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Trump impeachment witness suing Mike Pompeo and US for $1.8 million in legal fees

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Gordon Sondland, Donald Trump’s former ambassador to the European Union, is suing the US government and Mike Pompeo for $1.8 million to cover legal fees incurred during the 2019 House impeachment investigation.

Sondland filed his federal lawsuit on Monday. He claims the former secretary of state did not live up to a “legally binding promise” for the federal government to pay for his legal fees during the first House impeachment investigation into Trump. 

“Pompeo assured Ambassador Sondland that the State Department would reimburse him for all of his legal costs; and through the fall of 2019, Pompeo and his staff continued to reaffirm his promise,” the lawsuit states. 

Despite incurring $1.8 million in fees after being forced to put his own legal team together, Sondland was only offered $86,000 in repayment, according to the suit. 

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Sondland says he was fired a few months after his testimony – related to alleged quid pro quo between Trump and Ukraine’s president – and he now “demands a jury trial” to address his current complaints. The former ambassador claims the promise to pay his legal fees was “reneged” on after the administration was displeased with his testimony in the House impeachment probe. 

Trump’s House impeachment ultimately failed in the Senate, but Sondland did claim there was quid pro quo for which Trump was allegedly requesting an investigation into political rival Joe Biden in exchange for military aid. 

“I know that members of this Committee have frequently framed these complicated issues in the form of a simple question: Was there a ‘quid pro quo?’ As I testified previously, with regard to the requested White House call and White House meeting, the answer is yes,” Sondland said in his opening statement last fall. 

Sondland is requesting Pompeo or the State Department fork out his legal fees. He was let go from the White House on February 7, 2020, just hours after he claims he refused to resign following the administration being unsatisfied with his testimony.

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