Longtime U.S. ambassador arrives to testify about Ukraine before House committees

Trump Impeachment Ukraine Ambassador

Despite the Trump administration's efforts to stop him, United States Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland will testify in House Democrats' impeachment probe against President Donald Trump next week, his lawyers said.

Meanwhile, Gordon Sondland, the USA ambassador to the European Union, will comply with a House subpoena and testify October 18 before the committees, his lawyers said. David Hale, who was ambassador to Pakistan around the time Mr. McKinley served in Afghanistan, was also brought into the inner circle as undersecretary of state for political affairs. "He has no agenda apart from answering the Committees' questions fully and truthfully", it said. He said the state department has control of those documents.

"Notwithstanding the state department's current direction to not testify, Ambassador Sondland will honor the committee's subpoena, and he looks forward to testifying on Thursday", he said Friday morning in a written statement.

Democrats are convinced that Trump and Guliani wanted Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.

Trump, in his July phone call with Zelenskiy, referred to Yovanovitch as "bad news".

Sondland apparently will not produce documents requested by House Democrats.

That prompted a subpoena by committees leading the probe in the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives for Sondland to be deposed in closed session.

The inquiry was launched after a whistleblower complaint from a person within the USA intelligence community about a July 25 phone call, in which Trump pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate domestic political rival Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.

Sondland is the sitting US ambassador to the European Union and an employee of the State Department.

The Ukranian matter heated up Thursday when USA officials arrested two Ukrainian men who had worked closely with Rudy Guliani, Trump's personal lawyer.

Those former officials close to the former ambassador suggested that if Taylor were made to choose between staying on to guide U.S. policy as charge d'affaires in Kiev - a post he came out of retirement to take - or resigning to be able to testify, he would choose the former.

"By federal law and regulation, the State Department has sole authority to produce such documents", per the statement, "and Ambassador Sondland hopes the materials will be shared with the Committees in advance of his Thursday testimony".

President Trump, despite admitting that he wanted the Bidens investigated, has said he did nothing wrong.

Yovanovitch has always known that the role of diplomat "wasn't about her" but about "serving American national interests and supporting the people around her", said Nancy McEldowney, a former US ambassador to Bulgaria who now directs a Foreign Service program at Georgetown.

Meanwhile, a top aide to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has resigned, a move that comes amid growing concern at the State Department over the treatment of career staff amid the Ukraine inquiry.

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