Pence's Chief of Staff Throws a Wrench in Sondland's Claim About Alleged September Ukraine Discussion

Vice President Mike Pence speaks to the annual meeting of the National Rifle Association, Friday, April 26, 2019, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Mike Pence

Vice President Mike Pence speaks to the annual meeting of the National Rifle Association, Friday, April 26, 2019, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

It’s been a fantasy of the left’s since the Mueller investigation that somehow, someway they could one day get two for the price of one: If they could get President Trump impeached and then figure out how to implicate Vice President Pence as well, then we’d have a President Nancy Pelosi – all of which would completely upend the 2016 elections (which, of course, has been their goal from Day One).


It is with that in mind that we turn to today’s impeachment inquiry hearing which, as Bonchie noted earlier, has featured U.S. Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland testifying before the three ring circus House Intelligence Committee.

The Washington Post dramatically declared Sondland’s testimony as “blockbuster”, pointing out – along with other mainstream media news outlets – that in his opening statement, Sondland said he’d had a conversation with Pence on September 1st about the alleged Ukraine/quid pro quo issue expressing concerns about the matter. He also stated the security assistance question was brought up by Zelensky when he and Pence met and that Pence said he’d talk to Trump about it.

From the transcript of Sondland’s opening statement:

There was a September 1 meeting with President Zelensky in Warsaw. Unfortunately President Trump’s attendance at the Warsaw meeting was cancelled due to Hurricane Dorian. Vice President Pence attended instead. I mentioned to Vice President Pence before the meetings with the Ukrainians that I had concerns that the delay in aid had become tied to the issue of investigations. I recall mentioning that before the Zelensky meeting.

During the actual meeting, President Zelensky raised the issue of security assistance directly with Vice President Pence. The Vice President said he would speak to President Trump about it.


On social media, liberals and Democrats were quick to pounce, thinking this was that Magic Moment that showed Pence’s supposed involvement in the alleged quid pro quo conspiracy. “#PresidentPelosi” trended for hours, with the Usual Suspects salivating over the possibility.

But Pence’s Chief of Staff Marc Short quickly disputed Sondland’s account, saying such a meeting between Pence and Sondland never happened:

“The Vice President never had a conversation with Gordon Sondland about investigating the Bidens, Burisma, or the conditional release of financial aid to Ukraine based upon potential investigations.

“Ambassador Gordon Sondland was never alone with Vice President Pence on the September 1 trip to Poland. This alleged discussion recalled by Ambassador Sondland never happened.

“Multiple witnesses have testified under oath that Vice President Pence never raised Hunter Biden, former Vice President Joe Biden, Crowdstrike, Burisma, or investigations in any conversation with Ukrainians or President Zelensky before, during, or after the September 1 meeting in Poland.”

The shorter version of that is Pence’s office is accusing Sondland of lying about having such a conversation with the Vice President.


The edge in this he said/he said battle goes to Pence, because Sondland has a penchant for shifting his stories around – as Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey writes, while also noting that security logs from the time might be able to settle the debate as to whether or not the disputed Sondland/Pence meeting actually happened:

But even if he was alone with Pence, this still doesn’t prove much of anything. Sondland didn’t testify that Pence told him anything about a quid pro quo, just that he “nodded” at Sondland’s concerns over the potential for one. As Short notes, no one has suggested that Pence pushed anything of the sort; indeed, testimony already exists that Pence never linked anything to aid, nor was inclined to do so.

Short and Pence better hope it stays that way, of course, but in this they are helped by Sondland’s continually changing recollections. Key parts of his story keep evolving, which Sondland blames on a lack of cooperation from State over his notes and his documents. That may well be the case, but it’s not making Sondland look more reliable as time wears on.

In other words, this “bombshell” is more of a big nothingburger. Next?

— Based in North Carolina, Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 16+ year veteran of blogging with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars. Read her Red State archives here. Connect with her on Twitter. –



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