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Weekend Reads The huge Gordon Sondland revelation almost everyone missed

23:51  21 november  2019
23:51  21 november  2019 Source:   cnn.com

Report: Eric Gordon to undergo knee surgery, expected to miss 6 weeks

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WASHINGTON — Gordon D. Sondland , the American ambassador to the European Union, has emerged as a critical witness in the impeachment inquiry into President Trump’s pressure campaign on Ukraine.

Over the first three days of testimony in the impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump, Republicans have tried out a number of defenses. After the Wednesday testimony of Gordon Sondland , Trump’s ambassador to the European Union, almost all of them have been incinerated.

Gordon Sondland wearing a suit and tie: U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland is sworn in to testify before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019, during a public impeachment hearing of President Donald Trump's efforts to tie U.S. aid for Ukraine to investigations of his political opponents. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)© Andrew Harnik/AP U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland is sworn in to testify before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019, during a public impeachment hearing of President Donald Trump's efforts to tie U.S. aid for Ukraine to investigations of his political opponents. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Gordon Sondland made a LOT of news in his opening statement to the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday. There was a quid pro quo between the Americans and the Ukrainains. Everybody in the White House knew about it. And the Ukrainians knew too.

But there was one piece of Sondland's testimony that didn't get as much attention as it should have. Under questioning from Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff (D-California) about the specific nature of the quid pro quo between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Sondland said this:

Sondland: ‘Was there a quid pro quo? ... The answer is yes’

  Sondland: ‘Was there a quid pro quo? ... The answer is yes’ Sondland: ‘Was there a quid pro quo? The answer is yes’“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 in prepared testimony. “With regard to the requested White House call and White House meeting, the answer is yes.

Gordon Sondland , the US ambassador to the European Union, stunned Washington with bombshell evidence that blew a hole in the White House’s defences, implicated numerous senior officials and left the US president facing probable impeachment.

Gordon D. Sondland , the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, appeared before the House Intelligence Committee. Secretary Perry Ambassador Volker and I worked with Mr. Rudy Giuliani on Ukraine matters at the express direction of the President of the United States. We did not want to

"He had to announce the investigations. He didn't actually have to do them, as I understood it."

Which, to be clear, means that in order for Zelensky to get the White House meeting he so coveted, he needed to simply announce that Ukraine was looking into Joe and Hunter Biden -- despite there being no evidence of wrongdoing by either of them -- as well as the whereabouts of the hacked Democratic National Committee server.

Not conduct the investigation. Not prosecute anyone. Just announce it.

Sondland expanded on that idea when asked to elaborate by Democratic counsel Dan Goldman. Here's that exchange:

GOLDMAN: Giuliani and President Trump didn't actually care if they did them, right?

SONDLAND: I never heard, Mr. Goldman, anyone say that the investigations had to start or be completed. The only thing I heard from Mr. Giuliani or otherwise was that they had to be announced. ... President Trump presumably, communicated through Mr. Giuliani, wanted the Ukrainians on-record publicly that they were going to do those investigations.

Fox Anchor Chris Wallace: Sondland Just Ran the Bus Over Trump, Pence, Pompeo, Giuliani and Mulvaney

  Fox Anchor Chris Wallace: Sondland Just Ran the Bus Over Trump, Pence, Pompeo, Giuliani and Mulvaney pDuring the first break in Wednesday’s impeachment hearings—which featured U.S. Ambassador to the EU and million-dollar Trump donor Gordon Sondland implicating President Donald Trump in a quid pro quo with Ukraine—Fox News anchor Chris Wallace declared that Sondland “took out the bus and ran it over” President Donald Trump and a number of his allies and aides. “I think what Gordon Sondland was trying to do here is protect himself more than he is to protect anybody else,” Wallace said during Fox News’ special coverage.

Gordon D. Sondland , the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, appeared before “You testified that pretty much everyone could put two and two together and make four and understood Gordon D. Sondland , Mr. Trump’s envoy to the European Union, told the House Intelligence Committee that he

Gordon D. Sondland , the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, told the House Intelligence Committee that Mr. Sondland told the committee that Mr. Trump directed the Ukraine pressure campaign, that ‘ Everyone was in the loop’: Sondland cast blame on senior administration officials.

Now ask yourself this. If Trump's true interest in raising the Democratic National Committee server conspiracy theory and the Bidens on the July 25 call with Zelensky was to root out corruption in Ukraine, wouldn't you think it would be more important to press the Ukrainians on ensuring a free, fair and thorough investigation into any alleged wrongdoing?

If, on the other hand, the goal was simply to have a political card to play against the leading Democratic presidential nominee, then it would be less important whether the investigation actually happened and much more important that the president of Ukraine announced it in a very high-profile manner.

Which is what, according to Sondland, Trump was interested in. That view is corroborated by Sondland's conversation -- as relayed by State Department aide David Holmes (under oath!) -- with Trump on the day after the July 25 call. After that phone call, Sondland made clear to Holmes (and others who were at the table with him) that Trump didn't care about Ukraine or corruption in the country more broadly. He cared about the Bidens and getting an investigation into them announced.

So, yeah. This isn't rocket science. Sondland's testimony on what Trump really wanted out of Zelensky tells you everything you need to know about how deeply committed the American President was -- and is -- to rooting out corruption in Ukraine. He's not.

Trump’s big, ‘exonerating’ piece of Ukraine evidence takes a hit .
Trump’s big, ‘exonerating’ piece of Ukraine evidence takes a hit Except the call might not have actually taken place — at least not like Sondland remembers it.

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