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Trump administration orders key diplomat in Ukraine scandal not to testify

One of the key figures in President Trump's Ukraine scandal won't testify before Congress Tuesday after all.

The administration has ordered U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland not to testify before Congress as part of the House of Representatives' impeachment inquiry, The New York Times reports.

Sondland is a witness in Trump's ongoing Ukraine scandal set off by a phone call in which he urged Ukraine's president to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden. Sondland worked with the administration on Ukraine and in a series of text messages released last week discusses the scandal with Bill Taylor, U.S diplomat to Ukraine. At one point, when Taylor asks if the U.S. is "now saying that security assistance & WH meeting are conditioned on investigations," Sondland replies, "call me."

In a statement, Sondland's counsel said he is "profoundly disappointed" not to be able to testify but that he "stands ready" to do so after the "issues raised by the State Department" are resolved. As the Times points out, this step to block Sondland's testimony is significant considering Democrats have signaled that actions that impede their investigation will be taken as evidence of obstruction.