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Trump Administration Orders EU Ambassador Not to Testify in Impeachment Probe

Trump Administration Orders EU Ambassador Not to Testify in Impeachment Probe

EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland’s attorney said the State Department did not provide a reason.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2vzDqkpE5A

President Donald Trump’s administration demanded US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland not to testify on Tuesday morning in the House’s impeachment inquiry.

Sondland’s attorney Robert Luskin said the order came from the State Department.

From Fox News:

An attorney for Sondland said the order not to appear came from the State Department. Attorney Robert Luskin said Sondland, who had previously agreed to appear voluntarily for a closed session, is required to follow the department’s direction. No reason for the direction was cited, he said.

Luskin said Sondland “is profoundly disappointed that he will not be able to testify.” His statement said: “Ambassador Sondland hopes that the issues raised by the State Department that preclude his testimony will be resolved promptly. He stands ready to testify on short notice, whenever he is permitted to appear.”

Sondland faced questioning from the chairpeople of three House committees, Foreign Affairs, Intelligence, and Oversight, behind closed doors.

Reuters reported the three representatives want to know why Sondland became involved with dealings with Ukraine since the country does not belong to the EU:

According to text messages released by House committee leaders last week, Sondland was heavily involved in contacts with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy as he sought a meeting with Trump, and Ukrainian officials expressed concern at the administration’s decision to block nearly $400 million in U.S. military assistance for Kiev.

In one of the texts, for example, Sondland emphasized that Trump “really wants the deliverable.”

The Democrats and left have an obsession to impeach Trump over supposed threats of withholding aid to Ukraine if the country did not investigate Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden. Rumor has it that as vice president Biden promised to withhold aid to Ukraine if the government did not fire its prosecutor general over his investigation into Burisma Holdings. Hunter sat on the board of directors.

However, as many conservative outlets stressed, the transcript of the phone call with Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky shows Trump did not threaten to withhold aid. Zelensky has confirmed no one pressured him into starting an investigation.

[Featured image via YouTube]

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Comments

The headline and sub-headline are confusing. On reading them I wondered how the US administration can possibly be giving orders to foreign ambassadors. The first paragraph of the story cleared it up: He’s not the EU ambassador, he’s the US ambassador to the EU. He’s a State Department employee, and obviously must obey its orders.

There is definitely more here than the story says. The alleged reason for calling him to testify is pretty thin.

A more likely explanation is that he had quietly let it be known to the democrats that he was willing to dish dirt on Trump.

The reason for preventing him from testifying is more straightforward. The so-called impeachment inquiry is a direct infringement on the president’s Constitutional primacy in matters of foreign affairs (at least, from the point of view of the administration) and should not be given cooperation of any kind.

Added bonus, it makes the demos mad.

Problem no one is talking about: Could aid have been withheld if this were anyone but a Dem presidential candidate?

Are we saying no investigations are allowed to be requested or forced of the ruling classes very highly corrupt actions if they are Dems? Didn’t we just see this play out with Hillary for the past 8 years?

This peasant sees a bit of a problem with the logic of the Dems fighting on this hill.

I’m puzzled by the “rumor has it” about Biden threatening to withhold funds when there is video of Biden saying that is what he did.

I’m fairly certain that wasn’t a play that Biden was starring in.

“Rumor has it that as vice president Biden promised to withhold aid to Ukraine if the government did not fire its prosecutor general over his investigation into Burisma Holdings. Hunter sat on the board of directors.”

Rumor has it?

Video of Biden gleefully bragging about this is easily found on YouTube.

Nobody ever seems to mention that Biden is not the candidate of the Democratic Party in the 2020 election so is not the rival of President Trump in that election.
If Biden should be nominated by his party that would change, but given his age and many other characteristics the probability of his nomination has been dwindling even without anything Trump has done.
But actually if Trump has sought information on a possible Biden scandal he is doing the Democrats a favor. If answers to the questions: why was Biden’s son appointed to the board of Burisma with a salary of $50,000 a month? did Biden (as he publicly bragged) subsequently use his government position to stop an investigation of Burisma and his son?
If answers to these questions show no corruption they will not harm Biden at all. If they show corruption the Democrats are better off nominating someone else as their presidential candidate.
If Biden was already the chosen Democratic Party candidate, as the Democrats seem to assume, this would not be so, but he is not at the present time Trump’s rival. He is the rival of Sanders and about twenty others.

