The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by USAA — Fight erupts over EU ambassador's testimony

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*Ha. Haha. Hahah. Sniff. Haha. Sniff. Ha--breaks down crying hysterically.

 

The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by USAA — State blocks EU envoy from testifying before House | Committees to issue subpoena | Trump mocks inquiry as 'kangaroo court' | Graham invites Giuliani to testify before Senate | Majority in poll back impeachment inquiry | GOP discontent over Trump impeachment messaging | Trump defends Turkey amid Syria blowback

 

NO LONGER HAPPENING TODAY

It's not you, it's me.

Actually, it's them:

U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, a key witness in the impeachment inquiry, is no longer testifying today. http://bit.ly/31ZC2dc

Why: The State Department ordered him not to testify, according to his lawyer.

From Sondland's attorney: "Early this morning, the U.S. Department of State directed Ambassador Gordon Sondland not to appear today for his scheduled transcribed interview before the U.S. House of Representatives Joint Committee. As the sitting U.S. Ambassador to the EU and employee of the State Department, Ambassador Sondland is required to follow the Department's direction." 

Sondland's attorney also said: That his client was "profoundly disappointed" that he was blocked from testifying. 

Why his testimony is important:

 

BREAKING -- and a subpoena for you!:

The chairmen of three House committees said they will subpoena testimony from Gordon Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union. http://bit.ly/2LXYT3e

Who is issuing the subpoena: House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffTrump lashes out at Pelosi as she visits Jordan to discuss Syria Trump's insult-comic act enters danger zone  White House staggers after tumultuous 48 hours MORE (D-Calif.), Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelHouse Republicans 'demand the release of the rules' on impeachment Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Trump insists Turkey wants cease-fire | Fighting continues in Syrian town | Pentagon chief headed to Mideast | Mattis responds to criticism from Trump Testimony from GOP diplomat complicates Trump defense MORE (D-N.Y.) and Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsTurkey sanctions face possible wall in GOP Senate Cher offers to pay legal fees for security guard fired for repeating racial slur Baltimore mayor looks to rename downtown courthouse after Cummings MORE (D-Md.)

 

 

 

 

The president's reaction sounds like an interesting Captain Kangaroo spin-off:

--> http://bit.ly/310f3gC ;)

President TrumpDonald John TrumpZuckerberg launches public defense of Facebook as attacks mount Trump leaning toward keeping a couple hundred troops in eastern Syria: report Warren says making Israel aid conditional on settlement building is 'on the table' MORE defended his administration's decision to block a key witness in the impeachment probe, claiming that Gordon Sondland would have been testifying before a "kangaroo court." http://bit.ly/2pTVtFX

Trump tweeted: "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 [sic] 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!" Sondland's quote cited by Trump was a text message, not a tweet, sent to William Taylor, a top official in the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine. Read Trump's tweets on Twitter: http://bit.ly/33cViUv

  

Adam Schiff is not a happy camper this morning:

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) ripped the State Department for blocking the key witness from testifying and withholding texts and messages on a personal device. http://bit.ly/2Mma052

Schiff told reporters this morning: "Not only is the Congress being deprived of his testimony, and the American people are being deprived of his testimony today, but we are also aware that the ambassador has text messages or emails on a personal device which have been provided to the State Department. Although we have requested those from the ambassador and the State Department is withholding those messages as well. Those messages are also deeply relevant to this investigation and the impeachment inquiry." 

Schiff warned that blocking Sondland's testimony amounts to obstruction of justice: "The failure to produce this witness, the failure to produce these documents we consider yet additional strong evidence of obstruction of the constitutional functions of Congress, a co-equal branch of government." 

Watch Schiff's remarks to reporters after the news that Sondland would not testify: http://bit.ly/35g9EFB

  

It's Tuesday. I'm Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what's coming up. Send comments, story ideas and events for our radar to cmartel@thehill.com -- and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook.

