Nov 27, 2019

Gordon Sondland accused of sexual misconduct by three women

Gordon Sondland testifies to the House Intelligence Committee on Nov. 20. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc. via Getty Images

Three women have come forward with public accusations of sexual misconduct against EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland in instances that span from 2003 to 2008, prior to his position as a U.S. ambassador, ProPublica reports.

Why it matters: “I have nothing to say about what he did or didn’t do [involving Ukraine]. But if people are asking what his moral character is, I have one more piece of evidence for them," magazine publisher Nicole Vogel told ProPublica, while accusing Sondland of twice making unwanted sexual advances — in a hotel room and separately in his car — as he considered investing in her magazine in 2003.

Details: Jana Solis, who works in the insurance industry, accused Sondland of making two unwanted sexual advances after he hired her: in his home and at a penthouse at one of the hotels he previously owned. She alleges that Sondland screamed at her and reprimanded her at work a few days after he forcibly kissed her.

Natalie Sept, a former staffer for Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign, accused Sondland of trying to kiss her against her will after he leaned in for a hug. Solis and Vogel also accused Sondland of forcibly kissing them after he asked for a hug.

  • In each of the allegations, "friends, family members or colleagues of the women recall being told about the encounters at the time," per ProPublica.
  • ProPublica co-published its article on the allegations against Sondland with Portland Monthly, which Vogel owns.

What he's saying:

"These untrue claims of unwanted touching and kissing are concocted and, I believe, coordinated for political purposes. They have no basis in fact, and I categorically deny them. There has never been mention of them in any form during the 10 to 16 years since they supposedly occurred, although such a complaint could easily have been aired through multiple channels. These false incidents are at odds with my character."
— Gordon Sondland, in a written statement given to ProPublica

Context: Sondland has been one of the break-out witnesses in the impeachment inquiry against President Trump so far.

Go deeper: Inside Gordon Sondland's pay-to-play power grab

Go deeper

Trump's shifting story on his relationship with Gordon Sondland

Photo: Joshua Lott/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump told reporters outside the White House on Wednesday that he "doesn't know" EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland "very well."

Why it matters: It's the latest walk-back from the president about his relationship with Sondland, who donated $1 million to Trump's inaugural committee.

Go deeperArrowNov 20, 2019

Inside Gordon Sondland's pay-to-play power grab

Photo Illustration: Eniola Odetunde. Photos: Pool/Getty Images

When Gordon Sondland arrived at the Trump fundraising breakfast at Manhattan's Cipriani restaurant on Dec. 7, 2016, he had trouble getting in. Sondland hadn't sent his RSVP, he hadn't sent any money and the Secret Service had not cleared him to enter.

The backdrop: Trump transition team officials had no affection for the hotelier. The last time Sondland had been on the campaign's radar was when, through a spokesperson, he publicly denounced Trump's character and canceled a fundraiser he was scheduled to co-host. That was August 2016, after Trump lambasted Gold Star father Khizr Khan. Key officials noted Sondland’s denunciation, and they hadn’t let it go.

Go deeperArrowNov 24, 2019

Read Adam Schiff's opening statement in the Sondland impeachment hearing

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) set the stage Wednesday with his opening statement in the House impeachment inquiry's public hearing featuring EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland.

The big picture: Schiff used his time to summarize Sondland's diplomatic work regarding Ukraine throughout 2019 — which the ambassador confirmed was at the direction of President Trump — ultimately stating that "it will be up to us to decide, whether those acts are compatible with the office of the presidency."

Go deeperArrowNov 20, 2019