Doubts were cast over Gordon Sondland’s call with Donald Trump where POTUS told him there was ‘no quid pro quo’ at play in U.S. policy toward the Ukraine.
Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, told the impeachment hearing that he had a phone call with Donald Trump in September.
The ambassador, who Trump put in charge of relations with the Ukraine, said it was his understanding that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s request for a White House meeting with Trump was contingent upon his opening investigations into the Bidens and the 2016 election.
Doubts were cast over Gordon Sondland’s call with Donald Trump where POTUS allegedly told him there was ‘no quid pro quo’ at play in U.S. policy toward the Ukraine.
Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, told the impeachment hearing that he had a phone call with Donald Trump in September
The ambassador testified last week that the president told him: ‘I want no quid pro quo.’
‘He just said, “I want nothing, I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo”,’ Sondland testified Wednesday morning.
Now doubts have been raised as to whether the phone call took place as Sondland said it had done on September 9.
The Washington Post reported that no witness testimony or documents have backed up of Sondland’s description of a call that day.
The White House has not found a log of the call between Trump and Sondland, an administration told the outlet.
Evidence that another call took place a couple of days earlier exists, in which POTUS claimed that he wanted Ukrainian officials to personally announce investigations into Trump’s political opponents.
The timing of the call has been called into question as White House lawyers told him about the existence of a whistle blower complaint, describing the administration’s pressure campaign on Ukraine and that he was being accused of wrongdoing.
By September, POTUS began to face scrutiny from the media and opposition politicians about why U.S. aid to Ukraine was stalled.
Trump has also not talked about any of his own recollections of the call but has only referenced Sondland’s version of events.
Sources claim that during the call, Trump said he was not looking for a ‘quid pro quo,’ but wanted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky personally and publicly announce the investigations that Trump wanted.
The ambassador had conceded that there was a ‘quid pro quo’ in place, linking unspecified corruption investigations and a White House visit that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky desperately wanted
Bill Taylor, the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, claimed he told Sondland it was ‘crazy to withhold aid for partisan political reasons’
Sondland said he was not told why nearly $400 in U.S. aid to the Ukraine was put on hold but said he guessed that was part of the ‘quid pro quo.’
Republicans point out the Ukraine did get the aid although Democrats argue that happened only after it was revealed Trump was holding it up.
Kurt Volker, Trump’s special envoy to Ukraine, has made public text messages that detailed a conversation on September 9 between U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor and Sondland.
Taylor claimed he told Sondland it was ‘crazy to withhold aid for partisan political reasons.’
Sondland apparently waited for around five hours before he gave his response, with the line that there would be ‘no quid pro quo’ with Ukraine.
Sondland apparently responded at 5.14 am and the timing would put the call at some point in the middle of night or before morning.
However aides claimed that Sondland would never speak to POTUS before 7.30am.
That’s unlikely especially since his aides have said Sondland never called Trump before 7:30 am.
Watching Ambassador Gordon Sondland’s impeachment hearing testimony in the White House residence, the president wrote down a rough transcription of one portion and read it aloud to the press corps as he left for a manufacturing plant tour in Texas.
Biden´s son Hunter was a Burisma board member, and benefited when his father Joe forced Ukraine to fire a prosecutor investigating the firm. Father and son are pictured together
Trump told reporters that Sondland’s revelation about the president’s ‘I want nothing’ posture should be an impeachment-killer. He wanted an investigation into Joe Biden and son Hunter
‘”What do you want? What do you want? I hear all these theories. What do you want?”‘ the president said Sondland had asked him during a September phone call.
‘And now here’s my response that he just gave. Ready? You have the cameras rolling? “I want nothing. That is what I want from Ukraine!”‘
He read his reconstruction of the scene from his own black-Sharpie notes on a White House pad of paper.
‘I say to the ambassador—response—”I want nothing, I want nothing, I want no quid pro quo”,’ Trump repeated, pounding the press corps with his message and nothing else. ‘”Tell Zelinsky, President Zelinsky, to do the right thing”.’
‘So,’ he said again before walking away as shouted questions fell around him, ‘Here’s my answer: “I want nothing. I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo. Tell Zelinsky to do the right thing”.’
But minutes earlier the ambassador had conceded that there was a ‘quid pro quo’ in place, linking unspecified corruption investigations and a White House visit that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky desperately wanted.
Sondland said he did not know until September that what was actually desired was an investigation into the Bidens.
‘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,’ Sondland said.
The quid pro quo in this case, he said, involved arranging a White House visit for Zelensky in return for an announcement of investigations of Burisma, a Ukrainian gas company, and an unproven theory that Ukraine had interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.