The Associated Press has previously reported that as of the beginning of May staffers at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv were briefed on a meeting Zelensky, then president-elect, held in which he sought advice on how to handle the demands by the Trump administration to investigate 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter. The Daily Beast, too, reported that top Ukrainian officials were concerned in May about the timeline for the delivery of U.S. military aid to the country. But it has been unclear—until now—when Sondland, one of the key characters in the House impeachment inquiry, first began trying to convince the Ukrainians to work with the U.S. in launching investigations into the Bidens.
Sondland, along with Energy Secretary Rick Perry and former top diplomat for Ukraine Kurt Volker, met with Trump at the White House May 23 following their trip to Kyiv for Zelensky’s inauguration. Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and Trump instructed the crew—then dubbed “the three amigos”—to work with Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani on all matters related to Ukraine. Sondland worked with the Zelensky team before that meeting, sources said, and had spoken with aides about the need for investigations into the country’s energy sector.