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Key Figure's Ukraine Testimony Won't Please Trump

Gordon Sondland says president ordered him to work with Giuliani on Ukraine
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 17, 2019 10:30 AM CDT
US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland arrives on Capitol Hill on Thursday.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

(Newser) – A key figure in President Trump's impeachment controversy is testifying Thursday on Capitol Hill, but Trump probably won't like what Gordon Sondland has to say. Sondland is the American ambassador to the EU, but he was among the handful of diplomats involved in the White House's outreach to Ukraine over the summer. Based on his prepared opening remarks—read them in full here—Sondland "broke sharply" with Trump over the controversy, per Politico. The details:

  • Marching orders: Sondland says Trump ordered him and other officials to work directly with Rudy Giuliani on Ukraine, a directive Sondland says he was "disappointed" with but reluctantly followed. Sondland says he thought State Department officials should be calling the shots on foreign policy, not the president's personal attorney.
  • Hindsight: Sondland says he did indeed begin working with Giuliani, but he says he didn't 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 reelection campaign," per the Washington Post.

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