White House lawyers were denied request to read Sondland's planned public testimony before the hearing: report

White House lawyers were denied request to read Sondland's planned public testimony before the hearing: report
U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo is greeted by U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland and U.S. Ambassador to the Belgium Ronald Gidwitz upon arrival to Brussels, Belgium on July 10, 2018. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

On Wednesday, the star witness in the public impeachment hearings against President Donald Trump was Ambassador Gordon Sondland — who gave in-depth testimony about his dealings with Trump, the president’s allies and the Ukrainian government. According to a report by the Washington Post, White House lawyers were hoping to find out, in advance, what Sondland would have to say during his testimony but were unsuccessful in their pursuit of that information.


The Post reports that the Trump White House was especially interested in what Sondland would have to say about Trump’s actions with Ukraine and a quid pro quo. But Robert Luskin, an attorney for Sondland, refused to let anyone in the White House have what the Post describes as “an early peek into the account that this key impeachment witness would give lawmakers about his interactions with the president.”

However, the Post reports that exchanges between White House lawyers and Luskin were cordial. Luskin declined to be interviewed for the Post’s report.

According to the Post, “Sondland’s testimony has been the subject of great speculation because of several other administration witnesses coming forward with accounts that directly contradict Sondland’s earlier claim that he knew of no pressure from Trump for Ukraine to investigate his Democratic opponent as a condition of releasing aid to Ukraine."

The Post also reports that according to an “administration official” — who was interviewed on condition of anonymity — Trump and his advisers viewed Sondland as a “wild card” in the impeachment inquiry.

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