“The Gordon Problem”: Former Ambassador To Face Grilling Before House Committee

President Trump’s European Union ambassador, Gordon Sondland, will appear today before the House Intelligence Committee in what may be the most awaited testimony of the impeachment hearings. Indeed, Sondland has few options and none of them are good as a witness. He has been skewered by witness after witness — leaving the image of a dim-witted braggart with virtually no diplomatic experience and even less judgment. Former National Security Council aide Tim Morrison simply referred to him in clinical terms as “the Gordon problem.” While some of us have questioned whether the Democrats are building a viable impeachment case, they are clearly building a compelling case for a highly inappropriate and damaging campaign for a quid pro quo. Sondland was either a dupe or a designer of that ill-conceived strategy.

In his opening statement, Sondland states that there was a quid pro quo stated by Giuliani but he is less clear about President Donald Trump. However, he makes clear that he did not want to work with Giuliani but that it was clear that Giuliani was carrying out the wishes of the President. That may throw Giuliani under the bus but it is not likely to make this day any easier for Sondland. On page 5, Sondland makes clear that he came to understand that aid was conditioned on the investigations. That will not however make today any easier for Sondland as members delve into the Trump connections and directions.

I will be doing the coverage of the hearings today for CBS News and BBC.

Sondland came to the Administration after a successful career in the hotel business — and after writing a $1 million check to the Trump inauguration committee. Just for the record, Sondland is yet another example of the ridiculous practice of allowing presidents to reward donors with diplomatic posts. Clinton, Bush, Obama, and other presidents did the same thing. It is bad for this country and I have been writing about this practice for decades. We have great professional diplomats like William Taylor and the others who have testified in these hearings. They should be the representatives of this country, not donors who bring large bank accounts and little discernible intellect or skill.

Accounts of Sondland having a loud conversation with President Trump in a Ukrainian restaurant only adds to his image as a bumbling political operative with a diplomatic title. Sondland gave generously to the Trump campaign and was rewarded with the position. He then appears to have been one of the driving forces with Rudy Giuliani in pushing this “deal” with the Ukrainians.

Sondland is in the worst possible position as a witness in coming to the hearing with conflicted testimony. He insisted that there were “no quid pro quos of any kind” but then seemed to walk that position back under questioning. His “I now do recall” pivot is deadly in a partisan take-no-prisoners hearings. The question is which direction he will jump. With the recent conviction of Roger Stone for lying to Congress, Sondland knows that any false statement could have disastrous consequences.

Sondland (like Trump) was helped and hurt by the last two witnesses before the Committee.

Former National Security Council (NSC) aide Tim Morrison and  former U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker denied hearing any quid pro quo or demands in key conversations. Yet, they also left the impression of Sondland as something of a braggart, or as Volker said in truly diplomatic terms, someone who is “bigger than life.” Ouch.

The most damaging testimony from highly credible witnesses like William Taylor is that it was Sondland who was unrelenting in pushing for a commitment to investigate from the Ukrainians. It was Sondland who allegedly brought a meeting with former National Security Adviser John Bolton to a sudden end by raising the issue. Sondland seems to appear at every awkward or sinister moment.

In other words, this is unlikely to go well for Sondland. It never does when your best defense is that I am a well-intentioned but clueless donor turned dupe thrashing around in the world of diplomacy.

116 thoughts on ““The Gordon Problem”: Former Ambassador To Face Grilling Before House Committee”

  1. Trump asked for a favor. He reminded Ukraine how much the U.S. had done for them. He asked them to investigate the corrupt 2016 election and Biden. Of course he was threatening withholding U.S. aid if they wouldn’t investigate. That’s all given.

    The question is, did he withhold aid and how serious is the making of such a threat? He didn’t withhold aid, period. No crime. It would cost zilch for Ukraine to do an investigation. If they found zero evidence of corruption, would Trump withhold aid? We can’t know. Tis moot.

    Lara Logan is a living doll and will reach special status for her new program “No Agenda”. which will become the New 60 Minutes without the leftist’s tortured biases. She is extremely bright, articulate, fair and a knock out. Holy Cow, where has she been all my life?



    E.U. Ambassador Gordon Sondland confirmed what analysts suspected: ‘Rudy Guiliani was functioning as coordinator of Trump’s Ukraine policy’.

    This becomes a problem since Rudy was working for Trump and ‘not’ the U.S. government. Sondland went on to say that Vice President Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo were totally aware of Rudy’s role.

    in other words, the most senior members of Trump’s administration were aware the president’s lawyer was overseeing Ukraine. That doesn’t sound too good! Why was a private lawyer coordinating America’s policy towards a country under siege by Russia?

    The circumstances all seem to validate the Mueller Probe.

