Sondland Briefed Pompeo & Pence About Ukraine Pressure Campaign
Gordon Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union, testified Wednesday that there was a quid pro quo in the Trump Ukraine scandal and that he had kept Secretary of State Mike Pompeo informed about the Trump Administration’s dealings with Ukraine.
Pompeo has long tried to avoid being tied to the scandal, but Sondland’s testimony throws him in the middle of it, right before Pompeo’s potential run for the open chair in the Kansas Senate next year.
US Ambassador Gordon Sondland testified there was a quid pro quo for Ukraine to announce investigations into President Trump’s political opponents that came from Rudy Giuliani “at the express direction of the President of the United States.” https://t.co/bOgh26gtj4 pic.twitter.com/tzMdP6DrAy
— CNN (@CNN) November 20, 2019
Sondland stated that Pompeo was still directing U.S. officials in Ukraine to deal with President Donald Trump‘s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, as recently as Sept. 24. He presented emails and text messages to Congress to prove that the White House and State Department authorized pressuring Ukraine.
In his opening statement, Sondland said, “They knew what they were doing and why.” He also stated that “everyone was in on the loop. It was no secret.”
Pompeo is not the only one Sondland singled out – he also pointed the finger at Vice President Mike Pence and former national security adviser John Bolton.
Sondland claimed on several occasions, in front of multiple witnesses, that he voiced his concern about the possible link between the withheld Ukrainian military aid, the Burisma Holdings investigation and the 2016 presidential election.
“I mentioned to Vice President Pence before the meetings with the Ukrainians that I had concerns that the delay in aid had become tied to the issue of investigations. I recall mentioning that before the Zelensky meeting,” he testified. Sondland added that during his meeting with Pence, Zelensky raised the issue of security assistance directly to him, and Pence said, “he would speak to President Trump about it.”