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Trump impeachment hearings

Sondland reportedly kept Pompeo in the loop about the Ukraine pressure campaign

U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland made Secretary of State Mike Pompeo aware of a Ukraine pressure campaign, The New York Times reports.

Sondland is set to testify Wednesday and face further questions in the impeachment inquiry about an effort to pressure Ukraine to announce investigations that might benefit President Trump politically, including involving former Vice President Joe Biden.

Pompeo, according to the report, was informed by Sondland in mid-August "about a draft statement" he and another diplomat had worked on with Ukrainians "that they hoped would persuade Mr. Trump to grant Ukraine's new president the Oval Office meeting he was seeking." At the time, Sondland was negotiating a statement that would have Ukraine committing to an investigation of Burisma, the gas company where Biden's son served on the board, and the 2016 election.

Additionally, the Times reports Sondland discussed the idea with Pompeo of pushing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky "to pledge during a planned meeting with Mr. Trump in Warsaw that he would take the steps being sought by Mr. Trump as a way to break the logjam in relations between the two countries."

Although the Times notes it's "not clear how specific" Sondland was with Pompeo about "what was being asked of the Ukrainians," Pompeo by this point would have already heard Trump's July phone call with Zelensky, during which the president makes clear that he wants the country to conduct investigations into Biden and the 2016 election.

This report is breaking just as Sondland's testimony before Congress is about to get underway.