Trump's fury rises with key impeachment inquiry testimony on the horizon

Clay Curtis
October 17, 2019

The Washington Post reported Wednesday that Sondland frequently met Trump's White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, and that Mulvaney arranged for Sondland to brief Trump just prior to the July 25 call.

"We were all disappointed by the president's direction that we involve Mr. Giuliani", he will say.

"Our view was that the men and women of the State Department, not the president's personal lawyer, should take responsibility for all aspects of US foreign policy towards Ukraine", he says.

The remarks come after Fiona Hill, Trump's former Russian Federation and Eurasia adviser who left her post in late July, testified before Congress on Monday that the US President's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani was allegedly involved in pressuring Ukraine into investigating Trump's political rivals and that Bolton wanted to stop this.

The text messages raised eyebrows from Democrats who said the messages could be used as additional evidence that Trump had conditioned US security assistance and meetings with Ukraine's leader on the opening of a politically beneficial investigation into Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter's relationship with the Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi denied Thursday that the investigation was politically driven, and said there was no timeline.

Read Sondland's full prepared remarks here, via the Wall Street Journal.

He said Giuliani did not make any specific demands during the phone call.

Perry said he remembered the phone call with Giuliani.

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Sondland, who reportedly donated one million dollars to Trump's presidential campaign, also noted in his testimony that "inviting a foreign government to undertake investigations for the goal of influencing an upcoming United States election would be wrong".

The former New York City Republican mayor has accused Ukraine, under then-President Petro Poroshenko, of interfering in the US elections on Hillary Clinton's behalf.

"I worked with Ambassador Yovanovitch personally during my first official visit to Ukraine in February 2019, and I found her to be an excellent diplomat with a deep command of Ukrainian internal dynamics", wrote Sondland.

Sondland released his written testimony as he appeared behind closed doors before three House committees under a subpoena on Thursday. He is featured heavily in text messages turned over to Congress, which show that other officials were concerned about Trump's attempts to force Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. None of the brief and general call summaries I received contained any mention of Burisma or former Vice President Biden nor even suggested that President Trump had made any kind of request of President Zelensky.

The US ambassador to the European Union is now testifying in the ongoing impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.

He continued: "Withholding foreign aid in order to pressure a foreign government to take such steps would be wrong".

He was also on the string of text messages, some of which were released by the three House committees - intelligence, foreign affairs and oversight - leading the inquiry.

Despite Sondland's clarifications, some outlets are reporting that Sondland will "break" from the president.

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