A bit of news this morning, as the scheduled testimony of Gordon Sondland has been called off by the White House. The State Department ordered him not to appear and his lawyers have commented that they are bound to follow that order.
If you are wondering who Gordon Sondland is, he’s at the center of a string of text messages, which Adam Schiff cherry-picked and released to the public. You can read some of them here. After a day of breathless supposition that Trump was finished, it was revealed that Bill Taylor (an Obama holdover and the other major player in the messages) got his assumptions about a quid pro quo from a Politico article, not from actual knowledge.
Never one to stop ramming his head into a wall, Schiff called Sondland to testify on the matter.
The White House has given their answer: Take a long walk off a short pier.
Breaking — Ambassador Gordon Sondland has been told by the State Department to not appear this morning before the House regarding his role in the Ukraine scandal. His attorney said he has no choice but to comply with State Dept directive.
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) October 8, 2019
This is a move I’ve been stumping for over the past month, not with Sondland specifically, but with the current “impeachment inquiry” in general. There is no actual impeachment investigation. It doesn’t exist and has not been voted on. All that’s actually going on is another committee investigation dressed up by Democrats and the media to be something it’s not.
Here was Adam Schiff’s response.
Rep. Adam Schiff on Gordon Sondland's blocked testimony: "The failure to produce this witness … we consider yet additional, strong evidence of obstruction of the Constitutional functions of Congress." pic.twitter.com/q1gZweVHsW
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) October 8, 2019
Nope. Until this clown votes on impeachment and we see the rules of an investigation passed by popular vote, there can be no “obstruction” by claiming executive privilege. President Trump has zero obligation to play this game, especially when Republicans are being purposely frozen out of the process.
For their part, the White House has made it clear they aren’t going to play ball just because Schiff and Pelosi decree something.
Or it could be, as the White House said last week, if Congress wants to speak to these people they have to actually vote to open an official impeachment inquiry. Otherwise they won't play the game and cooperate. https://t.co/KoeQLOvwk1
— Derek Hunter (@derekahunter) October 8, 2019
Some Republicans still can’t quite grasp what’s going on here and that they can’t win by just giving Schiff what he wants.
Republicans were looking forward to Sondland testimony. Also had the high ground with demands for transparency. Thought he was going to testify until an hour ago.https://t.co/GZ8feBCtAC
— Byron York (@ByronYork) October 8, 2019
High ground? The media were going to do exactly what was done with Volker’s testimony, which is receive selective leaks and use it to bash the GOP over the head with while ignoring the later context that comes out. The right move here is not to hand Schiff the ball and hope he doesn’t throw a strike. It’s to not play the game at all.
Want to talk to Sondland? Vote on impeachment. Until then, the Democrats can go pound sand.
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