White House Declares War on Impeachment Inquiry, Claiming Effort to Undo Trump’s Election

President Trump’s lawyer denounced the House investigation as an illegitimate exercise, and declared that the executive branch would not participate.

Comments: 217

  1. Time to disobey your orders.....STAND UP

  2. @Matchdaddy As a big contributor to Mr. trump's campaign (which was Mr. Sondland's primary qualification for an ambassadorship that he had no other apparent qualifications for), I highly doubt that Mr. Sondland is going to "stand up" to the great dictator he supported to get elected.

  3. @Ali G. Is that who he is? Should have guessed

  4. @Matchdaddy He is a bad guy, not a good guy. He will likely perjure himself to protect Trump. They are trying to protect each other from going to jail. You may be targeting Trump but these guys are all criminals around him. They didn't sign up to be part of his team because they were the good guys. They signed up because they are greedy and or fascists.

  5. Lookin' Guilty eh?

  6. NY Times! Why are you not calling for*45’s resignation?

  7. @2D Vs 3D They have been, keep an eye on the Opinion sections for calls for impeachment from the Editorial Board

  8. @2D Vs 3D What would be the point? Do you think Trump would ever resign because the NYT told him to? Completely and utterly out of character.

  9. @2D Vs 3D because resignation is a cop out. Once he resigns, the pressure will be on to just drop all the investigations. We need the full truth to come out on everything he has done...all the back room deals, what was communicated with Putin when only Putin and his translator were in the room, what was said in all of the other phone calls with foreign leaders that were stamped with secret code security despite not warranting such classification, etc. and so on.

  10. We are down the rabbit hole now. The mad hatter is fighting for his political life. Hold onto your hats.

  11. @Ms D: Spot on. Ever since Tя☭mp's election, I feel as if I indeed have fallen through the looking glass.

  12. @Ms D No one is talking about Syria and Afghanistan any more - are they?

  13. @Pam Shira Fleetman Haha, good job on the name-art!

  14. And no one is surprised.

  15. Why? What is the President hiding?

  16. Amb. Sondland actually does have a choice. He can choose to quit and speak or speak and get fired.

  17. He has to consider that his boss owns the cops.

  18. @Jay Orchard His lawyer has already said Sondland really wants to tell his story. If he really did want to talk, he'd quit and tell it. We'll see how honorable this man truly is.

  19. @Jay Orchard Well he is a republican and the likelihood of him choosing country over party is nil.

  20. People need to start going to jail.

  21. @RMS People have started going to jail. Many more are remembering that 40 people were imprisoned for their Watergate crimes.

  22. @RMS None will go to jail except the minor players. The big boys like trump will never be behind bars. There is just too much corruption in the Supreme Court and probably even at the vaunted SDNY!

  23. @RMS I agree! Call the Sergeant at Arms and start having these scofflaws arrested and put in jail!

  24. And he will get away with it. It will take a war to remove Trump.

  25. @Max Deitenbeck he will start a domestic war if anyone tries to handcuff him and remove him.

  26. Gee, yet another witness ordered not to testify. Not suspicious at all..

  27. @Why Me And, it's not because Trump et al are worried about the precedent or the principle. They have neither.

  28. Sondand was supposed to be the witness who supported "no quid pro quo". What now? Quid pro quo means a "favor for a favor". "Something for something" With that in mind, the bigger question is: Has donald trump ever done "something for nothing"?

  29. @Allen82 Maybe this is a favor that Sondland is doing for Trump in exchange for his ambassadorship?

  30. @FerCry'nTears He already did Trump a favor by donating a cool million to his election campaign.

  31. Stone walling? No. This is abuse of power

  32. @Oyad no, it’s a dictatorship. Americans need to stop being in denial.

  33. “The Trump administration directed a top American diplomat involved in its pressure campaign on Ukraine not to appear Tuesday morning for a scheduled deposition with House Democrats . . . [calculating] that it is better off risking the House’s ire than letting Mr. Sondland show up and set a precedent for cooperation with an inquiry they have strenuously argued is illegitimate.” Jumping Lizards Batman – are you kidding me? It’s been said a million times thus far that if Trump and his gang staunchly believes this inquiry is “illegitimate” and “fake”, then why such a strong resistance to not cooperate? What is Trump hiding and what is he so afraid of? If anything, since this inquiry is so “illegitimate” wouldn’t now be the perfect time to prove that notion correct rather than forbid someone from telling the truth? One can’t but help wonder if some kind of sweetheart deal is in play with Gordon D. Sondland. If the Trump administration is so fearful of Sondland’s testimony, what other possible actions are other American diplomats complicit in. Once again, Trump’s behavior speaks louder than ever. It’s only Tuesday and this impeachment inquiry becomes more bewildering by the day. Unbelievable on so many levels.

  34. If Trump did nothing wrong why is he trying to hide?

  35. @Erik Frederiksen It's not that he's trying to hide anything. It's that no one should have a right to question his narcissistic magnificence.

