Trump Ousts Gordon Sondland, the EU Ambassador Who Testified There Was a Quid Pro Quo

Just hours after the White House dismissed National Security Council aide Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and his twin brother, Yevgeny.

Andrew Harnik/AP

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On Friday, the White House dismissed yet another impeachment witness, Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, as President Donald Trump continued his apparent retaliation campaign to oust members of his administration who testified against him. 

Sondland’s ouster comes just hours after the White House dismissed National Security Council aide Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and his twin brother, Yevgeny, and reassigned them to Pentagon roles.

Sondland’s congressional testimony reinforced a core part of the House investigators’ case for impeaching Trump. The investigation centered on whether the president abused his power and obstructed justice when he withheld military aid from Ukraine in exchange for investigations into political opponents.

“As I testified previously, Mr. Giuliani’s requests were a quid pro quo for arranging a White House visit for President Zelensky,” Sondland said in testimony in November, referring to Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani, who helped with the pressure campaign. “Mr. Giuliani was expressing the desires of the President of the United States, and we knew that these investigations were important to the President.”

The House later voted to impeach the president on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. But the Senate voted this week to acquit the president, with Sen. Mitt Romney as the lone Republican to break party ranks and vote to remove Trump from office. On Thursday, during a rambling speech, Trump railed against his so-called political enemies, condemned the impeachment process as “evil,” referred to Romney as a “failed presidential candidate,” and lambasted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and former FBI director James Comey. 

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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