A Ukrainian official, Adriy Yermak, a top adviser to the President of Ukraine, has called into dispute the only exchange between an American official and the Ukrainians alleged to involve quid pro quo in the House Intel Committee Chair Adam Schiff’s impeachment report.
Based on the testimony from Sondland and other witnesses, the final report from the House Intelligence Committee concluded last week that Sondland made this offer of a quid pro quo clear to Yermak that day in Warsaw. “Following this meeting, Ambassador Sondland pulled aside President Zelensky’s advisor, Mr. Yermak, to explain that the hold on security assistance was conditioned on the public announcement of the Burisma/Biden and the 2016 election interference investigations,” the report states.
Yermak disputes this. “Gordon and I were never alone together,” he said when TIME asked about the Warsaw meeting. “We bumped into each other in the hallway next to the escalator, as I was walking out.” He recalls that several members of the American and Ukrainian delegations were also nearby, as well as bodyguards and hotel staff, though he was not sure whether any of them heard his brief conversation with Sondland. “And I remember – everything is fine with my memory – we talked about how well the meeting went. That’s all we talked about,” Yermak says.
Not to mention a further problem with Schiff’s account of this story is that Sondland has already admitted that “no one on earth” (meaning President Donald Trump or any other official) told him to make such a linkage between investigations or an announcement and aid. So had Sondland actually said this, it wasn’t because anyone in authority, like Trump, told him to do so.
Yermak said he never saw such linkage, same as Zelensky. So this key critical point that Democrats are claiming is completely disputed by Yermak.
So the report then really has nothing.
And as Aaron Mate of The Nation notes, no one called Yermak as a witness during the hearings. One has to wonder why? Because he would be able to blow their claim away?
Yermak also says that no one from the impeachment committees, or any US official, has contacted him to seek his testimony. I wonder why? I've been trying to contact him for over a month, because his testimony was so crucial, as I wrote about in The Nation: https://t.co/t1ecUd6UxB pic.twitter.com/kuxMyWYuFu
— Aaron Maté (@aaronjmate) December 10, 2019
But Democrats are not interested in uncomfortable facts that don’t fit their headlong effort to impeachment. Maybe this is one of the reasons they had to abandon their claims of bribery or extortion and move to the more amorphous claims of “abuse of power” and “obstruction,” because their evidence is shot full of holes.