    1. Requiring corruption in Ukraine to be corrected before providing financial aid seems quite appropriate and more appropriate than giving money that is then mispent and used to bribe American politicians.

  3. Earlier there was an article written about demands by certain people to boycott his hotels. People are protesting and blocking his hotels. I think he has changed his story.and then had to retract and then act flippant because he knows he wont be trusted again by foreign leaders so he is now trying to protect the only thing he has left. He is scared

    1. Carole La Duca – someone pointed out that his 4 attorneys are all major contributors to the Democratic Party and may have written his opening statement for him. Hence, the supposed “bombshell” which turned out to be a dud.

      1. Why did he go back revise his testimony which caused a stink and then why did he not included the presidents words. He. Is scared and just like Dr. Art Lafer last night people dont want him to speak in favor of the president

  4. The insane Magat Horde infesting the comments here are frightening; as your defense is Trump can’t speak English so how’s he gonna say Quid Pro Quo. What is especially frightening will be the innocent people you lot try to murder after Trump’s Impeachment.

    1. I’m sorry Grungey Gene, but speaking of “frightening,” did you watch the Democrat debate tonight? Hoo boy. Particularly insufferable and unwatchable. Rachel Maddow as a moderator? What a joke. That’d be like Hannity moderating a Republican debate. Grandpa Joe doesn’t know what the hell is going on. Kamala has the cackle from hell. The boy mayor. Pocahantas. Honestly, Bernie might be their best candidate. They be in watchacall trouble over there.

  5. No quid pro quo says the ambassador. Game. Set. Match. It’s Trump in a walk in 2020.

    1. The only pertinent question regarding the pre-impeachment proceedings is whether to label the impending case as being a Show Trial or a Kangaroo Court. For it matters not whether as in the case of a civil or criminal trial there remains probable cause to bind the case for trial. It’s just flimflam politics that is the measure of sufficient “evidence”.

      Let this be a warning to all ordinary people. You allow politicians to dictate the manner for which you held in jeopardy, expect to be convicted just because of who you are.

        1. mespo – Schiff has his career based on it, he has to have the vote and it has to pass.

          1. But most other Dim reps won’t go willingly into the rocks. The swing states are in play now because of this foolishness. Vulnerable Dims can’t risk the vote and the Repubs are united. It’s got Cannae written all over it and Schiff ain’t the Hannibal figure.

            1. mespo – as long as the Dems don’t find a Scipio Africanus, I think Trump is okay.

        2. Well that would explain the call for the vote in haste before the Yes vote completely collapses. From that point I can agree. Perhaps it might be of practical expediency for the Republicans to allow the Democrats a small, but irrelevant victory on some “violation” so that they can then declare that they punished Trump and can then walk away from the prosecution with their reputations intact. (or at least believe it to be so).

          Sometimes allowing your opponent to “save face” gives you what you want in the end, even if it is a little distasteful personally.

          1. Darren:
            It’s gonna be a censure vote along party lines. Then they run it up the flagpole to see how few they can offend. Never expect political courage from a politician.

      1. “The only pertinent question regarding the pre-impeachment proceedings is whether to label the impending case as being a Show Trial or a ****Kangaroo Court**** .”

        NYC is composed of multiple minority groups and one day Mayor Koch was to answer questions on a heated subject in front of a group of Catholics. He requested that before he answer any questions that he be permitted to speak for a few minutes on the subject. The group refused the request and wanted to immediately hammer him with questions. Mayor Koch walked off the stage. Afterwards a reporter asked him how he could walk off the stage in front of such an important group? Paraphrasing his response: ‘It appeared that they are holding a Kangaroo Court and I am not a Kangaroo.

    2. Let’s not call it Trump in a walk in 2020. We need to get to work and get out the the vote. No time to kick back or take anything for granted.

  6. I’ve decided to put my full faith in Adam, Nancy, and Rashida to lead us to the truth.

  7. Dr Charles Krauthammer must be turning over in his grave

    Obama Iran Hostage Deal Is Illegal Quid Pro Quo

    On Obama’s Iran Deal, If a Company Did This ‘CEO Would Be in Jail Right Now’

    August 4, 2016

    The Obama administration sent $400 million to Iran at the same time American hostages were released, and Charles Krauthammer said he does not think the deal was ethical or even legal:

    “Of course the Justice Department objected — it was illegal. It isn’t only the optics; it isn’t only that they are just looking ridiculous in denying that it was quid pro quo. Obviously it wasn’t a coincidence; the reason it was objected to by Justice — there is a statute that prohibits us from engaging in Iran dealing with dollars, so they had to print the money here, ship it over to Switzerland, turn it into Swiss francs and euros, and ship it over to Iran. If a private company had done this, it is called money laundering. The CEO would be in jail right now.”


