Portland protesters to Sondland: ‘Tell the truth’

Politics

Portland hotelier turned Ambassador Gordon Sondland to testify Wednesday

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — On the eve of his open testimony in the House impeachment hearings, Gordon Sondland was urged to tell the truth by a group of protesters in downtown Portland.

Sondland, the Portland hotelier who became Ambassador to the European Union after donating $1 million to Donald Trump’s 2017 inauguration, is now a key figure in the impeachment inquiry. His text messages with other ambassadors and his phone calls with President Trump are focal points of the House Intelligence committee hearings.

He has already revised his previous testimony that he provided behind closed doors in October.

Protesters gathered at the Sentinel Hotel — one of the many hotels Sondland owns — and marched through the streets.

Some of them used a bullhorn to recite the oath of office he took to uphold the Constitution. Others used signs to make their views. Many gathered outside the Hotel Dossier and chanted, “Gordon Sondland, tell the truth!”

Protest organizer Kate Sharaf said it’s clear Sondland is “one of the people who knows excatly what Trump’s role was in this, in ordering a bribery scam and carrying it out, and I want to hear him tell that full story.”

Dozens of people joined the protest through the streets to different Sondland hotels.

“Portland is paying attention and we expect him to uphold his oath of office, protect the Constitution and put party and country above himself. We’d just like to see him give all the information he has.”

Political analysts say that may be difficult.

“Sondland has key pieces of information that he has been, in previous testimony behind closed doors, a little reticent, it seems, to come out with,” said Ben Gaskins, an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Lewis & Clark College. “You can be sure that Sondland is going to be questioned very directly and very intently about this phone conversation (overheard by Ambassador Bill Taylor’s staffer David Holmes), what was said, because this also goes against Sondland’s testimony that he did not recall any other conversations with the president about a quid pro quo.”

But those questions may soon be answered, Gaskins said.

Sondland has to make sure his testimony on Wednesday falls in line with others testimony “or else he’ll be in danger of being charged with perjury,” he said. Sondland “is walking this fine line of still wanting to protect the president and to be a loyal member of the administration while also not opening himself up to being the fall guy. It’s going to be a very challenging task.”

Gaskins said if Sondland “can put those pieces together and not just make it hearsay, it’s really going to be hard for Republicans to defend.”

Sondland is scheduled to testify on Wednesday morning. You can watch the impeachment hearings beginning at 6 a.m. on KOIN.com and on KOIN 6 News.

Protesters in Portland urge Gordon Sondland to tell the truth in the impeachment inquiry, November 19, 2019 (KOIN)

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