Ambassador Gordon Sondland says he kept top members of the Trump administration, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in the loop about President Donald Trump’s pressure on Ukraine for investigations.
In remarks to a House intelligence panel, Sondland tells lawmakers that it was well-established within the Trump administration that there was a quid pro quo involving Ukraine.
He said the president’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, openly discussed how Trump wanted Ukraine to publicly announce investigations into the 2016 U.S. presidential election and into Burisma — the Ukraine gas company on whose board Biden’s son, Hunter, sat — as a prerequisite for a coveted White House visit for Ukraine leader Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
Sondland said he laid out the issue in detail to members of State Department, Energy, and White House staff. Recipients included Pompeo and Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, he said.
Everyone understood “Trump’s desires and requirements,” Sondland says. He added: “Everyone was in the loop. It was no secret.”
Last month, Pompeo acknowledged for the first time he was on Trump’s July 25 call with the Ukrainian president, but disclosed no details and did not indicate he was kept up to date on the Ukraine pressure efforts.
Ambassador Gordon Sondland faces tough questions when he testifies to a Houses panel Wednesday about his evolving accounts of the Trump administration’s dealings with Ukraine.
A newly revealed phone call with President Donald Trump shows Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, more directly entangled than any witness yet in the Trump’s efforts to get Ukraine to investigate political rival Joe Biden and Democrats in the 2016 election.
Sondland is a wealthy hotelier Trump tapped as his ambassador to the European Union. He is more directly entangled than any witness yet in the president’s efforts to get Ukraine to investigate political rival Joe Biden and Democrats in the 2016 election.
Sondland’s closeness to Trump makes his appearance of particular concern to the White House as the historic impeachment inquiry reaches closer to the president.
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