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Gordon Sondland agrees to appear at impeachment inquiry under subpoena

Gordon Sondland agrees to appear at impeachment inquiry under subpoena

Then U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, center, sitting next to then Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Kyiv, Ukraine in March 2019 before she was recalled from her post.

On Friday, Marie Yovanovitch, the former US ambassador to Ukraine who was recalled from her post in May, was at the Capitol for a scheduled closed-door deposition in front of three House committees involved in the impeachment inquiry.

Democrats have sought to question Yovanovitch, who was abruptly recalled last spring, for her insight into the Trump administration's relationship with Ukraine. She was appointed by former President Obama in 2016 and confirmed without any controversy by the GOP-led Senate.

The inquiry was launched after a whistleblower complaint from a person within the US intelligence community about a July 25 phone call, in which Trump pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate domestic political rival Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.

House Democrats are looking into whether Yovanovitch, a career diplomat, was removed by Trump because she failed to go along with a bid coordinated by Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani to get Ukraine to open an investigation into Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden and his son.

Sondland was initially scheduled to testify before the House committees on Tuesday, but was blocked by the Trump administration from appearing.

Sondland attorneys Robert Luskin and Kwame Manley say Sondland will honor a congressional subpoena and "looks forward to testifying" October 17. David Hale, who was ambassador to Pakistan around the time Mr. McKinley served in Afghanistan, was also brought into the inner circle as undersecretary of state for political affairs. "He has no agenda apart from answering the Committees' questions fully and truthfully". He said the state department has control of those documents.

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The statement said, however, that Sondland would not be able to product documents "concerning his official responsibilities", as they were controlled by the State Department.

In the call, Trump pressed Zelenskiy to investigate his political rival Joe Biden, a former USA vice president and a leading candidate seeking the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

According to a cached biography on the State Department, earlier in her career she worked at the USA embassies in Ottawa, London, Moscow and Mogadishu.

In his controversial phone call with the President of Ukraine, Donald Trump described her as bad news.

Although Sondland now is poised to appear before the panels, he can not turn over documents requested by investigators, his lawyers said. In response, the house committees, which are overseeing impeachment proceedings against Trump, subpoenaed him. An indictment filed in the case alleged that the men, who were raising campaign funds for a USA congressman, asked him for help in removing Yovanovitch, at least partly at the request of Ukrainian government officials.

President Trump, despite admitting that he wanted the Bidens investigated, has said he did nothing wrong.

The White House has said it would not cooperate with the impeachment inquiry, which it says is illegitimate and constitutional.