Wall Street Journal: Sondland kept Trump administration officials briefed on Ukraine dealings

Gordon Sondland, U.S. ambassador to the European Union

The emails reviewed by the Journal show Gordon Sondland — who testified last month he was directed by Trump to work with Rudy Giuliani on Ukraine — kept acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and Energy Secretary Rick Perry informed of his push for the country to launch investigations in the weeks leading up to Trump’s July 25 call with his Ukrainian counterpart.

Holmes told lawmakers that Sondland had told Trump that Zelensky would do “anything you ask him to” and that Sondland had confirmed the Ukrainians were going to “do the investigation,” one day after Trump has asked his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate Biden, according to a copy of Holmes’ opening statement obtained by CNN.

Sondland’s testimony says that he knew of no arrangement tying US security assistance to Ukraine with an investigation into the Bidens — but also that it would be wrong to do so.

“Let me state clearly: Inviting a foreign government to undertake investigations for the purpose of influencing an upcoming U.S. election would be wrong,” Sondland said, according to the statement. “Withholding foreign aid in order to pressure a foreign government to take such steps would be wrong. I did not and would not ever participate in such undertakings. In my opinion, security aid to Ukraine was in our vital national interest and should not have been delayed for any reason.”

Holmes explained that Sondland had placed the call to Trump, and he could hear Trump because the call was so loud on the terrace of a restaurant, where they dined with two others.
“While Ambassador Sondland’s phone was not on speakerphone, I could hear the President’s voice through the earpiece of the phone. The President’s voice was very loud and recognizable, and Ambassador Sondland held the phone away from his ear for a period of time, presumably because of the loud volume,”

Article URL : https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/17/politics/sondand-trump-ukraine-impeachment/index.html

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