IMPEACHMENT LIVE: Ambassador Sondland Drops Bombs, Says Giuliani Pushed ‘Quid Pro Quo’, Followers President’s Orders

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Ambassador Gordon Sondland told House impeachment investigators Wednesday that he worked with Rudy Giuliani on Ukraine at the “express direction” of President Donald Trump and pushed a “quid pro quo” with Kyiv because it was what Trump wanted.

“Mr. Giuliani was expressing the desires of the president of the United States, and we knew that these investigations were important to the president,” Sondland testified of his dealings with Trump’s personal attorney.

Sondland, the most highly anticipated witness in the public impeachment probe, made clear that he believed Trump was pursuing his desire for investigations in return for the Oval Office meeting that the Eastern European nation’s president sought. Sondland said he later came to believe military aid for Ukraine was also being held up until the investigations were launched.

Sondland described how demands became more serious with more conditions on any potential Ukraine meeting at the White House.

“As time went on, more specific items got added to the menu — specially Burisma and 2016 meddling,” he said, referring to the gas company where Joe Biden’s son Hunter served on the board. And, he added, “the server,” the hacked Democratic computer system.

“I know that members of this committee have frequently framed these complicated issues in the form of a simple question: 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,” he said.

Sondland said he didn’t know at the time that Burisma was linked to the Bidens, but has since come to understand that.

“We had been hearing about it from Rudy and presumed Rudy was getting it from the president.”

The impeachment inquiry focuses significantly on allegations that Trump sought investigations of Democrat Joe Biden and his son — and the discredited idea that Ukraine rather than Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. election — in return for the badly needed military aid as well as the White House visit.

Sondland, a wealthy hotelier and Trump donor, has emerged as a central figure in an intense week in the impeachment prone that has featured nine witnesses testifying over three days. Both Democrats and Republicans were uncertain about what Sondland would testify to, given that he had already clarified parts of his initial private deposition before lawmakers.

His opening statement included several key details. He confirmed that he spoke with Trump on a cellphone from a busy Kyiv restaurant the day after the president prodded Ukraine’s leader to investigate political rival Joe Biden. He also said he kept Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other top administration officials aware of his dealings with Ukraine on the investigations Trump sought.

Sondland said he specifically told Vice President Mike Pence he “had concerns” that U.S. military aid to Ukraine “had become tied” to the investigations.

“Everyone was in the loop,” Sondland testified in opening remarks. “It was no secret.”

Sondland appeared prepared to fend off scrutiny over the way his testimony has shifted in closed-door settings, saying “my memory has not been perfect.” He said the State Department left him without access to emails, call records and other documents he needed in the inquiry.

Still, he did produce new emails and text messages to bolster his assertion that others in the administration were aware of the investigations he was pursuing for Trump from Ukraine.

Sondland insisted, twice, that he was “adamantly opposed to any suspension of aid” for Ukraine. “I was acting in good faith. As a presidential appointee, I followed the directions of the president.”

The son of immigrants who he said escaped Europe during the Holocaust, Sondland described himself as a “lifelong Republican” who has worked with officials from both parties, including Biden.

Dubbed one of the “three amigos” pursuing Ukraine policy, Sondland is disputing that they were running some “rogue “ operation outside official U.S. policy. He produced emails and texts showing he, former special envoy Kurt Volker and Energy Secretary Rick Perry kept Pompeo and others apprised of their activity. One message from Volker said, “Spoke w Rudy per guidance from S.” He said, “S means the secretary of state.”

He said the State Department “was aware that a commitment to investigations was among the issues we were pursuing.”

Democratic Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff of California opened the hearing saying, “The knowledge of this scheme was far and wide.”

Schiff warned Pompeo and other administration officials who are refusing to turn over documents and testimony to the committee “they do so at their own peril.” He said obstruction of Congress was included in articles of impeachment during Watergate.

The top Republican on the committee, Devin Nunes of California, decried the inquiry and told the ambassador, “Mr. Sondland, you are here to be smeared.”

Nunes renewed his demand to hear from the still-anonymous whistleblower whose complaint about Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy led the House to open the impeachment inquiry.

(AP)




19 COMMENTS

  1. That’s funny because in every single video of him being deposed by republicans on Congress he said every time there was no linkage, no quid pro quo, no bribery, and no extortion.

  2. Herr Giuliani’s spokesperson has put out a call for special tehillim on Rudy’s behalf in anticipation of his being run over by a bus. This was coupled with a strange request from the WH transportation office this morning to Monsey Trails to lease a bus over the weekend and follow up request for a special cleaning crew in hazmat gear to be on standby. Perhaps all just a coincidence and as the Trumpkop always says, “who knows”…..

  3. Georgeg: So true, it was only “discredited” by the 17 agencies in the intelligence community including the CIA and several military intelligence agencies BUT as you know every one of them was headed by Never-Trumkpofers who were and remain part of the Deep State.

