Oct 09, 2019 05:22 UTC
  • US House panel criticizes State Department for withholding evidence

The United States House Intelligence Committee has criticized the State Department for withholding damning information from the Ukraine case against President Donald Trump.

The chairman of the Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said on Tuesday that the State Department was withholding information related to Trump’s impeachment.

The State Department is withholding messages that European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland has on a personal device that are relevant to the impeachment inquiry, Schiff told reporters on Capitol Hill.

“The failure to produce these documents, we consider yet additional strong evidence of obstruction of the constitutional functions of Congress, a coequal branch of government,” Schiff noted.

On Tuesday, Sondland was due to meet behind closed doors with staff members from the three Democratic-led House Oversight, Foreign Affairs and Intelligence committees.

The three House committees were set to hear Sondland's testimony about the role he played in a scandal related to Trump putting pressure on Ukraine to investigate his top 2020 rival, Joe Biden.

However, the Trump administration directed Sondland not to attend the House hearing.

Sondland’s lawyer issued a statement early Tuesday saying his client, who had agreed to testify voluntarily, had been ordered by the State Department not to appear.