    Lucifer Morningstar in reply to daniel. | October 8, 2019 at 1:00 pm

    If answers to the questions: why was Biden’s son appointed to the board of Burisma with a salary of $50,000 a month?

    I heard Hunter Biden was being paid on the order of $80,000 a month to sit on the board of Bursima Holdings. A position for which he was uniquely unqualified to hold.

    randian in reply to daniel. | October 9, 2019 at 12:25 am

    My assumption would be that the payments to Biden’s son were payments for influence with Biden himself.

The elephant in the room is the authority of the Congress to conduct investigations and compel testimony.

The Congress is not a law enforcement agency. It can only conduct investigations and compel testimony if it is exercising its oversight role or in pursuit of pending legislation, or when officially investigating charges for impeachment.

In this case, no oversight function has been identified. There is no proposed or pending legislation known to exist. And,, the House has not voted to open an impeachment investigation. So, the Congress has no authority to conduct any official investigation or to compel testimony. That is why no actual subpoenas are being issued. The House is issuing letters requesting that certain people testify and that certain documents be produced. These are not subpoenas. So, the Executive, and individuals, have every right to ignore them.

    amwick in reply to Mac45. | October 8, 2019 at 2:07 pm

    TY Mac45.. Excellent explanation. The House subpoenas are letters, but they are threatening the charge of obstruction if they are ignored. Robert Ray was on Mark Levin’s show and he discussed this. He said something about it being a process crime,,, and that it would never be considered as part of an impeachment salad of crimes.. He was almost laughing.. almost.

      Mac45 in reply to amwick. | October 8, 2019 at 2:15 pm

      It can not be a “process crime” if the Congress has no authority to investigate or to compel testimony. No authority to investigate, no crime. That was the problem facing the members of the coup, in regard to appointing a SC to investigate Trump-Russia Collusion. The SC has no authority to investigate counter intelligence matters, only crimes. That was why they needed an obstruction investigation. But, the Congress, unlike the DOJ has no authority to investigate anything unless it is part of their oversight duties, in relation to pending or proposed legislation OR if a formal impeachment investigation is launched. None of which apply to their current activities.

        Pillage Idiot in reply to Mac45. | October 8, 2019 at 3:49 pm

        The Democrats seem more than willing to throw out the rule of law. Yet, they would never agree to the following scenario to deal with the heroin epidemic.

        Cops: “We are coming to search your house for heroin, let us in.”
        Citizen: “Do you have a warrant?”
        Cops: “No, but if you don’t let us in, we will charge you with obstruction of justice!”

        If the Democrats think that they can support a separate system of “justice” for Republicans only, then a new civil war of some type becomes inevitable.

        amwick in reply to Mac45. | October 8, 2019 at 4:11 pm

        Maybe that is why Robert Ray was almost laughing,,, he knew it was all crap.

    Mac45: no oversight function has been identified.

    Congress appropriated money for Ukraine, which the President put on hold. Congressional oversight is clearly appropriate.

    Mac45: There is no proposed or pending legislation known to exist.

    That isn’t required, only that legislation “could be had”, which the courts have always interpreted very broadly. In this case, Congress could change the way it appropriates money for Ukraine.

    Mac45: And,, the House has not voted to open an impeachment investigation.

    The House conducts its own affairs, and defines what constitutes an impeachment inquiry. Pelosi is Speaker, and as such, has the power to make these decisions until such time as she no longer commands a majority of the members.

    The subpoenas will have to be contested on other grounds, such as executive privilege.

      Mac45 in reply to Zachriel. | October 8, 2019 at 5:21 pm

      “Congress appropriated money for Ukraine, which the President put on hold. Congressional oversight is clearly appropriate.”

      The Congress appropriated the aid for the Ukraine, but the President, as the Chief Foreign Affairs minister in the country can decide when, or even, if those funds are delivered and under what conditions. However, the funds were delivered, so the oversight, if any, would rest only with the foreign affair’s committee, not with any other committee.

      “That isn’t required, only that legislation “could be had”, which the courts have always interpreted very broadly. In this case, Congress could change the way it appropriates money for Ukraine.”

      There is no indication that there is ANY legislation “to be had”. No member of Congress has expressed any intention of introducing any legislation except impeachment. Now, while the House can set its own rules, it can only seek to compel testimony in an impeachment investigation IF the crimes are clearly articulated and, historically, it has to have the support of a majority of the House membership.

      As no “subpoenas” have been issued, they do not have to be contested at all. The Executive, and individuals, sent these letters, can simply ignore or refuse to honor them. Then it is up to the House to convince aa judge that they actually constitute a subpoena and have an order issued enforcing them.

