U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland issued an opening statement Wednesday before the House Intelligence Committee’s impeachment hearing, prompting Democrats to seize on the moment as proof President Trump is guilty of bribery in dealing with Ukraine.
“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?'” Sondland said. “As I testified previously, with regard to the requested White House call and White House meeting, the answer is yes.”
Before the end of the hours-long hearing, however, Sondland also testified that— during a September phone call, the ambassador asked Trump what he wanted in order to secure a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky—the commander-in-chief said the opposite.
“He just said, ‘I want nothing. I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo. Tell Zelensky to do the right thing.’ Something to that effect,” Sondland testified.
The House impeachment inquiry was launched by Democrats who allege Trump used his office to coerce Ukraine into investigating the business dealings of former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, a move they say was politically expedient for the president and his 2020 re-election campaign. At the center of the coercion, they allege, were threats to withhold military aid to the European nation.
“Trump’s scheme undermined military and diplomatic support for a key ally,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said during the hearing. “Trump put his personal and political interests above those of the United States.”
During questioning, the ambassador said the president never directly told him there were “preconditions” to having a meeting with the Ukraine president but requests by Rudy Guiliani, the president’s attorney, did make “announcing investigations of the 2016 election/DNC server and Burisma” a prerequisite.
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Source: Christian Headlines