  36. That is the adage for everything Trump refuses to release, from Melania’s immigration records to his tax returns.

  37. @Erik Frederiksen So you allow the all law enforcement department to search your property, person, devices whenever they they want?

  38. Look how shocked I am that Trump is hiding evidence:

  39. Blatant obstruction like this should be enough for impeachment all by itself.

  40. @Steve -- you're right...Nixon resigned for less.

  41. @Steve It is. It's called Obstruction of Congress and it is an impeachable offense. Add it to the mountain of impeachable actions of this criminal.

  42. @Steve I would think if he wants to save himself or at least decrease his "liability", the sooner he talks the better - unless he's afraid talking is even more dangerous than going to jail

  43. Dictatorship. At what point do the silent, craven Republicans crawl out of their foxholes and stand up for something, like, say, democracy? Waiting, no longer patiently .....

  44. If anyone believes that Republican politicians will turn on Trump - that’s just not going to happen. I’ve waited for three years through all this and am convinced that they will not do so unless there is a political advantage to it, and since Trumpkins will NEVER turn on him we can forget about that. I think it will get even worse, with Trump siding with foreign adversaries to further spin and corrupt this country - it will simply become more and more open, more and more unbelievable, until one day we wake up and realize it’s over. We are in SERIOUS trouble.

  45. Why is Schiff not releasing the full transcript of the Volker testimony but has just leaked out snippets to the media?

  46. @JQGALT If there was any exculpatory testimony, the Republicans would have leaked it by now. Remember the day he testified, when Repubs came out of the room at lunch time and told reporters that Volker did not say anything that confirmed the whistleblower report? They LIED.

  47. @Carl Pop So why is Schifty not releasing the full unredacted transcript?

  48. I guess we'll see it Sondland is smart enough to resign his post and testify, or whether he wants to go down with the rest of Donnie's gang members.

  49. Memo to Congress: Inherent Contempt. Now. Enough is Enough.

  50. There is only one reason for this: Trump is scared out of what wits he has left.

  51. It's looking like Trump would rather be impeached on obstruction than corruption.

  52. This president's abuse of the law and his "powers" knows no bounds. Unfortunately the constitution never envisioned a president as tyrannical and obstructive as Donald J. Trump. I'm not sure what the Democrats can do, as he's continually toying and challenging them, insisting they hold a vote (not necessary by constitution or house rules) and setting the bar continually higher for their genuine investigative powers. What is the proper response to such obstruction? The president is pre-determining the process and outcome of the impeachment inquiry, creating a narrative that will be believed by his allies. It's alarming to watch the rule of law disappear in a country that prided itself on that principle.

  53. @ChristineMcM The constitution did envision a ruler this tyrannical. And gave Congress the power to impeach under this kind of circumstance. However, what the framers didn’t envision and what the constitution somehow can’t prevent is a complicit Republican party that is OK with authoritarian rule. Authoritarian rule by the minority I might add. For Republicans the end justifies the means. They got their tax cuts and court appointees. Why rock the boat when Trump is providing the Republicans with everything they want philosophically.

  54. Gordon D. Sondland obviously knows something Trump doesn't want Congress to know. However, Sondland is a loyal enough Trump devotee to follow the directive. He should resign and appear before Congress. The last minute theatrics only make him more the coward. He knew this order was coming. His lawyer's un-surprise makes that point clear. If Sondland were sincere about wanting to testify, he would have a resignation letter written and printed to drop on the White House desk this morning. He doesn't. That speaks volumes.

  55. @Andy Volker did the right thing. He resigned immediately and that freed him to testify. Volker is an experienced diplomat. Sondland bought his position. He paid a million for it and he isn't giving that up. Pretty clear, right? European Union, shun this man.

  56. Perhaps he should consider becoming the third whistle-blower.

  57. Obstruction of justice has been a running theme in the Trump circus administration since the day he was “elected” by a minority of the voting public. Trump is a criminal. Get out Trump.

  58. When are one of these people going to go testify anyway, regardless of what Trump says???? Someone has to break away at some point, I hope. As another person wrote in comments, "If Trump did nothing wrong, why is he trying to stop these people?"

  59. That right there is obstruction.

  60. It is clearly obstruction. This has gone on too long. Enough.

  61. Entirely predictable.

  62. Complete transparency! Ha! This is not how an innocent person or administration behaves!

  63. Congress appears to have two choices here. Either start locking these people up and/or fine them astronomically; or speaker Pelosi gets her ducks in a row and call for a vote on impeachment NOW. I'm good either way.

  64. I was just coming in to say very much the same thing. Pelosi and Schiff need to stop making threats when these witnesses are called and are either prevented from testifying or ordered not to. Human nature is that the democrats will dig in deeper. Republicans keep saying this is another “nothing burger,” and to end it and get on with running the country. Exactly how many times has trump walked out of talks with democrats on policy? Always sounds about right. Trump and the GOP have made no honest attempt to sit and at least talk about policy. Just maybe they could come to some compromise on some. I think the way to do that, is to not have trump attend!

  65. @Hazel, There cannot be a House vote until the House Committees investigating these issues have completed their investigations and reported their recommendations on articles of impeachment to the House as a whole.

