Ambassador Gordon Sondland often lamented his lack of access to his State Department records, saying the impeachment process was “less than fair” and “challenging” for him, during his public testimony before House committees in charge of the impeachment inquiry.
CNN found that Sondland mentioned the missing records at least 15 times throughout the course of the hearing on Wednesday.
“I have not had access to all of my phone records, State Department e-mails and many, many other State Department documents,” Sondland said in his opening.
Sondland argued that the impeachment process would be “far more transparent” if he had access to his records — a request he said he has made to the State Department and the White House, both of which have been non-compliant in providing documents related to Ukraine, even when subpoenaed by House committees.
On Oct. 23, Federal Judge Christopher Cooper gave the State Department 30 days to release Ukraine-related documents, following a lawsuit from the watchdog group American Oversight. As of today, the documents have yet to be released.
Sondland told Rep. Jackie Speier that he had been “hampered to provide completely accurate testimony without the benefit of those documents,” when she asked about how the missing records affected his testimony.
When minority counsel Steve Castor derided Sondland’s lack of recollection of specific events, the ambassador said the records would help jog his memory of countless calls and meetings he has had with several government officials and foreign leaders.
Among those conversations Sondland couldn’t recall, he said, were calls with President Trump, Rudy Giuliani, acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, energy Secretary Rick Perry, and former US special envoy Kurt Volker, among others.