Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, will testify before the House Intelligence Committee Wednesday as part of the House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.
Sondland delivered a private deposition before the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, and Oversight Committees on October 17, testifying that the told Bill Taylor, the U.S. Charge d’affaires for Ukraine, that President Trump sought “nothing” from Ukraine and that there was “no quid pro quo” during the president’s July 25 telephone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
According to U.S. diplomat David Holmes, he overheard a July 26 call in which President Trump mentioned “the investigations” to Sondland — an alleged reference to the president’s request for Ukraine to probe into allegations of corruption against former Vice President and 2020 White House contender Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. Holmes testified that Sondland conveyed to him that President Trump cared “more about the investigations” than Ukraine.
A partisan CIA analyst mischaracterized the Trump-Zelensky call in a “whistleblower” complaint to the intelligence community inspector general, prompting the House Democrats to launch an impeachment probe on September 24.
Click here to read Breitbart News’ “Cheat Sheet” on Sondland’s public testimony.
**Follow live updates on this event from Breitbart News. All times in eastern.**
4:40 P.M. — Fox News’ Dana Perino, citing a new poll published Wednesday, says impeachment is boosting President Trump’s re-election chances in 2020: “Gallup put out its poll [showing] the president’s approval rating is up two percentage points and in Wisconsin, he beats every possible opponent in that poll for match-ups in 2020 and being against impeachment is up 8 percent in Wisconsin, alone.”
4:20 P.M. —
4:12 P.M. — Preview of Pence’s response to Sondland’s testimony:
4:00 P.M. — Interesting point by Mark Levin:
3:52 P.M. —
3:49 P.M. — Biggs slams Schiff’s closing statements, calls them “theatrical” and urges the impeachment inquiry to be shut down.
3:48 P.M. — Schiff has adjourned Sondland’s hearing.
3:42 P.M. —
3:36 P.M. —
3:35 P.M. — Schiff, in his closing statement, says “this is a seminal moment in our investigation” and brands Sondland’s testimony “deeply significant and troubling.”
3:34 P.M. —
3:33 P.M. — Nunes, in his closing statement, asks: “who was the whistleblower who gave birth to this hoax?”
3:31 P.M. — A third quip from Sondland as the hearing nears an end:
3:30 P.M. —
3:28 P.M. —
3:25 P.M. — State Department Spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus: “Gordon Sondland never told Secretary Pompeo that he believed the President was linking aid to investigations of political opponents. Any suggestion to the contrary is flat out false.”
3:24 P.M. —
3:21 P.M. —
Rep. Val Demings (D-FL): “In the May 23rd meeting you talked about how the President categorized Ukraine. Did you ever hear President Zelensky relay concern about being used as a tool for political reasons.”
Sondland: “We tried to relay the glass half full.”
3:11 P.M. — Sondland: “I would have preferred that, and I’m sure everyone would have preferred, that the president simply met with Mr. Zelensky right away. Our assessment of Mr. Zelensky was that he and the president would get on famously.”
3:09 P.M. — Pompeo has departed Brussels ahead of Sondland’s trip back.
3:08 P.M. — Jordan says “the facts are so darn clear” on why President Trump shouldn’t be impeached.
3:06 P.M. — Jordan to Sondland: “You said there were three quid pro quos but there weren’t.”
3:05 P.M. —
2:56 P.M. — Ratcliffe pushes back on Sondland’s belief that President Trump doesn’t care about Ukraine, saying: “nothing says you care about Ukraine like sending javelin anti tanks.”
2:54 P.M. — David Axelrod, former President Barack Obama’s chief campaign strategist, worries House Republicans show no signs of supporting impeachment.
2:51 P.M. — Sondland says he recalls only meeting with Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney just once.
2:49 P.M. —
2:48 P.M. — John Cornyn (R-TX) on today’s hearing:
2:47 P.M. —
2:44 P.M. —
Swalwell: “Did the president ever say to you, ‘stop talking to Rudy’?”
Swalwell: “Did he ever say, ‘don’t any longer talk to Rudy’?”
2:41 P.M. — Sondland agrees that Hunter Biden serving on Burisma’s board of directors gives the appearance of a conflict of interest. Past impeachment witnesses have testified the same.
2:39 P.M. —
2:38 P.M. —
2:30 P.M. —
2:26 P.M. — Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) asks Sondland if President Trump was talking in “code” about an investigation in the Bidens. Sondland replies their conversations have been “fairly direct.”
2:25 P.M. — Sondland says he’s had roughly 20 telephone calls with President Trump.
