Opinion: None of Sondland's words will sway Republicans - - PressFrom - US
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Opinion None of Sondland's words will sway Republicans

04:10  21 november  2019
04:10  21 november  2019 Source:   cnn.com

David Holmes testimony: State department aide confirms Trump-Sondland call about Ukraine investigations

  David Holmes testimony: State department aide confirms Trump-Sondland call about Ukraine investigations David Holmes, the state department aide who overheard President Donald Trump's conversation with the US ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, said that Sondland told Trump that the Ukranian President would do "anything you ask him to," and that he confirmed the Ukrainians were going to "do the investigation.""Sondland told Trump that (Ukrainian President Volodymyr) Zelensky 'loves your ass,'" Holmes said, according to a copy of his opening statement obtained by CNN. "I then heard President Trump ask, 'So, he's gonna do the investigation?' Ambassador Sondland replied that 'he's gonna do it,' adding that President Zelensky will do 'anything you ask him to.

Ambassador Gordon Sondland declared to impeachment investigators that President Donald Trump and his lawyer Rudy Giuliani explicitly sought a “Was there a ‘quid pro quo?’” Sondland testified in opening remarks. “With regard to the requested White House call and White House meeting, the

To the Editor: Re “‘We Followed the President’ s Orders’ to Pressure Ukraine, Sondland Says” (nytimes.com, Nov. 20): All this impeachment investigation needed was one person on the inside to tell the truth

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

a man wearing a suit and tie: WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 20:  Gordon Sondland, the U.S ambassador to the European Union, testifies before the House Intelligence Committee in the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill November 20, 2019 in Washington, DC. The committee heard testimony during the fourth day of open hearings in the impeachment inquiry against U.S. President Donald Trump, whom House Democrats say held back U.S. military aid for Ukraine while demanding it investigate his political rivals.  (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)© Drew Angerer/Getty Images North America/Getty Images WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 20: Gordon Sondland, the U.S ambassador to the European Union, testifies before the House Intelligence Committee in the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill November 20, 2019 in Washington, DC. The committee heard testimony during the fourth day of open hearings in the impeachment inquiry against U.S. President Donald Trump, whom House Democrats say held back U.S. military aid for Ukraine while demanding it investigate his political rivals. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Ambassador Gordon Sondland caught the Republicans flat-footed at Wednesday's hearing of the House Intelligence committee with his lengthy opening statement, which some have interpreted as confirming the Democratic case that President Donald Trump himself ordered a quid pro quo scheme: a visit to the White House for Ukraine's new president -- and release of held-up aid to Ukraine, Democrats say -- in exchange for his country publicly launching investigations into both Burisma and a conspiracy theory alleging Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election.

Sondland said he was acting on Trump’s orders, aide told investigators

  Sondland said he was acting on Trump’s orders, aide told investigators Tim Morrison, a top White House national security aide, told impeachment investigators that Gordon Sondland — a U.S. ambassador at the center of the Ukraine scandal imperiling Donald Trump’s presidency — claimed to be acting on Trump’s orders, and was regularly in touch with him. © Provided by Politico, LLC Top White House national security aide Tim Morrison. “Every time you went to check to see whether he had, in fact, talked to the president, you found that he had talked to the president?” one lawmaker wondered, according to a transcript of Morrison’s testimony released Saturday.“Yes,” Morrison replied.

WASHINGTON — An ambassador at the center of the House impeachment inquiry testified on Wednesday that he was following President Trump’ s orders with the full knowledge of several other top administration officials when he pressured the Ukrainians to conduct investigations into Mr. Trump’ s

Likewise, Republicans prompted Mr. Sondland to recall a Sept. John Q. Barrett, a former associate independent counsel who investigated the Iran-contra scandal, said Mr. Sondland ’ s conclusion that there was in fact a quid pro quo “was powerful and shocking testimony — yes, very reminiscent of

But then, later in questioning, Sondland muddied those waters by flatly stating that "No one told me the aid was tied to anything. I was presuming it was." Sondland's "best guess" and "presumption" gave the Republicans an important opening from which to operate during the afternoon, as did the fact that some of what Sondland said was contradictory.

This will help the White House keep the GOP in line, even as the media portrays Sondland as a modern-day John Dean. He wasn't.

Sondland also gave credence to an idea that many Republicans hold -- it was a terrible plan to have Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani in the middle of this situation. Sondland's testimony is more damning to Giuliani than Trump, as Sondland claimed to have received clear instructions about the conditions for a prospective Trump-Zelensky meeting from Giuliani, but unclear and perhaps even exculpatory instructions from Trump ("I want nothing, no quid pro quo," Sondland recalled the President saying in a conversation after the White House learned about the whistleblower complaint).

