Gordon Sondland, the star witness of today’s House impeachment inquiry hearing, kept Secretary of State Mike Pompeo updated on the campaign to pressure Ukraine into making public announcements to please President Trump, The New York Times reports. Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, reportedly told Pompeo in August about a draft statement that he and another diplomat had worked on with the Ukrainians. The same month, Sondland reportedly discussed with Pompeo the possibility of pushing Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to pledge during a planned meeting with Trump that he would take the steps Trump had requested. Pompeo is said to have approved of the plan, but the meeting was subsequently canceled. The Times reports it’s not clear what was being asked of the Ukrainians in Sondland’s updates to Pompeo, or how specific Sondland was in the talks. However, Pompeo was on the call between the two leaders on July 25, when Trump explicitly asked the Ukrainian president for investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter and into a debunked conspiracy theory about Ukrainian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign. Pompeo has been largely silent about what he knew about the pressure campaign, but declined to support removed U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch and condemned the Democratic-led investigation.
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