Ambassador Gordon Sondland said Wednesday that the White House and State Department blocked him from accessing phone records, emails and other documents he needed to prepare for his testimony, an assertion that suggests the Trump administration hasn’t just been keeping information relevant to the impeachment probe from Congress but from its own employees as well.
The comments from Sondland, who blamed omissions he made during his closed-door deposition on lack of access to his own records, adds new ammunition to Democrats’ charge that the White House tried to cover up its activities in Ukraine through a campaign of obstruction — potentially paving the way to another article of impeachment against President Trump.
“Based on a sample of the documents attached to Ambassador Sondland’s statement . . . we can see why Secretary [of State Mike] Pompeo and President Trump have made such a concerted and across-the-board effort to obstruct this investigation,” Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) said at Wednesday’s hearing. “They do so at their own peril: I remind the president that Article III of the impeachment articles drafted against President Nixon was his refusal to obey the subpoenas of Congress.”

Not that there wasn’t already plenty of justification for bringing an article against Trump for obstruction, but this is the icing on the cake.

Newly revealed correspondence shows that federal health officials discussed with contractors a publicity plan to feature President Donald Trump’s Medicare and Medicaid chief Seema Verma in magazines like Glamour, win recognition for her on “Power Women” lists and get her invited to attend prestigious events like the Kennedy Center Honors.
The correspondence – emails between high-profile media consultant Pam Stevens, whose services cost hundreds of dollars per hour, and Verma and Brady Brookes, Verma’s deputy chief of staff — offers fresh insight into the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ use of federal funds to employ a range of communications contractors.
Federal officials are prohibited from spending taxpayer dollars for publicity purposes, or using their public office for private gain. Verma has repeatedly stressed that CMS contracted consultants solely “to promote the programs that we have in place.”

There are few officials in the Trump administration who have worked harder than Verma to make people’s lives more difficult and desperate than Seema Verma, no matter how many magazines she gets featured in.