As a hellscape brewed in the western Atlantic, the White House reconsidered plans to send Trump to Warsaw for an event commemorating the 80th anniversary of the Nazi invasion of Poland.
On the sidelines of the Warsaw event, Trump was to meet with Zelenskiy, but it was decided that Pence would travel
The Ukrainians were dealing with a looming disaster of their own. Days earlier, the suspension of almost $400m in US military assistance for Ukraine had been made public.
The Ukrainians were hesitant.
On 29 August, at the urging of Bolton, Taylor sent a rare cable directly to the secretary of state. Writing in the first person, he told Pompeo that withholding military aid was
Ahead of the Warsaw meeting on 1 September, the American delegation discussed how to handle questions about the frozen military assistance.
After the inconclusive meeting, Sondland pulled Yermak into an anteroom. “What’s going on here?” Yermak asked. That’s when Sondland, according to testimony, told
“Call me,” Sondland replied.
Taylor called him. He said Sondland told him that “‘everything’ was dependent on such an announcement,
But the view from Washington was shifting. At this point, according to news reports, Trump was already aware of the existence of the whistleblower complaint while members of Congress pressured the White House to release the aid.
Sondland, spurred by Taylor’s increasingly “frantic” texts, said he called Trump directly to ask for clarity.
“I want nothing,” he said Trump replied. “I want no quid pro quo. Tell Zelenskiy to do the right thing.”
It was also on 9 September that Congress learned of the
Two weeks after that, House speaker Nancy Pelosi, the top Democrat in Congress, announced the commencement of a formal impeachment inquiry, which proceeds next week.