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House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) told reporters Tuesday that the State Department is withholding relevant messages from U.S. Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland's personal device about the Trump administration's interactions with the Ukrainian government.

"There was no indication that [Sondland] would be a no show. Not only is the Congress being deprived of his testimony ... today, but we're also aware that the ambassador has text messages or emails on a personal device, which have been provided to the State Department — although we have requested those from the ambassador. And the State Department is withholding those messages as well. Those messages are also deeply relevant to this investigation and the impeachment inquiry."

Highlights:

  • "We know from those text messages that diplomatic personnel raised a concern with [Sondland] that military assistance was being withheld to secure help from Ukraine in the president's re-election campaign."
  • "We know that Ambassador Sondland was a key player in efforts to obtain a commitment from Ukraine to investigate a bogus conspiracy theory about the 2016 election, as well as Joe Biden and his son."
  • "The failure to produce this witness, the failure to produce these documents, we consider yet additional strong evidence of obstruction of the constitutional functions of Congress, a co-equal government."
  • "By preventing us from hearing from this witness and obtaining these documents, the president and secretary of state are taking actions that prevent us from getting the facts needed to protect the nation's security."
  • "This is one of the few impeachment inquiries in the history of our country. It goes to the core of whether the president abused his office to seek political help in his re-election campaign and did so to the detriment of our nation's security."

The big picture: The Trump administration directed Sondland not to appear for a scheduled deposition with the House Oversight, Intelligence and Foreign Affairs committees just before he was due to appear.

  • Sondland's legal counsel released a statement saying he "is profoundly disappointed that he will not be able to testify today."
  • "Ambassador Sondland believes strongly that he acted at all times in the best interests of the United States, and he stands ready to answer the Committee's questions fully and truthfully."

Go deeper: Trump administration directs Sondland not to appear for House deposition

Go deeper

Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults

A vaccination center installed at the Barbara Chapel of St Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna, Austria. Photo: Alex Halada/AFP via Getty Images

Austria's lower house of parliament voted on Thursday in favor of making COVID-19 vaccinations compulsory for most adults from next month.

Why it matters: The bill is expected to soon pass the upper house and be signed by President Alexander Van der Bellen in order for the law to take effect Feb. 1, per Reuters. It'd make Austria the first EU nation to impose such a sweeping mandate.

Hope King, author of Closer
Updated 3 hours ago - Economy & Business

Peloton pumps its brakes

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Peloton’s popularity is falling as swiftly as it shot up.

Why it matters: Not all pandemic habits stick around. Peloton's trajectory over the past two years exemplifies how challenging it's been for companies to gauge shifts in consumer demand — particularly in sectors heavily altered by the pandemic.

Mitch McConnell's remarks on Black voters raise ire

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell during a Capitol Hill news conference earlier this year. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has been widely criticized for comments he made this week about Black American voters.

Driving the news: When asked by a reporter Wednesday about concerns among voters of color, McConnell said "the concern is misplaced, because if you look at the statistics, Black American voters are voting in just as high a percentage as Americans."