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U.S. Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland will testify next Wednesday before the House committees investigating President Trump and Ukraine, despite being blocked by the State Department from appearing at a closed-door deposition this week, 4 congressional sources tell Axios.

Driving the news: Sondland's lawyer confirmed Friday that the ambassador does plan to testify — "notwithstanding the State Department's current direction not to testify."

Why it matters: One source familiar with the rescheduling tells Axios that after the State Department pulled the plug on Sondland's testimony, Republicans close to Trump encouraged the president to let the ambassador come before the committees. Trump's allies believe Sondland's testimony will be helpful to their side.

  • "Republicans are looking for any silver lining they can get," the source said. "Sondland could be a silver lining. ... He donated $1 million to Trump's inaugural. He's a Trump guy. Whereas [former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie] Yovanovitch is a career person."

The backdrop: Text messages turned over by former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker revealed that Sondland, who was named in the whistleblower complaint that set off the impeachment inquiry, was an intermediary in Trump and Rudy Giuliani's alleged efforts to push Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden.

One particularly explosive exchange that Democrats have keyed in on was a text sent to Sondland by the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, Bill Taylor.

  • "I think it's crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign," Taylor texted.
  • Sondland texted back: "Bill, I believe you are incorrect about President Trump's intentions. The President has been crystal clear no quid pro quo's of any kind." The New York Times reported that Sondland's response came after he spoke to the president.

After the State Department blocked Sondland's testimony, Trump tweeted that he didn't want the ambassador "testifying before a totally compromised kangaroo court, where Republican’s [sic] rights have been taken away, and true facts are not allowed out for the public."

  • Sondland was subpoenaed hours later by the committees.
  • Later that day, the White House sent a letter informing House Democratic leaders that the Trump administration will not participate in their impeachment inquiry, condemning it as "constitutionally illegitimate."

The big picture: On Thursday, the House Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs Committees sent out the following schedule, obtained first by Axios, to committee members and staffers outlining the officials who are expected to testify over the next week, per the congressional sources.

  • Friday: Former U.S. Ambassador to the Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.
  • Monday: Trump's former Russia adviser Fiona Hill.
  • Tuesday: Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent.
  • Wednesday: U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland.
  • Thursday: Counselor of the State Department Ulrich Brechbuhl.

Yes, but: These sources acknowledge that they can't say with 100% certainty that the Trump administration will allow these officials to testify.

  • "We're never sure until the morning of," one of the sources said.
  • But they all said that as of now, the committees are preparing as if each of these individuals are appearing.

Go deeper ... Trump-Ukraine scandal: The key players, dates and documents

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include a statement from Sondland's attorney that the ambassador does plan to testify before the House committees.

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Trump signs bill to prevent government shutdown

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel and President Trump arrives at the U.S. Capitol in March. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

President Trump signed a bill to extend current levels of government funding into the new fiscal year, White House spokesperson Judd Deere confirmed early Thursday.

Driving the news: The Senate on Tuesday passed the legislation to fund the federal government through Dec. 11, by a vote of 84-10.

Editor's note: This is a developing news story. Please check back for updates.

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In photos: Deadly wildfires devastate California's wine country

The Shady Fire ravages a home as it approaches Santa Rosa in Napa County, California, on Sept. 28. The blaze is part of the massive Glass Fire Complex, which has razed over 51,620 acres at 2% containment. Photo: Samuel Corum/Agence France-Presse/AFP via Getty Images

More than 1700 firefighters are battling 26 major blazes across California, including in the heart of the wine country, where one mega-blaze claimed the lives of three people and forced thousands of others to evacuate this week.

The big picture: More than 8,100 wildfires have burned across a record 39 million-plus acres, killing 29 people and razing almost 7,900 structures in California this year, per Cal Fire. Just like the deadly blazes of 2017, the wine country has become a wildfires epicenter. Gov. Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency in Napa, Sonoma, and Shasta counties.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 a.m. ET: 33,880,896 — Total deaths: 1,012,964 — Total recoveries: 23,551,663Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 a.m. ET: 7,232,823 — Total deaths: 206,887 — Total recoveries: 2,840,688 — Total tests: 103,939,667Map.
  3. Education: School-aged children now make up 10% of all U.S COVID-19 cases.
  4. Health: Moderna says its coronavirus vaccine won't be ready until 2021
  5. Travel: CDC: 3,689 COVID-19 or coronavirus-like cases found on cruise ships in U.S. waters — Airlines begin mass layoffs while clinging to hope for federal aid
  6. Business: Real-time data show economy's rebound slowing but still going.
  7. Sports: Steelers-Titans NFL game delayed after coronavirus outbreak.