U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland speaks with President Trump at Melsbroek Air Base in July 2018 in Brussels. Sondland is speaking to House committees on Thursday.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP
(CNN)US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland was directed by President Donald Trump to work with Rudy Giuliani on Ukraine, he plans to tell Congress Thursday, and was left with a choice: Abandon efforts to bolster a key strategic alliance or work to satisfy the demands of the President's personal lawyer.
Sondland plans to say he wasn't aware until "much later" that Giuliani's agenda might have included an effort to "prompt the Ukrainians" to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter and to involve the Ukrainians in the President's campaign, according to his opening statement, which was obtained by CNN.
Sondland's revealing testimony is a clear break with Trump over Giuliani — he said he was "disappointed" that Trump wouldn't commit to a meeting sought by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky until they spoke with Giuliani, who was pursuing an investigation into Biden, a potential political rival in Trump's reelection campaign. And the ambassador's testimony showcases how Trump put on hold an effort to strengthen relations with Ukraine until top US officials were in contact with his personal attorney.