  4. Here’s what this’ll be about:
    Moishe tells Shimon that Mickey Mantle just homered…. Shimon to Moishe:
    “Is it good for Jews, or bad?”

    Alas, another arrogant Jew useful idiot for the Dems to destroy a president, his family and our country. Add him to the pompous Vidman Jew who thinks he should be in charge of foreign policy…
    And on with Schiff,……. Naassler, Shnuck Jews, Jews, Jew York Jews.. .. Daniel Goldman, counsel to Dems- Jew..
    What will be remembered is that Joooos removed a great president…few others will be blamed.

  5. Fascinating testimony regarding Rudy Guilliani and his back channel deals. Rudy apparently encouraged Trump’s fascination with discredited theories that the Ukraine was behind election interference and that the Ukrainians had the DNC server which is on display at DC headquarters.
    Sondland testified that he spoke to Trump frequently although Trump claimed he hardly knew him.

  6. not surprisingly rEtARD, Gadolhadorah join Democrat hysterical mod to cheer this Stalinist style show trial. At the end you will be all disappointed just like after failed Mueller Russian Hoax report

  7. There doesn’t have to be quid pro quo, that makes it worse and more corrupt, but just seeking help from a foreign power for election help is illegal. Trump said it’s something he’s do, so he did it.

  8. It’s time to admit Trump is a good reason why the office of the president should be occupied by someone with political and legal experience.

    A self serving businessman that’s a compulsive liar and “stands for nothing” (his words) just isn’t suitable for the job. Even if you like his outspokenness or his opinion on liberals.

    This isn’t “fake news”( again, his words of course). The man just is absolutely clueless and so narcissistic he’s blind to how I’ll suited he is for the job.

    Just look at this picture from today. It’s beyond The Onion news…

    https://www.gettyimages.co.uk/detail/news-photo/president-donald-trump-holds-his-notes-while-speaking-to-news-photo/1188927586

  9. First it wasn’t a legitimate investigation because there was no vote. Then it wasn’t legitimate because it wasn’t public. Then it wasn’t legitimate because there was no quid pro quo, blackmail or extortion. Then it wasn’t legitimate because some of it was hearsay. Now you have this. Vote taken, public hearing, quid pro quo, eye witness (and from a Trump supporter)

    I think you’ve pretty much run out of rope there.

  10. > Gadolhadorah

    “17 agencies”

    You those Obama guys who sent the e-mails out on how they will block Trump from taking the office of President? The only difference between them and the “17 agencies” is that the latter had the clout (or the smarts) to keep their similar communications away from public scrutiny.

  11. > Gadolhadorah

    And for your information, of the “17 agencies” only 4 agreed there was sufficient proof of Russian interference with the election of 2016, and I have yet to find any report that any of these alleged “17 agencies” investigated, let alone agreed based on proof they could present, that the universally recognized corrupt Ukraine government of the time did NOT have connection to the topic at hand.

  12. Qyay: Thank you for the link. This is the smoking gun proving that the Trumpkopf is able to BOTH write and read. You failed to mention that his “notes’ summarizing the Sonland testimony regarding their call was the SAME black sharpie pen used when he saved the State of Alabama from devastation by alerting them to an incoming Hurricane that all the professional meteorologists predicted would not come near Alabama. Such heileg pen is incapable of putting on paper words that are less than 100 percent “perfect”.

  13. There is nothing corrupt in the President interceding with Ukraine to uncover what appears to be a cover-up of a democratic candidate for the USA presidency’s son activities in Ukraine. That cover-up may have unexpected consequences in the future in case the Democratic candidate or even another Democratic candidate were to win the presidency. And it must not go unchallenged, that is why President Trump wants it to open up now about it and rightly so.

    The financial gift to Ukraine is a normal condition of friendship and co-operation between nations which is done all the time, every day. If Ukraine is reminded to do the right thing in the case of a cover-up with its being reminded of the gift, then so be it, it is not a bribe but an incentive to uncover the truth.

  14. @Quayboardwarrior – If you were paying attention you would realize that the notes on Trump’s paper were the actual quotes from conversations he had with Sondland (which Sondland testified about).
    Sondland asked Trump what he wanted from Ukraine and his response was “I want nothing…..”

  15. Gadolhadorah, Quayboardwarrior, rEtARD, yaakov dumb and the rest of Village Idiot Club will be sitting shiva after Trump is cleared of all Democrat Deep State slandering conspiracy theories and is re-elected in 2020.

  16. @mosheingolus take a moment to stop putting your fingers in your ears and shouting insults, and actually watch the impeachment proceedings.

    It’s hard to deny your deity broke the law on more than one occasion. Whether you like his politics or not, it’s quite clearly not slander.

    He broke the law and if not held accountable it’ll set a precedent that would undermine democracy.