Gordon Sondland was to answer questions from three House committees as part of the impeachment inquiry.
The administration of US President Donald Trump has ordered that us permanent representative to the EU Gordon Sondland not appear in Congress to testify about contacts between Trump and Ukrainian officials, because of which an investigation was launched on the issue of impeachment.
Three House committees were scheduled to question Sondland in closed-door hearings beginning Tuesday morning. However, Sondland’s lawyer said the order from the state Department forced his client to obey the administration’s instructions.
“He is an acting Ambassador and state Department employee and is required to follow their instructions,” said attorney Robert Laskin.
Sondland’s testimony was to be part of the house impeachment investigation, which Trump on Monday once again called a “machination” by Democrats seeking to prevent his re-election to a second term.
The administration has not yet commented on the order, which could prompt Democrats to demand impeachment on charges of obstruction of justice.
Sondland came to the attention of the investigation because of his attempts to persuade Ukraine to launch an investigation into Trump’s potential 2020 election rival, Democrat Joe Biden, as well as his son Hunter.
Sondland and US Ambassador to Ukraine Kurt Volker met with the Ukrainian leader and other political figures the day after Trump’s phone conversation with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, according to a memo from an informant that initiated the investigation.
According to the whistleblower, according to reports of US officials about these meetings, Volker and Sondland gave the Ukrainian leadership recommendations on how to act in connection with trump’s demands.