(CNSNews.com) - Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said Tuesday that he understands why the State Department blocked U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland from testifying before the House Intelligence Committee in a closed-door meeting as part of the impeachment inquiry.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said Sondland had documents related to Ukraine on his “personal device,” but the State Department is withholding it from the committee.
“We understand the reason why the State Department decided not to have Ambassador Sondland appear today. It’s based on the unfair and partisan process that Mr. Schiff has been running, you think about what the Democrats are trying to do impeach the president of the United States 13 months prior to an election based on an anonymous whistleblower with no firsthand knowledge with a bias against the president,” Jordan told reporters on Capitol Hill.
“The guy running the process Chairman Schiff didn't even tell us that he had met with the whistleblower prior to the whistleblower filing the complaint,” he added.
“Adam Schiff didn't tell us - the way he treated … Ambassador Volker in this interview last week, that treatment is the reason why the administration and the State Department said we’re not going to subject Ambassador Sondland to the same treatment,” the congressman said.
Jordan said Republicans on the committee were “looking forward” to hearing Sondland’s testimony, because they thought it would “reinforce” what former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker, who is also a former ambassador to NATO, told the committee.
“We were actually looking forward to hearing from Ambassador Sondland. We thought he was going to reinforce exactly what Ambassador Volker told us this week, but again unfortunately, when you have a speaker of the House who says we need to strike while the iron is hot, when you have a chairman of the committee who is so biased against this president that he wouldn't even tell us that he had met with his staff and met with the whistleblower prior to the whistleblower filing the complaint, and frankly, this is a pattern with Mr. Schiff,” Jordan said.
“He did the same thing if you remember the first big hearing the Democrats did this Congress, Michael Cohen. He didn't tell us that his staff had met with Mr. Cohen for hours prior to Mr. Cohen testifying. He didn’t tell us that last summer he had met with Mr. Simpson out in Colorado palling around with the guy from Fusion GPS, so this is a pattern,” the congressman said.
Jordan said he understands exactly why the State Department chose to say, Look, if it’s going to be this kind of process, if you’re gonna selectively leak text messages, 67 pages of text messages we had, and they take a handful and release to all of you and not give the full context and not release the transcript, we understand why they made this decision at this moment.”
A reporter pointed out that Sondland said he was disappointed that he wasn’t allowed to attend the deposition on Tuesday.
“I said the same thing,” Jordan said. “We wish he would have been able to testify too, but we fully understand why the administration made the decision they did.
“When you’re gonna have a chairman release certain parts of what was said in a closed-door interview and not release the entire transcript and give a context, you can see why they didn't want to subject Ambassador Sondland to the same kind of treatment,” the congressman added.
Trump defended his decision to block Sondland’s testimony, tweeting Tuesday, “I would love to send Ambassador Sondland, a really good man and great American, to testify, but unfortunately he would be testifying before a totally compromised kangaroo court, where Republican’s rights have been taken away, and true facts are not allowed out for the public to see.
“Importantly, Ambassador Sondland’s tweet, which few report, stated, ‘I believe you are incorrect about President Trump’s intentions. The President has been crystal clear: no quid pro quo’s of any kind.’ That says it ALL!” the president tweeted.