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US envoy Sondland says he kept Pompeo updated on Ukraine pressure

Ambassador Gordon Sondland says he kept top members of the Trump administration, including US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in the loop about US President Donald Trump’s pressure on Ukraine for investigations.

In remarks to a House intelligence panel, Sondland tells lawmakers that it was well-established within the Trump administration that there was a quid pro quo involving Ukraine.

He said the president’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, openly discussed how Trump wanted Ukraine to publicly announce investigations into the 2016 US presidential election and into Burisma — the Ukraine gas company on whose board Biden’s son, Hunter, sat — as a prerequisite for a coveted White House visit for Ukraine leader Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

In this July 10, 2018, file photo, US President Donald Trump is joined by Gordon Sondland, the US ambassador to the European Union, second from right, as he arrives at Melsbroek Air Base, in Brussels, Belgium. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Sondland says he laid out the issue in detail to members of State Department, Energy, and White House staff. Recipients included Pompeo and Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, he said.

Everyone understood “Trump’s desires and requirements,” Sondland says. He added: “Everyone was in the loop. It was no secret.”

Last month, Pompeo acknowledged for the first time he was on Trump’s July 25 call with the Ukrainian president, but disclosed no details and did not indicate he was kept up to date on the Ukraine pressure efforts.

— AP

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