“Everyone Was In The Loop”: Sondland Implicates Trump, Pompeo, & Pence In Extortion Plot
Today’s public impeachment hearing was the fourth and most devastating thus far. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland confirmed the “quid pro quo” (Ukraine extortion plot) at the heart of the House impeachment inquiry and delivered hard evidence that proved multiple Cabinet officials were fully aware of it.
In a nutshell, Sondland testified that Ukraine’s proposed White House meeting was directly tied to the Trump-demanded investigations of Burisma (the Bidens) and the Ukraine 2016 meddling conspiracy theory. Sondland also said he later presumed Ukraine’s military aid was also tied to these investigations. Sondland repeatedly said he was acting on President Trump’s orders and that he saw Rudy Giuliani as a conduit through which Trump was delivering orders.
Sondland also claimed that President Trump just wanted a public statement and didn’t put an emphasis on the investigations to be followed through on. This took down the narrative that Trump was concerned about corruption more broadly, and that builds the Democratic case that Trump was just seeking investigations of his political targets ahead of 2020.
What we’ll highlight here is the fact Sondland revealed the extent to which Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was kept in the loop of key developments in this extortion plot, and that Sondland directly told Vice President Mike Pence as well.Looking to make a difference? Consider signing one of these sponsored petitions:
Sondland testified that “Everyone was in the loop. It was no secret.” I broke this down in my analysis for The Independent:
Sondland went on to take a different route than the career diplomats who testified before him. While they painted this plot as “shadow diplomacy,” Sondland essentially stated that the pressure campaign against Ukraine was the official policy of the Trump Administration. Sondland stated that: “As a presidential appointee, I followed the directions of the President.” Sondland proceeded to show emails proving he kept Trump Administration officials at the highest level updated on this campaign to get Ukraine to announce the investigations.
In a single email, Sondland implicated Pompeo, Secretary of Energy Perry, Brian McCormack (Perry’s Chief of Staff), Executive Secretary at the State Department Lisa Kenna, Acting Chief of Staff and OMB Director Mick Mulvaney, and Mr. Mulvaney’s Senior Advisor Robert Blair. Sondland sent them a July 19th email that read: “I Talked to Zelensky just now… He is prepared to receive Potus’ call. Will assure him that he intends to run a fully transparent investigation and will ‘turn over every stone.'”
Sondland sent subsequent updates to Pompeo. Sondland also testified that before the Warsaw meeting with Zelensky, Sondland told Pence he had concerns that the hold on Ukraine’s military aid had become tied to the issue of investigations. Sondland said that Pence nodded his head. Pompeo and Pence previously denied all knowledge of the pursuit of these investigations.
It’s also important to note that Mick Mulvaney previously admitted to the “quid pro quo,” and his involvement in the withheld military aid has been corroborated by multiple witnesses. Bill Taylor alleged that an OMB staffer said: “the directive [to withhold aid] had come from the President to the Chief of Staff to OMB.” Jennifer Williams alleged that OMB representatives told her that Acting Chief of Staff Mulvaney directed the hold on Ukraine military aid.
As this impeachment inquiry continues to unfold, more Trump Administration officials are being exposed for the complicit sycophants that they are – and so are the Republicans defending this conduct. The American people should keep this in mind at the ballot box.