Jordan slams Sondland for omitting Trump’s ‘no quid pro quo’ claim from statement

  Jordan slams Sondland for omitting Trump’s ‘no quid pro quo’ claim from statement Rep. Jim Jordan blasted Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland for omitting President Trump’s apparent claim that he wanted “no quid pro quo” with Ukraine from his opening statement, during his testimony at Wednesday's impeachment hearing.The story of the Trump-Sondland exchange emerged as a key moment for Republicans defending Trump's role in the Ukraine issue. While not mentioning it in his opening statement, Sondland eventually said under questioning that Trump told him "I want nothing, I want no quid pro quo" -- apparently concerning whether military aid and more was tied to his requests for politically advantageous investigations from Ukraine.

Sondland said he never told Sondland directly that aid was tied to an announcement of investigations. Sondland today says, “I now know what it was for So the Democrats pounced, and Schiff declared a bathroom break so that he could hold a press conference to announce Sondland ’ s bombshell

Gordon Sondland was questioned about a recently revealed telephone call between himself and the president, in which a US "Lots of four-letter words . In this case: three letters." The impeachment hearings center on Trump' s efforts to pressure Ukraine to launch politically motivated investigations at

It strikes me that Republicans may start separating the issue -- as Sondland did in his opening statement -- of whether the President was trading an Oval Office meeting for investigations he wanted from Ukraine from an alleged attempt to also tie up military aid if Ukraine didn't cooperate.

My CNN colleague Ross Garber, an impeachment lawyer from Tulane University, tweeted that "Sondland now admits there was a 'quid pro quo' for a White House meeting or call. Notably, in McDonnell v. United States, the Supreme Court held that a meeting or call doesn't qualify as an 'official act' for purposes of a bribery prosecution." This is a subtle but notable shift, but important to understand since the Democrats started using the term "bribery" as they pursue the articles of impeachment.

As all of this was unfolding, two public opinion polls were released that explain why it is unlikely Democrats will succeed in bringing Republicans around to seeing this their way.

Trump's Senate safety net holds firm as Republicans dismiss 'quid pro quo'

  Trump's Senate safety net holds firm as Republicans dismiss 'quid pro quo' Gordon Sondland’s testimony Wednesday upended a key argument Senate Republicans have used to defend President Donald Trump in the impeachment inquiry: no quid pro quo. © Provided by Politico, LLC U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland is sworn in before testifying before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill on Wednesday. Now that there’s mounting evidence of precisely that, GOP senators may have to reframe their case. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.

Sondland ’ s testimony probably accelerates the moves by House Democrats to impeach the president and send the issue to the Senate for adjudication, though at this point the odds of conviction remain long, absent a significant shift in public opinion away from the president.

GOP calls Sondland ’ s testimony unreliable because of lack of documents. They're blocked by State and WH. Republicans tried to use Sondland ’ s lack of documents and records to their advantage, suggesting his recollection of events is simply just “speculation.”

The Marquette University Law School Poll released Wednesday showed decreasing support for impeachment in Wisconsin, a key swing state. Impeachment is an exercise in public and political opinion, and at least in this Wisconsin survey it appears the Democrats haven't succeeded in galvanizing the public in support of their position.

The poll was taken before Sondland's testimony, but still shows the structural problems Democrats face in convincing any Republican to support their impeachment dreams. The truth is, most Americans have their minds made up on Trump one way or the other and no impeachment hearing will change that.

A Gallup poll, also released Wednesday, showed that 90% of Republicans continue to support the President, and that his marks on the economy are at a record high for his presidency, with 57% of people saying they approve of his handling of that matter.

Good luck moving Republican senators off the President when their entire party loves him, and nearly 60% of Americans believe him to be doing a good job on the most important issue in the upcoming election.

I have believed from the beginning that the final Republican position here will be some form of blaming this Ukrainian business on Giuliani, expressing varying degrees of disapproval of the bad judgment displayed by various people, but concluding that it falls short of impeachment.

The Democrats' position has not changed -- they will impeach the President, as most members of their party have desired to do since the earliest days of his presidency.

Folks are still in their corners, and that's not likely to change over Sondland or anyone else.


Gordon Sondland won’t quit over sexual misconduct claims .
Gordon Sondland, the American ambassador at the center of the impeachment drama, insists he will not resign over past sexual misconduct claims by three women, according to a report. The envoy to the European Union said Wedmesday through an associate that he has no plans to step down over the allegations, which he denies. “No intention of resigning,” Sondland’s associate told Politico. Three women aired claims this week to ProPublica of what they called Sondland’s inappropriate activity between 2003 and 2011 during his time as a hotel mogul in Portland, Ore., before President Trump appointed him to the plum ambassador post.

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