  66. Obviously we saw this sort of behavior coming from the President, who purports that he has committed no wrongdoing, yet has everything to hide. I sincerely hope that the House Democrats plan to circumvent Trump’s obstruction. If not, we have already lost.

  67. Time to boycott Provenance Hotels.

  68. All these people were so eager to join the trump administration, and now they find themselves in legal jeopardy. It is appalling that trump would make them fodder in an effort to somehow save himself. I trust that trump will have his day of reckoning no matter how many take the fall ahead of him.

  69. Government officials communicating with one another about government business is subject to no legal privilege. Today is the beginning of the end of the Trump presidency. Mr. Sondland, Ambassador to the EU, had no business in participating in matters involving Ukraine, which is not a member of the EU. The American people are entitled to know what Mr. Sondland, their representative, was doing relative to what increasingly appears to be a conspiracy to extort from Ukraine its participation in a dirty tricks campaign against the President's chief political rival using taxpayer dollars approved by the Congress to support Ukraine's defense against armed aggression by Russia. Ukrainians were and are dying fighting Russian-backed rebels in their country and the President of their ally, the United States, used their weakness and vulnerability to try to exploit them for his personal political gain. Their blood is on his hands. Now, the President and his Administration are actively covering-up their crimes against our Constitution and our ally. The President must be impeached and every member of the Senate must be held to account for his or her vote.

  70. @Didier - hear hear!

  71. @Didier It was interesting that this morning Chairman Schiff made it a point to mention Sondland's personal cellphone with text messages that the administration is blocking from the committee. Hmmm...I wonder who he was texting?? If I was a betting man I'd say it was none other than Donald Trump. Quid meet Quo.

  72. @Didier I pray you are right about the beginning of the end of Trump's Presidency (regime is actually more accurate). There is simply no way of telling how things will play out in the distorted country we now live in. But I am encouraged that the number of people supporting impeachment has gone up 21% in a little over 2 months.

  73. So the Trump Administration "strenuously" argues that the House impeachment inquiry is illegitimate and accordingly directs government officials not to testify. How convenient. This is a naked power struggle between President Trump (who one could "strenuously" argue is illegitimate) and the House. Trump cannot be permitted to prevail on this point. The House needs to do whatever it takes.

  74. This only tells me there’s only a few words needed for this. Obstruction is one, then there’s something they know that will clinch trumps guilt. What are they hiding from the House AND from the country? I’m beginning to believe that Senators on the fence have been threatened to keep their mouths closed, and stay out of any and all decisions regarding trumps impeachment.

  75. This country is not a dictatorship. The president is not a king. We must do whatever it takes within the law to protect our democracy. And must we not change the law to anticipate these new, outrageous possibilities and new territory we find ourselves in, in these unprecedented, catastrophic times and at the very least, restore Checks and Balances?

  76. Trump is correct likely correct in his assertion of Executive Privilege. However, Hunter and Joe Biden will be required to testify.

  77. @Amy And the sun rises in the West in that world too.

  78. @Amy He hasn't even asserted executive privilege. And if he had, it wouldn't apply given the illegal nature of the communications we are talking about.

  79. @Amy Furthermore, Mr. Schiff would be required to testify because he hid his contacts with the so-called whistleblower.

  80. So, seriously, what prevents the committee from immediately moving to hold Sondland in contempt? He can then choose: not testify, quit and testify, or face jail and fines. He is free to choose based on his conscience. For a man who says he wants to testify, it would seem to be an easy choice.

  81. @Chris Conscience?? Seriously? You’re talking about a wealthy trump campaign donor here.

  82. @Hanging I wondered about the "conscience" part in Chris's comment myself. The Republicans knew what Trump was before they nominated him for their presidential candidate.

  83. @Hanging I bet this "wealthy donor will have a "see the light" moment if he is put in the congressional jail. Do it!

  84. As the saying goes, there are only three things in life that are certain: death, taxes, and President Trump doing everything he can to stop any investigation of him. What remains uncertain, however, is what Democrats will do. Preventing Mr. Sondland from testifying is obviously obstruction of justice, but just adding that to the list of impeachable offenses will accomplish nothing politically. Republican supporters of Mr. Trump don’t care, and will see this action as him being “strong.” It is time for Congress to invoke “inherent contempt” and start fining or arresting people who refuse to cooperate with the impeachment inquiry. Congress is CO-EQUAL with the President, as much as Mr. Trump loathes that idea. If Democrats do nothing but scream “obstruction of justice,” not only will they appear weak, they will help weaken the very foundations on which our democracy is built. It is time for Speaker Pelosi and Representative Schiff to play hardball and invoke the Congressional powers of inherent contempt.

  85. @jrinsc " If Democrats do nothing but scream “obstruction of justice,” not only will they appear weak, they will help weaken the very foundations on which our democracy is built." What can the Democrats do? They have no power unless they can immediately jail those who refuse to come before congress and hope that others will comply when asked to testify.

  86. @jrinsc - forget fines. These people have enough money that it would not deter them. They need to be deprived of their liberty. Full stop.

