WASHINGTON, DC — In the most anticipated hearing of the public House impeachment inquiry into President Trump to date, Gordon D. Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union, has testified that quid pro quo did occur between the United States and Ukraine.
“Fourth, as I testified previously, Giuliani’s requests were quid pro quo for arranging a White House visit for President Zelensky,” he said. “Mr. Giuliani demanded that Ukraine make a public statement announcing investigations of the 2016 election/DNC server and Burisma. Mr. Giuliani was expressing the desires of the president of the United States, and we kew these investigations were important to the president.”
The distinction needs to be made, though, that Sondland also testified that he never heard President Trump explicitly direct for the quid pro quo.
Trump recently released a response to Sondland’s testimony through the White House’s twitter page.
President @realDonaldTrump delivers a statement on the sham impeachment process: pic.twitter.com/XBoUNfRV4a
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) November 20, 2019
Sondland also stated that “everyone” was aware of the quid pro quo, and he indicated that included White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Vice President Pence.
Rudy Giuliani, who has been a central figure in Sondland’s testimony, also took to twitter to push back against Republican lawyer Stephen R. Castor, who asked a long list of questions in Wednesday’s hearing.
Republican lawyer doesn’t do his own research and preparation, and is instead picking up Democrat lies, shame.
Allow me to inform him: I have NO financial interests in Ukraine, NONE! I would appreciate his apology.
— Rudy Giuliani (@RudyGiuliani) November 20, 2019
Sondland’s testimony stretched out until nearly 4 p.m. Wednesday, after it started at 9 a.m. and was scheduled to finish closer to 2 p.m.
Laura K. Cooper, a deputy assistant defense secretary, and David Hale, the under secretary of state for political affairs, will testify together in the afternoon session.
Sondland kept Secretary of State Mike Pompeo apprised of his efforts to pressure Ukraine’s leaders to commit publicly to investigations Trump wanted, two people briefed on the matter told The New York Times in a story published Wednesday.
Sondland informed Pompeo in mid-August about a draft statement that Sondland and another American diplomat had worked on with the Ukrainians that they hoped would persuade Trump to grant Ukraine’s new president the one-on-one meeting he was seeking, the people said, speaking to the Times on the condition of anonymity because the discussions were intended to be private.
The disclosures tie Pompeo more directly than was previously known to the Trump administration’s pressure campaign on Ukraine, the Times reported.
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