Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), who is leading the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, may have a bit of a problem with his star witness.
Since Gordon Sondland testified before the House Intelligence Committee — where the U.S. ambassador to the European Union claimed that there was indeed a quid pro quo between President Donald Trump and Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky — three women have come forward to accuse the ambassador of sexual misconduct, the BBC reports.
ProPublica and Portland Monthly combined to publish a report detailing the allegations of the three women: Jana Solis, Nicole Vogel, and Natalie Sept.
In the case of Vogel, a potential business partner of Sondland, ProPublica reports that “Sondland took her to tour a room in a hotel he owns, only to then grab her face and try to kiss her. After she rejected him, Sondland backtracked on investing in her business,” the report added.
On another occasion, Solis, who was “a work associate [of Sondland’s] at the time,” said “Sondland exposed himself to her during a business interaction. She also recalls falling over the back of a couch trying to get away from him. After she made her lack of interest clear, she says Sondland called her, screaming about her job performance,” ProPublica noted.
Lastly, according to ProPublica, “a third woman” named Natalie Sept “met [Sondland] to discuss a potential job.”
“She says he pushed himself against her and kissed her,” the outlet reported. “She shoved him away. She says his job help stopped.”
Following the release of the report, Sondland and his lawyer released statements denying the allegations, claiming that their timing is all too convenient.
“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,” Sondland wrote, according to NBC News. “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.”
For his part, Sondland’s lawyer noted that the women all “pursued Ambassador Sondland for financial and personal gain — an investment, a job, and insurance brokerage work — and he declined their proposals.” But as ProPublica reports, it’s hard to dock these victims’ credibility: “In all the cases, friends, family members or colleagues of the women recall being told about the encounters at the time. The cases span a seven-year period, ending less than a decade ago,” the outlet reported.
While the allegations haven’t been proven, Sondland’s character is being questioned here at a crucial time, as he has proven to be Schiff’s best chance at advancing the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry. Indeed, Sondland is one of the only witnesses who has been willing to say that there was a quid pro quo between Trump and Zelensky, according to The Washington Post.
If Sondland cannot dispel these sexual misconduct allegations, however, it is likely that his testimony will not be worth much.