U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, who testified last month before Adam Schiff’s impeachment inquiry panel, has added an update to his previous statements. It seems after reading the opening statements of acting Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor and President Trump’s top foreign policy adviser, Tim Morrison, who testified on October 22 and October 31, respectively, it “refreshed his recollection about certain conversations” he had had with them in early September. He now acknowledges he “told a top Ukrainian official that the country likely would not receive American military aid unless it publicly committed to investigations President Trump wanted.” So, he now believes there was indeed a quid pro quo.
Schiff released the 379-page transcript from Sondland’s October 17th testimony which can be viewed here on Scibd. The last four pages cover the new material which Sondland’s attorney submitted on Monday.
Sondland writes that Taylor’s statement says he (Sondland) had told “Morrison the resumption of U.S. aid to Ukraine had become tied to a public statement to be issued by Ukraine agreeing to investigate Burisma.” According to the Times:
In his updated testimony, Mr. Sondland recounted how he had discussed the linkage with Andriy Yermak, a top adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, on the sidelines of a Sept. 1 meeting between Vice President Mike Pence and Mr. Zelensky in Warsaw. Mr. Zelensky had discussed the suspension of aid with Mr. Pence, Mr. Sondland said.
“I said that resumption of the U.S. aid would likely not occur until Ukraine provided the public anticorruption statement that we had been discussing for many weeks,” Mr. Sondland said in the document, which was released by the House committees leading the inquiry, along with the transcript of his original testimony from last month…
In his new testimony, Mr. Sondland said he believed that withholding the aid — a package of $391 million in security assistance that had been approved by Congress — was “ill-advised,” although he did not know “when, why or by whom the aid was suspended.” But he said he came to believe that the aid was tied to the investigations.
“I presumed that the aid suspension had become linked to the proposed anticorruption statement,” Mr. Sondland said.
A quick read of Sondland’s words indicate an indecisive man with a faulty memory. “He believed…he did not know…but he came to believe…I presumed.”
Sondland also expresses his annoyance with Rudy Giuliani who he seems to feel is overbearing and perhaps doesn’t belong there. The Times reports:
Mr. Sondland originally testified that Mr. Trump had essentially delegated American foreign policy on Ukraine to Mr. Giuliani, a directive he disagreed with but still followed. He said that it was Mr. Giuliani who demanded the new Ukrainian president commit to the investigations, and that he did not understand until later that the overarching goal may have been to bolster the president’s 2020 election chances.
Mr. Sondland said that he went along with what Mr. Giuliani wanted in the hope of pacifying him and restoring normal relations between the two countries. Under questioning, he acknowledged believing the statement was linked to a White House visit the new president of Ukraine sought with Mr. Trump.
Here is a very wealthy man who earned his fortune in the hotel industry. He then donated $1 million to Trump’s inauguration fund and boom, he’s an ambassador.
He can’t recall conversations he had in early September. This man spent ten hours testifying before Schiff’s committee in October under oath and two weeks later, he changes his mind. Sondland now presumes there was quid pro quo. Obviously, this is a very subjective case. Let’s look at the evidence. There is none. Just opinions and interpretations.
Fact: President Trump released the funds to Ukraine without President Zelensky having to issue an anti-corruption statement.
Why don’t we focus on a transaction where there was a very clear quid pro quo, such as Biden’s threat to withhold $1 billion in aid unless Ukraine fires the prosecutor who’s about to investigate his son? New documents released on Monday by investigative reporter John Solomon show Burisma pressuring Obama State Department officials to end corruption allegations. The documents identify Hunter Biden as a reason the State Department should intervene. My colleague, Bonchie, posted about this story here.
Breaking: Memos detailing Hunter Biden's contacts with Obama State Department released. VP son's Ukrainian gas firm pressed US officials to end corruption allegations … just a month before Joe Biden forced firing of prosecutor overseeing case.https://t.co/APtdGUrnxn
— John Solomon (@jsolomonReports) November 4, 2019