2:22 P.M. — Meadows points to Turner’s questioning as “game over” for the House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry:
2:21 P.M. —
2:20 P.M. — Sondland says he and his family are getting threats due to the impeachment probe, notes his hotels are being boycotted.
2:19 P.M. — Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH): “2 presumptions plus 2 presumptions does not equal even one fact.”
2:16 P.M. —
2:11 P.M. — Big moment from Turner, who gets Sondland to concede nobody told him that President Trump linked the Ukraine aide to a Biden probe, rendering Schiff’s statements and CNN’s lead story inaccurate, says the lawmaker.
2:08 P.M. — Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) grills Sondland over his testimony, calls his answers “somewhat circular.”
2:05 P.M. — Sondland on Volker about allegations of quid pro quo: “I strongly disagree with that portion of his testimony. It was absolutely a requirement.”
1:57 P.M. — A lawyer for the so-called “whistleblower” tweets about House Republicans seeking his client’s testimony:
1:57 P.M. — President Trump tweets that Sondland’s testimony is the final nail in the coffin regarding impeachment:
1:50 P.M. — Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) grills Sondland on the fact that U.S. aide was delivered to Ukraine and a probe into the Bidens did not occur.
1:49 P.M. — Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT) says he expects lawmakers will see the transcript of Sondland’s call with President Trump.
1:44 P.M. — Giuliani fires off tweets about Castor:
1:40 P.M. — The Hearing has resumed. Schiff notes Mark Sandy, an OMB official who testified Saturday, is having his transcript reviewed and will be released soon.
1:32 P.M. — Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) to MSNBC: “We heard very powerful evidence today in the exchange between Chairman Schiff and Ambassador Sondland of evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors, to include abuse of power, obstruction of Congress, also extortion and also evidence of bribery.”
1:25 P.M. — Giuliani re-posts earlier tweet about his “very little contact” with Sondland.
1:10 P.M. — Pompeo on Sondland’s testimony:
1:09 P.M. — Schiff gavels the hearing into a 30-minute recess:
12:58 P.M. — Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) downplays Sondland’s testimony:
12:57 P.M. — The Department of Energy releases a statement saying Sondland “misrepresented” Sec. Rick Perry’s interaction with President Trump and Guiliani:
12:56 P.M. — Castor grilling Sondland for not including a piece of “exculpatory” information in his opening statement:
12:56 P.M. —
12:50 P.M. —
12:49 P.M. —
12:47 P.M. — The White House issues a statement on Sondland’s testimony:
12:43 P.M. — Giuliani deletes tweet stating he had “very little contact” with Sondland.
12:41 P.M. — Nunes begins his line of questioning, says Democrats “fantasize” about Watergate.
12:38 P.M. — Sondland says Ukraine President Zelensky’s CNN interview was previously planned and Ukraine claimed he would announce the investigations into the Bidens on it.
12:36 P.M. —
12:31 P.M. — Rudy Giuliani fires back at Sondland’s testimony:
12:30 P.M. — Meadows bats down the Associated Press:
12:29 P.M. —
12:18 P.M. — Fox News anchor Chris Wallace says Sondland “took out the bus and ran it over” President Trump and his aides.
12:17 P.M. —
12:16 P.M. — NBC News reports that the FBI is looking to interview the so-called “whistleblower.” The individual has not agreed to an interview. “An FBI agent in the Washington field office in October reached out to one of the lawyers representing the whistleblower and asked to question the CIA analyst who triggered the congressional inquiry into the president’s conduct,” reports Yahoo News.
12:09 P.M. — Schiff asks Sondland how he did not link Burisma with the Biden family. Sondland replies that he did not pay attention to Guiliani’s television appearances as he spoke to him directly.
12:06 P.M. — Republican general counsel Steve Castor to Sondland: “You don’t have records, you don’t have notes because you don’t take notes, you don’t have recollections. This is a trifecta of unreliability.”
Sondland: “I think I’ve filled in a lot of blanks.”
12:01 P.M. —
11:56 A.M. —
11:55 A.M. — Sondland says he didn’t realize probing Burisma meant looking into the Bidens regarding discussions of investigations.
11:53 A.M. —
11:48 A.M. — House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) tweets of today’s hearing: The “Democrats’ smear campaign is falling apart.”
11:47 A.M. — President Trump weighs in on Sondland’s testimony:
11:43 A.M. —
11:40 A.M. —
11:39 A.M. — Sondland re-ups his assumption on President Trump linking U.S. aide to Ukraine to investigations into the Bidens:
11:36 A.M. — Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) and other Republicans are driving this point home: Sondland assumed President Trump made U.S. aide to Ukraine contingent on probes into the Bidens.
