House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff fumed on Capitol Hill on Tuesday that Ambassador Gordon Sondland’s testimony is "very relevant" to Congress’s investigation into Ukraine and the impeachment inquiry against President Trump. They have access to text messages that prove Sondland was in contact with his Ukrainian counterparts about the Bidens and the reports of quid pro quo on the part of the president, Schiff shared.
The State Department’s decision to block Sondland from testifying, the chairman said, means the White House is "taking actions to prevent us from protecting the nation’s security."
Still, Schiff said the panel will continue to investigate four specific items: Whether the president solicited foreign help from Ukraine, whether he sought a meeting with Ukraine to gauge their willingness to investigation the Bidens and the 2016 election, whether Ukraine was given reason to believe military aid was being withheld until it made commitments to Trump, and whether there was an effort by the president, secretary of state, or other administration officials "to cover up this misconduct."
Republicans spoke to the press immediately after Schiff's presser, with a different take on the proceedings. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) said Republicans "understand why" the State Department stopped Sondland from testifying.
"It’s a based on an unfair and partisan process Mr. Schiff has been running," Jordan said.
The Republican repeated the report that Schiff didn’t even tell his fellow panel members that he had met with the whistleblower before the complaint was published.
"We were actually looking forward to hearing" from Sondland, Jordan said. "But unfortunately, the chairman is so biased that he wouldn’t even tell us he met with whistleblower prior to the complaint."
Jordan added that they were not about to subject Ambassador Sondland to the same treatment former Ukraine special envoy Kurt Volker experienced from the Democrats on the panel during his own deposition.
President Trump said on Twitter on Tuesday that he too doesn't want to see Sondland enter that "kangaroo court."
....to see. Importantly, Ambassador Sondland’s tweet, which few report, stated, “I believe you are incorrect about President Trump’s intentions. The President has been crystal clear: no quid pro quo’s of any kind.” That says it ALL!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 8, 2019