EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland kept Trump administration officials in the loop on his effort to get Ukraine to launch investigations into President Trump’s political opponents, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Sondland, who will testify publicly this week, was the leader along with Rudy Giuliani of the “irregular” policy channel in Ukraine described by multiple State Department officials. According to emails obtained by the Journal, Sondland also kept acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and Energy Secretary Rick Perry up to date on his efforts.
Emails show that Sondland told National Security Council official Tim Morrison to schedule a call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for “Zelensky to give Potus assurances of ‘new sheriff’ in town. Corruption ending, unbundling moving forward and any hampered investigations will be allowed to move forward transparently.”
A day before Trump was initially supposed to talk to the president, Sondland told Perry and Mulvaney that Zelensky “will assure him that he intends to run a fully transparent investigation and will ‘turn over every stone.’”
Sondland was “relaying” instructions to Zelensky from Giuliani, according to text messages.
Giuliani later told officials that Zelensky needed to announce an investigation into the Bidens and the 2016 election.
Sondland updated testimony to describe extortion:
Sondland testified behind closed doors in October but changed part of his testimony after multiple officials contradicted his statements to Congress.
Sondland described exactly the quid pro quo that House lawmakers leading the impeachment inquiry have described.
Sondland said he told a Zelensky aid that “resumption of U.S. aid would likely not occur until Ukraine provided the public anti-corruption statement that we had been discussing for many weeks.”
Sondland discussed “investigations” with Trump too:
Just last week, acting Ukraine ambassador Bill Taylor also testified that his aide overheard Sondland on a phone call with Trump discussing “the investigations” a day after the call with Zelensky.
Sondland told Trump that Ukraine was “ready to move forward,” Taylor testified.
Taylor added that Sondland acknowledged to his aide that Trump “cares more about the investigations of Biden, which [Rudy] Giuliani was pressing for.”