WASHINGTON ― The hotel executive President Donald Trump appointed as an ambassador after he donated $1 million to Trump’s inauguration will testify Wednesday that Trump gave him “express direction” to work with Rudy Giuliani, who was pressuring Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden’s son.
“Everyone was in the loop,” Gordon Sondland plans to say, according to a copy of his opening statement. “It was no secret.”
“We followed the president’s orders,” Sondland’s statement says.
The statement says he believed there was a “quid pro quo” ― that Ukrainians had to respond to Trump’s requests to get a White House call or meeting.
Sondland plans to say his goal was to get the aid released and that he was trying to “break the logjam” by having Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky issue a statement that would draw Biden into a foreign investigation and boost Trump’s 2020 election prospects.
“I believed that the public statement we had been discussing for weeks was essential to advancing that goal. I really regret that the Ukrainians were placed in that predicament, but I do not regret doing what I could to try to break the logjam and to solve the problem,” he will say, according to the statement.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.