning the 2016 election in exchange for a White House visit the Ukrainian president desperately sought.

Ambassador Sondland routinely spoke to the President and had conversations with both Trump and Zelensky before and after the July 25 call, noting in a July 26 television interview that he spoke to President Trump “a few minutes before” President Trump made the July 25 phone call.

Sondland was at the center of the effort to orchestrate a Ukrainian statement confirming the initiation of the investigations in return for a White House visit, telling other senior officials on August 9 that “potus [sic] really wants the deliverable.” 

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. 
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Sondland Subpoenaed for Both Testimony and Documents
Oct 8, 2019 Press Release
Washington, D.C. (Oct. 8, 2019)—Today, Rep. Adam B. Schiff, the Chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Rep. Eliot L. Engel, the Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, sent a letter [1] to Ambassador Gordon Sondland conveying a subpoena that compels him to testify at a deposition next Wednesday and to produce documents recovered from his personal devices before the deposition.

“Pursuant to the House of Representatives’ impeachment inquiry, we are hereby transmitting a subpoena that compels you to appear at a deposition on October 16, 2019, at 9:30 a.m. at the Capitol, HVC-304, and to produce the documents set forth in the accompanying schedule by October 14, 2019,” the Chairmen wrote.

Subpoena for Deposition
On September 27, 2019, the Committees requested [2] that Sondland appear for a deposition and produce documents in his possession by the date of his appearance.

On October 1, 2019, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sent the Committees a letter [3] arguing that the Committees’ request for testimony from Department officials “can be understood only as an attempt to intimidate, bully, and treat improperly the distinguished professionals of the Department of State.”  He claimed that Congress lacks authority to conduct depositions without agency representatives in the room, despite Congress’ clear authority and long precedent of doing so.

That same day, the Committees responded [4] to Pompeo’s concerns by sending a letter to Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan explaining that: 

* Pompeo is now a fact witness [5] and should not be making any decisions regarding witness testimony or document production to protect himself or the President;

* Pompeo held exactly the opposite view on depositions when he served as a key Republican Member of the Benghazi Select Committee [6] ;

* the longstanding rule excluding agency counsel is intended for exactly these circumstances—to prevent an agency head with an obvious conflict of interest, and who is directly implicated in the abuses we are currently investigating, from trying to prevent his own employees from coming forward to tell the truth to Congress; and

* there are significant criminal and other penalties for blocking federal employees from providing information to Congress.
Having received no further response from the Department, the Committees worked with Sondland’s attorneys to schedule a voluntary interview for today.  However, less than two hours before the interview was to begin, Sondland’s attorneys informed staff that a State Department official left a voicemail at 12:30 a.m. this morning directing Sondland not to appear.

“In light of Secretary Pompeo’s direct intervention to block your appearance before our Committees, we are left with no choice but to compel your appearance at a deposition pursuant to the enclosed subpoena,” the Chairmen wrote.

Subpoena for Documents
On October 1, 2019, Sondland’s attorneys informed the Committees that he “will not be producing documents,” including “any emails, texts, or messages on services such as What’s App,” but instead has turned them over to the State Department instead of the Committees.

Sondland’s counsel argued that “any request for these or other materials relevant to your inquiry must be directed in the first instance to the State Department.”

Of course, the Committees have made repeated attempts to obtain documents from the State Department voluntarily—followed by the issuance of a subpoena for documents that were due last Friday [7] —but the Department has refused to cooperate or produce a single document.

“Secretary Pompeo’s obstruction of the House’s impeachment inquiry does not alleviate you of your independent legal obligation to produce to the Committees any responsive documents in your personal possession, custody, or control,” the Chairmen wrote. “There is no valid basis to withhold documents from the Committees by relying on instructions from Secretary Pompeo, who is a fact witness in this inquiry and who is currently defying his own duly issued subpoena for documents—particularly if the Department’s goal is to block the Committees from gaining access to your documents prior to your testimony.”
Read the letter and subpoena schedule to Sondland.

Click to access 2019-10-08.EEC%20Engel%20Schiff%20to%20Sondland%20re%20Subpoena.pdf

Click to access 20191008%20-%20Sondland%20Subpoena%20Schedule%20for%20Testimony%20and%20Documents.pdf

[1] https://oversight.house.gov/sites/democrats.oversight.house.gov/files/documents/2019-10-08.EEC%20Engel%20Schiff%20to%20Sondland%20re%20Subpoena.pdf
[2] https://oversight.house.gov/sites/democrats.oversight.house.gov/files/documents/2019-09-27.EEC%20Engel%20Schiff%20%20to%20Pompeo-%20State%20re%20Depositions.pdf
[3] https://oversight.house.gov/sites/democrats.oversight.house.gov/files/documents/State%20to%20COR%2010-01-19.PDF
[4] https://oversight.house.gov/sites/democrats.oversight.house.gov/files/documents/2019-10-01%20ELE%20ABS%20EEC%20TO%20DEPSEC%20SULLIVAN.pdf
[5] https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/02/politics/mike-pompeo-ukraine-call/index.html
[6] http://www.congress.gov/113/crec/2014/05/09/CREC-2014-05-09-pt1-PgH4056.pdf
[7] https://oversight.house.gov/sites/democrats.oversight.house.gov/files/documents/2019-09-27.EEC%20Engel%20Schiff%20%20to%20Pompeo-%20State%20re%20Document%20Subpoena.pdf