While Mayor de Blasio, who was befriended by then-Uniformed Firefighters Association President Jimmy Boyle when he was a young aide to Mayor David Dinkins in the early 1990s, did not attend Mr. Boyle’s funeral Nov. 5, Rudy Giuliani was among the mourners.
The former Mayor, whom Mr. Boyle supported during his short-lived run for President in 2008 because of the compassion he showed for the survivors of firefighters like his son Michael who were killed on 9/11, was part of the reviewing line along Post Ave. in Westbury for the procession to St. Brigid’s Church. He stayed for the two-hour funeral service, but seemed uncomfortable afterward standing on the reviewing line prior to the final procession and left before it took place.
It wasn’t known whether he had become aware by that time of the disclosures earlier in the day in the House impeachment inquiry, but if he had, that would have explained the scowl on his face shortly before he departed.
Gordon Sondland, President Trump’s hand-picked Ambassador to the European Union, had updated his Oct. 17 deposition to clarify earlier testimony, and the four-page addendum he provided to House committees considering impeachment on Nov. 4 was released the following day.
In it, he said that depositions by veteran diplomats regarding whether Mr. Trump had withheld $391 million in military aid to Ukraine to force that nation’s President, Volodymyr Zelensky, announce investigations into matters including the conduct of ex-Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, who in 2016 was on the board of a Ukrainian gas company at $50,000 a month, had refreshed his own memory.
Mr. Sondland disclosed a Sept. 1 conversation he had with a top adviser to Mr. Zelensky, Andriy Yermak, in which he told him the money wouldn’t be released until his boss publicly committed to investigations requested by Mr. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal attorney. He said he also told Mr. Yermak that announcing the investigations was the price Mr. Zelensky needed to pay in order to get a meeting he had sought with Mr. Trump at the White House. He said that to the best of his recollection, it was Mr. Giuliani who told him to convey those instructions.
During his previous appearance before the committees, Mr. Sondland, when asked what he thought of attempts to use that kind of pressure to force a foreign ally to investigate Mr. Biden—who at the time was the clear-cut leader in the race for the Democratic nomination—said, “It would be improper to do that.”
A House investigator interjected, “And illegal, right?”
Ambassador Sondland responded, “I’m not a lawyer, but I assume so.”
During that appearance, he also said he had been told to “get the Ukrainians to give a statement about corruption. And then, no, corruption isn’t enough, we need to talk about the 2016 election and the Burisma investigations,” referring to the gas company on whose board Hunter Biden sat that year.
Democratic committee members also picked Tuesday to release a transcript of the Oct. 3 deposition of Kurt Volker, the President’s former Special Envoy to Ukraine.
In it, he testified that there were times he had to explain “the Giuliani factor” to concerned Ukrainian officials, telling them “that I thought that there is a negative narrative about Ukraine that is counteracting all the good things [President Zelensky] is doing…and that this is being amplified by Rudy Giuliani.”
He said that the former Mayor had been acting based on statements made by former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko about corruption, prompting Mr. Volker to contact Mr. Giuliani to warn him, “Lutsenko is not credible. Don’t listen to what he is saying.”
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