Attorneys representing US ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland released a statement to Politico reporter Kyle Cheney on Friday indicating his intention to testify before Congress, defying an order by the Trump Administration not to appear before the committees investigating the president as part of the House of Representatives’ impeachment inquiry.
The statement says that the Ambassador intends to abide by a subpoena that he was issued earlier in the week and to testify on Thursday, October 17. Sondland had previously agreed to testify before the House committees but was barred from doing so by the Department of State. Though the House committees then issued a subpoena demanding that Ambassador Sondland testify, the White House attempted to block his appearance before Congress, going so far as to have the White House Counsel’s Office send a letter refusing to cooperate with the impeachment inquiry in an effort to block Sondland from appearing. However, Sondland intends to comply with the congressional subpoena and testify “notwithstanding the State Department’s current direction not to testify.” Sondland has been implicated in the ongoing Ukraine election interference scandal from a number of text messages between him and various other administration officials.
The statement did caution that Sondland would be unable to provide documents requested by the subpoena, as they are under the control of the Department of State and will not be released unless the Department agrees to comply with the subpoena.