11:35 A.M. —
11:28 A.M. — Vice President Mike Pence’s office denies discussing investigations into the Bidens with Sondland:
“The Vice President never had a conversation with Gordon Sondland about investigating the Bidens, Burisma, or the conditional release of financial aid to Ukraine based upon potential investigations. Ambassador Gordon Sondland was never alone with Vice President Pence on the September 1 trip to Poland. This alleged discussion recalled by Ambassador Sondland never happened. Multiple witnesses have testified under oath that Vice President Pence never raised Hunter Biden, former Vice President Joe Biden, Crowdstrike, Burisma, or investigations in any conversation with Ukrainians or President Zelensky before, during, or after the September 1 meeting in Poland.”
11:25 A.M. —
Sondland: “I don’t know about any drug deal.”
Nunes: “And did you know you’re part of the three amigos?”
Sondland: “I am. I am a proud part of the three amigos.”
11:21 A.M. — Nunes begins his questioning by asking Sondland whether he was aware of the efforts of DNC contractor Alexandra Chalupa and Ukraine’s efforts to meddle in the 2016 election. Sondland responds that he’s unaware.
11:2o A.M. — The hearing has resumed.
11:13 A.M. — Schiff says at a press conference during the recess: “Today’s testimony is among the most significant evidence to date and what we have just heard from Sondland is. This scheme was a basic quid pro quo. It was the conditioning of official acts for something of great value, right to the heart of the issue of bribery.”
11:07 A.M. —
11:04 A.M. — The hearing is now in a brief recess.
11:03 A.M. — Sondland says he assumed that U.S. aid to Ukraine was contingent on probes into the Bidens. Again, Sondland previously stated President Trump never told him such a thing.
10:54 A.M. — Sondland: “President Trump never told me directly that the aid was conditioned on” an announcement of a probe into the Bidens.
10:52 A.M. — Important flashback: Ukrainian foreign minister Vadym Prystaiko said Sondland “never” linked U.S. aid to investigations.
10:51 A.M. — Sondland: “I never heard anyone advocating for holding the aid.”
10:49 A.M. —
10:44 A.M. — Sondland on his relationship with President Trump: “I had occasional access when he chose to take my calls. Sometimes he would, sometimes he wouldn’t.”
10:43 A.M. —
10:39 A.M. —
10:34 A.M. — Sondland says a change in his impeachment testimony was triggered by reference to rapper A$AP Rocky.
10:33 A.M. —
10:26 A.M. —
10:25 A.M. —
10:24 A.M. — Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) calls for “proven liar” Schiff to testify as part of the impeachment probe.
10:23 A.M. —
10:22 A.M. — Sondland on President Trump: “He was not particularly fond of Ukraine.”
10:20 A.M. — Sondland tells Schiff he doesn’t remember saying “Biden.” Holmes told lawmakers that Sondland told him President Trump solely cares about “big stuff that matters to him, like this Biden investigation that Giuliani is pushing.”
10:18 A.M. — Sondland: “I’ve never doubted the strategic value of strengthening our alliance with Ukraine. And at all times, our efforts were in good faith and fully transparent to those tasked with overseeing them. Our efforts were reported and approved.”
10:15 A.M. — Sondland wraps up his opening statement, saying he acted in “good faith.”
“At all times, our efforts were in good faith and fully transparent to those tasked with overseeing them. Our efforts were reported and approved. Not once do I recall encountering objection,” he adds.
10:13 A.M. — Sondland: “State Department was fully supportive of our engagement in Ukraine affairs, and was aware that a commitment to investigations was among the issues we were pursuing.”
10:11 A.M. — Sondland: “By the end of August, my belief was that if Ukraine did something to demonstrate a serious intention to fight corruption, specifically addressing Burisma and 2016 server, then the hold on military aid would be lifted.”
10:08 A.M. — Sondland: “In preparation for the September 1 Warsaw meeting, I asked Secretary Pompeo whether a face-to-face conversation between President Trump with Zelensky could help break the logjam.”
“Secretary Pompeo replied, ‘Yes,'” he adds.
10:05 A.M. — Sondland on the freeze on U.S. military aid to Ukraine: “I was never able to obtain a clear answer regarding the specific reason for the hold.”
10:03 A.M. — Sondland: “Was there a ‘quid pro quo?’ As I testified previously, with regard to the requested White House call and White House meeting, the answer is yes.” Sondland’s testimony contradicts previous impeachment witnesses, including former U.S. envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker and former NSC official Tim Morrison, who agreed that no quid pro quo, bribery, or treason occurred.
