Kiev: The US ambassador to the European Union said in a statement as part of an impeachment investigation that President Donald Trump told senior US officials to speak directly with his personal lawyer Rudi Giuliani about US policy in Ukraine. It is reported by Reuters.
Ambassador Gordon Sondland told Congressional lawmakers that he understood “much later” that Giuliani’s agenda is pushing Ukraine to investigate former US Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
His testimony signaled that Trump’s efforts to create a “wall” around the White House and discourage administration officials from conducting polls were unsuccessful.
More evidence is expected next week, in particular from a senior Pentagon official who oversees Ukraine’s policies, two Reuters sources said on Thursday.
Sondland stated that he and two other officials - Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Ukraine’s Special Representative for Foreign Affairs, Kurt Walker - were disappointed with Trump’s May order, but they still held the ego. Sondland added: he believes that foreign policy should be the work of the State Department, and not the president’s personal lawyer.
He also said that "a request to a foreign government to conduct an investigation to influence the upcoming US elections would be wrong".
His testimony emphasized the main role of Giuliani in the scandal with Ukraine. Before Trump’s July call with the president of Ukraine, Giuliani worked to convince Ukraine to investigate Biden.
Sondland stated that on May 23, three days after Zelensky’s inauguration, the mentioned American officials attended a meeting at the White House.
The ambassador said that officials who attended the meeting noted the strategic importance of Ukraine and the importance of relations with Zelensky, whom he called a reformer planning to fight corruption.
“We asked the White House to arrange a working phone call from President Trump and a working visit to the Oval Office. However, President Trump was skeptical that Ukraine was serious about reforms and the fight against corruption, and he sent those present at the meeting to talk with his personal lawyer Mr. Giuliani about his concern", - he added.
"It was obvious to all of us that Mr. Giuliani was the key to changing the president’s opinion on Ukraine", - he said.
"Please know that I would not recommend Mr. Giuliani or any private citizen to participate in these foreign policy issues", - Sondland said.
While he expressed doubts about his testimony about the role of Giuliani, other witnesses described Sondland as one of the trio of top U.S. officials who were considered more reliable than career diplomats in persuading Kiev to an investigation that could help Trump get reelected.