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Trump blocks testimony by U.S. Ambassador over Ukraine questions

Published: Tuesday, October 08, 2019 @ 10:14 AM

Denouncing an impeachment investigation launched by Democrats in the House as a 'kangaroo court,' President Donald Trump and the State Department on Tuesday blocked the testimony of a U.S. diplomat - even though Mr. Trump said the official's testimony would have bolstered his claim that he did not pressure Ukraine to start an investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son in exchange for the release of U.S. military aid to Ukraine.

"The President has been crystal clear: no quid pro quo’s of any kind," Mr. Trump tweeted, quoting a text from Ambassador Gordon Sondland, during a time in July when U.S. military aid had not been sent to Ukraine.

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Democrats charged the President was not only obstructing a Congressional investigation with the decision, but the State Department was withholding other texts by Sondland which were relevant to the investigation of the Ukraine matter.

"The failure to produce this witness, the failure to produce these documents, we consider yet additional of strong evidence of obstruction," said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

“We are looking into whether the President solicited foreign help in a U.S. Presidential election, again,” said Schiff.

Schiff took no questions from reporters gathered outside a secure intelligence meeting room in the bowels of the Capitol; he was quickly followed at the microphones by a group of GOP lawmakers, who joined the President in denouncing the investigation.

“If we sound like we are pissed as we stand here, it's because we are,” said Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY).

Republicans said the no-show by Sondland wasn't an effort to avoid questions which could be detrimental to President Trump's story on Ukraine, but more of a protest about the impeachment investigation.

“It's based on the unfair and partisan process that Mr. Schiff has been running,” said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH).

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