10:01 A.M. — Sondland confirms the July 26 call between Trump-Zelensky, which David Holmes testified that he overheard: “The White House, which has finally shared certain call dates and times with my attorneys, confirms this. The call lasted five minutes.”
“Again, given Mr. Giuliani’s demand that President Zelensky make a public statement about investigations, I knew that the topic of investigations was important to President Trump. We did not discuss any classified information,” he adds.
9:59 A.M. — Sondland: “Mr. Giuliani was communicating with the reportedly corrupt Ukrainian prosecutor Lutsenko and discussing whether a Zelensky-Trump meeting was going to happen, again without our knowledge.”
9:57 A.M. — Another important point from Biggs:
9:56 A.M. —
9:55 A.M. —
9:52 A.M. — Sondland on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former National Security Advisor John Bolton: “They knew what we were doing and why.”
9:50 A.M. — Sondland: “Let me say again: We weren’t happy with the President’s directive to talk with Rudy. We did not want to involve Mr. Giuliani.”
9:48 A.M. — Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) rips Sondland’s opening statement:
9:47 A.M. — Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) makes an important point about Sondland’s testimony:
9:46 A.M. — Sondland: “Indeed, my personal view, which I shared repeatedly with others, was that the White House meeting and security assistance should have proceeded without pre-conditions of any kind.”
9:45 A.M. —
9:44 A.M. — Sondland: “In the absence of any credible explanation for the suspension of aid, I later came to believe that the resumption of security aid would not occur until there was a public statement from Ukraine committing to the investigations of the 2016 election and Burisma.”
9:43 A.M. — Sondland: “Mr. Giuliani’s requests were a quid pro quo for arranging a White House visit for President Zelensky. Mr. Giuliani was expressing the desires of the President of the United States, and we knew that these investigations were important to the President.”
9:42 A.M. — Sondland: “Precisely because we did not think that we were engaging in improper behavior, we made every effort to ensure that the relevant decisionmakers at the National Security Council and State Department knew the important details of our efforts.”
9:41 A.M. — Sondland: “We did not want to work with Mr. Giuliani. We simply played the hand we were dealt.”
9:38 A.M. — Sondland says the State Department would not provide documents that could refresh his testimony: “Having access to the State Department materials would have been very helpful to me in trying to reconstruct with whom I spoke and met, when, and what was said. I am not a note-taker. I am not a memo writer. Never have been.”
He adds: “These documents are not classified and, in fairness, should have been made available. In the absence of these materials, my memory, admittedly has not been perfect.”
9:36 A.M. — Sondland: “I expect that few Americans have heard my name before these events. My parents fled Europe during the Holocaust.”
9:34 A.M. — Sondland is being sworn in.
9:30 A.M. — Nunes: “We need to subpoena Hunter Biden, as well as the whistleblower.”
9:29 A.M. — Nunes: “Our first president, George Washington, directed his own diplomatic channels to secure a treaty with Great Britain. If my Democratic colleagues were around in 1794, they’d want to impeach him too.”
9:27 A.M. — Nunes: “Ambassador Sondland, you are here today to be smeared.”
9:23 A.M. — House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes (R-CA) begins his opening statement: “Ambassador Sondland, welcome. Glad you’re here. Really not glad you’re here, but welcome to the fifth day of this circus.”
9:19 A.M. —
9:18 A.M. — More from Schiff’s opening statement:
9:15 A.M. — Schiff: “As Ambassador Sondland would later tell career foreign service officer David Holmes immediately after speaking to the president, Trump ‘did not give an *expletive* about Ukraine.'”
9:14 A.M. — Schiff calls Sondland a “skilled dealmaker” who found himself “embroiled” in activities regarding President Trump and Ukraine.
9:11 A.M. — House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) has gaveled the hearing to begin and delivers his opening statement.
9:07 A.M. — Sondland has taken his seat.
9:00 A.M. — WASHINGTON (AP) — Sondland confirmed for House impeachment investigators Wednesday he spoke with President Donald Trump on a cellphone from a busy Kyiv restaurant the day after the president prodded Ukraine’s leader to investigate political rival Joe Biden.
Sondland, the most anticipated witness in the inquiry, also said he kept Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other top administration officials aware of what was going on.
He said he specifically told Vice President Mike Pence he “had concerns” the military aid to Ukraine “had become tied” to the investigations.
“Everyone was in the loop,” Sondland testified in opening remarks. “It was no secret.”
8:46 A.M. — Sondland is arriving on Capitol Hill for his testimony.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.