Gordon Sondland was abruptly recalled as the US’s ambassador to the European Union on Friday.
Sondland was the second witness who testified against President Donald Trump in last year’s impeachment hearings to be dismissed from his position on Friday. Sondland will continue working at the State Department in an unspecified role.
“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.
Earlier on Friday, the White House ousted Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who was the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council (NSC).
Vindman’s impeachment testimony enraged President Donald Trump and sparked harsh blowback from the president’s allies — including allegations of dual loyalty to Ukraine. Vindman’s brother Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman was also ousted from his role as a senior lawyer and ethics official on the NSC.
Sondland’s bombshell impeachment testimony described a broad, complex effort to pressure Ukraine into digging up dirt on the president’s political rivals that went well beyond Trump’s infamous July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“Everyone was in the loop,” Sondland told House investigators, throwing Trump under the bus.
Sondland testified that he, along with Rick Perry, the energy secretary at the time, and Kurt Volker, the former US special representative to Ukraine, worked with Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani on Ukraine matters “at the express direction of the president of the United States.”
Unlike Vindman, who’s a nonpartisan career official and active-duty Army officer, Sondland had close ties to Trump and no government experience before becoming the EU ambassador. He got the role after donating $1 million to the president’s inauguration committee.
Trump nominated Sondland to serve as EU ambassador in 2018.
The president in early November said he hardly knew Sondland. In an October tweet, however, the president referred to Sondland as “a really good man and great American.”