InfoMullet: We’re Going to Sonderland!

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TLDRUpFront: The announcement that Ambassador Sondland, an appointee of President Trump and Ambassador to the European Union, is going to testify before the House impeachment investigation is like seeing Chevy Chase  drive that station wagon around the corner for the first time in National Lampoons American Vacation. We’re not sure who this gangly fella is, or where we’re about to go, but it’s probably going to be interesting.


FullContext in Back: 

This is a very unusual move for Ambassador Sondland, the first individual who owes their Federal appointment to defy the President’s on Executive Agencies, or personnel, cooperating with the House. I’m not sure what repercussions, other than getting canned, Sondland may be facing to do such. The Ambassador won’t be able to provide documents, because doing so would be a breach of federal law and regulations, but he is going to testify.

But Sondland has emerged as is a crucial figure in the “quid-pro-quo” section of the boundary & factor analysis I’ve doing. He is at the center of conversations and coordination before, during, and after President Trump’s and President Zelensky’s telephone call establishing that bringing up investigating Burisma and 2016 election interference was essential for Trump to “reboot” the Ukrainian relationship.

Sondland has maintained he never heard Joe Biden’s name mentioned and wasn’t on the call in question only learning about Trump’s request on Bidens when the transcript summary was released. However, he is at a crucial exchange between Ambassador Taylor, the Charge d’ Affairs to Ukraine, who threatened to resign over the withholding of funds in return for obtaining, what to Taylor, appeared to be foreign interference in the 2020 campaign:

“The message to the Ukrainians (and Russians) we send with the decision on security assistance is key. With the hold, we have already shaken their faith in us. Thus my nightmare scenario. Counting on you to be right about this interview, Gordon.” Gordon replies: “Bill, I never said I was “right”. I said we are where we are and believe we have identified the best pathway forward. Lets hope it works.” Taylor replies: “As I said on the phone, I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.” **** Sondland refutes the assertion and suggests they move to a medium that does not have a record: “I believe you are incorrect about President Trump’s intentions. The President has been crystal clear no quid pro quo’s of any kind. The President is trying to evaluate whether Ukraine is truly going to adopt the transparency and reforms that President Zelensky promised during his campaign I suggest we stop the back and forth by text If you still have concerns I recommend you give Lisa Kenna or Sa call to discuss them directly. Thanks.”

Crucially, where I have inserted **** there is now reporting from two sources (WSJ and NBC) that in that time Sondland went directly to the President and had a conversation with him before replying to Taylor “I believe you are incorrect about President Trump’s intentions. The President has been crystal clear no quid pro quo’s of any kind.”

This could be crucial testimony for or against the quid pro quo argument based on President Trump’s statements to him. As noted before, quid pro quo is not a requirement for impeachment , but it goes a long way to solidifying the case.

As an aside, from a textual analysis I only have a limited sample of Sondland’s texts. But if you read what’s already been provided to the House Intelligence Committee, these sentences:

“”I believe you are incorrect about President Trump’s intentions. The President has been crystal clear no quid pro quo’s of any kind.”

Stand out as complete well-formed sentences vs. the texting style evidenced in the rest of the sample. And considering that his statement includes a request to stop texting and begin discussions in another medium, it’s an interesting exchange.


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