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随着白宫阻止弹劾调查中关键证人的证词,摊牌迫在眉睫

2019-10-09 10:55   美国新闻网   - 

特朗普政府在周二的最后一分钟阻止民主党弹劾调查中的一名关键证人就总统与乌克兰的关系作证——此举可能对白宫弊大于利。

美国驻欧盟大使戈登·桑德兰(Gordon Sondland)原计划在闭门会议上出现在议员面前,这是众议院民主党对唐纳德·特朗普总统正在进行的弹劾调查的一部分。关键证人桑德兰在最初的举报者投诉中被提及,该投诉详述了特朗普与乌克兰总统就调查政治对手乔·拜登及其儿子亨特的争议性沟通。

但是国务院告诉桑德拉不要在采访前几个小时出现在国会山。大使的律师表示,他的委托人“非常失望”,但别无选择,只能遵从政府的要求。

国会可以采取额外措施来确保桑德拉的证词,但是立法者很可能会认为白宫的行为是对司法的阻碍,这是一种可弹劾的罪行。

国家安全法专家布拉德利·莫斯告诉记者:“下一步将是发布国会传票,桑德兰大使毫无疑问会在同样的基础上拒绝服从。”新闻周刊。

事实上,在白宫阻止桑德拉的采访几小时后,众议院民主党人宣布他们将发出传票要求大使作证和相关文件。

莫斯解释说,但是如果传票没有动摇政府允许桑德拉说话的态度,众议院民主党人将有三个选择。他们可以藐视大使,并将此事提交司法部;他们可以试图逮捕桑德拉(莫斯称此举被民主党人视为“过度反应”)。或者他们可以在一篇弹劾文章中加入对他证词的阻挠,因为他阻碍了合法的调查。

莫斯说:“第三个选择几乎可以肯定是这个传奇的方向。”。

众议院情报委员会主席亚当·希夫在新闻发布会上告诉记者,特朗普政府“未能出示这位证人”可以被视为“阻挠的有力证据”

桑德兰在特朗普7月25日与乌克兰总统沃洛迪米尔·泽兰斯基(Volodymyr Zelensky)通电话前后与特朗普进行了互动。上周提供给国会的短信显示,桑德拉和另一名高级官员正在起草一份声明,他们希望泽兰斯基发表该声明,承诺乌克兰将调查拜登夫妇。

希夫说:“美国人民有权知道总统的行为是否符合他们的利益,符合国家利益,而不是他狭隘的个人政治利益。”。"事实上,美国人民需要知道."

 

adam schiff gordon sondland barred testimony

众议院情报委员会主席亚当·希夫(民主党-加利福尼亚州)10月8日在华盛顿特区国会大厦的新闻发布会上发表讲话。希夫就特朗普政府在众议院弹劾调查中阻止美国驻欧盟大使戈登·桑德兰的证词的报道发表讲话。

在理查德·尼克松总统因水门事件辞职之前,藐视国会是弹劾条款之一。

但特朗普似乎并不担心阻碍桑德拉出场的潜在后果,他周二上午在推特上抨击了弹劾调查。

 

HERE'S WHAT COULD HAPPEN NEXT AFTER WHITE HOUSE BLOCKED AMBASSADOR SONDLAND'S TESTIMONY ON TRUMP-UKRAINE MATTER

 

The Trump administration, at the last minute on Tuesday, blocked a key witness in the Democratic impeachment probe from testifying about the president's dealings with Ukraine—a move that may cause the White House more harm than good.

U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland was scheduled to appear before lawmakers in a closed-door meeting as part of the House Democrats' ongoing impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump. Sondland, a key witness, was mentioned in the original whistleblower complaint detailing Trump's controversial communication with Ukraine's president about investigating political rival Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

But the State Department told Sondland not to appear on Capitol Hill just hours before the interview. The ambassador's attorney said his client was "profoundly disappointed" but had no choice but to comply with the administration's request.

Congress can take additional steps to secure Sondland's testimony, but lawmakers will most likely consider the White House's action as obstruction of justice, which is an impeachable offense.

"The next step will be for the issuance of a congressional subpoena, with which Ambassador Sondland will no doubt refuse to comply on the same basis," Bradley Moss, a national security law expert, told Newsweek.

In fact, hours after the White House blocked Sondland's interview, House Democrats announced they would be issuing a subpoena for the ambassador's testimony and related documents.

But if the subpoena does not sway the administration to allow Sondland to talk, House Democrats will then have three options, Moss explained. They can hold the ambassador in contempt and refer the matter to the Department of Justice; they can try to arrest Sondland (a move Moss said would be considered as "an overreaction" by Democrats); or they can add the stonewalling of his testimony to an article of impeachment for obstructing a lawful inquiry.

"The third option is almost certainly where this saga is headed," Moss said.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff told reporters in a press conference that the Trump administration's "failure to produce this witness" could be considered "strong evidence of obstruction."

Sondland interacted with Trump before and after his July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Text messages provided to Congress last week show that Sondland and another senior official worked on a statement they wanted Zelensky to issue that would have committed Ukraine to investigating the Bidens.

"The American people have the right to know if the president is acting in their interests, in the nation's interest, and not in his narrow personal, political interests," Schiff said. "Indeed, the American people have a need to know."

 

adam schiff gordon sondland barred testimony

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee speaks at a press conference at the Capitol on October 8, in Washington, D.C. Schiff spoke on reports that the Trump administration has blocked the testimony of U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland in the House impeachment inquiry.

Contempt of Congress was one of the impeachment articles considered against President Richard Nixon before he resigned amid the Watergate scandal.

But Trump appeared to be unfazed by the potential consequences of stonewalling Sondland's appearance and spent Tuesday morning attacking the impeachment inquiry on Twitter.

"I would love to send Ambassador Sondland, a really good man and great American, to testify," he wrote on Twitter, "but unfortunately he would be testifying before a totally compromised kangaroo court, where Republican's rights have been taken away."

But polling shows that support for Trump's impeachment is growing since the House launched its inquiry in late September. A Washington Post/Schar School survey released on Tuesday showed 58 percent support for the inquiry and 49 percent support for impeachment and attempting to remove Trump from office.

 

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