Gordon Sondland Tried To Have Fun While Being Scrutinized Over Ukraine Scheme

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 20: Gordon Sondland, the U.S ambassador to the European Union, arrives for testimony before the House Intelligence Committee in the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill November ... WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 20: Gordon Sondland, the U.S ambassador to the European Union, arrives for testimony before the House Intelligence Committee in the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill November 20, 2019 in Washington, DC. The committee heard testimony during the fourth day of open hearings in the impeachment inquiry against U.S. President Donald Trump, whom House Democrats say held back U.S. military aid for Ukraine while demanding it investigate his political rivals. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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November 20, 2019 6:28 p.m.

Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland swept into the hearing room on Wednesday to effectively demolish President Donald Trump’s claim there was no quid pro quo with Ukraine — and he did it with a smirk.

In stark contrast with the other witnesses who had somberly testified in the House impeachment investigation, Sondland cheerfully answered lawmakers’ questions and tried to use humor to sidestep their more damning queries.

Daniel Goldman, the House Democrats’ staff counsel, confronted Sondland with the testimony of State Department staffer David Holmes, who told impeachment investigators that he’d heard Sondland and Trump loudly discussing Ukrainian President Zelensky over the phone.

“[Holmes] also testified that you confirmed to President Trump that you were in Ukraine at the time and that President Zelensky, quote, loves your ass, unquote,'” Goldman said. “Do you recall saying that?”

“That sounds like something I would say,” Sondland replied as a few laughs filled the room. “That’s how President Trump and I communicate. A lot of four-letter words.

“In this case, three-letter,” he added.

Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) observed that other figures involved in the Ukraine scheme, such as National Security Council official Tim Morrison, have been trying to pin the mess on Sondland and distance themselves from him.

“Mr. Tim Morrison came in yesterday, and in his deposition testimony as well as yesterday, disparaged you too,” the Democratic lawmaker said. “He called you quote/unquote, the Gordon problem.”

“That’s what my wife calls me,” Sondland joked. “Maybe they’re talking. Should I be worried?”

“Maybe,” Krishnamoorthi said with a smile before pointing out that Trump had gone from praising Sondland as a “really good man” to claiming he hardly knew the ambassador a month later.

“Easy come, easy go,” Sondland quipped.

House Intelligence Committee ranking member Devin Nunes (R-CA) asked Sondland about former National Security Adviser John Bolton’s use of the word “drug deal” to describe the actions of Sondland former Special Envoy Kurt Volker, and Energy Secretary Rick Perry, whom Bolton referred to as “the Three Amigos.”

“You’re part of the Three Amigos in the drug deal, ambassador,” Nunes said. “Were you aware of any drug deal on July 25th when the phone call actually occurred?

“I don’t know about any drug deal,” Sondland replied.

“Right. And did you know you’re a part of the Three Amigos?” the California Republican asked.

“I am,” the ambassador responded. “I’m a proud part of the Three Amigos.”

Rep. Val Demings (D-FL) zeroed in on Sondland’s strange inability to remember certain conversations while also somehow being able to recall perfectly the phone conversation he’d had with Trump on September 9, during which the President told he “wanted nothing” from Ukraine.

“Why is that?” she asked of the ambassador’s spotty memory.

“I remember the first girl I kissed,” Sondland said. “I mean, I remember certain things.”

“Well, I won’t say that,” Demings responded with a chuckle, then waited for him to actually respond to her question.

“I remembered that conversation because as I said it was a pretty intense, short conversation,” Sondland said.

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