Listen: Sunland, Gordon, Steve Inskeep discussed on Up First
"Hi this is Steve Inskeep we have a special report from up I. It's the background to a dramatic day of News Gordon Oakland arrived at the Capitol to testify before house investigators in the impeachment inquiry into president trump he is the United States Ambassador to the European Union Oh quid pro quo in the president's requests from Ukrainian officials in prepared testimony Sunland says Moore he says that in that text message he was just conveying what president trump told him and he insists he didn't know the president wanted a probe of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden so who is Gordon saw put our colleague Rachel Martin takes a long look Gordon Sunland has an important job he is the US ambassador to the European Union here's a bit of a video he made with his family introducing him after he was named my family is the most important thing to me we spend a lot of time together we travel together I grew up here in Portland Oregon and I'm very excited about the opportunity to spend more time in the EU and specifically in Brussels did this introductory video because the US and the author to the EU is not really a position that makes someone a household name no what has elevated Gordon Sunland into the public consciousness is something that wasn't part of his original job an assignment that put him on the ground in Ukraine and it's the reason he's testifying today the day after that now infamous call between President the trump presidents Alinsky Gordon sunland spoke with Ukrainian TV you're the US ambassador to the E U But you've been spending a great deal of time in kid why is that while President Trump has not only honored me with the job of being the US ambassador to the EU but he's also given me other special assignments details emerging about those special assignments this week we learned from testimony that acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney pushed out the diplomats who had been in charge of Ukraine policy and put three other people at the helm instead who apparently gave themselves the nickname here sunlen again on Ukrainian TV we have what are called the three Amigos and the three are migos our Secretary Perry again Ambassador Volker myself and we've been tasked with sort of overseeing the Ukraine the US relationship between our contacts at the highest levels of the US government and now the highest levels of the Ukrainian government in that same interview sunlen said that he spoke to president trump just a few minutes before he placed that call to Alinsky although in his testimony today on the minimizes that conversation he says it was short what's substantive his now famous text messages came a month and a half later that's when he denied that there was any quid pro quo in president trump's conversation with presidents Sqi he was sure in his denial he says because he clarified the issue personally with President trump the phrase quid pro quo has now become a sort of shorthand describe this entire debacle but it's a phrase Gordon Sunland uses himself to explain his own negotiating philosophy here he is describing at a business breakfast Portland back in two thousand sixteen how he used to facilitate phone calls between the former Democratic governor of Oregon and President George W Bush we would make these requests it's done quietly they were done with rifle precision and there was always a quid pro quo the governor would help the president US something and the president would help the governor was something and it was very transactional transactional was a word I heard a lot when asking friends and former colleagues about Gordon Sunland so was pragmatic as a hotel developer tight end. Gop circles working in liberal Portland Oregon Sunland had to figure out how to work with a lot of people he didn't agree with workbooks and wine bottles and Gordon among other things collects relationships this is David Nuremberg he got to know sunland when they both worked as fundraisers for Mitt Romney's presidential campaign back in two thousand twelve he and others said that back then it was pretty clear Solomon wanted to hitch his wagon to a candidate who could make him an ambassador probably to a German speaking country sunland Jewish parents fled Germany during World War Two they ended up in Washington state and opened a dry cleaning business it's a story SOM- Lynn has recently started telling a lot I'm the first in my family that was born in the US my parents were both European Mac Prince I started in Germany that was the beginning of the uprising of Hitler was able to escape my father was muddled out of Germany before things got bad soon gun through Frieda and my sister Lucy found fortunate permanent refuge in Seattle Washington David Nuremberg told me son and saw an ambassadorship as a way to square the circle of his family's legacy as some kind of symbolic justice not uncommon among the people I know who come through this experience to want to have relationships too powerful people in government because let's face it almost anyone who either personally survived or whose parents or grandparents survived the Holocaust did so because of the intervention of someone who who helped him and you think you think that explains Gordon Sunlen support of president trump and I think it may I think it may it was a process though song supported trump and then he didn't support him and then trump became the nominee in sunland went on all in and made a million dollar donation to trump's inaugural committee he still had his eyes on the prize a European Ambassador Post and jobs like that often doled out to top donors but on made the donation quietly through four separate entities lindbergh steen spent a decade working as a consultant for someone and he helped him push back against a big convention center hotel in Portland he also observed him as he made political alliances around the state Burg says sandline is not ideologue he is a political pragmatist and he would ally himself with whomever could help him achieve his dream posting in Europe he was a chance he tried to kind of the European Union fast forward fifteen months and twenty six days and now today ambassador Gordon Sunland has been subpoenaed to testify before Congress yeah I've been thinking about that I'm not sure I'm able to answer that I didn't certainly never asked me to go over and he lines he was someone who not wasn't looking to bend the rules necessarily but was trying to bend the narrative trying to make sure that he if he could tell his hit a story in his way he would win Burstein than told me his own story about working with Sunland it goes back to that Convention Center Hotel Project They were after statement saying that he was inches battle in Portland. Gordon was first and foremost interested in his own reputation Thursday is going to be I think that pillar of the."