The Slatest

Sondland Testifies Rudy Giuliani Was Still Involved With Ukraine Weeks After the Whistleblower Complaint

U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland testifies Wednesday as part of the impeachment inquiry.
U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland testifies Wednesday as part of the impeachment inquiry.
Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Getty Images

In his testimony on Wednesday, Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland appeared focused on ensuring the public knew both the inappropriateness of Rudy Giuliani’s meddling in foreign policy and the number of top officials in President Donald Trump’s administration who were complicit in Giuliani’s pursuit of a “quid pro quo” from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

In one striking moment from his testimony, Sondland made clear that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was not only deeply involved in Giuliani’s escapades but that he continued to involve Giuliani—the president’s personal attorney—in State Department matters even after a whistleblower raised concerns.

“Even as late as Sept. 24 of this year, Secretary Pompeo was directing Kurt Volker to speak with Mr. Giuliani,” Sondland said. “In a WhatsApp message, Kurt Volker told me in part: ‘Spoke with Rudy per guidance from S.’ ” He clarified that ‘S’ referred to Pompeo.

House Democrats had already begun investigating the scandal at that point—the House and Senate intelligence committees were notified on Sept. 9 that a whistleblower had filed a complaint—and the message cited by Sondland came the same day that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced her support for a formal impeachment inquiry.

Giuliani himself had already raised eyebrows publicly: On Sept. 19, he suggested on CNN that it would be acceptable for Trump to withhold aid from Ukraine in exchange for an investigation into the Bidens. Three days later, Sen. Chris Murphy told Meet the Press that Zelensky had expressed concern about Giuliani’s solicitation of an investigation.

If Pompeo had directed Volker, the former special U.S. envoy for Ukraine, to speak with Giuliani at that point, then it would suggest Pompeo was working on behalf of Trump’s best interests, not the country’s.