Gordon Sondland, Trump's hand-picked Ambassador to the European Union, is among administration officials being subpoenaed to appear on Capitol Hill this week against the wishes of the White House. Sondland is expected to tell Congress that his text message reassuring another envoy that there was no quid pro quo in their interactions with Ukraine was based solely on what President Donald Trump told him, according to a person familiar with his coming testimony in the impeachment probe.
According to a person familiar with the Ambassador's testimony, President Trump personally assured Sondland that there was no quid pro quo relationship between an aid package for Ukraine and Trump’s request to Ukrainians to open investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son.
The latest developments deepen the impeachment inquiry that was initiated by House Democrats.
Sondland's appearance, set for Thursday, comes after a cache of text messages from top envoys provided a vivid account of their work acting as intermediaries around the time Trump urged Ukraine's new president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, to start investigations into a company linked to the family of a chief Democratic presidential rival, Joe Biden.
One witness who may not be called before Congress is the still anonymous government whistleblower who touched off the impeachment inquiry.
In the text exchange, the diplomats raised an alarm that Trump appeared to up the ante, withholding military aid to Ukraine over the investigation.
Marie Yovanovitch, the former US ambassador to Ukraine, on October 11 testified before a joint House of Representatives subcommittee for nearly ten hours, wherein she revealed that she was ousted from her post in response to her anti-corruption work in the region. Yovanovitch's account provided House Democrats with a second insider account into Trump's investigation on probable Presidential-election opponent Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
Sondland is expected to say that he did not know the company being talked about for an investigation, Burisma, was tied to Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden, the person said. Sondland understood the discussions about combating corruption to be part of a much broader and publicised Trump administration push that was widely shared, the person in the know of the testimony said.