To Defenestrate or not to Defenestrate: The Bad Guys are in an Impossible Position

defenestration

Gordon Sondland is in an Impossible Position

The Guardian, Impeachment inquiry: Trump ally must choose between loyalty and saving himself: Gordon Sondland may try to balance fealty to Trump with the fate that has befallen others in the president’s circle: prison time:

Donald Trump’s fate in the impeachment inquiry could rest in the hands of a donor and supporter under pressure to turn against the US president to save his own skin.

Gordon Sondland, the American ambassador to the European Union, is due to testify on Wednesday during the second week of televised hearings that have rocked the White House.

Sondland is certain to be questioned about the biggest revelation from last week: a phone call he made to Trump from Ukraine in July in which the president was overheard asking about an investigation into one of his political rivals. Sondland allegedly assured him it would go ahead.

The ambassador made no mention of the call in a deposition to the inquiry behind closed doors, nor in a revised statement three weeks later that conceded a quid pro quo over military aid. Now, in front of TV cameras and an audience of millions, he will be asked why.

As he weighs his answer, Sondland may try to balance fealty to Trump with the fate that has befallen others in the president’s circle: his former lawyer Michael Cohen and ex-campaign chairman Paul Manafort are both behind bars, while political operative Roger Stone was last week found guilty of lying to Congress.

“Hey Ambassador Sondland,” tweeted Joe Scarborough, a former congressman turned TV host, “Roger Stone lied to Congress for Trump and is now going to jail. Just like his campaign manager and lawyer. Are you next? Your call, Gordy.”

Ambassador Sondland’s best move would be to flee the jurisdiction. And I am not kidding.

His second best option would be to take massive doses of Prevagen, show up, and tell the truth: that the Trumpster told him to extort the Ukrainians.

Republicans Who Want to Defenstrate Sondland are also in an Impossible Situation

If he shows up and tells the truth, the Republican pols will hop up and down and ask the same. question about 97 times: Were you lying then or are you lying now?

But the question actually has an answer: I was lying then but I’m telling the truth now.

“OK,” Shouty Shirt will shout, “How do we know you’re telling the truth now, when you just admitted lying under oath a few days ago?”

But the problem for Shouty Shirt is that his rhetorical question has an answer: “I was lying then, because I wanted to protect Trump. But I’m telling the truth now because my lies have been exposed, and I want to avoid further legal exposure for perjury.”

Well, If That’s Your Best Defense, Then That’s Your Best Defense

three monkeys

Jonathan Chait, Gordon Sondland’s Ukraine Alibi: I was the Dumbest Diplomat Ever

To prove that he is not a knave, Sondland argues that he is a fool. It’s early for the cocktail hour, so you might want to save Chait’s humorous observations for a point in time when the sun is under the yardarm. On the other hand, it’s always five o’clock somewhere.

But, as I said before, the main issue is not Sondland’s knavish and/or foolish character. The main point, to me, is that Gordon Sondland, million dollar Trump donor, has decided that this is a really good time to jump off the Trump Train.

Axios cherry picks to select the tastiest cherries from Ambassador Sondland’s statement this morning, and serves up this tasty and nutritious dessert:

“Let me be clear: Mr. Giuliani does not work for me or my Mission and I do not know what official or unofficial role, if any, he has with the State Department. … Please know that I would not have recommended that Mr. Giuliani or any private citizen be involved in these foreign policy matters. However, given the President’s explicit direction, as well as the importance we attached to arranging a White House meeting between Presidents Trump and Zelensky, we agreed to do as President Trump directed.”

“[B]ased on the President’s direction, we were faced with a choice: We could abandon the goal of a White House meeting for President Zelensky, which we all believed was crucial to strengthening U.S.-Ukrainian ties … or we could do as President Trump directed and talk to Mr. Giuliani to address the President’s concerns.”

“I did not understand, until much later, that Mr. Giuliani’s agenda might have also included an effort to prompt the Ukrainians to investigate Vice President Biden or his son or to involve Ukrainians, directly or indirectly, in the President’s 2020 reelection campaign.”

“On September 9, 2019, Acting Charge de Affairs/Ambassador William Taylor raised concerns about the possibility that Ukrainians could perceive a linkage between U.S. security assistance and the President’s 2020 reelection campaign. Taking the issue seriously, and given the many versions of speculation that had been circulating about the security aid, I called President Trump directly.”

“I asked the President: ‘What do you want from Ukraine? The President responded, ‘Nothing. There is no quid pro quo.’ The President repeated: ‘no quid pro quo’ multiple times. This was a very short call.”

“Let me state clearly: Inviting a foreign government to undertake investigations for the purpose of influencing an upcoming U.S. election would be wrong. Withholding foreign aid in order to pressure a foreign government to take such steps would be wrong.”

“I did not and would not ever participate in such undertakings. In my opinion, security aid to Ukraine was in our vital national interest and should not have been delayed for any reason