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U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland (C) arrives at the Capitol on Oct. 17. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

U.S. Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland disputes aspects of congressional testimony by the top American diplomat in Ukraine and he "does not recall" anything about threatening Ukraine over aid, his attorney told the Washington Post Wednesday.

Why it matters: Acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor testified Tuesday that Sondland communicated to Ukrainian officials that President Trump wanted military aid to Ukraine to be conditional on them agreeing to investigate natural gas firm Burisma, for which former Vice President Joe Biden's son worked, and alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. election in a quid pro quo, which Trump has long denied.

Sondland does not recall any conversation in Warsaw concerning the aid cutoff, although he understood that the Ukrainians were, by then, certainly aware of the cutoff and raised the issue directly with [Vice President Mike] Pence."
— Sondland's attorney Robert Luskin to the Washington Post

The big picture: Sondland appeared before investigating House committees last Thursday. The explosive testimony of Taylor, a career diplomat who's served in every administration since 1985, relies largely on his conversations with Sondland.

  • Taylor testified that Sondland told him on June 28 "he did not wish to include most of the regular interagency participants in a call planned with President Zelenskyy later that day. … Ambassador Sondland said that he wanted to make sure no one was transcribing or monitoring as they added President Zelenskyy to the call."

What they're saying: Sondland's attorney Robert Luskin told WashPost in a statement that his client believes that this was "monitored routinely and that an appropriate file memo was prepared." "He never suggested otherwise," Luskin said.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

The limits of Biden's plan to cancel student debt

Data: New York Fed Consumer Credit Panel/Equifax; Chart: Axios Visuals

There’s a growing consensus among Americans who want President Biden to cancel student debt — but addressing the ballooning debt burden is much more complicated than it seems.

Why it matters: Student debt is stopping millions of Americans from buying homes, buying cars and starting families. And the crisis is rapidly getting worse.

Why made-for-TV moments matter during the pandemic

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Erin Schaff-Pool, Biden Inaugural Committee via Getty Images

In a world where most Americans are isolated and forced to laugh, cry and mourn without friends or family by their side, viral moments can offer critical opportunities to unite the country or divide it.

Driving the news: President Biden's inauguration was produced to create several made-for-social viral moments, a tactic similar to what the Democratic National Committee and the Biden campaign pulled off during the Democratic National Convention.

Updated 9 hours ago - World

Over 3,000 detained in protests across Russia demanding Navalny's release

Russian police officers beat protestesters at a rally against of jailing of oppositon leader Alexei Navalny in Moscow on Saturday. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Police in Russia on Saturday arrested more than 3,300 people as protesters nationwide demanded that opposition leader Alexey Navalny be released from jail.

Details: Demonstrations began in the eastern regions of Russia and spread west to more than 60 cities.