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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

NRA files for bankruptcy, says it will reincorporate in Texas

Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association (NRA) speaks during CPAC in 2016. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The National Rifle Association said Friday it has filed for voluntary bankruptcy as part of a restructuring plan.

Driving the news: The gun rights group said it would reincorporate in Texas, calling New York, where it is currently registered, a "toxic political environment." Last year, New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit to dissolve the NRA, alleging the group committed fraud by diverting roughly $64 million in charitable donations over three years to support reckless spending by its executives.

24 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden: "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution

Joe Biden. Photo: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden promised to invoke the Defense Production Act to increase vaccine manufacturing, as he outlined a five-point plan to administer 100 million COVID-19 vaccinations in the first months of his presidency.

Why it matters: With the Center for Disease Control and Prevention warning of a more contagious variant of the coronavirus, Biden is trying to establish how he’ll approach the pandemic differently than President Trump.

A new Washington

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Image

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said Friday that the city should expect a "new normal" for security — even after President-elect Biden's inauguration.

The state of play: Inaugurations are usually a point of celebration in D.C., but over 20,000 troops are now patrolling Washington streets in an unprecedented preparation for Biden's swearing-in on Jan. 20.