When Donald Trump ordered former U.S. Ambassador and current State Department employee Marie Yovanovitch not to testify to the House impeachment inquiry this week, and she did it anyway, and Trump didn’t immediately fire her in response, Palmer Report pointed out that there was no going back. Trump had given a green light for his own people to sell him out if they wanted to.
So it’s not surprising that current U.S. Ambassador Gordon Sondland is testifying to the House impeachment inquiry this upcoming week, after Trump originally blocked him from testifying last week. After all, the testimony floodgates are now open. What is more newsworthy is that details are leaking out about what Sondland is planning to say to the House – and it’s not good for Trump.
Gordon Sondland is a Donald Trump ally, but he’s in way over his head. Sondland is facing potential criminal culpability for his role in Trump’s Ukraine scandal, and at this point he’s surely wishing he’d never taken the gig. If he lies to the House, he’ll be indicted for perjury after Trump is gone. If he refuses to testify, he’ll eventually be indicted for obstruction of justice. The only safe way for him to return unscathed to his old life as a hotel financier is to cooperate with the impeachment inquiry as thoroughly as possible.
This evening the Washington Post is reporting that Gordon Sondland plans to testify that when he told the State Department’s Bill Taylor that there was no quid pro quo, he was merely quoting what Donald Trump told him – and that he has no idea if Trump was telling the truth. This doesn’t incriminate Trump. But it wipes out Trump’s would-be defense that Sondland concurrently agreed with him that there was no quid pro quo. This is huge.
If this news gets back to Donald Trump before Gordon Sondland’s scheduled testimony this Thursday, Trump will surely want to find a way to stop Sondland from testifying. But it’s too late now. Sondland himself is clearly the source for this WaPo story. By putting it out there that he plans to sell Trump out, he’s setting things up so that there would be far too much backlash if Trump did try to pull the plug. By leaking what he’s going to say during his testimony, Sondland has already sold Trump out.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report