US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland was directed by President Trump to work with Rudy Giuliani on Ukraine, he plans to tell Congress Thursday, and was left with a choice:
- Abandon efforts to bolster a key strategic alliance or
- Work to satisfy the demands of the President’s personal lawyer.
Sondland plans to say he wasn’t aware until “much later” that Giuliani’s agenda might have included an effort to “prompt the Ukrainians” to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter and to involve the Ukrainians in the President’s campaign, according to his opening statement, which was obtained by CNN.
Why this matters: The revealing testimony of the President’s top diplomat showcases how Trump put on hold an effort to strengthen relations with the country until top US officials were in contact with Giuliani, who was pursuing an investigation into the Bidens, a potential political rival in Trump’s reelection campaign. And Sondland said he was “disappointed” that Trump wouldn’t commit to a meeting sought by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky until they spoke with Giuliani.