Gordon Sondland, former President Donald Trump’s ambassador to the European Union, has filed a $1.8 million lawsuit against former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the U.S. government for legal fees stemming from the 2019 House impeachment inquiry into Trump's dealings with Ukraine.
Sondland was a key witness against Trump in that probe, testifying that there was a “quid pro quo” between the Trump administration and Ukraine to investigate then-presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter in exchange for military aid.
“Everyone was in the loop,” Sondland said in his testimony. “It was no secret.”
According to the 21-page lawsuit filed Monday in federal court in the District of Columbia, Pompeo reneged on a promise that the State Department would cover the legal costs associated with Sondland's testimony.
“Pompeo assured Ambassador Sondland that the State Department would reimburse him for all of his legal costs,” the suit states.
But after Sondland delivered his bombshell testimony alleging a quid pro quo — and then refused to resign from his post as Trump’s ambassador to the EU — “everything changed.”
“Ambassador Sondland confirmed he would not resign because he did not do anything improper,” the suit states. “After that, everything changed. Ambassador Sondland did not receive his attorneys’ fees, notwithstanding the promises from the State Department that the attorneys’ fees would be paid.”
Sondland is seeking to be reimbursed by the U.S. government or Pompeo because the lawsuit alleges that the former secretary of state either broke a contractual commitment or misrepresented his authority to ensure the government would pay.
Pompeo is believed to be a potential candidate for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.
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