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IN CONGRESS

Rudy has been invited to testify in the Senate:
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamZuckerberg launches public defense of Facebook as attacks mount Graham: 'Stupid' for Trump to ask China to investigate Biden Turkey sanctions face possible wall in GOP Senate MORE (R-S.C.) says he will invite President Trump's personal lawyer Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiHurd: No Ukrainian officials have told State Department 'they felt like their arms were being twisted' House Democrat pledges 'there will be open hearings' in impeachment inquiry Combatting fake news on social media will take a village MORE to testify about Ukraine. http://bit.ly/2p4Dkoo

Why Giuliani? -- Graham tweeted: "Have heard on numerous occasions disturbing allegations by @RudyGiuliani about corruption in Ukraine and the many improprieties surrounding the firing of former Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin."

Why in the Senate? -- Graham tweeted: "Given the House of Representatives' behavior, it is time for the Senate to inquire about corruption and other improprieties involving Ukraine. Therefore I will offer to Mr. Giuliani the opportunity to come before the Senate Judiciary Committee to inform the committee of his concerns." 

Read Graham's full series of tweets: http://bit.ly/30YzIS8

  

LATEST WITH THE IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY

Eagerly awaiting guidance:

Via The Hill's Niall Stanage, "Republican discontent is deepening about the lack of a single, direct message from the White House aimed at blunting the Democratic push for President Trump's impeachment." http://bit.ly/35jfBS0 

How so: "It has been several weeks since details of Trump's phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky leaked to the media. Since then, the president has cycled through several rationales, justifications and counterattacks on Twitter and in public remarks. But his approach lacks consistency and discipline, and Republican insiders are sounding the alarm." 

Example -- from longtime Republican strategist Alex Conant: "There is growing concern. We are almost a month into this and there is still no White House strategy."

Another -- from GOP consultant Dan Judy: "The messaging is just not coordinated within the White House. That's a problem. But it is not surprising because that has been a problem with this administration since the very beginning."

How this could play out: http://bit.ly/35jfBS0

  

New poll -- how Americans feel about impeachment:

58 percent of Americans think the House was correct to launch an impeachment inquiry, according to a new Washington Post–Schar School poll, while 38 percent disagreed. http://bit.ly/33ep6A8

On whether Trump should be removed from office: Forty-nine percent of respondents said Trump should be impeached and removed from office. And: Six percent said Trump should be impeached but not removed from office. 

Read the full poll: https://wapo.st/33eLbyK

  

IN THE WHITE HOUSE

My buddy, Erdogan:

This morning, President Trump defended his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria after fierce criticism from Republicans. 

The gist of Trump's defense: Turkey is a big trading partner, has been easy to deal with and is in good standing with NATO -- and that the U.S. is not abandoning the Kurds but is assisting them with money and weapons.

Read Trump's full explanation: Here: http://bit.ly/30WBsvl and here: http://bit.ly/2AUj0Jc 

Trump also pointed out: Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will visit the White House on Nov. 13.

  

IN OTHER NEWS THIS MORNING

A suspicious package was found outside the Supreme Court:

Via WJLA-TV, several streets around the Supreme Court have been closed this morning after a suspicious package was found in front of the Supreme Court. What we know: http://bit.ly/2Vyzgcx

Livestream outside the Supreme Court: http://bit.ly/2oogBUt

 

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NOTABLE TWEETS

Nervous laugh:

 

Sigh:

 

ON TAP

The House and Senate are out. President Trump and Vice President Pence are in Washington, D.C. 

11:50 a.m. EDT: Vice President Pence speaks at the Tate Reeves for Governor luncheon in Washington, D.C. Reeves, the Mississippi lieutenant governor, is the GOP nominee for governor in the state.

1 p.m. EDT: President Trump has lunch with Vice President Pence.

2 p.m. EDT: President Trump receives an intelligence briefing.

4:30 p.m. EDT: President Trump presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Edwin MeeseVice President Pence also attends.

 

WHAT TO WATCH

11 a.m. EDT: Customs and Border Protection acting Commissioner Mark Morgan held a press briefing. Livestream: http://bit.ly/2APsYvs

 

NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF...

Today is National Fluffernutter Day.

  

We take Taco Tuesday very seriously in this newsletter:

Via BuzzFeed's Samantha Wieder, here are the best Mexican restaurants in the United States, according to Yelp. 

The list -- this is brutal if, like me, you haven't eaten lunch yet: https://bzfd.it/35jFxgi

 

And because you made it this far, here's a cat watching Psycho. Notice his pupils: http://bit.ly/2LUwpqV