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Ukrainian affair. Gordon Sondland's credibility compromised

(B2) The impeachment procedure in the USA has already made one victim: Gordon Sondland. The American ambassador to the European Union in Brussels has become a key witness in the impeachment proceedings launched by the Democrats against American President Donald Trump

Gordon Sondland's credibility damaged (credit: US mission)

A white lie

The transcript of his testimony (375 pages!) before Congress on October 17, published Tuesday (November 5), is patent. The most interesting is in the last pages. In a letter from his lawyer dated Monday (November 4), the former businessman turned diplomat revises his past testimony before Congress. Basically, he admits to having slightly distorted the truth, and seeks to correct the situation, so as not to be in flagrante delicto of lying and break his oath to tell the truth.

A sudden memory

The American diplomat now remembers telling Andriy Yermak, a close adviser to the new Ukrainian president (Volodymyr Zelensky) in charge of negotiations with the USA, that “ the resumption of American aid » military would not happen" probably not until Ukraine provides the public anti-corruption statement that we have been discussing for several weeks »

“I now speaking recall individually with Mr. Yermak, where I said that resumption of US aid would likely not occur until Ukraine provided the public anti-corruption statement that we had been discussing for many weeks. »

A diversion of the diplomatic function

In other words, he acknowledges having asked the Ukrainians to find indirect charges against one of Donald Trump's rivals, former Vice President Joe Biden, whose son Hunter Biden, works at a Ukrainian energy company. All at the direct instigation of Donald Trump's personal advisor, lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who normally has no role in the American diplomatic chain.

Security aid to Ukraine vital for the USA

A position that goes completely against the vital interests of the United States, as Goldon Sondland himself recognizes in his letter. “ Security assistance to Ukraine is in our vital national interest. And no valid reason should have justified its postponement. »

Credibility damaged at European level

By interfering in Ukrainian affairs — which are not normally part of the duties of an American ambassador to the European Union (Ukraine is not yet part of the European Union) — and by misusing his diplomatic function to serving the very personal electoral interests of American President Donald Trump, Gordon Sondland appears 'burned' both to his supervisory authorities, but especially to the European institutions. His credibility in Europe largely damaged, it is difficult to see how he could fulfill his functions in Brussels.

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

Download the letter from Gordon Sondland's lawyer

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).