2. SOUNDBITE (English) Rep. Adam Schiff, D- California, Chairman House of Intelligence Committee:
"Good morning, we were informed about an hour and a half ago that by the attorney for Ambassador Sondland that the State Department would refuse to allow him to testify today. This was after conversations well into yesterday afternoon and evening with the State Department legal adviser in which there was no indication that the ambassador would be a no show."
++SOUNDBITES SEPARATED BY WHITE FLASHES++
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Rep. Adam Schiff, D- California, Chairman House of Intelligence Committee: ++SOUNDBITE PARTIALLY OVERLAID++
"We know Ambassador Sondland was a key player in efforts to obtain a commitment from Ukraine to investigate a bogus conspiracy theory about the 2016 election as well as Joe Biden and his son. And we know that the ambassador has relevant evidence on whether the meeting with the president that the Ukrainians desperately sought, with President Trump, was being conditioned on these investigations that the president believed would help his re-election campaign. It is hard to overstate the significance of not just Ambassador Sondland's testimony and the documents but the testimony of others as well."
Brussels - 10 July 2018
4. STILL Image of President Donald Trump joined by Gordon Sondland as he arrives in Belgium
Washington - 8 October 2019
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Rep. Adam Schiff, D- California, Chairman House of Intelligence Committee:
"The failure to produce this witness. The failure to produce these documents we consider yet additional strong evidence of obstruction of the constitutional functions of Congress, a coequal branch of government. 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 nation's security."
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff says the failure of a State Department official to show up at a deposition Tuesday as part of House Democrats' impeachment investigation is "yet additional strong evidence" of obstruction of Congress.
The Trump administration barred Gordon Sondland, the U.S. European Union ambassador, from closed-door testimony as several committees are investigating President Donald Trump's dealings with the president of Ukraine.
Text messages released last week revealed conversations between Sondland and other U.S. diplomats who were intermediaries as Trump urged the country to investigate political rival Joe Biden's family and the 2016 election.
Schiff and other Democrats have said that they will consider such obstruction if they draft articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.