The Latest: Sondland distances himself from Trump actions
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on expected testimony by U.S. Ambassador Gordon Sondland (all times local):
The U.S. ambassador to the European Union is distancing himself from President Donald Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate Trump’s Democratic rival Joe Biden.
Gordon Sondland plans to tell lawmakers on Thursday that he was disappointed Trump directed him to work with Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and that he believes it’s wrong to invite a foreign government to conduct investigations for the purpose of influencing American elections.
That’s according to a copy of Sondland’s prepared remarks obtained by The Associated Press.
Sondland is the latest current or former government official to appear before the House impeachment inquiry of Trump.
Sondland will say that he disagreed with Trump’s decision to involve Giuliani and that he didn’t know until later that Giuliani’s agenda included encouraging a Biden investigation.
Trump has denied doing anything wrong.
The U.S. ambassador to the European Union is the latest witness set to appear before Congress in its impeachment inquiry.
Gordon Sondland is scheduled to be interviewed behind closed doors by House lawmakers on Thursday.
His testimony is especially critical since text messages and statements from other witnesses place him at the center of carrying out President Donald Trump’s agenda with Ukraine, including his push for politically charged investigations.
A person familiar with Sondland’s account has said Sondland is prepared to say that he was merely repeating Trump’s reassurances when he told another envoy that there was no quid pro quo in the administration’s dealings with Ukraine.
House lawmakers have been hearing from other diplomats and administration officials, including from the State Department.