Mr. Sondland, we are told that you are going to testify that Trump himself instructed you to issue that "no quid pro quo" tweet. Glad to hear it. But frankly, we all kinda figured out that part already.
What concerns me more is your earlier dialogue with Bill Taylor. At your request, he had spoken to you on the phone. But to your apparent surprise and chagrin, he used a text message to memorialize the gist of what you told him.
[9/9/19, 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.
You've got to explain why Taylor offered that summary. Don't try to persuade us that Taylor was merely "mistaken." He's not an idiot.
Remember, Congress can speak to Taylor as well. They may already have done so. For all you know, Taylor may have recorded the voice chat he had with you. If you lie to Congress, Mr. Sondland, the lie might well be proven -- and such a lie could have grave legal consequences.
Your explanation for Taylor's summary must also explain this earlier exchange of texts
[7/21/19, 1:45:54 AM] Bill Taylor: Gordon, one thing Kurt and I talked about yesterday was Sasha Danyliuk’s point that President Zelenskyy is sensitive about Ukraine being taken seriously, not merely as an instrument in Washington domestic, reelection politics.
[7/21/19, 4:45:44 AM] Gordon Sondland: Absolutely, but we need to get the conversation started and the relationship built, irrespective of the pretext. I am worried about the alternative.
"Pretext"? That's a loaded word. It strongly
suggests that you cared more about "Washington domestic, reelection politics" than you cared about Ukraine.
We'd also like an explanation as to why the ambassador to the EU would involve himself in such matters, since Ukraine is not part of the EU.
Beyond all of that, Mr. Sondland, I have to ask: Do you really need
You have, through your own efforts, attained a commanding position in life. I've looked at the bits and pieces of your bio that have popped up on the internet, and as far as I can tell, you were involved with nothing unethical or dishonorable before you hooked up with Trump. You're not a fire-breathing, far-right maniac. You worked well with Oregon governor Ted Kulongoski, a Democrat. You broke with Trump when he needlessly insulted a Gold Star family. And speaking as an art-lover, I certainly applaud your generosity toward the Portland Art Museum. You are, in short, a valued and respected member of your community.
So why would you show undue loyalty to a man like Donald Trump?
The man's a megalomaniac and a liar who talks and acts like a hood. That characterization has nothing to do with partisan politics: I used the same terminology to describe Trump when he was a Clinton-supporting Democrat. Trump lost his father's fortune through impulsive, reckless behavior and kept his head above water by making shady deals with Russian mobsters and oligarchs. He's not like you.
Trump represents everything wrong with modern American capitalism, while you represent why the system works.
Did you give him some sort of promise, some sort of loyalty oath? Break it. On rare occasions, there is more honor in breaking your word than in keeping it. As Ernest Borgnine says in The Wild Bunch
: "It's not your word that counts; it's who you give it to
Trump is a spoiled brat. His definition of "loyalty" is DIE FOR ME
. He doesn't give a damn about anyone else. Look at what happened to the Kurds.
You may be worried that in going against Trump, you'll be helping to elect Warren (presuming she secures the Democratic frontrunner position, as she may well not). But let's face it: Even if she becomes president, Congress won't let her raise taxes the way she threatens to do. Everyone knows that she is making promises she can't keep -- or rather, outlining plans she can't implement -- in order to win the primaries. Besides, I honestly believe that Pence would do better than Trump against her or against any other Democrat.
I'm a Democrat, but I'd rather see Pence elected in 2020 than suffer through another year of Trump's madness. I mean, look at this video
. That sort of dangerous invitation to violence did not characterize American politics before the Trump era. Obscenities of that sort used to be relegated to the fringe; Trump brought it to the presidential level. He may deny paternity, but he's the spiritual father of that video.
Finally: There's a good chance that a Congressman named Matt Gaetz
is going to show up for your questioning, even though he shouldn't be in the room. As you probably know, he's a Trump spy. Don't let him intimidate you.