Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) officially ended his boycott of the hotel chain owned by U.S. Ambassador to the E.U. Gordon Sondland after he testified against President Donald Trump in Wedesday’s impeachment inquiry.
Blumenauer had encouraged the public to boycott Sondland’s Provenance Hotels until he testified. As Wilamette Week reported: “In October, Blumenauer called for a boycott of Provenance Hotels, where Sondland served as CEO. Blumenauer said Americans should boycott Provenance properties—including six hotels in downtown Portland—until Sondland testified in a congressional impeachment inquiry.”
Sondland had originally defended the president robustly, but seemed to become less adamant in his arguments over time.
On Wednesday, Sondland claimed, in his opening statement, that there had been a “quid pro quo” in which Trump asked the president of Ukraine to conduct investigations, which Democrats allege were politically motivated, as a condition for a White House meeting. Though Sondland later admitted that he had never actually heard Trump make that demand, and that Trump told him “no quid pro quo,” Democrats were delighted.
After the hearing, Blumenauer’s spokesman confirmed that the boycott was officially over.
Blumenauer himself tweeted: “Gordon Sondland, welcome to the resistance.”
Gordon Sondland, welcome to the resistance.
— Earl Blumenauer (@repblumenauer) November 20, 2019
Ironically, House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), who chaired the public hearing at which Sondland testified, accused President Trump of “witness intimidation” for publicly tweeting a criticism of former U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch while she testified to the committee last week. Republicans dismissed that idea, noting Yovanovitch was testifying and would not have seen the tweet had Schiff not read part of it aloud.
Federal law also prohibits any pressure on a witness to encourage testimony. The federal bribery statute, 18 U.S.C. § 201 (c)(2), punishes anyone who
directly or indirectly, gives, offers, or promises anything of value to any person, for or because of the testimony under oath or affirmation given or to be given by such person as a witness upon a trial, hearing, or other proceeding, before any court, any committee of either House or both Houses of Congress, or any agency, commission, or officer authorized by the laws of the United States to hear evidence or take testimony, or for or because of such person’s absence therefrom.
Democrats claim Trump may have committed bribery, which is listed as an impeachable offense under the Constitution.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.