Nov 18, 2019

WSJ: Sondland emails show he briefed Trump admin officials on Ukraine

Gordon Sondland. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Gordon Sondland, U.S. ambassador to the EU, briefed senior administration officials on efforts to get Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden ahead of President Trump's July 25 call with the Ukrainian leader, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: Emails allegedly sent by Sondland that were obtained by WSJ indicate that several other officials can confirm what some witnesses have testified to already about a Trump administration request to investigate Burisma, the gas company with ties to Biden's son.

  • Sondland will be a key witness at this week's impeachment hearings as he previously testified that he told a top Ukraine official that military aid to the country wouldn't be released until officials agreed to investigate Burisma.

What's new: Per WSJ, Sondland kept officials including acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and Energy Secretary Rick Perry informed via email of developments in the push to get Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to announce an investigation into the Bidens.

What's next: Axios' Alayna Treene notes that Republicans plan to say Sondland "only talked to the president a handful of times about Ukraine, and he was eager to please Trump."

  • "They'll also focus on the idea that Sondland's knowledge was 'presumed' and the president never directly linked the two," Alayna writes.

Go deeper: Trump-Ukraine scandal: The key players, dates and documents

Go deeper

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

Highlights from Gordon Sondland's impeachment testimony

Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland testified Wednesday in one of the week's most-anticipated impeachment hearings.

Driving the news: In his opening statement, Sondland said that he worked with Rudy Giuliani "at the express direction" of President Trump on matters involving Ukraine.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Nov 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