Gordon Sondland, E.U. Envoy, Testifies That Trump Delegated Ukraine Policy to Giuliani – The New York Times
“Although Mr. Giuliani did mention the name ‘Burisma’ in August 2019, I understood that Burisma was one of many examples of Ukrainian companies run by oligarchs and lacking the type of corporate governance structures found in Western companies,” Mr. Sondland said. “I did not know until more recent press reports that Hunter Biden was on the board of Burisma.”
Hunter Biden’s involvement with Burisma had been widely reported beginning in the spring.
Still, Mr. Sondland’s prepared testimony leaves unaddressed obvious questions that investigators are sure to press him to answer. It offers no real explanation of why Mr. Giuliani was involved in Ukraine policy in the first place or if Mr. Sondland took any steps to find out why.
Nor do the prepared remarks explain whether Mr. Sondland questioned why Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Trump repeatedly singled out two topics for investigation that would have benefited the president politically.
“I did not understand, until much later, that Mr. Giuliani’s agenda might have also included an effort to prompt the Ukrainians to investigate Vice President Biden or his son or to involve Ukrainians, directly or indirectly, in the president’s 2020 re-election campaign,” he told investigators.
Mr. Sondland sought to distance himself from other aspects of the unfolding scandal, as well. He said that Marie L. Yovanovitch, whom Mr. Trump abruptly removed as ambassador to Ukraine in May amid a smear campaign against her by the president’s allies, was an “an excellent diplomat” whose departure he “regretted.”
“I was never a part of any campaign to disparage or dislodge her,” he said.
Likewise, Mr. Sondland said that it was only because he deeply respected William B. Taylor Jr., a career diplomat who replaced Ms. Yovanovitch in Ukraine, that he tried to assuage his concerns that nothing untoward was being done with respect to the frozen security aid.