  87. @jrinsc Congress is bi-cameral. Trump holds the Senate. Pelosi has a thin majority in the House. She might not even have a majority on an impeachment vote. The Dems are cowards and will cave, likely by "censure" in lieu of impeachment. Wait and see.

  88. If Democrats wan the impeachment to to be swift and short they should confront Trump bluff head-on either by getting authorization from the House to proceed with impeachment enquiry or draw articles of impeachment based on obstruction. Otherwise the process will be drawn out to benefit of Trump and his re-election chances and determinant of Democrats both with presidential and congressional elections.

  89. If you can also be impeached for obstruction, it looks like impeachment is a foregone conclusion. Removal? Maybe not yet...but votes are the only absolute a politician understands, and the new polling shows increasing support for a formal ousting.

  90. How long is our country going to stand for this? We need to start protesting. Soon!

  91. @MIMA Not soon...now. If a 16 year old from sweden can mobilize protests...why cant we adults?

  92. @Sharon Maybe we're the ones suffering from a Stockholm Syndrome.

  93. Time for the House to act on its threat that these kinds of refusals will be considered obstruction and therefore impeachable.

  94. Sondland is headed to jail. Everything and everyone Trump touches gets destroyed. This appears to include American dignity. Imagine being Sondland, having paid a million dollars for the pleasure of having his name smeared forever and then sitting in a jail cell. Well. he walked right into that one!

  95. I'm so tired of all this winning.

  96. Sondland should be invoking the Fifth anyway. Conspiracy to commit a violation of 52 USC § 30121 would, in this case, be a felony and expose him to a term of imprisonment. But if he wanted to do the right thing, the thing that would save his dignity in the history books, he would have resigned immediately upon receiving the White House's gag order and testified.

  97. Of all the so-called hoaxes, the Trump presidency is the real one. Hope a few Republicans can snap out of it in time!

  98. @Nan Patience Don't count on republicans doing the right thing. They are all about obstruction as history has shown us the last couple of decades. Their new mantra....Party Over Country.

  99. Did Trump claim executive privilege? Can he constitutionally order Sondland not to appear without doing so? I do not know the answer.

  100. @Kathryn Thomas The answer is not without violating the Constitution and likely Federal law too.

  101. @Kathryn Thomas The answer is not without violating the Constitution and likely Federal law too.

  102. Isn't the other way of getting at what Sondland said to ask the people who were in any given conversation with him whether on the phone or any medium? If Sondland doesn't want his side of the story told, others will tell it for him. (The question is whether he'll put himself in contempt for no good reason.) Trump is trying to plug leaks in a ship that is full of holes, most of which he's opened himself. Nothing's going to hold back the flood.

  103. @Yann "If Sondland doesn't want his side of the story told...?" The article states clearly that Sondland wants to tell his side of the story. His lawyer stated that "Ambassador Sondland is "profoundly disappointed that he will be unable to testify today..."

  104. @Tim Which is what his lawyer said (which absolves his client somewhat). Is it really what Sondland wants to do? We have no idea.

  105. Some are called upon to give their lives in defense of our Democracy. Many of us pay huge taxes to do so. Otheres have taken great risks to defend our nation - Ellsberg, Snowden and Manning. Perhaps Sondland can be a hero and defy this tyrant and testify.

  106. Message to Mr. Sondland- Quit today, testify tomorrow, show some integrity.

  107. @The Other Alan Integity? That’s an alien concept to this administration.

  108. @The Other Alan Sondland had no integrity going in. He bought his Ambassadorship via political donations to Trump's Inaugural SELL-abration. He worked to expand us natural gas exports.

  109. Ambassador Sondland needs to resign so he can testify. But I assume he has no moral backbone given how he was a never-trumper who then became a pro-trumper to get his post. (raised lots of money for the inauguration, I believe I heard)

  110. @Anne He bought his ambassadorship. He may turn around his reputation or face history's judgment. In fact, that's the case with all of Trump's people.

  111. @Anne - He doesn't need to resign to comply with a subpoena. He needs to show up or face contempt proceedings. The president is committing criminal obstruction/witness tampering by telling people to ignore subpoenas. The proper way to object to a subpoena is to file a motion to quash in court, asserting some legal basis to object to the subpoena.

  112. The House needs to put some bite into this impeachment inquiry. The three committees need to order Gordon Sondland arrested and jailed without skipping a beat. Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff, Elijah Cummings and Jerrold Nadler need to send the president a message: that they’re not playing.

  113. @Red Sox, ‘04, ‘07, ‘13, ‘18 Do they actually have any power to arrest and imprison people as a consequence of contempt? Without that this whole thing is a farce.

  114. @Hanging I thought being placed in jail was a consequent of being in contempt.

  115. @Hanging They do have that power, but Pelosi is playing a cowards game. She hasn't the integrity to really do her job.

