Justice, News, Politics

Trump fires Gordon Sondland as EU ambassador

Trump fires key impeachment witness Gordon Sondland as EU ambassador

U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland speaks with President Trump at Melsbroek Air Base in July 2018 in Brussels. Sondland is speaking to House committees on Thursday.
But the President Trump said he does not know the ambassador, so the photo may be fake 🙂

Gordon Sondland, the US’s ambassador to the EU, became the second impeachment witness to be fired on Friday. Sondland was ousted not long after Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, another crucial witness to President Donald Trump’s Ukraine dealings, was abruptly fired and escorted from the White House.

Trump fires key impeachment witness Gordon Sondland as EU ambassador

Gordon Sondland, the US’s ambassador to the EU, became the second impeachment witness to be fired on Friday. Sondland was ousted not long after Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, another crucial witness to President Donald Trump’s Ukraine dealings, was abruptly fired and escorted from the White House.

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‘I don’t know him’: Say Donald Trump’s about Ambassador Gordon Sondland

The many times Donald Trump’s acquaintances suddenly became strangers.But the way Ambassador Gordon Sondland tells it – under oath, no less – he and President Donald Trump are on such friendly terms that they communicate using colorful language and lots of naughty, four-letter words.

But Sondland hadn’t even finished his bombshell testimony during Wednesday’s impeachment hearing when Trump issued what has become his standard rebuttal.
“I don’t know him very well,” Trump said of the Oregon hotel owner who donated $1 million to his inauguration and was rewarded with the U.S. ambassadorship to the European Union.

Trump often argues he’s not familiar with certain people who run afoul of the law or whose words or actions cast him in a negative light.

Anthony Scaramucci, who lasted barely more than a week as White House communications director? “I barely knew him until his 11 days of gross incompetence,” Trump said.

Stormy Daniels? “I had nothing to do with her,” Trump said of the adult film star whom he paid $130,000 in hush money after she claimed the two had a sexual encounter.

Here are some of the people that Trump has claimed he never knows or has never met – despite the contrary evidence.

The E.U ambassador, Trump’s go-to guy on Ukraine and a star witness in the House impeachment inquiry, testified that Trump directed him and others to work with his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, to pressure Ukraine to publicly announce supposed anti-corruption investigations that Trump was seeking.

Under oath, Sondland confirmed the existence of a “quid pro quo” in which Ukraine was urged to announce an investigation into Joe Biden, one of Trump’s political rivals. In exchange, Ukraine would get the U.S. military aid it desperately wanted, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky would get a White House meeting.

Asked if he used a vulgarity when telling Trump about Zelensky’s desire to cooperate with the United States, Sondland said that sounded like something he would say.

“That’s how President Trump and I communicate – a lot of four-letter words,” he said.
Trump’s retort: “I have not spoken to him much,” he told reporters on the White House South Lawn. “This is not a man I know well.”

Will Ferrell plays Gordon Sondland in SNL’s cold open skewering Trump

Will Ferrell returned to Saturday Night Live and portrayed Gordon Sondland as he spills the beans about scandal-plagued President Trump, played as always by Alec Baldwin. ‘I can’t hear you because there is a chopper behind me,’ Trump says on the White House’s South Lawn as he brandishes notes with the large lettering in black marker.

Will Ferrell returned to Saturday Night Live and portrayed Gordon Sondland as he spilt the beans about scandal-plagued President Trump, played as always, by Alec Baldwin.

Anthony Scaramucci – aka, “the Mooch” – was a financier and one of Trump’s most vocal supporters when Trump named him White House communications director on July 21, 2017.

Trump fired Scaramucci less than two weeks later when the New Yorker called a reporter and trash-talked what he perceived to be the president’s enemies, including some members of Trump’s administration. Trump’s take: “Anthony Scaramucci is a highly unstable ‘nut job’…,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “I barely knew him.”

George Papadopoulos, a young aide, was tapped by Trump to serve on his foreign policy team during the 2016 presidential campaign. Trump lauded Papadopoulos as “an excellent guy” during a meeting with The Washington Post’s editorial board on March 21, 2016. Later that month, Trump tweeted a photo of him seated at a table with Papadopoulos during a national security meeting.

But Trump’s lofty praise cooled quickly when Papadopoulos was sentenced to two weeks in prison for lying to the FBI about his interactions with Russian contacts.
“Few people knew the young, low level volunteer named George, who has already proven to be a liar,” Trump wrote on Twitter. And that photo of him seated next to Papadopoulos? “I never even talked to the guy,” Trump told Fox News. “I didn’t know who he was.”

