U.S. Ambassador Feeds Trump To The Wolves, Blasts State Dept. For Trying To Block His Testimony
On Thursday, U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland revealed to Congress that Rudy Giuliani told him President Donald Trump wanted Ukraine’s new government to investigate both the 2016 election and to dig up dirt on former Vice-President Joe Biden, NBC News reports, citing prepared testimony obtained by the news outlet.
Sondland will testify that Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, even mentioned getting the Ukrainians to investigate “the DNC server” — a reference to a Democratic National Committee computer that plays prominently in a debunked conspiracy theory about Ukrainian interference in 2016.
The ambassador is expected to tell House investigators that he ultimately learned that Giuliani was advancing Trump’s goals when he pushed for Ukraine to investigate the president’s political opponents.
“The president directed Mr. Giuliani’s participation,” Sondland revealed, according to the prepared testimony.
Sondland had no diplomatic experience before Trump nominated him in 2017 to become ambassador to the E.U., a club of nations that does not include Ukraine. He was a wealthy hotelier who donated about $1 million to Trump’s inaugural committee and refers to himself in his prepared testimony as a “lifelong Republican.”
Nonetheless, Sondland casts blame directly on the president in the 18-page statement he plans to read to House lawmakers before answering their questions in the closed-door session. He also slammed the State Department for trying to block his testimony.
In the prepared testimony, he repeatedly says he was “disappointed” in Trump’s decision-making on Ukraine and Giuliani’s involvement and asserts the president was in a “bad mood” the day Trump told Sondland by phone there were no quid pro quos involved in granting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy a coveted meeting with Trump.
In his testimony, Sondland paints a damning portrait of a troika of senior officials — Sondland, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and former Ukraine envoy Kurt Volker — begrudgingly engaging with Giuliani against their better instincts, out of desperation to advance U.S.-Ukraine relations.
“I did not understand, until much later, that Mr. Giuliani’s agenda might have also included an effort to prompt the Ukrainians to investigate Vice President Biden or his son or to involve Ukrainians, directly or indirectly, in the president’s 2020 re-election campaign,” Sondland wrote in the prepared testimony.
There is no evidence of corruption by either Biden.
Sondland’s depiction of a Trump-ordered campaign to pressure Zelenskiy to open an investigation adds to a growing body of testimony corroborating the underlying allegations contained in a whistleblower’s complaint that led the House to launch impeachment proceedings late last month.
Trump has maintained he did “nothing wrong” and that his call with the Ukrainian president was “beautiful, perfect, and totally appropriate.”