      However, in this case, there is no clear oversight authority, no pending or proposed legislation and the House membership has not voted to open an impeachment investigation. Until there is any of this, then it is entirely up to the House to prove that it has the authority to conduct this investigation.

      BriVermonter in reply to Zachriel. | October 8, 2019 at 6:01 pm

      “The House conducts its own affairs, and defines what constitutes an impeachment inquiry”
      yes, and once they vote to commence an impeachment inquiry, they will have authority to subpoena documents and testimony….
      Unfortunately (for the Fascist Left), the minority party, and the person being investigated, have their constitutional rights as well; unlike the current farce.

      Barry in reply to Zachriel. | October 9, 2019 at 1:19 am

      Well, we know congress and the democrat party are losing badly when they send out comrade commie Zach to spread some more lies.

      Comrade commie Zach is a baby murderer just like all communists. Supporter of 100+ million deaths and counting.

      Mac45: The Congress appropriated the aid for the Ukraine, but the President, as the Chief Foreign Affairs minister in the country can decide when, or even, if those funds are delivered and under what conditions.

      That depends on the enabling legislation, so that provides the need for oversight and for a legislative purpose.

      Mac45: Now, while the House can set its own rules, it can only seek to compel testimony in an impeachment investigation IF the crimes are clearly articulated and, historically, it has to have the support of a majority of the House membership.

      Crimes don’t have to be articulated, as a violation of statute doesn’t have to be involved for impeachment. And the purpose of an inquiry is to determine whether there are grounds for impeachment, the equivalent of an indictment. Most impeachments of civil officers have begun with an inquiry in committee (e.g. Thomas Porteous 2010).

      The trial comes in the Senate.

      BriVermonter: yes, and once they vote to commence an impeachment inquiry, they will have authority to subpoena documents and testimony….

      It’s not up to the other branches to determine how the House of Representatives runs its own affairs, so the majority can act how it wills. The current rules, passed during the last Republican House, allow for the majority to issue subpoenas. These subpoenas can be contested in court on other grounds, such as executive privilege, but they can’t be contested because the House doesn’t have the power to conduct its own affairs.

      BriVermonter: the person being investigated, have their constitutional rights as well

      That’s right. A person can refuse to testify by, for instance, invoking their Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate themselves.

Connivin Caniff | October 8, 2019 at 12:46 pm

You can’t have Lyin’ Sack of Schiff parceling out misleading snippets of transcripts. I wonder if the “deponents” get copies of their testimony. As soon as the Lyin’ Sack of Schiff leaks one snippet, Trump should hit the Corrupt Media with the entire transcript. Does Volcker have a copy?

Make them call officially for the impeachment. Then they will have subpoena powers.

I’m quite sure they will not like the answers do they won’t do it.

The elephant in the room: biden and clinton could not have carried on the rampant corruption during 2008 onward without the knowledge and consent of – guess who? – obama.

Hope and change.

    The other elephant in the room, of course, being michelle obama. Though she’ just an elephant.

    That can’t be right. We’ve been reminded many times by the media that the Obama administration was remarkably scandal free. So obviously, nothing untoward happened and if it did Obama had no knowledge of it.

    Just like every other alleged scandal, I’m sure the first he knew of it was when he read about it in the NY Times.

Interesting. “…three representatives want to know why Sondland became involved with dealings with Ukraine since the country does not belong to the EU.”

You know, if I were President (God forbid), I would want to know why the EU ambassador was involved in Ukranian dealmaking too, and *before* he goes in front of the House and Senate committees. Trump prefers to get out in front and lead, so if this guy is planning on spinning a particular tale, I can understand if he is currently being vigorously questioned by the President’s staff in this particular regard.

And knowing Trump, that questioning will be conducted with great care and double-checking by qualified experts. (The tweets about it, not so much)

    f2000 in reply to georgfelis. | October 8, 2019 at 5:05 pm

    It seems to me that the EU ambassador would be involved because Trump was trying to get the EU member states to contribute more to Ukraine. His involvement supports Trump’s claim that this was the reason for withholding funds.

Pelosi and the House have basically said that there are no rules regarding impeachment. The House can conduct the impeachment for any reason at all, in any way it desires and there there is no requirement for due process.

As soon as the House has ginned up enough ‘reports’ of hearsay evidence, they will impeach the President.

We don’t need no stinking elections…

I am profoundly disappointed that the EU commissioner is profoundly disappointed.

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