Paul Manafort, who served as Trump’s campaign chairman for five months, quickly fell out of his favor after he was convicted and sentenced to nearly four years in prison over financial fraud crimes related to former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
“I didn’t know Manafort well,” Trump told Fox News

Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman Trump denied knowing the two Ukrainian-born business partners, who were associates of Giuliani, after they were indicted in connection with alleged schemes to funnel foreign money to U.S. political campaigns.

The problem? Several photos show the men with Trump or members of his family. Parnas posted one photo on Facebook showing himself with Trump at the White House on May 1, describing an “incredible dinner and even better conversation.”
Trump’s explanation: “It’s possible I have a picture with them because I have a picture with everybody,” he told reporters on the White House South Lawn. But, “I don’t know them. I don’t know about them. I don’t know what they do.”

Jeffrey Epstein Trump called Epstein a “terrific guy” in a New York Magazine interview in 2002 and said he’d known the multi-millionaire for 15 years.
“He’s a lot of fun to be with,” Trump said. “It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.”

But Trump distanced himself from the “terrific guy” in July after Epstein was arrested on charges of sex-trafficking girls as young as 14. Prosecutors said Epstein “sexually exploited and abused dozens of minor girls at his homes” in New York City and Palm Beach, Florida.
The “terrific guy” was suddenly not so terrific anymore.

“I knew him like everybody in Palm Beach knew him,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “…He was a fixture in Palm Beach. I had a falling out with him a long time ago. I don’t think I have spoken with him for 15 years. I was not a fan.” Epstein died in his New York jail cell in August. The New York medical examiner ruled his death as suicide by hanging.

Stephanie Clifford – an adult film star who performs under the name Stormy Daniels, says she had a sexual encounter with Trump in 2006.
Not true, Trump said. “I had nothing to do with her,” he told The Associated Press on Oct. 16, 2018. “So she can lie and she can do whatever she wants to do.”

Trump initially denied knowing about the hush-money paid to Daniels but later acknowledged repaying his former lawyer Michael Cohen for a $130,000 payment to her that was made as part of a hush agreement.

After a federal judge in California threw out Daniels’ defamation lawsuit against Trump last year, he celebrated on Twitter – “Horseface,” Trump mocked Daniels, adding: “She knows nothing about me.”

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Justice, News, Politics

Trump impeachment inquiry: The latest news

A top U.S. State Department official on Wednesday appeared before the impeachment probe into President Donald Trump, the first witness to show up this week after a string of administration officials refused to meet with investigators.

David Hale, who was appointed by Trump as under secretary for political affairs, met behind closed doors with lawmakers who are leading the probe of Trump in the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives.

More details in the impeachment inquiry are expected to be released on Wednesday, a day after transcripts revealed a top Trump donor-turned-diplomat reversed course and told investigators Ukrainian aid was tied to investigations of political rivals sought by the U.S. president.

U.S. ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland ( right side)

On Tuesday, publicly released transcripts showed U.S. ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland had returned to give lawmakers new details after his memory was “refreshed,” corroborating other witnesses who said Trump sought to pressure the Ukrainians into launching investigations that appeared aimed at boosting his 2020 re-election campaign.

House Democrats leading the inquiry are expected to release more transcripts on Wednesday, but have not yet said which accounts they will issue as the fast-moving probe marches toward televised public hearings.

Additional witnesses have also been called to testify, but some are likely to heed the White House and refuse to cooperate in the probe, which centers around Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy asking him to investigate former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

Joe Biden is a leading contender for the Democratic nomination to run against Trump, a Republican, in the November 2020 election. Hunter Biden was on the board of Ukrainian energy company Burisma, which had been investigated for corruption. Both have denied any impropriety.

Trump has blasted the House inquiry as a witch hunt and accused Democrats of unfairly targeting him in hope of reversing his surprise victory in the 2016 presidential election.

Democrats have defended the investigation, citing concerns that the president misused his public office for personal gain.

John Bolton at the White House on October 3 in Washington, DC

“It’s clear abuse of presidential power. It cannot be OK in our country for a United States president – any president – to go to a foreign leader and ask for help in his election. It’s wrong,” Representative Sean Patrick Maloney, a Democrat on the House intelligence panel, told MSNBC on Wednesday.

Top Trump administration officials are expected to be no-shows on Wednesday for the impeachment inquiry by congressional Democrats, who will continue to release more transcripts of the testimony they have already gathered.

The fast-moving inquiry, so far conducted behind closed doors, became more public this week after congressional investigators began releasing hundreds of pages of testimony.
Lawmakers are expected to release more transcripts on Wednesday, but have not said which accounts they will make public.

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