Trump's European Union ambassador to testify in impeachment inquiry, defying State Dept.

Marie Yovanovitch

Marie Yovanovitch

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However, Mr. Luskin cautioned that his client will not be turning over documents that he has provided to the State Department.

The former US Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, is expected to testify before Congress today as part of the impeachment inquiry into President Trump.

Gordon Sondland, the United States ambassador to the European Union, will testify to the House under subpoena next week, according to his legal team.

The committees subpoenaed Sondland hours later for a deposition next week, but it is still unclear whether he will decide to appear. On Friday morning, however, Sondland's lawyer issued a statement saying Sondland would appear after all on October 17.

"Ambassador Sondland does not control the disposition of his documents". Notably, his attorney made it clear that Sondland was bucking the State Department's directive in order to "honor the committees' subpoena". "He has no agenda apart from answering the Committees' questions fully and truthfully". Yovanovitch was removed from her post, reportedly because she objected to the back-channel communications between Rudy Giuliani, Trump's personal lawyer, and the government of Ukraine.

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She is "a top-notch diplomat, careful, meticulous, whip smart", and unlikely to have badmouthed Trump, either to Ukrainian officials or her colleagues, said John Herbst, a predecessor as ambassador in Ukraine who worked alongside Yovanovitch there in the early 2000s.

Sondland is of interest to the House impeachment inquiry due to his dealings with former special representative to Ukraine, Kurt Volker.

She is one of a handful of current and former diplomats and administration officials Democrats have sought to question about events surrounding Trump's July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, his attempts to encourage Zelenskiy to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden's son Hunter, and the initial withholding of military aid to Ukraine.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff blasted the Trump administration for blocking Sondland's testimony, saying that Sondland had turned over text messages or emails "deeply relevant" to the investigation to the State Department, but that the department had refused to provide those to Congress.

ABC News has also learned that the president's former Russian Federation adviser Fiona Hill has agreed to sit down with congressional investigators on Monday. Hill was Trump's adviser on Russian Federation and Europe until recently and people close to Trump are growing increasingly anxious about her testimony, NBC News reported.

Biden is a leading Democratic contender for the right to face Trump in the November 2020 presidential election.

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