U.S. Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland said Saturday he has been recalled by President Trump, likely as punishment for his starring role in the House’s impeachment inquiry last year.
“I was advised today that the President intends to recall me effective immediately as United States Ambassador to the European Union,” Sondland said in a statement issued via his attorney.
“I am grateful to President Trump for having given me the opportunity to serve, to Secretary Pompeo for his consistent support, and to the exceptional and dedicated professionals at the U.S. Mission to the European Union,” he added.
“I am proud of our accomplishments. Our work here has been the highlight of my career.”
Sondland joins Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, another impeachment inquiry witness called by Democrats who was escorted out of the White House Friday and dismissed from the National Security Council.
During his testimony, Sondland initially claimed that he knew that President Trump threatened to withhold lethal military aid from Ukraine unless that government launched a corruption investigation into Joe and Hunter Biden.
But under questioning by Republicans in November, Sondland admitted that he never heard the president mention a quid pro quo specifically. “I never heard from President Trump that aid was conditioned on an announcement of [investigations].”
Indeed, in his written testimony, Sondland said Trump made clear he “wanted nothing” from Ukraine.
“President Trump, when I asked him the open-ended question, as I testified previously, ‘What do you want from Ukraine?’ His answer was, ‘I want nothing, I want no quid pro quo. Tell Zelensky to do the right thing.‘ That’s all I got from President Trump.”
But Sondland also said at the hearing that “we all understood” that a meeting at the White House for Ukraine’s president was conditioned on an investigation or a statement announcing investigations.
Still, when Republican lawmakers pressed Sondland at the November hearing, he admitted that no one had told him about investigations and relied only on presumptions that he had made.