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Adam Schiff says State Department is blocking Congress from seeing Ukraine-related texts and emails
Sondland was supposed to testify for Congress on Tuesday as part of the House’s impeachment probe, but shortly before his scheduled slot, the Trump administration ordered him not to appear. Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) later added that Sondland had also provided “text messages or emails on a personal device” to the State Department, but that it had refused to hand them over.
and from The Intercept:
NEWLY RELEASED text messages between State Department officials provide the clearest evidence yet that President Donald Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was not “routine,” and that it was organized specifically to pressure the Ukrainian government to undertake politically motivated investigations.
The White House’s reconstruction of the July 25 call released earlier this month showed Trump asking Zelensky for a “favor” and repeatedly pressing him to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden for “corruption.” The readout galvanized calls for Trump’s impeachment, but it didn’t explain how the call came about in the first place.
The intelligence community whistleblower complaint that first drew attention to the call suggested that Trump’s request came in the midst of an ordinary diplomatic exchange. “The officials I spoke with told me that participation in the call had not been restricted in advance because everyone expected it would be a ‘routine’ call with a foreign leader,” the complaint reads.
But text messages from Kurt Volker, the State Department’s former special representative for Ukraine negotiations, say that the “most important” priority for Trump’s phone call with Zelensky was getting the Ukrainian leader to commit to an investigation of the Bidens.