Politics Here Are The Top Trump Administration Officials Implicated By Gordon Sondland
AP source: 2nd US official heard Trump call with Sondland
A second U.S. embassy staffer in Kyiv overheard a key cellphone call between President Donald Trump and his ambassador to the European Union discussing the need for Ukrainian officials to pursue “investigations,” The Associated Press has learned. The July 26 call between Trump and Gordon Sondland was first described during testimony Wednesday by William B. Taylor Jr., the acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. Taylor said one of his staffers overhead the call while Sondland was in a restaurant the day after Trump’s July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy that triggered the House impeachment inquiry.
Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, delivered a bombshell opening statement at the House impeachment hearing on Wednesday, testifying that a clear understanding existed among top administration officials that President sought to extort ’s government for personal political gain.
“Everyone knew. It was no secret,” Sondland said, referring to leading White House, State Department and National Security Council officials, as well as Trump’s personal lawyer, . Sondland then provided numerous examples of the effort to get Ukraine to open an investigation that would damage Trump’s political rival, former Vice President , in exchange for a meeting with Trump and $391 million in military aid that was being withheld.
David Holmes testimony: State department aide confirms Trump-Sondland call about Ukraine investigations
David Holmes, the state department aide who overheard President Donald Trump's conversation with the US ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, said that Sondland told Trump that the Ukranian President would do "anything you ask him to," and that he confirmed the Ukrainians were going to "do the investigation.""Sondland told Trump that (Ukrainian President Volodymyr) Zelensky 'loves your ass,'" Holmes said, according to a copy of his opening statement obtained by CNN. "I then heard President Trump ask, 'So, he's gonna do the investigation?' Ambassador Sondland replied that 'he's gonna do it,' adding that President Zelensky will do 'anything you ask him to.
Sondland’s abrupt turn from playing dumb in the early stages of the scandal ― to the point where it ― to implicating those at the highest levels of government in a sprawling quid pro quo scheme is the most dramatic development so far in the impeachment inquiry. It puts immense pressure on top White House officials and diplomats, most of which have , to explain themselves.
Here’s a rundown of who Sondland implicated in his on Wednesday:
― Trump, who Sondland suggested was directing the quid pro quo effort and had tasked Giuliani with seeing it through. On Trump’s behalf, Giuliani “demanded that Ukraine make a public statement announcing investigations” related to Biden, according to Sondland, as well as about Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election.
Sondland said he was acting on Trump’s orders, aide told investigators
Tim Morrison, a top White House national security aide, told impeachment investigators that Gordon Sondland — a U.S. ambassador at the center of the Ukraine scandal imperiling Donald Trump’s presidency — claimed to be acting on Trump’s orders, and was regularly in touch with him. © Provided by Politico, LLC Top White House national security aide Tim Morrison. “Every time you went to check to see whether he had, in fact, talked to the president, you found that he had talked to the president?” one lawmaker wondered, according to a transcript of Morrison’s testimony released Saturday.“Yes,” Morrison replied.
Although Sondland did not say that Trump directly instructed him to seek such a quid pro quo, he testified that Giuliani was “expressing the desires of the president of the United States, and we knew that these investigations were important to the president.”
― Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer who Sondland said became the president’s go-between on the quid pro quo push with Ukraine. Sondland and other officials “did not want to work with Mr. Giuliani,” but were compelled to follow Trump’s orders, Sondland testified. Sondland added that Giuliani’s attempt to pressure Ukraine into launching investigations were a quid pro quo to secure a White House visit for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, and that he also suspected military aid was being withheld as part of that effort.
Sondland also testified that Giuliani emphasized that Trump wanted Zelensky to make a public statement about launching corruption investigations, specifically mentioning the 2016 election conspiracy and the Ukrainian gas company on whose board Biden’s son Hunter served. Giuliani was also communicating directly with Ukrainian officials without U.S. diplomats’ knowledge, according to Sondland.
The Two Most Important Sentences of the Impeachment Hearings
Ambassador Gordon Sondland delivered a bombshell this morning.“Everyone was in the loop. It was no secret.
