Gordon Sondland impeachment testimony: 3 biggest bombshells
Gordon Sondland impeachment testimony: 3 biggest bombshells
FILE- President Donald Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani speaks to reporter's on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington
21 November, 2019, 14:07
"We followed the president's orders", he said.
Gordon Sondland testified that "everyone was in the loop" about his months-long push for a quid pro quo from Ukraine.
Sondland is one of three witnesses testifying today before the House Intelligence Committee.
"The Ukrainian embassy staff asked, 'What is going on with Ukrainian security assistance?'" Cooper told a Democrat-led House of Representatives panel that is looking into Trump's dealings with Ukraine.
In his November 15 closed door testimony, Holmes said that after overhearing Sondland's phone conversation with Trump at an outdoor restaurant in Kiev, he asked the ambassador if it was true that the president did not care about Ukraine.
Sondland also will say, "I really regret that the Ukrainians were placed in that predicament, but I do not regret doing what I could to try to break the logjam and to solve the problem". "We did not want to work with Mr Giuliani".
Sondland did not mention the phone call in his opening statement, in which he testified that Trump wanted Ukraine to publicly announce investigations into the 2016 USA presidential election and into Burisma - the Ukraine gas company on whose board Biden's son, Hunter, sat - as a prerequisite for a coveted White House visit for Zelensky.
A senior U.S. diplomat directly implicated President Donald Trump Wednesday in a scheme to force Ukraine to probe a political rival, in bombshell testimony to a televised impeachment hearing.
In 2014, Hunter Biden accepted a position on the board of directors of the Ukrainian gas company Burisma Holdings. Biden is one of the favourites to challenge Trump in next year's presidential election.
Sometimes it helps for a president to have notes.
There has been no reported evidence of wrongdoing by the former vice president or his son. The only real defence left for the president may be to assert his broad powers to conduct foreign policy, including pressuring leaders to investigate whomever the president desires.
Holmes also said it was possible that the Russians intercepted the phone call, which took place at an outdoor cafe on an unsecure cellphone.
"Was there a 'quid pro quo?' As I testified previously, with regard to the requested White House call and White House meeting, the answer is yes", Sondland said. "The President has been crystal clear: no quid pro quo's of any kind".
Sondland will also say that he pulled Zelenskiy aide Andriy Yermak aside and told him that Sondland believed US aid wouldn't resume until Ukraine took action on the public statement sought by the U.S.
Speaking at the Democrats' debate, Biden dodged a question on the role of his son but said the testimony had shown that "Donald Trump doesn't want me to be the nominee".
"The president may have covered himself by saying 'no quid pro quo,"' Starr said on Fox News, even if "the record is muddy, the record is murky". "Tell Zelensky to do the right thing". Trump asked Sondland, referring to Zelenskiy, according to Holmes' previous testimony.
Far from being a "rogue" operation outside normal U.S. diplomatic channels, Sondland told the hearing top officials - including Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo - were kept constantly informed. Questions were swirling by then about Trump's motivations for holding up USA security assistance for Ukraine as he pressed the country's leaders to investigate his political rivals.
At a meeting in Moscow on Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he was pleased that talk of interference in the 2016 USA presidential election has shifted away from Russia during these impeachment hearings. Trump simply wanted Zelensky to go on TV and imply that Biden had done something that needed investigation, likely in a U.S. TV interview that Trump and Giuliani clearly meant to use to stoke lies about Biden for the rest of the election cycle.
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