Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was aware in August, weeks before a whistleblower complaint was made public, of efforts to press Ukraine’s president to announce investigations favorable to Trump, according to emails provided to the House Intelligence Committee.
In an Aug. 22 email, Pompeo is informed by Sondland that Ukraine’s president should be able to “move forward publicly and with confidence on . . . issues of importance” to Trump and the United States.
Sondland testified on Wednesday that the “issues” he was referring to included politically charged investigations into Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election and Burisma, a company that employed Hunter Biden.
By that point, $391 million in U.S. military aid to Ukraine had been held up for more than a month.
Sondland added that he hoped the public statement from Zelensky would “break the logjam” on the aid.
Pompeo responded with a simple “Yes.”
The two then exchanged messages about lining up a brief meeting between Trump and Zelensky at a World War II commemoration in Warsaw, where Zelensky could speak with Trump directly.
The emails contrast sharply with Pompeo’s protestations of ignorance in the first days after a whistleblower complaint revealed the pressure campaign on the Ukrainians.
In late September, ABC’s Martha Raddatz asked Pompeo about the whistleblower complaint and Trump’s controversial July 25 call with Zelensky in which he asked the Ukrainian leader to investigate former vice president Joe Biden and his son.
“So, you just gave me a report about a [intelligence community] whistleblower complaint, none of which I’ve seen,” Pompeo said.
A week later he acknowledged that he had listened in to the July 25 call.
Pompeo, at a news conference in Brussels, was asked about Sondland’s testimony and whether he would recuse himself from decisions on handing over subpoenaed State Department documents to the House Intelligence Committee.
“I didn’t see the testimony. I’m not going to recuse myself from this. I know precisely what American policy was with respect to Ukraine,” Pompeo said. “I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished. There were remarkable outcomes for the Ukrainian people.”