― Vice President Mike Pence, who attended a meeting with Sondland and Zelesnky on Sept. 1 in Warsaw, Poland. Sondland testified that before the meeting he directly raised concerns with Pence that the delayed military aid “had become tied to the issue of investigations.” Zelensky also raised the issue of aid in the meeting, according to Sondland, and Pence said he would ask Trump about it.
Pence’s office said in a statement issued while Sondland was still testifying that the vice president “never had a conversation with Gordon Sondland about investigating the Bidens, Burisma, or the conditional release of financial aid to Ukraine based upon potential investigations.”
― Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who Sondland said was kept informed of the efforts concerning Ukraine. Pompeo was included on a July 19 email from Sondland which mentioned that Zelensky would tell Trump “he intends to run a fully transparent investigation and will ‘turn over every stone’.” Pompeo was also on several other emails that indirectly referenced Ukraine announcing the investigations Trump demanded.
With Sondland confirming quid pro quo, only Giuliani and Mulvaney can exonerate Trump now
Every other witness prior to Ambassador Gordon Sondland, however credible they may be, were second- or third-hand witnesses to the central question of the impeachment question. Of the witnesses allowed to testify in the inquiry, only Sondland could answer two crucial questions. © Provided by MediaDC: Washington Newspaper Publishing Company, Inc.1. Did President Trump order the withholding of congressionally approved aid to Ukraine and a meeting with President Volodymyr Zelensky in exchange for their public commitment to investigate the Bidens and Burisma Holdings? 2.
Sondland also said he communicated with Pompeo’s counselor, Ulrich Brechbuehl, and the State Department’s executive secretary, Lisa Kenna.“They knew what we were doing and why,” Sondland testified.
― White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney was also included on the July 19 email referencing the investigations, as was Mulvaney’s senior adviser, Robert Blair. Both have refused to testify in impeachment hearings.
― Energy Secretary Rick Perry and former special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker, who Sondland said made up, along with himself, the backchannel with Ukraine to push for investigations. Giuliani expressed toPerry, Volker and Sondland that Trump wanted Ukraine to launch investigations.
Perry’s chief of staff, Brian McCormack, was also included in the July 19 email about Zelensky investigations. Volkertestified on Monday that he did not know at the time there was a quid pro quo effort, but that in hindsight he should have seen the connection with Biden and would have raised an objection. Perry has refused to testify.
― Former national security adviser John Bolton, who Sondland said was kept informed of the U.S. diplomatic activities involving Ukraine. Bolton also emailed Sondland to request Giuliani’s contact information on Aug. 26.
― Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), with whom Sondland raised concerns about security aid being withheld as part of a potential quid pro quo arrangement, Sondland said.
“Again, everyone was in the loop,” Sondland said.
During the hearing, Democratic counsel Daniel Goldman told Sondland that Mulvaney, Bolton, McCormack, Blair and Perry had all been asked to come testify, but refused.
“Would you include them, as well as Secretary Pompeo, as key witnesses that would be able to provide some additional information on this inquiry?” Goldman asked.
“I think they would,” Sondland said.This article originally appeared on .
Gordon Sondland won’t quit over sexual misconduct claims .
Gordon Sondland, the American ambassador at the center of the impeachment drama, insists he will not resign over past sexual misconduct claims by three women, according to a report. The envoy to the European Union said Wedmesday through an associate that he has no plans to step down over the allegations, which he denies. “No intention of resigning,” Sondland’s associate told Politico. Three women aired claims this week to ProPublica of what they called Sondland’s inappropriate activity between 2003 and 2011 during his time as a hotel mogul in Portland, Ore., before President Trump appointed him to the plum ambassador post.
Top diplomat Gordon Sondland amends impeachment inquiry testimony
One of President Trump's most supportive witnesses in the impeachment inquiry has changed his testimony to confirm a quid pro quo with Ukraine.
Schiff: Sondland blocked from testifying to House
(8 Oct 2019) House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff says the failure of a State Department official to show up at a deposition Tuesday as part of ...