Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, was directed by the State Department not to appear Tuesday for a scheduled interview with House committees leading the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.
Sondland, a Trump political appointee, has emerged as a central player in Trump’s bid to persuade Ukraine’s new government to commit publicly to investigate corruption and the president’s political opponents.
“Ambassador Sondland had previously agreed to appear voluntarily today, without the need for a subpoena, in order to answer the Committee’s questions on an expedited basis,” Robert Luskin, Sondland’s attorney, said in a statement.
“As the sitting U.S. Ambassador to the E.U. and employee of the State Department, Ambassador Sondland is required to follow the Department’s direction,” Luskin continued, adding that Sondland “is profoundly disappointed that he will not be able to testify today.”