Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland kept Secretary of State Mike Pompeo apprised of key developments in the Ukrainian pressure campaign, lashing Pompeo closer to the heart of the impeachment inquiry.
According to the New York Times, Sondland showed Pompeo a draft statement in mid-August he hoped that President Donald Trump would sign to grant Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky the White House meeting he so ardently sought.
Sondland also got Pompeo’s approval on a plan to strong-arm Zelensky into agreeing to launch the investigations Trump wanted at a meeting in Warsaw. That trip was ultimately cancelled for Trump, and Vice President Mike Pence went in his stead.
Pompeo has been a recurring character in witness testimonies, if perhaps initially more of a peripheral one. But as more accounts have accumulated, it’s become clear that he was in touch with many of the leading figures in the Ukrainian pressure campaign early on.
In one example, according to the testimony released this week of Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale, Pompeo, in close concert with Rudy Giuliani, decided not to issue a statement of support for former Ambassador to the Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. He stayed cozy with Giuliani and mute in public as attacks on Yovanovitch intensified, ultimately leading to her ouster.
Pompeo has so far ignored the House’s subpoena and has not spoken much about what he knew and when. He has largely kept to the party line, albeit issuing one milquetoast defense of former top Ukraine diplomat Bill Taylor last month.
Sondland will testify Wednesday in one of the most highly-anticipated hearings of the inquiry yet.