As the Trump administration doubles down on its efforts to not cooperate with the U.S. House in its impeachment inquiry, the three committee chairs at the forefront of the initial investigation — including U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel — have said the latest efforts to stop an ambassador from appearing before them could be construed as obstruction.
Engel, as well as House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence chair Adam Schiff and Oversight and Reform Committee chair Elijah Cummings, want to talk to Gordon Sondland, the American ambassador to the European Union.
Text messages involving Sondland and others in the Trump administration appear to discuss compelling the Ukranian government to investigate domestic election issues in the United States, according to House Democrats. It’s part of a broader impeachment investigation prompted by Trump reportedly asking Ukranian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate a company connected to the family of Joe Biden. The former vice president is a leading Democratic candidate for president in 2020.
“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,” the three chairs said in a statement. “Ambassador Sondland’s testimony and documents are vital, and that is precisely why the administration is now blocking his testimony and withholding his documents.”
Sondland has previously told the media he was communicating with Trump just before he made the July 25 call to Zelenskiy. In text messages obtained by the House, Sondland appears to be discussing with other Trump officials whether military assistance was being withheld from Ukraine as leverage to force the country to investigate the Trump targets, according to a release.
Brand New Congress, which helped Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez win her congressional seat, has endorsed Jamaal Bowman in his primary bid against Eliot Engel.
The group pushes for the Green New Deal, Medicare for All and tuition-free education among other initiatives.