MUMBAI, INDIA – Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement after the Trump Administration blocked the deposition of Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, as part of the ongoing impeachment inquiry on the Trump-Ukraine scandal:
“It is an affront to our constitution to claim Congress does not deserve an opportunity to question Ambassador Sondland and other State Department officials who have information about how our national security was weaponized for the personal and political vendettas of the President. For close to three years now, the Trump Administration has attempted to conduct its foreign policy in a covert way designed to avoid serious congressional or public scrutiny.
“While Congressional oversight—a constitutional role then-Congressman Pompeo once stood solidly behind—may now be an inconvenience, Secretary Pompeo knows better: Congress is a co-equal branch of government. Congressional oversight is conducted on behalf of the American people, to ensure that the government is actually working for the people. This Administration’s trademark for repeatedly stonewalling when Congress is seeking answers about questions of national security is shameful.
“Key witnesses who are eager to be upfront, forthright, and honest with Congress about how the President has injected electoral politics into our national security should not be muzzled—particularly by those who are involved in the scandal. Secretary Pompeo should recuse immediately from this matter, and the State Department must reverse course and allow Sondland and other officials to appear before Congress. Congress and the American people deserve a full accounting of how President Trump leveraged the tools of foreign policy for political gain.”