Week three of the official impeachment inquiry into President Trump's dealing with Ukraine got off to a rocky start for House Democrats with the State Department ordering U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland to skip a closed-door deposition on Capitol Hill Tuesday, just hours before it was scheduled to begin.

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) quickly responded to the cancellation by accusing the administration of obstruction. "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."

Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.) echoed the obstruction claim in an interview with Cheddar on Tuesday, saying, "If the administration continues to not have it's administration officials come forward, that will indicate obstruction."

"Obstruction is a high crime and misdemeanor," she added.

While Democrats try to use the public forum to pressure the White House to provide information related to the impeachment inquiry, some Republican lawmakers are publicly supporting the decision to withhold Sondland. Ranking Member of the House Oversight Committee, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) told reporters, "We wish [Sondland] would have been able to testify too, but we fully understand why the administration made the decision they did."

The ambassador's failure to appear before the House committees marks the first time an official has refused to come forward in regard to the inquiry. However, last week Secretary of State Mike Pompeo failed to turn over subpoenaed documents by the Friday deadline.

Schiff, along with House Foreign Affairs Chair Eliot Engel and Oversight and Reform Chair Elijah Cummings ultimately subpoenaed Sondland for failing to appear Tuesday before the committees.

Text messages released by the committees last week revealed that Sondland was among the U.S. diplomats involved in conversations with then-State Department special envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine Bill Taylor, and President Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani .

Clarke began calling for the impeachment of Trump long before the Ukraine whistleblower. This latest development, she said, is "a pattern of corruption. We've seen this since 2017."

"People are recognizing the existential threat that Donald Trump is to our lives," the congresswoman added.

More In Politics
Load More