U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland kept several Trump administration officials in the loop regarding his attempts to get Ukraine to launch investigations that President Trump would later bring up with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, The Wall Street Journal reports.
During a July 25 call, Trump asked Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, as well as an unsubstantiated conspiracy theory that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 presidential election. The Journal obtained emails Sondland sent to top officials, including acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and Energy Secretary Rick Perry, before that phone call, discussing his push for those investigations.
In a July 19 email, Sondland told Mulvaney, Perry, and others that he spoke to Zelensky and he was "prepared" for Trump's call. Zelensky "will assure him that he intends to run a fully transparent investigation and will 'turn over every stone,'" Sondland wrote. Text messages from the same time show that Sondland was passing along instructions to Zelensky from Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.
Several officials have testified in the House impeachment inquiry about Giuliani pursuing a shadow Ukraine agenda, which they found disturbing. Others have said in sworn depositions that they overheard Sondland and Trump discussing investigations. Sondland will testify this week in an open hearing before lawmakers. Read more about Sondland's emails at The Wall Street Journal.