Pence's Chief of Staff: 'This Alleged Discussion Recalled by Ambassador Sondland Never Happened'

By Susan Jones | November 20, 2019 | 12:11pm EST

US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland testfies before the House intelligence committee on November 20, 2019. (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland testfies before the House intelligence committee on November 20, 2019. (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

( - Vice President Mike Pence's office released a statement Wednesday morning refuting Ambassador Gordon Sondland's testimony that he told Pence about the alleged quid pro quo being pushed by President Donald Trump and his attorney Rudy Giuliani.

“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," said the statement by Pence's Chief of Staff Marc Short.

Under questioning by Democratic attorney Daniel Goldman about his alleged conversation with the vice president, Sondland ultimately said: "I don't know exactly what I said to him."

Marc Short's statement continued:

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.

In his opening statement, Sondland mentioned a Sept. 1 meeting in Warsaw between Vice President Pence and Ukraine President Zelensky:

"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," Sondland said. A short time later, House intelligence committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) returned to Sondland's remarks about the vice president:

"You mentioned that you also had a conversation with Vice President Pence before his meeting with President Zelensky in Warsaw and that you raised the concern you had as well, that the security assistance was being withheld because of the president's desire to get a commitment from Zelensky to pursue these political investigations. What did you say to the vice president?" Schiff asked.

"I was in a briefing with several people and I just spoke up, and I said it appears that everything is stalled until this statement gets made. Something, words to that effect," Sondland said. "And that's what I believed to be the case, based on, you know, the work that the three of us had been doing, Volker, Perry, and myself. And the vice president nodded, like, you know, he heard what I said and that was pretty much it, as I recall."

Goldman, the Democrats' attorney, also tested Sondland's memory about Pence:

"Now, I want to go back to that conversation that you had with Vice President Pence right before that meeting in Warsaw. And you indicated that you said to him that you were concerned that the delay in the aid was tied to the issue of investigations, is that right?"

"I don't know exactly what I said to him," Sondland said this time. "This was a briefing attended by many people, and I was invited at the very last minute. I wasn't scheduled to be there, but I think I spoke up at some point late in the meeting and said it looks like everything is being held up until these statements get made and that's my, you know, personal belief."

"And Vice President Pence just nodded his head?" attorney Goldman asked.

"Again, I don't recall any exchange where he asked me any questions. I think he -- it was sort of a 'duly noted'"-- Sondland said.

"But he didn't say, 'Gordon, what are you talking about?'"

"No, he did not," Sondland replied.

"He didn't say, what investigations?" Goldman asked.

"He did not," Sondland said.


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