  116. It takes a real criminal to engage in real time in your face contempt of Congress.

  117. Three words- Obstruction of Justice

  118. First, this is obstruction. Secondly, hold Sondland directly in contempt and jail him. This is not a charade!

  119. Today China pulled a Southpark episode presumably because it says something like, “We love censors; we too love money more than freedom and democracy...”. Well America is finding out that Trump loves ratings and hard ball political squeeze more than transparency, rule of law, balance of powers, diplomacy, and ethics in international relations. Big surprise. The impeachment won’t come to anything in terms of removing this President, but it has a very important purpose in revealing the manner in which this administration turned 1600 Pennsylvania Ave into a mafia headquarters.

  120. The president "perfectly" pressured The Ukraine for quid pro quo while claiming he didn't. He's also famously declared no obstruction on the Mueller probe when it's clear he did everything he could to obstruct. So I assume he'll say that there's no obstruction here, even though the witness is asking to testify and there's no compelling reason for him not to. Pelosi is making the right choice, impeachment is the only way to reign in this liar and deceiver. To reference his signature phrase: he should be fired.

  121. Or placed in the Capitol jail.

  122. Surely this amounts to wilful obstruction of justice, doesn't it?

  123. @lecourt... Yup. And Senate Repubs say, So what?

  124. @lecourt... Democrats must start the second article of impeachment for obstruction of justice. An impeachable offense.

  125. So according to unhinged wisdom, you have to be a Republican House before someone can testify? This defies belief in its clear obstruction of justice and plain rule of law.

  126. I don't know. For people claiming to be caught up in a witch hunt, they're acting awfully guilty.

  127. @Mikeyz Acting like witches, you might say.

  128. How long is Trump going to be allowed to silence his opponents, like all good dictators do. His BFF autocrats jail, torture, and kill their opponents. It's clear that Trump envies them. Meanwhile, Trump is helping Putin no end with these shenanigans as well. Who do Republicans stand for? Certainly not the good ole US of A! Unpatriotic to an extreme.

  129. 18 USC § 1512: "Whoever knowingly uses intimidation, threatens, or corruptly persuades another person...[to] influence, delay, or prevent the testimony of any person in an official proceeding...shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both."

  130. @Havadood “both”

  131. Subpoena him. And arrest/jail him if he does not show.

  132. Innocent people ordering others to not appear and testify and yet that is supposed to be credible if not believable? Please.

  133. This is just one more thing. He continues to flagrantly defy the rule of law and the constitution. He does whatever he wants and he continues to get away with it, like a banana republic dictator. We are headed for dictatorship. This is how he sees himself and this is what he wants to be and unless he is removed this is what he will have. If anyone out there believes that electing someone else as president will be the end of trump, they are sadly mistaken. He and his goons....and there are other words for them I could use...will refuse to leave. Then we don't just have a constitutional crisis. We have a coup and a war for the soul of this nation. That an ignorant, cowardly, morally and intellectually bereft shell of a human being will be the downfall of this great country is a tragedy I can't even begin to fathom. I keep seeing the look on Obama's face on Inauguration Day in 2017. I now understand its full import.

  134. And the role of an American diplomat is to protect the president and keep his or her secrets, even if the information is illegal and/or unconstitutional? WOW!! It seems as if the barr continues to drop to new lows day by day.

  135. The rule of law is over. We are no longer governed by a functional constitution. We have been coup'ed by the GOP in collusion with a hostile foreign government. Get out if you still can.

  136. I couldn’t agree more. Make sure your passport is current, at the very least. If we learned anything from WWII’s human tragedies, it was to leave early. Trump is nuts and doesn’t hesitate to pull levers like border access (and egress). No one is checking his bad behavior. That’s why I took off.

  137. @Tee Don't get out. Fight. People shed their blood and gave their lives for this country, for its democracy, even with its flaws. In times that try men's (and women's) souls, resist.

  138. Can someone explain why Sondland can't sit for the deposition anyway, despite the White House blocking that? Would he be jailed? Does anything preclude revealing interviews from happening otherwise?

  139. Sondland has a choice! Going along with this illegal, contemptuous and unethical command by the corrupt White House is completely unnecessary. Sorry, Sondland, but just following orders went out with Nuremberg. Your duty is to the Constitution. Show up and, if you get fired for it, you are still a wealthy man who does not need this job, and our impeachment process gains evidence. This cowardly way out (or wink-wink, nudge-nudge, perhaps) is disgraceful.

  140. This is ridiculous. When do people start going to jail?

  141. “Bill, I believe you are incorrect about President Trump’s intentions,” Mr. Sondland wrote in the messages. “The President has been crystal clear no quid pro quo’s of any kind.” Mr. Sondland added: “I suggest we stop the back and forth by text.” People who are afraid to put their words in writing have things to hide. When Sondland said to call him, it is worth a thousand words.

  142. It is still hard to believe this vile con-man is our president. Not to mention incompetent.

  143. Is this the cover up or the cover up of the cover up?

  144. "We hire only the best people - and you aren't allowed to speak to any of them".

