Sondland is shown in the text messages to be rejecting concerns from Taylor, a career diplomat, that Trump wanted the Ukrainian government to dig up dirt on the Bidens to help his reelection campaign. Sondland is also shown suggesting that the diplomats take their conversations offline.
“As I said on the phone, I think it’s crazy to withhold assistance for help with a political campaign,” Taylor wrote in a Sept. 9 message.
Sondland replied: “Bill, I believe you are incorrect about President Trump’s intentions.”
“The president has been crystal clear no quid pro quo’s of any kind. The president is trying to evaluate whether Ukraine is truly going to adopt the transparency and reforms that President Zelensky promised during his campaign. I suggest we stop the back and forth by text,” Sondland wrote.
While Sondland in the text messages said he believed Taylor was mistaken about Trump’s intentions, The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) was told by Sondland that the Trump administration wanted the Ukrainian government to launch an investigation into the Bidens in exchange for the military aid. Johnson said that Trump denied it when he personally spoke to the president.
In another message days before the call between Trump and Zelensky on July 25, Taylor said that “Zelensky is sensitive about Ukraine being taken seriously, not merely as an instrument in Washington domestic, reelection politics.”
Sondland responded, “Absolutely, but we need to get the conversation started and the relationship built, irrespective of the pretext. I am worried about the alternative.”