[UPDATE: TRUMP RESPONDS] – Trump admin BLOCKS ambassador from testifying to House Democrats about Ukraine call and here’s why…

The Trump administration, via the State Department, has temporarily blocked the US ambassador to the EU from testifying about the Ukrainian phone call to House Democrats today:

FOX NEWS – The Trump administration has ordered the U.S. ambassador to the European Union not to appear at a scheduled Tuesday deposition on the Ukraine controversy, according to his lawyer — a move likely to significantly escalate tensions between House Democrats and the White House.

The move to block Gordon Sondland, first reported by The New York Times, is likely to infuriate Democrats who have indicated they will see any such move as an obstruction of its investigation into the controversy surrounding Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

An attorney for Sondland said the order not to appear came from the State Department. Attorney Robert Luskin said Sondland, who had previously agreed to appear voluntarily for a closed session, is required to follow the department’s direction. No reason for the direction was cited, he said.

Sonland was reportedly looking forward to testifying. He’s the official who said “call me” in the text message exchange with Bill Taylor in early September:

According to Catherine Herridge, the reasoning behind this temporary blocking of Sonland’s testimony is because House Democrats aren’t playing by the rules and established procedures. If Democrats correct this, the administration will be more willing to cooperate.

UPDATE: Trump just addressed this in a couple of tweets…

He is correct about that tweet. It wasn’t included in the initial tweets released by Schiff, but it later came out that Sonland made clear to Bill Taylor that Trump didn’t want any quid pro quo:

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