  145. As an attorney who pursues fraudulently concealed assets and other matter involving civil fraud, in those situations we have a JUDGE who stops stonewalling and obstruction. Obstruction happens because defendants are hiding fraud and never happens because documents or witnesses are irrelevant or exculpatory. Donald Trump is a seasoned litigant who has always stonewalled....now there's no judge. We only have the Republican party who can finally stand up and put an end to this stain on the office of the presidency.

  146. @Harvey Good luck with that.

  147. Sondland is a very wealthy man who gave Trump's inaugural committee a million dollars and was rewarded with an ambassadorship in return. He is now failing his duty to the American people by defying Congress. This is completely corrupt. Not only do wealthy Americans purchase positions of power they are not qualified for, they act corruptly while in those positions and then defy and defile our Constitution when called to account. Sondland's defiance of Congress exposes the complete corruption of the American government by money, but the Trump administration, and by the entire Republican Party. It's time to really drain the swamp. And that means getting rid of all Republicans in the House, the Senate, the Presidency, and the Supreme Court. They are all completely corrupt.

  148. Right-ho, as my grandfather would say. Here come the oligarchs.

  149. And Trump is "worried" about Bidens' corruption! Quite ironic.

  150. And what recourse do the Dems have? Wait years for the courts to decide? This is not working because republican senators are backed by voters who do not care. We are descending into dictatorship and the masses are cheering.

  151. @ann dempsey I only see apathy among most Americans. Apathy won’t save the Republic,

  152. @ann dempsey "This is not working because republican senators are backed by voters who do not care." Correct, but incomplete. "This is not working because republicans senators are backed by voters who do not care and democratic [fill in the blank] are backed by "voters" who do not vote." My entire life I have been angered by my fellow liberals, progressives, and moderates who insist there is always some reason they need not vote. I am blue in the face from arguing with their "reasoning" and at this point I am beyond angry. Disgust, bordering on nausea, is more like it.

  153. Me thinks the Ambassador doth protest too much. If he really wanted to testify, considering that he is independently wealthy, then he could just quit, as did Volker. If I were Sondland's lawyer, I would certainly tell him to quit now, just to minimize the treasonous conversations the President can have with him. This obstruction is Nixon all over again--but worse, because the corrupt Republican administration has burglarized foreign policy, not just an office in the Watergate building.

  154. @Ann For the record, Nixon's team also burglarized foreign policy: His campaign sabotaged negotiations by the Johnson administration trying to end the Vietnam War, Nixon's people convinced the South Vietnamese not to accept any deal until after Johnson lost. And the result was the death of thousands of Americans, millions of Vietnamese, hundreds of thousands of Laotians, and the collapse of the Cambodian government opening the way for the Khmer Rouge. Plus American civilians being killed in protests in Ohio and Mississippi. All to get Nixon elected and re-elected.

  155. The longer this walking, talking obstruction of justice is enabled to outrageously flaunt every attempt at holding him accountable, the worse this is going to get. This as serious a threat to both the rule of law and democracy itself as anything that many of us can remember. Trump is toxic to everything the nation stands for....why can't the GOP seem to grasp that? Is party that much more important to them than their country?

  156. @walt amses - The republicans in the House, Senate do not care about the country or the citizens they're to represent - never have except for re-election time. They see trump grabbing for, and taking all the Power Pie. They assume he's going to share it with them, apparently failing to notice his entire life has been one long exercise in greed and deception.

  157. Once you start ordering people not to testify, it's basically an admission of guilt. Kick him out and move on.

  158. Committee Chairmen, you have a one-word response: Subpoena.

  159. “calculating that it is better off risking the House’s ire than letting Mr. Sondland show up and set a precedent for cooperation with an inquiry they have strenuously argued is illegitimate” I don’t recall any actual argument, only bluster..

  160. Trump's playbook is very simple and predictable: obstruct, obstruct and cover-up! You can bet that even if the House takes a vote to investigate impeachment, which they do not need to do, he would still obstruct, obstruct and cover-up. This criminal has no bounds and will continue to submarine the U.S. for his own self-interests.

  161. There are now multiple individuals who are ignoring the Congressional orders. Two of Giuliani's henchmen from the Ukraine have retained the services of John Dowd and are also ghosting the inquiry. It would seem prudent at this point to not request their appearances, but to just subpoena all of these creatures and if they don't show up, run it right to the courts with an emergency request for judgement.

  162. @Bill The federal courts have proven they are worthless and not worthy of respect.

  163. "Mr. Sondland, Ambassador to the EU, had no business in participating in matters involving Ukraine, which is not a member of the EU." Indeed, and furthermore, Mr. Sondland, a hotelier (just like Mr. Trump) with NO diplomatic experience, had no business representing the United States as Ambassador to anywhere. He got the position because he donated a million dollars to Trump.

  164. So simply ignore Trump's illegitimate order and stand for the people. We are witnessing the fall of the House of Trump.

  165. Shouldn't every instance of the administration preventing a witness from appearing before the committee constitute a new charge of obstruction of justice?

