In her Fast Forward news summary for the Boston Globe today, Teresa Hanafin writes:

Today’s witness in the hot seat on Capitol Hill is Gordon Sondland, the hotelier who donated a million bucks to Trump’s inauguration and in exchange, got to be the US ambassador to the European Union. He’s neck-deep in the Ukraine mess because Trump pushed aside the experienced diplomats and tapped the naif Sondland — and Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani — to lead the pressure campaign against Ukraine designed to dirty up Joe Biden.

Sondland is expected to tell lawmakers that he didn’t like Trump’s request that he coordinate all Ukraine contacts through Giuliani, and that by mid-summer, he realized that Trump had a preconditionbefore he would agree to meet with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky in the Oval Office: an investigation into Joe and Hunter Biden that would benefit Trump politically. He’ll also testify that the text message he sent to Bill Taylor, a top US diplomat for Ukraine, denying that there was a quid pro quo, was dictated by Trump.

Fiona Hill, one of Trump’s former top foreign policy advisers who testified earlier this week, told lawmakers that she considered Sondland to be a national security risk because of his inexperience, a naiveté that she thought foreign bad actors could easily exploit. Plus he used a personal cell phone for official business.

The back-slapping, glad-handing businessman also didn’t understand protocol: For example, he constantly invited foreign officials to visit the White House any time they wanted, but he never made any definite arrangements. Sure enough, a Romanian delegation showed up unannounced at the White House door one day, saying Sondland had invited them. I hope they at least got a meal and some MAGA hats for their trouble.

Sondland is undergoing scrutiny for another matter: He is spending close to $1 million in taxpayer money to jazz up the ambassador’s residence on the outskirts of Brussels. These are not simple renovations: He’s spending $400,000 to build a second kitchen and spruce up the main one, $33,000 for handmade furniture from Italy, nearly $30,000 for a new sound system, and $95,000 for an outdoor “living pod” with a pergola that has electric heating, LED lighting strips, and a remote-control system.

Jeez, if the Ukraine president can’t wrangle a White House invitation, maybe he can get a luxury hot tub session at Sondland’s fancy digs.