Key impeachment witness Sondland will testify under subpoena next week

Former ambassador to testify at inquiry into Trump

Former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch has arrived on Capitol Hill for a deposition in the Democrats' impeachment inquiry despite President Donald Trump's position that his administration won't cooperate with the probe.

A lawyer for Mr. Sondland said Friday that the ambassador would testify before House committees next Thursday but wouldn't produce requested documents. "Ambassador Sondland has at all times acted with integrity and in the interests of the United States", the statement went on. "He has no agenda apart from answering the Committees' questions fully and truthfully", it said.

Yovanovitch's appearance comes as the State Department has instructed multiple officials not to testify before Congress and the White House has refused to cooperate with the Democrats' investigation, calling it a "dangerous" effort to "overturn the results of the 2016 election".

Earlier this week, the State Department blocked the USA ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, from testifying.

A whistle-blower complaint detailed Trump's July 25 phone call with Zelenskiy, with Trump asking him to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, a political rival.

In a July 25 call, Trump told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy that Yovanovitch was "bad news", according to a partial transcript released by the White House.

The chairmen of the relevant committees responded later that day with a subpoena for Sondland's testimony and documents related to the investigation.

Yovanovitch became the target in March of allegations - vehemently denied by the State Department - that she gave a Ukrainian prosecutor a list of people not to prosecute.

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That prompted a subpoena by committees leading the probe in the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives for Sondland to be deposed in closed session.

Sondland was one of a handful of US diplomats who facilitated Trump's interactions with Ukrainian leaders, according to a trove of text messages that former USA special envoy Kurt Volker provided to House investigators last week.

The Ukranian matter heated up Thursday when US officials arrested two Ukrainian men who had worked closely with Rudy Guliani, Trump's personal lawyer. Trump said earlier this week that he would block officials from testifying.

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.

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

Trump allies called for her removal, accusing her of criticizing the president to foreign officials, something current and former colleagues found inconceivable.

Nine former State Department officials who spoke to CNN about Taylor described him as a person of high character and professionalism - a "very quiet guy", in the words of retired Ambassador Ronald Neumann - who is deeply respected in the diplomatic world and seen as more likely to put sound foreign policy before politics.

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