  166. Doesn’t it bother Trump’s supporters both in and out of Congress that this administration rebuffs every opportunity to explain and defend itself? If it were truly acting lawfully, wouldn’t it have people lined up, ready to testify? Doesn’t this confirm that there is something being hidden here? Doesn’t this show that this administration truly and firmly believes that it is above the law and can thumb its nose at the Constitution? If this is truly the witchhunt that Trump wants us to believe it is, he can shut it down — IF the truth is on his side. But this constant contempt only confirms — not allays — suspicions. Obstruction in and of itself is a potential crime. Proceed, Rep. Schiff, post haste.

  167. If Trump has any sense at all, he will work out a deal with Mitch M.: if he doesn’t run for re-election, Republican senators won’t support removal from office. He can then live out his days tweeting, playing golf at his resorts, commenting on Fox News, and telling the world that his was the greatest administration ever, but he was treated so unfairly. Basically what he does now, minus those pesky presidential responsibilities.

  168. Why not simply indict him for witness tampering, a charge to survive the impeachment, and remove him for the obstruction? He has surpassed Nixon in criminal activity, which is saying something, and easily surpassed Nixon in the coverup.

  169. In 2016 the United States of America had been downgraded from Democracy to a "Flawed Democracy" and now we all can see why. We are in trouble, we are in deep trouble. The President of the United States is blocking a witness from testifying. If he gets away with it, we, as a democracy, are done. While his followers will cheer temporarily, they soon will understand the depths of this decision too. We all will feel it when democracy dies.

  170. @Bri His followers are people that think democracy is what ruined their lives because that is what the Republicans have been telling them for years. How they can’t see through the lie and incredibly bold hypocrisy is called confounding. Are the just stupid? Maybe. But it is also the effect of the constant drum beat of propaganda. Because Republicans aren’t constrained by anything so quaint as truth and law, why should their loyal electorate be any different?

  171. Cover-up. Cover-up. Cover-up. If Hollywood made a show so obvious, the series would get cancelled after the pilot aired. Trump and team need to go. The country has suffered enough.

  172. Add one more count of obstruction e to that already sizable (and growing) total.

  173. Cant wait for elections. We citizens need to redeem this country back where law, morality and ethics matter.

  174. @2cents and what gives you the idea that they will be free and fair elections.

  175. If folks don't think Trump will try and defy the Supreme Court and declare America entirely under his control just wait. He thinks he was elected as Owner. Congress needs to more now. Trump is not just hiding facts which may or not be only embarrassing for him or criminal. He is headed to authoritarian destruction of America.

  176. Who, exactly, is the "administration" that made this order? And how is it that the administration, accused of wrongdoing, has the authority to prevent a suspect from speaking? What's the legal basis for such bold sabotage of law enforcement? And again--this to Republicans--what is the president so desperately trying to hide?

  177. What game are the Democrats playing? Donald Trump doesn't get to tell people if they can comply with a subpoena. Adam Schiff needs to come down HARD on the witness. The witness has a choice of what he does, and consequences to those choices. The Democrats need to show these witnesses that defying Congress is not without risk. Hold him in contempt. Fine him for every day of delay. Let him seek protection from the courts.

  178. @R Rhett Sondland is rich. Fines mean nothing. Probably jail time in a country-club prison means nothing. However, spending time with hardened criminals in your average federal penitentiary might actually mean something.

  179. We have a totally impotent Congress, and events of the last 18-24 months have highlighted how little "checks and balances" mean in our government today. I fear for the American democracy.

  180. @Jahan it’s done. Stick a fork in it.

  181. The whistleblower is criticized for providing second hand accounts of what happened, but the Admin stops people directly involved from testifying whenever it can. I was surprised to see this guy was still scheduled yesterday.

  182. Another count of obstruction of justice. If a person objects to a subpoena that person must file a motion to quash in court. A subpoena can't just be ignored. If it is ignored, it is contempt. Instructing someone else to defy a subpoena and instructing a person not to testify are obstruction of justice.

  183. @dano Sondlund was not subpoenaed.

  184. @Veronica Good catch. Wonder what Rep McFaul thinks.

  185. @Get Real Privately, he might be furious, but publicately he might say not a word. Watching the Trump's circus from overseas, give us a truly unique perspective. It seems that the "so called US President" is extorted by Russia. We wonder what Putin has on him... ;)

  186. So what happens if Sondland shows up anyway, and testifies?

  187. Trump keeps impeaching himself.

  188. This is called constitutional hardball. You better start breaking in those baseball gloves, Dems.

  189. Mr. Sondland cannot possibly answer any question about who wrote the highly lawyered, and grammatically perfect, text, denying a quid pro quo. Mr. Sondland does not have the capacity to write such a text, nor the capacity to defend it. So, who really wrote the text?

  190. Mr. Sondland. If you really want to testify resign as Ambassador and do so as a private citizen but don't sit there and tell us you'd be glad to testify. We can all see through your attempt to have it both ways.

  191. How much longer can the sentient among us deal with the "Wise Man" in the White House?

  192. Trump believes that he can do anything. We the people should have the right to stop him. He is a President, not a dictator.

