Are you ready? Only Gordon Sondland will testify today, and he is a key player in the whole Schiff Circus. He spoke to the President on 5 occasions, at least that is what we are being told. After yesterday, we can expect the Dems to try to make up some lost ground. Oh, and don’t spend all your energy here ——- there is a Dem Debate tonight.
Yesterday, ThinkThinkThink passed me this photo and it’s perfect for today. Members of the swamp, all having fun together.
Testimony will be streamed from same places as yesterday.
Thought I would take this opportunity to tell you a little more about Gordon Sondland, the US Ambassador to the EU.
Gordon Sondland was born in 1957, based in Portland Oregon, born in Seattle, founder of Provenance Hotels and co-Founder of Merchant Bank Aspen Capital. He’s a multi-multi-millionaire, if not a billionaire. Interesting – he dropped out of University of Washington to start the real estate biz —- he did well. His parents were Jewish and escaped the Nazis. He’s been married to Katherine (Katy) for decades and their charitable foundation, which supports families, has been active since 1999. Until 2016, Durant was the Chairperson of the Oregon Investment Council, the body that oversees the over $85 billion Public Employees Retirement System Fund. They have two children, Max and Lucy.
Sondland has been enormously successful renovating older downtown buildings and turning them into fabulous gems from Denver to Seattle, to Los Angeles and back again. A project like The Old Post Office in DC, would have been Sondland’s dream come true. When he was appointed as Ambassador to the EU, his wife took his place as Chairman of the Hotel Company.
There is a lot of speculation about how loyal Sondland will be to President Trump. Let’s look at Sondland’s political history to see if we can discern how he “leans”.
- Sondland was a member of the transition team for Oregon Democratic Governor Ted Kulongoski‘s administration and was appointed by Kulongoski to serve on the board of the Governor’s Office of Film & Television.
- Sondland also served as Oregon liaison to the White House. (Under Bush)
- In 2007 President George W. Bush appointed Sondland as a member of the Commission on White House Fellows.
- During the 2016 United States presidential election, Sondland initially supported Donald Trump, but cancelled a fundraiser and repudiated Trump for his attacks on Khizr and Ghazala Khan
- April 2017, it was revealed that 4 companies registered to Sondland donated $1 million to the Donald Trump inaugural committee.
- On March 12, 2018, the Wall Street Journal reported that President Trump selected Sondland to be the next United States ambassador to the European Union. (Confirmed June 28th, 2018)
- Both Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) testified in support of Sondland. Sen. Wyden suggested that Sondland’s “family history is both fascinating and instructive as to why he has the experience and understanding to serve as the U.S. Ambassador to the E.U.,” noting how his Jewish parents fled Nazi Germany before coming to the United States.
- Sondland served as Co-chair raising funds for the George Bush Center.
- Sondland has served as Trump Admin lead for coraling EU nations for Iran Sanctions, the SPV vehicle which skirts US sanctions, and has been a vocal critic of the Nord Stream Pipeline.
Because Ukraine (allegedly) wants to enter the EU, Sondland would be the primary lead guy in charge of Ukraine policy. Bill Taylor would answer to Sondland. Volker would answer to Sondland. There are two text message exchanges we will probably see today. Here they are.
Ukraine Bill Taylor: [12:47:11 AM] Bill Taylor: “As I said on the phone, I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.” This was seen as the “set-up” text message. It came AFTER the Politico article was released, and Taylor already knew the premise was bogus. Yet, here, he is trying to trap Sondland.
It took Sondland approximately 5 hours to reply to Taylor’s text message (because Taylor sent the message a 1:00am in the damn morning), and it was later revealed that Sondland had called Trump prior to writing a response, in which the president repeated the phrase “no quid pro quo” several times. Sondland responds:
[9/9/2019, 5:19:35 AM] Gordon Sondland: Bill, I believe you are incorrect about President Trump’s intentions. The President has been crystal clear no quid pro quo’s of any kind. The President is trying to evaluate whether Ukraine is truly going to adopt the transparency and reforms that President Zelensky promised during his campaign I suggest we stop the back and forth by text If you still have concerns I recommend you give Lisa Kenna or S a call to discuss them directly. ThanksWiki
On November 5, the New York Times reported that Sondland had provided updated testimony stating that he did in fact view delivery of the aid package as contingent upon the Ukrainian government publicly opening an investigation of Trump’s political rivals as desired by the President. According to the testimony, he relayed this position to Ukrainian government officials. (note the phrasing from the NYTimes – it could be that the President merely wanted corruption from 2016 and Burisma and origins of the 2016 election investigated ——– which happen to be the Bidens)
Fiona Hill created the theme of “The Sondland Problem” whereby she chastised Sondland for pushing more investigations. “The Sondland Problem” was a trending topic on Twitter, yesterday.
The press has been after Sondland as well. They interviewed his general contractor who is renovating his personal residence. No kidding. And the press criticized Sondland for spending over $250K on the renovation of his kitchen. Word to the wise, if Big T was a billionaire – and as much as I love to cook – I could easily spend a MILLION dollars on our kitchen. Besides, it’s Sondland’s own money.
Here, we see Sondland standing next to Secretary of Energy, Rick Perry. Sondland has done a good job for the Trump Admin and probably NEVER expected this kind of scrutiny. The left will be desperate to disparage Sondland…. it’s there best chance for something substantive. Let’s hope he can withstand the barrage.
Sondland will only be available in the morning/early afternoon session. At 2:30pm Laura Cooper, Deputy Assistant Defense Secretary for Ukrainian and Eurasian affairs and David Hale, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs. We’ll do a seperate thread for them.