Updated Oct 8, 2019

House Democrats subpoena EU ambassador blocked from Ukraine testimony

Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

The chairs of the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees have subpoenaed U.S. Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland, who was blocked by the Trump administration from testifying in their Ukraine investigation on Tuesday, to turn over documents by Oct. 14 and appear at a deposition on Oct. 16.

The big picture: The chairs said in a statement that the State Department's decision to stop Sondland from testifying will be considered evidence of obstruction in their impeachment inquiry. They added that the State Department is withholding relevant messages from Sondland's personal device about the Trump administration's interactions with the Ukrainian government.

“These actions appear to be part of the White House’s effort to obstruct the impeachment inquiry and to cover up President Trump’s misconduct from Congress and the American people.  Ambassador Sondland’s testimony and documents are vital, and that is precisely why the Administration is now blocking his testimony and withholding his documents."
— Chairmen Adam Schiff, Eliot Engel and Elijah Cummings

Background: According to the committees, "Sondland was at the center of the effort to orchestrate a Ukrainian statement confirming the initiation" of investigations into Joe Biden and alleged Ukrainian involvement in the 2016 election in exchange for a White House visit.

  • "The pressure on Ukraine took place as the White House also withheld hundreds of millions of dollars in vital military assistance to counter Russian aggression."
  • "Sondland and other State Department officials discussed whether military security assistance was being withheld from Ukraine as leverage to force the initiation of the political investigations."

Of note: A State Department official informed Sondland that he would not be permitted to testify at 12:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning, hours before he was set to appear on Capitol Hill, according to Sondland's attorney.

Read the subpoena:

Go deeper: Trump says he won’t let Sondland testify before House "kangaroo court"

Go deeper

The wreckage of summer

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

We usually think of Memorial Day as the start of the summer, with all of the fun and relaxation that goes with it — but this one is just going to remind us of all of the plans that have been ruined by the coronavirus.

Why it matters: If you thought it was stressful to be locked down during the spring, just wait until everyone realizes that all the traditional summer activities we've been looking forward to are largely off-limits this year.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8 a.m. ET: 5,428,605 — Total deaths: 345,375 — Total recoveries — 2,179,408Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8 a.m. ET: 1,643,499 — Total deaths: 97,722 — Total recoveries: 366,736 — Total tested: 14,163,915Map.
  3. World: White House announces travel restrictions on Brazil Over 100 cases in Germany tied to single day of church services.
  4. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks over Memorial Day.
  5. Economy: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election.
  6. Federal government: Trump attacks a Columbia University study that suggests earlier lockdown could have saved 36,000 American lives.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

The CDC is warning of potentially "aggressive rodent behavior" amid a rise in reports of rat activity in several areas, as the animals search further for food while Americans stay home more during the coronavirus pandemic.

By the numbers: More than 97,700 people have died from COVID-19 and over 1.6 million have tested positive in the U.S. Over 366,700 Americans have recovered and more than 14.1 million tests have been conducted.