Typically, claims of sexual misconduct are followed by resignations, particularly when the allegations come from multiple people. So, is Gordon Sondland, a key impeachment witness who says that there was a quid pro quo between President Donald Trump and Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky, going to resign from his position as U.S. ambassador to the European Union now that three women have leveled such accusations against him?
No chance. Sondland has “no intention of resigning,” one of his close associates told Politico on Thursday.
This week, ProPublica and Portland Monthly jointly published a report detailing sexual misconduct allegations against Sondland from three women, who agreed to be named.
The alleged sexual misconduct is said to have taken place during a span of seven years, between 2003 and 2011, before Sondland became the U.S. ambassador to the European Union.
Jana Solis, Nicole Vogel, and Natalie Sept accuse Sondland of exposing himself, attempting to kiss them, giving them unwanted kisses or touching, and retaliating against them professionally when they denied his advances.
Further, the three women claim that their accounts can be backed up by “friends, family members, or colleagues” who were told about the encounters when they occurred.
Not going anywhere
Since Wednesday’s report, Sondland has denied the allegations. “In decades of my career in business and civic affairs, my conduct can be affirmed by hundreds of employees and colleagues with whom I have worked in countless circumstances,” he wrote. “These untrue claims of unwanted touching and kissing are concocted and, I believe, coordinated for political purposes. They have no basis in fact, and I categorically deny them.”
Sondland and his lawyer, Jim McDermott, have tried to dismiss the claims as a politically motivated attempt to discredit his testimony before the House.
“A reasonable conclusion to be drawn is that you are attempting to affect Ambassador Sondland’s credibility as a fact witness in the pending impeachment inquiry,” McDermott said. “Given the politically charged climate in which current events are unfolding, some might consider this to be veiled witness tampering.”
Vogel said she came forward because “it feels like the right thing to do.” “There were a lot of indecent proposals when I was raising capital, but none as brazen as his. I have nothing to say about what he did or didn’t do [involving Ukraine]. But if people are asking what his moral character is, I have one more piece of evidence for them.”
With these allegations, Sondland’s moral character as a witness in the impeachment inquiry is now in question. Sondland is a key witness, having claimed that there was a quid pro quo between Trump and Zelensky.
Now it appears as though the credibility of his testimony will depend on whether he can mount his own successful defense against his accusers. If he is eventually forced to resign, that certainly will not bode well for the Democrats and their impeachment inquiry.