    1. The quid pro quo debates fluttering around Washington may sound familiar. The Wall Street Journal headline Aug. 3, 2016: “U.S. Sent Cash to Iran as Americans Were Freed” followed by the sub headline, “Obama administration insists there was no quid pro quo, but critics charge payment amounted to ransom.”

      The lead sentence of that article: “The Obama administration secretly organized an airlift of $400 million worth of cash to Iran that coincided with the January release of four Americans detained in Tehran, according to U.S. and European officials and congressional staff briefed on the operation afterward.”


  8. Democratic Congressman Blumenauer is guilty of witness tampering that I believe includes intimidation. Will we see that in the MSM? I doubt it. He tried to get Sondland to alter his testimony by starting a movement to boycott his hotels.

  9. Shh, don’t tell anyone but it appears the Ukraine is interested in investigating allegations of corruption.

    KYIV. Nov 20 (Interfax-Ukraine) – Ukrainian members of parliament have demanded the presidents of Ukraine and the United States, Volodymyr Zelensky and Donald Trump, investigate suspicions of the legalization of $7.4 billion by the “family” of ex-President Viktor Yanukovych through the American investment fund Franklin Templeton Investments, which they said has ties to the U.S. Democratic Party.

    1. Only – if President Trump’s administration investigates legitimate allegations of money laundering on the part of the Democratic Party, that would hurt their chances at election. Therefore, that would be the next impeachment effort.

      Demcorats are above the law. They never should have been permitted to abuse the impeachment process to interfere with a criminal investigation into their Presidentail candidate.

  10. Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) hammered U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland on Wednesday during Democrats’ impeachment inquiry hearing on the House Intelligence Committee. Hill got Sondland to admit that “no one on this planet” told him that financial assistance to Ukraine was connected to any investigations.

    “After you testified, Chairman [Adam] Schiff ran out and gave a press conference and said he gets to impeach the president of the United States because of your testimony and if you pull up CNN today, right now, their banner says ‘Sondland ties Trump to withholding aid,’” Turner said. “Is that your testimony today, Ambassador Sondland? That you have evidence that Donald Trump tied the investigations to the aid? Because I don’t think you’re saying that.”

    “I’ve said repeatedly Congressman, I was presuming,” Sondland replied.

    “So, no one told you?” Turner fired back. “Giuliani didn’t tell you? Mulvaney didn’t tell you? Pompeo didn’t tell you? Nobody else on this planet told you that Donald Trump was tying aid to these investigations, is that correct?”

    “I think I already testified,” Sondland responded.

    “No, answer the question,” Turner shot back. “Is it correct? No one on this planet told you that Donald Trump was tying aid to the investigations? Because if your answer is ‘yes,’ then the chairman is wrong and the headline on CNN is wrong.”

    As the exchange was taking place, the chyron on CNN stated: “SONDLAND: ‘YES’ THERE WAS QUID PRO QUO IN UKRAINE SCANDAL.”

    “No one on this planet told you that President Trump was tying aid to investigations, yes or no?”

    “Yes,” Sondland responded.

    “So, you really have no testimony today that ties President Trump to a scheme to withhold aid from Ukraine in exchange for these investigations?” Turner pressed.

    “Other than my own presumption,” Sondland replied.

    “Which is nothing,” Turner fired back.


    1. Let’s review, shall we?

      1. Witnesses agreed that the Biden/Burisma relationship was a conflict of interest, and possibly a problem. Ergo, investigating it is justified.
      2. No one told the Ukrainians there was a quid pro quo. They read it in Politico. It was never communicated to them from anyone in the administration. A quid pro quo, by definition, requires a mutual agreement between two parties. There was no mutually understood agreement or proposition.
      3. No one told Sondland that there was any tie between aid and an investigation.
      4. No one has any evidence of any criminal wrongdoing.
      5. The transcripts show there was no quid pro quo.
      6. The only substantial proof of any quid pro quo involved Joe Biden, which was what the Trump administration was trying to investigate.

      Therefore, there was never any evidence of any quid pro quo. Democrats are using millions of taxpayer dollars to meddle in the 2020 election.

      1. NO one person can stay on top of every quadrant, but many of us are trying as it looks as if the Anti-American Commie Authoritarians are attempting to push from a cold civil war to a hot one.

        And Read/Understand JT’s own words above!!! “Yeah just trust the DC/State Dept/UN Bureaucrats to run this country because Oky1 Is to Ph’in Stupid to pick & elect his own leaders!

        Yeah JT, You & your Bureaucrats are the ones that ph’d it up this bad in the 1st place while the rest of us were out working real Jobs. Maybe take your & your friends on the SCOTUS (Roberts etc..) title’s of Nobility & get the heck Out!

        Sorry, have to call him on this crap.


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