  193. This is both infuriating and sad.The stark criminality is staring everyone right in the face and yet the GOP continues to back this administration lock, stock, and barrel. Where do they draw the line? When is enough, enough? At what point does the GOP stand up for America and the Constitution? Unfortunately, I think we all know the depressing answer to these questions.

  194. When does the rule of law return to this country? When does the separation of powers have real meaning? When are public officials held responsible for their actions? When Trump and his merry band of GOP enablers and hypocrites are voted out. This country has been turned into a third world banana republic.

  195. Hmmm. Maybe the phone call wasn’t so perfect after all.

  196. It is time for the House impeach Trump as soon as possible for two high crimes and misdemeanors: Conditioning aid to a foreign contract on that country providing dirt on a political opponent; and obstructing Congress by blocking witnesses from testifying.

  197. @Mark Siegel I believe the statement in his tweet Monday where he says "in his great & unmatched wisdom" & his previous claim of being "the chosen one" is grounds to look at the 25th Amendment a little harder.

  198. Congress, on both sides of the aisle, cannot allow this to go unchallenged. This simply is against the constitution and we must add it to the charges for his impeachment. I recognize Trump does not understand, or recognize, the constitution, but that is his problem and not the people of this pre-Trump great country. The ramification of the Trump presidency goes beyond our borders. This is why Putin sent Trump to the White House. This must not stand. Trump not only needs to be impeached, but he needs to be jailed. He will look good in a pinstriped jumpsuit.

  199. Sondland "would be happy to testify if allowed." Huh? Why is Sondland taking orders from Trump to defy Congress?Why does Trump get to control this investigation? By declaring Trump to be the ultimate authority, Sondland is already showing his deep bias for the "president" over legitimate Congressional oversight.

  200. @Ellen his career is more important than his patriotism. He doesn't want to lose the title of Ambassador to the EU.

  201. Obstruction of justice. Again. How many counts is that?

  202. Enough. It is time for the House to invoke inherent contempt and use its power, described in the Supreme Court ruling in McGrain v Daugherty, 273 US 135 (1927), to arrest and hold any person subpoenaed for testimony or for document production who ignores the subpoena until such time as the person responds to the subpoena, or the Congressional term ends, whichever happens first. Congress can also fine a person for ignoring a subpoena. There is no reason to treat people who thumb their noses at the law with kid gloves. If you want to disrespect the law, be prepared to pay the associated price. No person is above the law.

  203. @Joe From Boston Alternatively, refuse to fund this administration until they comply. The house alone can accomplish this if they so desired. "Oh you don't want to comply with constitutional laws? I guess you don't get to have a Government then"

  204. @Joe From Boston If a young black man gets jail time, fines, probation and community service for oversleeping when he should have shown up at the courthouse for jury duty, which is small potatoes compared to Contempt of Congress, then the full force of the law should apply equally to the rich, powerful and well-connected.

  205. @Jackie - Penalties like these are meant to teach the rabble a lesson. Whereas the powerful apparently have no need for lessons.

  206. OK. As if it weren’t obvious before, it should be clear by now that the administration has totally rejected Congress as a co-equal branch of government, charged by the Constitution with oversight of the executive. In brief, we are well into a full-blown constitutional crisis, in which the executive now claims for itself dictatorial powers. Full stop. The only question is, what do we do now we’re in uncharted waters?

  207. Looks like the strategy of the Trump administration is to provoke an impeachment proceeding sooner rather than later. The longer the inquiry drags out, with public hearings and potentially new evidence arising, the more likely the chances of swaying public opinion, and consequently Republican Senate support, in favor of impeachment. The best strategy of the House impeachment inquiry would be to be thorough, public, and continue building the case up through the 2020 election. Let the electorate decide based upon the publicly presented evidence while Trump and his cronies twist in the wind.

  208. The Times needs to add here info on what happens with contempt, then administration appeal, and how it ends up in court.......

  209. Remember when the conservative refrain to stop-and-frisk policies was something like "if you're not guilty, you have nothing to hide?" Funny how conservatives (or at least Republicans, who are now more right wing radical than "conservative") have forgotten this when it comes to Trump. Were Trump blameless, he'd not go to such lengths to keep people silent.

  210. It is absurd that these are voluntary depositions in any way. Just as it was an asinine farce that Trump could refuse to sit down with Mueller: Mueller: It is “vital” to have Mr. Trump’s deposition. Trump: No. Mueller: Gee, ok. Can you at least provide written responses? Trump: No. Mueller: Ok, have a nice day!

  211. @Jay Yes to your point . I recall Trump proclaiming loudly regarding a criminal case, that anyone who pleads the fifth is surely guilty.

  212. @Jay This is just another example of Trump not complying with requests... so how does he continue to get away with it? Who will call him out publicly on this? Are the Democrats speaking about this clearly and in the media?

  213. Mr Sondland works for the citizens of the United States not Donald Trump

  214. @dporter Correction: Sondland works for Trump not the citizens of the US.

  215. Actually, I’m sure Sondland works for Sondland.

  216. Mr. Trump, dig your hole deeper, faster, please. Many of us look forward to filling it in. This insanity must stop or our nation will be buried as well.